I take great pride in my garden, probably even a little too much. Half the time I’m manicuring my lawn, and the other half I’m sitting under my parasol admiring my own work. But when dark clouds start moving in, I’m left wondering if my garden parasol will be alright if I left out in the rain.

That begs the question, are garden parasols waterproof?

Well, not really. Instead of being waterproof, garden parasols are generally ‘water-resistant’ or ‘lightly waterproof’. That means they’re capable of handling light rain but not heavy downpours. When exposed to water, parasols can get wet and develop mold and mildew, reducing their overall lifespan.

In this article, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about your garden parasol and its relationship with water.

Let’s get started!

Can You Use A Parasol In The Rain?

If you’re reading this article, the chances are that you’re wondering if a garden parasol is useful against the rain. Well, yes, it is indeed useful, but perhaps only in cases of light rain. Heavier rain will still get your parasol wet and leave you drenched if you’re standing underneath it.

But let’s suppose you want to make better buying decisions when picking out your parasol. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to pay very close attention to what materials are used to make that parasol you intend on buying.

What Are The Best Materials For Garden Parasols?

When shopping for garden parasols, you’ll have plenty of canopy materials to choose from. Most garden parasols are made from some form of acrylic, olefin, or polyester, all of which offer a great degree of water resistance. 

There is one exception, however. That would be polyethylene, a material with plenty of strengths, though water-resistance isn’t one of them.

Let’s take a closer look at these three common materials used to make garden parasols.

Acrylic

Acrylic is often regarded as the best material used to make parasols. It’s a synthetic fabric made out of plastic that’s incredibly durable against sun rays and other elements. Most importantly, acrylic does a fantastic job of repelling water.

The acrylic parasol canopy won’t absorb much of anything at all. So in the case of light rain, water will roll right off the canopy and keep anyone underneath it dry and comfortable.

Olefin

Just like acrylic, olefin is also a synthetic fiber made of plastics. There are many reasons you’d want to choose a parasol made of olefin. The most important is that it withstands water very effectively.

Not only does olefin resist mold, fungus, and other moisture-related nastiness, it’s also incredibly easy to clean. 

Polyester

Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but yes, polyester also does an excellent job of resisting water on your parasol. But here’s why it’s such a popular option for making garden parasols: polyester can be a much more affordable material for manufacturers to use.

What that means is that you can purchase a cheaper garden parasol by choosing a polyester option, and it’ll still give you similar levels of water resistance as more expensive acrylic and olefin versions.

Polyethylene

If waterproofing or water-resistance is a concern, then here is a material you’ll want to avoid when shopping for a garden parasol. Polyethylene is a woven fabric made from plastics. It offers plenty of benefits, most notably increased airflow to help keep you cool when you’re sitting underneath it.

Unfortunately, that also means that it offers little or no water resistance at all. So, while you may be able to enjoy some amount of water resistance with previous materials, it’s safe to say you won’t get much with this material.

What About Using Parasols In The Snow?

When discussing parasols and their ability to resist water, it’s useful to remember that we’re not just talking about water from falling rain. Snow is also a concern, as it brings moisture to your parasol and can lead to the same problems.

A parasol that’s often exposed to snow can also face problems like mold and mildew, while fungus spores can still grow within the lower layers of that snow.

So, yes, you can use parasols in the snow. However, just like with a wet parasol during the warmer times of the year, it’s crucial to dry and clean the parasol during winter as well.

Can You Waterproof A Parasol?

So far, we’ve established that garden parasols are only water-resistant or lightly waterproof. But is there a way that you can increase that water-resistance? Are there ways to move your parasol closer to the other end of the ‘waterproof’ spectrum?

The answer to both of those questions is YES!

These days, there are plenty of consumer products on the market tailored for this very purpose. You’ll often find them called outdoor fabric guards, fabric waterproofing sprays, and so on.

No matter what they’re called, these products are designed to increase your parasol canopy’s ability to resist water, while also protecting it against UV rays, mold, mildew, and more.

Such products may not waterproof your garden parasol entirely. But what it will do is significantly increase the fabric’s ability to resist water and keep it much drier than ever before.

Can You Wash A Garden Parasol With Water?

Yes, even though garden parasols are water-resistant, you can and should still wash it with water. By cleaning your parasol regularly, you’ll keep it looking brand new for much longer and extend its overall lifespan. 

Just be sure that you dry the canopy thoroughly after each wash, especially if you plan on putting it in storage afterward.

How To Dry A Garden Parasol

Remember: garden parasols aren’t 100% waterproof, so you’ll want to put a bit of effort into drying the canopy after it’s been exposed to water. That’s especially true if you’re planning on storing it away for extended periods, like how some people keep theirs in the garage during the winter months.

Firstly, DO NOT remove your parasol canopy and stick it in the dryer, regardless of what material it’s made of. That will cause damage to the material and may destroy your garden canopy.

Instead, you’d be better off giving your parasol a thorough wipedown with a clean and dry cloth, before leaving it to air dry for a few days.

That will ensure that the moisture will dry up and prevent mold, mildew, or anything else of that nature.

Should You Leave Garden Parasols Outside In The Rain?

As water-resistant as they are, you should not leave your garden parasol outdoors permanently. Sure, a lot of people find it a hassle to place and remove their garden parasols regularly, so they prefer to just leave them outside. 

But ask anyone who knows a thing or two about any patio furniture, and they’ll tell you that it’s a bad idea. Your garden parasols might not have enough time to dry sufficiently if they experience frequent rain. 

And what happens to a parasol (which isn’t waterproof, remember?) that can’t get dry? That’s right! It becomes a massive party for mold, mildew, fungus, bacteria, and who knows what else. Besides that, you may also end up with lots of unpleasant stains on your garden parasol as well.

Don’t get me wrong, you can still leave it outside or store them indoors. You just have to make sure that the parasol is well-protected against water and moisture.

Here’s how you can do just that.

How To Store Parasols Outdoors

One of the most straightforward and effective ways to protect your parasol while outside is to use a garden parasol cover. There’s nothing too complicated about these products. While your parasol canopy is closed, the cover goes over it and shields the entire length of the parasol from the surrounding environment.

That cover creates a strong barrier between your garden parasol and the rain or snow when it’s not in use. The end result? You get a much longer lifespan for your parasol without any stains or other surface damage.

How To Store Parasols Indoors

You’d be forgiven if you thought that parasol waterproofing didn’t matter if you stored it indoors. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. That’s because most people keep their garden parasols in rooms where there’s persistent moisture, like in their garage or basements.

So, despite the water-resistant nature of a garden parasol, there’s still the risk of things like mold and mildew even when storing parasols inside the house.

To keep your parasol protected under those conditions, the same ideas still apply. Be sure to wipe it down and let it air dry as much as possible before taking it inside. In addition to that, it would also be an excellent idea to use a garden parasol cover, as described in the previous section.

Above all, the best way to protect your parasol against moisture indoors is to keep it in a dry and well-ventilated room, preferably a few feet off the ground. That will protect your garden parasol from any water that may spill onto the floor, like from a leaking washing machine in the basement.

References

https://decorinteriorsus.com/blog/in-depth-articles/patio-umbrella-buying-guide/#What-canopy-fabric-should-I-use

https://www.hayneedle.com/tips-and-ideas/patio-umbrella-buying-guide/

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog/how-to-properly-store-your-patio-umbrella/

http://www.gardenforever.com/umbrella-covers.htm

http://fiberbowarchery.com/2015/12/10/how-to-waterproof-a-patio-umbrella/