Storing your outdoor umbrella

It's winter time and you should be either storing or covering your patio umbrella.  Not exactly sure how or the best way to store your umbrella?  Not to worry, we've put together a neat little list of some of the best ways to store your patio centerpiece.

Storing it.  Tips on putting your umbrella away for the winter.

  1. Make sure you close and bind your patio umbrella correctly.  Many people just close up the umbrella "au natural" and tie it up with some cord.  Your quality patio umbrella should come with an attached tie to secure the canopy.  Close the umbrella, then pull each panel and fold it over the next one.  This lessens the chance of wrinkles in the fabric over the long winter.
  2. Put your bottom pole within the folded panels.  Many people just stick the bottom pole into the center of the umbrella and close it up.  Not a good idea. The pole can scratch or dent your umbrella ribs.
  3. Cover the exposed pole edge.  This dose not have to be fancy, a piece of cardboard or  even a folded plastic bag will do.  This helps to protect  the umbrella aluminum or connecting thread from scrapes or dents.  It also keeps your hands and fingers from getting cut from sharp corners.
  4. Dry your wooden umbrella thoroughly.  Even though most quality wood umbrellas are treated for exposure, it's always a good idea to make sure you pass a drop rag or towel over all the wooden parts to make sure they are dry.  Water can cause ugly staining to wood, or even warping of the pole, if the pole is left wet and sealed within it's own canopy.
  5. Hang your umbrella.  A lot of umbrellas come with a hook or attachment at the finial for hanging.  Use it!  It's convenient and keeps your umbrella from becoming loose in your storage area.
  6. Cross lay your umbrellas.  If you can't hang your umbrella, then you can lay it down on a large shelf or in a safe area.  If you have more than one, then cross lay them finial to pole.  This keeps the umbrellas snug in one spot, and capitalizes on space.

Covering it or Closing it.  Tips on maintaining your umbrella during down time.

  1. Invest in a good Umbrella Cover.  This great piece of fabric can be a lifesaver when you can't store your patio umbrellas.  Made from vinyl, polyester, or acrylic, they come in a variety of sizes to fit most standard umbrellas.
  2. Read tip number 1. (Close and bind correctly.)  If you can't store or cover your umbrella, closing and binding is the very least you can do.  Don't worry about binding it too tightly.   Frogs and larger insects love to camp out in the folds of your umbrella.  Keeping it tight will encourage them to move along.
  3. Keep it dry.  During summer months, the sun can be your best friend as it dries off your umbrella.  Most outdoor fabrics are highly resistant to mold and mildew, but water tends to attract dust and dirt, and that's where you will have a problem.  Most mildewy umbrellas you see are not actually growing mildew on the cover, but on the dirt trapped in the fabric of the cover.  A little wipe down with a rag or towel will do the trick.
  4. Put it down.  Winter can get windy, and even though you wrapped and tightened your umbrella really well, it can still be pushed over in the wind.  When harsh weather comes around, put your patio umbrella down against a wall or in a corner.

Following these tips, your outdoor umbrella should look great when you bring it out again for spring and summer.

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