How Clean Is Your Umbrella, Fella?

The weather is perfect for outdoor living, so it’s time to make sure your patio furniture is up to snuff. And while you’re at it, don’t forget your umbrella!

Mildew stains are a common problem on canvas umbrellas because of the moisture that lingers in the folds. So when you see any mildew spots, use this quick and easy homemade mixture to make them vanish.

Mix 1 cup of bleach and 2 squirts of dishwashing liquid in a large handheld sprayer bottle, and fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Spritz the stained areas until the fabric is saturated, and let the solution soak for 10 minutes. Scrub the stains vigorously with a cloth, and rinse the umbrella thoroughly. Repeat the treatment if needed. And to prevent mildew from making a comeback, always open the umbrella and let it air-dry after washing, or if it’s been out in the rain.

If your patio umbrella is made of vinyl, I have a secret weapon for caring for it. Here’s a hint: It comes from the automotive supply store! First, clean your umbrella with the cheapest vinyl car top cleaner you can buy, and then protect it against the elements with a protectant specially made for vinyl car tops—again, the least expensive one you can find. Trust me—it’ll work like a charm!

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