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What You Should Do (& Shouldn't Do) to Keep Your Retractable Awning in Great Shape

Awning

Retractable awnings provide shade for your patio without restricting airflow, and when they're not in use, you can tuck them away neatly. Designer Awnings & Canopies uses two brands of retractable awnings, Solair and Eastern Retractable Awning Systems and the fabric of the awning is made by Sunbrella.  All of the brands we use are engineered to combine the highest level of design and performance and they require very little maintenance.  Our retractable awnings are made to withstand the elements, and while they don't require much maintenance, you still must take care to keep them in good shape. Follow these guidelines, and your retractable awning will keep bringing beauty and shade to your home for years to come.

Do: Hose Your Awning Off Every Other Month or As Needed with Water

Our awnings do not need much maintenance.  Generally just hosing off the awning fabric with water is sufficient to maximize the life and value of the product.  If you need a more thourough cleaning, follow these steps to clean the fabric of your retractable awning; (1)Brush off loose dirt, (2)hose down the fabric, (3)prepare a cleaning solution of water and mild soap(i.e.dish soap like Dawn, Palmolive or Ajax), (4)use a soft bristle brush to clean, (5)allow the cleaning solution to soak in the fabric, (6)rinse thoroughly until all of the soap residue is removed and (7)let the fabric air dry.  If the awning fabric still has stains, you can use a diluted bleach/water mixture for spot cleaning of mildew or other stains. Feel free to call us at 770-432-8235 if you have more specific questions.

Don't: Use Harsh or Abrasive Cleaners

Most awnings are covered with special protective agents to repel stains and mold. If you scrub the awning with harsh detergents or abrasive brushes, you may remove this protective barrier, leading to discolorations and staining. If you can't get dirt or dust to budge just by hosing off the awning, use a soft cloth to wipe it away.

Do: Take Action Immediately If You Spot Mildew

Keep in mind that we use Sunbrella awning fabric, which is mold and mildew resistant so it prevents lots of mold/mildew problems. However sometimes your awning may develop some mold or mildew growth from things that might fall onto your awning like leaves, sticks or other foreign objects. Another factor is the humid climate of the Southeastern United States where mold and mildew is common. It's important to nip this in the bud early, or else your entire awning may end up covered in mold or mildew.

To remove the mildew or mold, spray the affected area with a dish soap solution (and if needed a bleach/water solution with not much bleach). Let the cleaning solution sit for at least 15 minutes, brush it gently with a soft bristle brush, and then rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed. Then let the fabric air dry.  

Don't: Leave the Awning Up in Bad Weather

Take advantage of the fact that your awning retracts! If the weather report is calling for rain, hail or high winds, roll the awning up. Rain can pool on top of the awning, stretching the fabric over time. Wind can catch the edge of the awning and rip the fabric; it can also damage hardware.

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Do: Trim Trees or Plants Near the Awning

If there are any trees that overhang your awning or brush up against it, keep them well trimmed. Trees overhanging an awning can trap moisture against it, leading to molding. They may also drop their leaves or seed pods on the awning, leading to stains and discoloration. You do not want a tree branch scraping against the awning, either, as this can cause scratches.

Don't: Spray the Awning With Bug Repellents

Certainly, you do not want bugs to bother you while you're lounging on your patio. You may be tempted to spray your awning with bug spray as a way of keeping them away, but using pesticides is a mistake since they can lead to discoloration. Rely on citronella candles or torches for bug control that won't harm your awning. You can also plant flowers like marigolds or calendula around your patio; insects find these flowers unappealing and will stay away.