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Don't Destroy Your Garden Umbrellas With Improper Storage

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Modern Garden Umbrellas Are Built To Last

Modern well built garden umbrellas are manufactured from materials specifically designed to take the worst that mother nature can throw at them. Strong hard wood or aluminum support poles, sturdy cranking mechanisms and rugged support ribs. Those colorful canopies are made from materials that not only block up to 90% of harmful UV rays but also resist mildew and mold.

These modern umbrellas have engineering features that many owners are not even aware of. A major problem with early patio umbrellas was the tendency to blow open when closed and even if the wind was strong enough, take to the air sometimes landing in a neighbors yard. Even worse they could crash into windows or patio doors or even cause severe injury to anyone in the area.

An early attempt to prevent this was the use of a cover which hopefully held the canopy closed. However the modern versions have a positive click deadlock that holds the canopy in the closed position even in very strong winds. All of this technology makes for a feature rich product but does not come without cost. Garden umbrellas can be expensive and should be cared for to extend their useful life.

Fortunately these new materials require very little care and with an occasional rinse with the garden hose or a light washing with mild soap will remain bright and colorful over many seasons of sun, rain and wind.

Several times a season wipe all the metal, wood or fiberglass members such as the support pole, slide and crank mechanisms and canopy ribs with a damp cloth. A mild detergent may be used if necessary but harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners should not be used.

Once or twice a season it is good practice to remove the umbrella from it's stand and holding it open rinse it lightly with  water and a mild detergent. Allow the water to soak into the canopy material. A light wipe with a wet rag which is rinsed often to remove dirt should remove any streaks and leave the material clean. After a final rinse return the umbrella to it's stand and with it in the open position allow it to dry completely.

Garden Umbrella Covers Offer Inexpensive Protection

For any canopies that have become severely discolored or dirty check the umbrella to see if you can remove the canopy. Take the canopy to a laundromat that has large washers. Wash it on a delicate setting with cold water and a very mild detergent. Do not place the canopy in a dryer but take it home and reinstall it on it's frame and allow it to remain in the open position until it is completely dry. Not all materials will withstand this mechanical washing but for better grade materials this may be a method to easily restore it to it's almost new condition.

One of the best preventive measures to extend the life of your umbrella is to use a cover. These are inexpensive items that can be easily slipped over a closed umbrella and offer protection from wind, rain and harmful excessive UV rays. These are an excellent investment and because they are so easy to use it is a good practice to slip covers on when the garden umbrellas will not be used for extended periods.

Some of these covers are described by manufacturers as winter covers that enable your umbrellas to be left out year round even in the harsh Northern winter season. Because it is such a simple task to move the umbrella into indoor storage it would seem like false security to leave them outside even if they are covered through months of harsh weather.

Accidents can happen during those long winter months. Heavy snow or high winds could knock the umbrellas over where they might lay on the frozen ground unnoticed for long periods of time. Using slip covers on umbrellas in mild Southern areas might be good practice but would as mentioned be somewhat hazardous up North.

These umbrellas take care of you during all that sunny weather you would do yourself and your umbrellas a good deed by taking care of them during winter months by moving them into indoor storage.

If you do not have covers for your umbrellas it is good practice to cover them with plastic before storing them during the off season. To make sure they are ready for the new season without needing any extra work be sure to give them a good cleaning prior to placing them into storage.

Mildew and mold are their worst enemies and will do tremendous harm if the umbrellas are improperly stored. First and foremost they need to be completely dry after cleaning. Once dry lay them on a large piece of plastic. Large plastic leaf bags cut down the sides to open full length can work well. Wrap the plastic around the umbrella and using duct tape wrap the plastic to seal it.

Don't forget those sun umbrellas that served so well at the beach or cottage all summer. Because they are very portable it is easy to toss them in a corner and forget them through the winter months. They could be accidentally damaged if carelessly laid on a pile of summer items or placed in a corner when something could bump them causing damage.

While storing your garden umbrellas don't neglect any umbrella lights or stands. Light cords and other fixtures do not weather well in severe weather and should be properly cleaned stored. Clean and stands and if you have any of the plastic models that are filled with water be sure to drain and dry these to prevent damage from freezing and mold or mildew.

While planning your storage for your garden umbrellas why not spend a little more time and make sure that other outdoor furniture and patio items are moved to storage or given proper protection. While most outdoor furniture can withstand many severe Northern winters they will remain in much better condition if not left out in the elements. Aluminum will oxidize. Metal will rust where ever the protective coatings have chipped or worn away. You will appreciate that long awaited spring season if you do not have to spend time refurbishing winter damaged outdoor furniture.



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