How to care for your parasol (and other upholstered garden furniture)

How to care for your parasol (and other upholstered garden furniture)

Garden furniture is usually made with high-quality materials, to ensure it can withstand life outdoors, and so with proper care, it should last many years. Here’s our guide to make sure that even through the throes of life, food, merriment and nature, your parasols, sofas and outdoor cushions continue looking as good as new. 

In general, solution-dyed fabrics and outdoor performance fabrics are designed for care-free luxury living. They are inherently mould, mildew and stain-resistant, so you can be less precious about spills and thrills on your outdoor furniture than on your indoor sofas and rugs. Great reason to maximise your outdoor hosting opportunities!

Everyday care 

One of the easiest ways to keep your outdoor upholstery fabrics looking fresh is to vacuum or brush off dirt and crumbs before they become embedded in your fabric. Use a soft brush to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.


For a deeper clean, prepare a bucket of water with a big squirt of washing up liquid. A wet wipe down with a soft sponge or soft brush should get rid of any general dirt on your parasol canopy. (Don’t use hot water to avoid the risk of shrinking!)


You can also soak and wash your parasol canopy or outdoor fabrics in a bath of water and washing up liquid. Again, make sure the water isn’t any hotter than lukewarm!


After washing, make sure you rinse fabrics very thoroughly. If you don’t, mildew can end up growing on soap residue. Air dry, ideally out of direct sunlight (as fabrics fade faster when wet.)


We don't recommend pressure washing your parasol. There’s just a chance you’ll cause a tear or break some stitching.


When cleaning a sofa or cushions made with exterior-grade foam, you’re better off washing and drying without removing the cover. The foam can handle getting soaked, and repeated removal of the cover may distort the fabric.


Of course make sure your items are fully dry before you pack them away for a prolonged period of time.



First up, treat spills as soon as possible. The quicker you clean stains, the easier they will be to remove. Hopefully a quick dab with kitchen roll will remove liquid from the fabric surface and you’re home dry. If you need to work a little harder, wash the fabric with a solution of 1:20 water & washing up liquid. Use a soft brush or cloth, and only ever cold or lukewarm water.


Rinse thoroughly with clean water and let air dry, ideally away from direct sunlight.


This should work for the majority of stains including tree sap, blood, suntan lotion, berries and drinks.


If that doesn’t work, you can upgrade to acetone or bleach. (Double check that your fabric is bleach cleanable! Most outdoor fabrics are, but not all.)


Chlorine bleach and acetone won’t affect the colours of solution-dyed acrylic fabrics however regular use may eventually affect the strength of the fibres, so be sure to rinse thoroughly.


For chewing gum, car grease, ink and dried blood stains, try applying undiluted acetone and gently scrubbing. (Always test in an inconspicuous area first, just in case.)


Whilst acrylic doesn’t support mildew growth, mildew may grow on dirt and residue that is on the surface. A solution of approx. 10% bleach and water can be effective at cleaning up upholstery with signs of mildew or mould. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, give a gentle rub and then rinse away thoroughly.


Bird Poo

This one gets a special category, as it’s quite likely to happen to your parasol or garden sofa at some point. If you can let the dropping dry, you’ll avoid driving the stain deeper into the fabric. Once it’s crispy, use a stiff-bristled brush or a credit card to remove the dried residue.


Rust stains

Another stain with a slightly alternative approach to getting rid of it. Saturate the stain with lemon juice. Cover with salt. Allow to sit for 24 hours, refreshing lemon juice as needed / if you can. Rinse and repeat as needed. Then wash with a normal solution of water and washing up liquid. Rinse thoroughly.



There’s nothing more magical than balmy evenings spent outdoors with loved ones. If a splash of candle wax gets on your outdoor fabrics, try this to get rid of it. First, allow the wax to harden (also known as: leave the problem until tomorrow.) Peel off as much as possible. Cover with a sheet of kitchen roll and iron on a low heat, moving the paper towel as needed to absorb excess wax.



You can iron your outdoor fabrics if you wish, but do not use a steamer or an iron set to the steam setting. Use the synthetic setting and as iron temperatures vary, do first test a small inconspicuous area before ironing the entire piece.


Daily storage

Sun, wind and rain don’t only cause fabrics to eventually fade, they also damage the composition of fabric over the long term, making it more susceptible to tears. In an ideal world therefore, and to prolong the life of your outdoor upholstery fabrics to the maximum, you would cover your parasol and garden soft furnishings each night. If that’s not realistic, consider pulling a cover over your outdoor furniture if you’re going to be away for a few days.


Winter storage

Before you consider packing your outdoor soft furnishings away for the winter, give them a soapy wash a few days before. Make sure they’re well rinsed, and then allow to dry thoroughly.

Pick a dry breezy day to pack away, to be sure your fabrics aren’t holding on to any moisture.

Try and give your parasol fabric a somewhat neat and uniform fold. Put the cover over the top, et voila. Ideally you can store your parasol in a shed or garage over the winter. Giving the frame a few months respite from the elements each year will help to prolong its life. That said, if it needs to stay on the patio (with the canopy covered), it can handle it.

Taking heed from a horror story, try to store the fabric parts of your garden furniture away from the ground, to discourage mice from making a home inside your cover over the winter.

Come Spring you can once again transform your outdoor space into the most colourful and fragrant living space in your home.


If you've bought a Plia parasol, we'll email you a care guide specific to the fabric your canopy has been made from, with all the tips and tricks you'll need to keep it looking its best, year after year.

Luxury fabric from Italy
Sewn in England
3+ years fade-resistant
Luxury fabric from Italy
Sewn in England
High performace fabric from France
Sewn in England
5+ years fade-resistant
Designer fabric made in England
Sewn in England
3+ years fade-resistant
Stainless steel
Made in England
To fit 38mm pole
High performace fabric from Spain
Sewn in England
5+ years fade-resistant
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