How to Clean a Parasol Cover

Summer is in full swing! Now is the perfect time to dig your garden furniture out from the shed and enjoy the warm evenings and weekends barbecuing for enough people to fill a party tent or sipping a refreshing Pimms under a 3 x 3 gazebo.

But what to do if we discover that our parasol or 3 x 3 gazebo cover emerges from its long winter hiatus dirty? Or worse – mouldy?

Getting rid of dust and dirt

If your parasol cover has gathered dust from sitting in the shed for the past 6 months, then a simple rub down with a soft bristle brush, or some attention from the vacuum cleaner will usually clean it up.

However, if you notice that your parasol has some embedded stains, you may need to do a more in-depth clean. Most of the time, you do not need to invest in any speciality cleaning solutions, as simple dishwasher soap or laundry detergent mixed with warm water will suffice.

How to clean a parasol cover 

Using a soft sponge, work the soapy water into the stain and (especially if you are using laundry detergent) leave the stain to soak for approximately 20 minutes, so the chemicals can work on the stain. 

Once you have removed all the visible dirt, rinse the parasol with a hose or a bucket of water to wash any excess soap out of the cover. Leave your parasol outside (preferably on a warm, sunny day) to completely dry before putting it away again, otherwise mould and mildew can form.

To ensure that no washing disasters befall your parasol, always clean your parasol cover on the frame – never remove it to wash it in the washing machine, as it could shrink. In addition, if your parasol is made of vinyl and soapy water is not sufficient to remove stubborn dirt or stains, then you can always try a convertible car roof cleaning solution.

If your parasol is getting heavy use during the summer, and especially if it spends most of its time underneath fruit trees, then you should aim for a monthly clean to keep on top of any stains that may develop. Otherwise, a clean twice a year (once when you bring the parasol out after the winter, and once more before putting it away at the end of the summer) should be sufficient to keep your parasol looking its best.

Dealing with mould and mildew

If you notice that your parasol has developed mould or mildew which is not removed by washing with soapy water, then try the following non-bleach method. (Unless your parasol cover is white, you should avoid using bleach-based products to tackle mould, as these can ruin the colour of the parasol).

After washing your parasol with soapy water (as described above), use a cloth to remove any excess moisture from areas affected by mould. Then, in a bucket, mix up water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol in a 1:1 ratio. 

With a soft cloth, scrub the alcohol solution to the affected areas. You may need to spend a few minutes doing this, so that you work the alcohol into the mould. Once the mould has dissolved, rinse your parasol with water and leave to dry.

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