Umbrella Fabric Care – A Guide

As the change of seasons settles in upon us, the life-span of your outdoor furniture starts to depend on how well you care for it during the transitional periods. Many people often bring in or cover their outdoor furniture, but tend to neglect their patio umbrellas.

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Here are a few of our top tips to keep your outdoor umbrellas Sunbrella shade fabric in the best condition and make sure you get as much use out of it as possible.

One of the best ways to keep Sunbrella fabrics looking good is to hose fabrics off every month with clear water. This helps prevent dirt from becoming embedded in the fabric and eliminates the need for more frequent vigorous cleaning. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed every two to three years.

When it's time for a thorough cleaning, Sunbrella fabrics can be cleaned while still on an awning frame or, size permitting, they can be removed to aid in the cleaning of stubborn stains or for professional cleaning.

General Or Light Cleaning

To clean your outdoor umbrella fabric while still on an awning frame:

  • Brush off loose dirt.
  • Hose down.
  • Prepare a cleaning solution of water and mild soap such as dishwash liquid.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean.
  • Allow the cleaning solution to soak into the fabric.
  • A thorough rinse until all soap residue is removed.
  • Air dry.
  • It may not require re-treatment depending on the age of the fabric.

If stubborn stains persist, you can use a diluted bleach/soap mixture for spot cleaning of mildew. For roof run-off or other similar stains, a strong degreaser may be required.


Heavy Cleaning For Stubborn Stains And Mildew


Sunbrella fabrics do not promote mildew growth, however, mildew may grow on dirt and other foreign substances that are not removed from the fabric. To clean stubborn stains:

Prepare a solution of 1 cup of bleach and one-quarter of a cup of mild detergent per 3.8 litres of clean water.

Allow the mixture to soak into the fabric for up to 15 minutes.

Clean with a soft bristle brush. Note: This step should be avoided when cleaning the coated side (Backside) of Sunbrella Plus, Supreme, or Clarity.

A thorough rinse until all soap residue is removed.

Air dry.

Repeat if necessary.

Re-treatment of fabric for water and stain resistance will be necessary after using a bleach solution.


Use caution when cleaning the coated (underside) of Sunbrella Plus, Supreme, or Clarity with the recommended bleach solution. The coated side of the fabric should be sprayed with the recommended bleach solution and then a thorough rinse.

Remember to protect the area around where you are cleaning your Sunbrella canopy if using a bleach solution. Carpet or other fabrics that are not Sunbrella may have an adverse reaction to the bleach.

Re-treating Sunbrella Fabrics

Sunbrella fabrics are treated with a proprietary brand of water and stain-repellent finish that is designed to last for several years but may require replenishing after a thorough cleaning. It is recommended you use 303® Fabric Guard™, available in the United States and Tex’Aktiv, available around the world.

Applying re-treatment:

  • Clean Sunbrella fabric, using one of the cleaning methods.
  • Allow Sunbrella to air dry.
  • Apply re-treatment in a well-ventilated area following instructions on the container.

Professional Awning Cleaners

You may have access to professional awning cleaning firms. In evaluating the services of a professional firm, you should inquire about a firm's experience in working with Sunbrella fabrics and knowledge of cleaning and re-treatment requirements.

Above taking care of the Sunbrella fabric, you also need to ensure you are taking general care of the outdoor umbrella as a whole.

Still unsure which shade solution is right for you? Check out our full range here:

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