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How to Clean Your Sunbrella Shade Fabric

How to Clean Your Sunbrella Shade Fabric
Sunbrella fabrics are:
  • Fade-resistant
  • Water repellant
  • Mildew-resistant
But how, then, do you clean your Sunbrella® shade fabric? Your best bet for an outdoor umbrella that maintains its good looks for years to come is to rinse away loose dirt with a hose before grime builds up (approximately once a month.)

General or Light Cleaning

Sunbrella fabrics on your patio umbrella frame can be given a general or light cleaning at regular intervals. Follow these six easy steps:
  1. Dust off cobwebs, bird droppings, and other debris.
  2. Hose down the umbrella fabric.
  3. Fill a bucket with a cleaning solution of mild detergent like Woolite® or Dawn® mixed with cold water.
  4. Clean with a clean cloth or soft bristle brush – allowing the soapy liquid to saturate the fabric.
  5. Thoroughly rinse away all soap residue.
  6. Let your Poggesi umbrella air-dry. It won’t take long thanks to the breathable woven material and water-repelling fluorocarbon finish of Sunbrella fabrics.

Heavy Cleaning for Stubborn Spills and Mildew

Despite its superior stain resistant properties, Sunbrella fabric relies on swift action when a spill occurs. Use a soft towel to mop up the source of any potential stains, then refer to this table for the best method of cleaning your umbrella:
Stain Treatment
Tree sap Turpentine or liquid detergent
Roof run-off Strong degreaser
Wine Liquid detergent or ammonia with a 3-6% water content and white vinegar
Suntan lotion Pine oil detergent
Iron rust Oxalic or citrus acids and water
Coffee Detergent, white vinegar, and volatile solvent
Urine, vomit, and bee Liquid detergent and white vinegar
Tea, tomato juice, gravy, soda, ketchup, and mustard Liquid detergent
Dried blood and chocolate Liquid detergent and ammonia with 3-6% water content
The acrylic fiber of Sunbrella fabrics deters the growth of mildew. Unfortunately, though, mold and mildew can grow on residue that may be on the surface of the umbrella canvas. If you notice mildew on your Sunbrella umbrella, do the following:
  1. Check with Poggesi if your Sunbrella fabric is from the Plus, Supreme, or Clarity range, as their coated surface requires a specialist approach.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water.
  3. Apply with a clean towel or spray and let the solution soak into the fabric for no more than 15 minutes
  4. Gently scrub small areas at a time with a soft bristle brush.
  5. Thoroughly rinse away all soap residue and air-dry.
Note that after being exposed to the elements for long periods of time and after thorough cleaning with bleach, your Sunbrella fabric will need re-treatment to replenish its water and stain resistance. (See below.) Whether your Sunbrella fabrics have been:

Retreating Sunbrella Fabric

  • exposed to harsh elements,
  • thoroughly cleaned or cleaned with a bleach solution,
  • or if you just need five-year maintenance replenishment,
re-treatment refreshes its water and stain resistance.
  1. Start by cleaning your fabric.
  2. Let it air-dry completely.
  3. Apply appropriate retreatment such as 303® Fabric Guard™ by following instructions on the container. Note that two light coatings are better than one heavy coat.

Helpful Hints for Sunbrella Fabric Cleaning

These care tips make cleaning your Sunbrella® fabric easier and safer: Protect the area around your Sunbrella fabric when using a bleach solution. Because Sunbrella fabric air-dries very quickly, machine drying is not necessary. An iron may be used for wrinkling, but only with the synthetic setting and after testing a patch in an inconspicuous spot. For the best advice on all elements of outdoor living and patio accessories – including how to clean your Sunbrella shade fabric – contact Poggesi today.