How to keep your premium outdoor umbrella looking beautiful

01 May 2024
Having the best outdoor umbrella in your outside space is a delight, and a few simple actions will keep your outdoor umbrella looking its best

Experiencing the best outdoor umbrella in your outside living space takes summertime relaxation to a whole new level. But even the most durable market umbrella won’t last forever. However, if you look after it, your premium outdoor umbrella should give you many years of lovely shade. Here are some simple and highly effective actions you can take to give your beautiful sun umbrella the best chance of a long life. Namely, these are closing, covering, and cleaning your umbrella canopy.

Solution-dyed acrylic canvas is a high-performing fabric, ideal for sun umbrella canopies. Shade7’s premium umbrella canopies are made of marine-grade solution-dyed acrylic canvas. It is UV resistant and imbued with water and oil repellence. Engineered for strength and durability, Shade7’s outdoor umbrellas won’t rot or fade, will protect you from sun and rain, and are printable for commercial branding. With Shade7 outdoor umbrellas being so strong in the wind, they are the leading choice in market umbrellas and cantilever umbrellas for residential and commercial venues across NZ and the Pacific and as far afield as Dubai.

Closing your umbrella and putting a durable cover bag over it is the best strategy to keep your outdoor umbrella clean and safe. The more often an outdoor umbrella is closed and covered when not in use, the better it will look over the years, and the less maintenance will be required. A long pole stitched inside the Shade7 cover bag and a zip opening to almost the full length of the cover bag means that once the canopy is collapsed and strapped against the mast or pole, the cover bag can be lifted over the top of the umbrella and zipped snugly closed.

One of the lesser-known aspects of canopy care which can sometimes be connected to closing your outdoor umbrella is the importance of preventing the canopy canvas from chaffing. With canvas being a ‘soft’ fabric, like most fabrics, it doesn’t like abrasion. If exposed to constant abrasion through rubbing or vibration, the fibres could wear. An example in another fabric could be denim jeans: although tough, if frequently knelt in, the fabric at the knees will soften, stretch, wear and could even tear at the point of repeated contact. It might be a fashionable look in jeans but is not ideal in canopies whose primary function is screening the sun.

The kinds of chaffing an umbrella canopy might experience could be from external sources when open, such as gutters or branches, or through incorrect folding when closed. To prevent canopy damage when open, visually inspect the surrounds of the open canopy to ensure the umbrella is not touching anything. With cantilever umbrellas there can be a certain amount of play in the canopy when open. Allow around 30-50cms between the edge of the canopy and any external surfaces such as gutters and eaves.

Umbrellas fold to a compact unit which is further streamlined with the use of a snugly fitting cover bag. Even when packed down tightly and covered, the closed umbrella will move fractionally in the wind. If the canopy folds have been caught in the closed frame, they could be pinched between umbrella arms or joints. Thousands of minute repetitive movements create a thousand infinitesimal rubs or points of friction on the tightly compressed fabric, which over time, could lead to wear. Folding the canopy properly before putting the cover bag on adds an extra layer of protection again this unnecessary wear.


A simple technique for keeping your closed canopy free from wear is to mimic a neatly folded rain umbrella. After closing the umbrella frame, simply draw each loose canopy fold forwards, out from between the umbrella arms, and wrap it around the closed frame, overlapping each consecutive fold. This keeps the umbrella free from pinching and allows the cover bag to easily slide over the umbrella.

Over time, even if closed and covered when not in use, dust and dirt will gradually build up in the umbrella canopy’s fibres. NZ outdoor umbrellas can be exposed to salt spray, dust and dirt, insects, bird dropping, leaves, pollen, city fumes, and other environmental contaminates. Dusting, rinsing, soaking and machine washing are all methods of cleaning umbrella canopies, depending on how soiled the canopy is. Shaking loose canopy folds and rinsing canopies from time to time will prevent the build-up of dirt, avoiding the need for heavy washing, thus preserving the waterproofing in the canopy.

There is more information on canopy care here and on Shade7’s blog page, or for help with your canopies needs, contact the friendly Shade7 team.

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