Why do patio and garden parasols need a cover?

 Patio and garden parasols are arguably the most important outdoor furniture we have. They add elegance to any patio or garden and without them, we often cannot enjoy the outdoors and other expensive furniture and equipment we have invested in. It is not pleasant to sit unprotected in the sun for long periods and quite frankly, it harms our skin and health and parasols shield us from the harmful ultraviolet rays. Occasionally, they even shelter us or delicate items from a sudden downpour.

Garden and patio umbrellas can last for a very long time if we take proper care of them. Here are some of the most important things we can do to keep them looking smart for many years.

Parasol covers are needed for longer periods of time

At the very least, your parasols should be covered when you do not use them for extended periods of time.

  • Just closing your parasols when they are not being used is usually not enough to safeguard them. Even if they are closed, they may fade unevenly along the ribs, and become dirty and unsightly if they are not covered.
  • The exposed parts of the fabric, will disintegrate long before the rest of the umbrella, necessitating repairs or even replacement.
  • Dirt accumulates along the ribs and in the folds, looking unsightly when you suddenly want to entertain or relax outdoors.
  • Their folds are also favourite breeding places for wasps and hornets, damaging the fabric.
  • If they are blown over in a sudden gust, the cover will protect the ribs and centre pole and lessen any damage because the arms, ribs, and pole are held together snugly.
  • Because the arms and ribs are locked tightly against the pole when covered, it leaves a much smaller profile and the parasols will be able to withstand winds better, and will not be blown over as easily as when the wind can get a foothold in the folds.

Parasols must be covered when they are stored away

  • You may think your garden umbrellas are safe if they have been put into the shed for winter. Unfortunately, they are still vulnerable to all kinds of menaces.
  • Rodents, insects, and other wildlife may find the inside or folds of your garden umbrellas a very cosy place to spend winter.
  • Dust and dirt collect on the fabric and in the folds, meaning a lot of cleaning is required before you can enjoy your patio umbrellas when the first warm rays of summer sun finally make their appearance.
  • If there is any moisture or dampness in your shed, the roof leaks, or somehow rain or snow is blown in when you open the door, your parasols will be prone to mould or mildew growing in the moisture that may have gotten into your umbrellas.
  • It’s much easier to store the garden umbrellas on their sides when they are covered, taking up less space in your shed and keeping them out of harm’s way.

Do parasols need to be covered at night?

  • If you are using your garden and patio umbrellas daily, it may not necessarily be important to cover them every night, but how many of us really leave them unattended for just one night? Beware! The sun’s UV will get hold of them during the day and moisture, winds or cold will assail them at night. Over a period of months or years, it will make a huge difference if you kept them covered.
  • Storms seldom announce themselves and even if you leave your parasols in the garden for just a few days at a time, they still need to be shielded from the weather.
  • If a sudden gust comes up overnight, your parasols will be less prone to being blown over and damaged severely if they are covered. The arms, ribs, and centre pole are held together and the fabric will cushion the frame if they fall over, safeguarding them from damage.
  • The covers will keep your parasols clean, saving you time to clean them, which will more than adequately make up for the little time spent putting the cover on.
  • Good quality covers like Duraspell, are fully waterproof and keep the umbrellas dry, preventing any moisture damage, which can be cumulative.

Clearspell keeps parasol covers in stock for almost every shape and size. Visit our website Click here to see our wide selection of parasol and garden furniture covers.

What else can you do to make your patio and garden umbrellas last longer?

Close them.

  • Close your umbrellas when you are not using them, when a strong wind builds up, or when it suddenly starts pouring.
  • When the weather turns, open umbrellas can sustain severe damage as they act almost like sails in the wind and the frame might not survive. Even if they are just knocked over, an arm or a rib might break.
  • If left open in bright sunlight, the ultraviolet rays attack the molecular structure of the fabric and parts of the frame. Of course, that is exactly what the parasols protect you from, so don’t leave them exposed to suffer damage unnecessarily, it significantly reduces their useful life.
  • Open umbrellas are exposed to bird droppings, berries and juices from trees, dust, and dirt. It is acceptable while you are enjoying their shade, but why would you want to spend a lot of time cleaning them if you haven’t even used them?
  • If you had to close the umbrellas in an urgent situation, do not forget to open them the next day and air dry them thoroughly before closing them again.

Clean them regularly.

  • Bird droppings, sap from leaves or trees, pollutants in the air, dirt, or grime could react chemically with the fabric or frame of your umbrellas, slowly destroying them.
  • If left unattended, any dirt could stain the fabric, spoiling the stylish effect you are trying to create.

How do you clean outdoor umbrellas?

  • Brush off loose dirt and debris.
  • Hose them down.
  • Wash them with a cleaning solution of water and mild soap. Allow the soapy water to soak in if necessary, brush off the dirt, and rinse off any soap and dirt thoroughly.
  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean off stubborn dirt.
  • Allow the fabric and frame to dry properly before covering or storing the umbrellas.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners.
  • Apply Scotchguard or other dirt repellent to keep them clean for longer.

Cleaning outdoor parasol frames:

Aluminium frames

  • Mix warm water with mild soap and wipe down the metal frame.
  • If you have water spots on the metal, remove these with a solution of one part white vinegar to 10 parts water.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners.
  • Dry the frame properly when you have finished and before you close the parasol.

Timber frames

  • Wash the dirt off with a mixture of warm water and mild soap.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners.
  • Use a microfibre cloth or sponge the rub off stubborn dirt.
  • Wipe the frame with wood oil or furniture wax.
  • Make sure the parasol and frame are dry before closing them.

Keep them from falling over or being blown away by the wind.

  • Insert the centre pole into a sturdy table and secure them at the bottom or weigh them down.
  • Plant the poles securely in the ground and if necessary, use guy ropes to hold them firm.
  • You can make permanent holes in the lawn, patio floor or deck, which are then lined with the correct size plastic tubing to accept the umbrella’s centre pole and securely hold them up.
  • Use a heavy base, or put a sandbag on top of the base to weigh them down.
  • Buy a base that can be filled with water or sand to make them heavier if necessary.
  • Make sure the air vents are open and unobstructed. This means the wind can escape through the top and not lift the umbrella. (It is best to buy parasols with air vents to start with.)

Make sure the parasols are clean and dry before putting the cover on or putting them into storage.

  • Any moisture left trapped in the folds will create the perfect breeding ground for mould, mildew and bacteria.
  • If you were to store the parasols for any length of time, with dirt or grime left unattended, they are sure to start interacting with the fabric or frame materials, staining them, or even slowly degrading the quality of your umbrellas and shortening their life.
  • It would not be pleasant to take out dirty umbrellas when you want to impress your guests, and that is not the occasion to spend time cleaning them either.

Please check our buyer’s guide if you need help working out what size garden corner set covers you require. Click here