Awnings combine form and function, adding beauty to your outdoor space while providing much-needed shade. But even though your awning may look perfectly pristine on its installation day, as time goes by, it will start to show wear. But that doesn't mean your awning has to look its age.
You can help minimize the ravages of Mother Nature and Father Time by following care tips. While you can't keep your patio, window, deck, or other awning at 100 percent forever, with these maintenance tips, you can extend your fabric awning’s life.
Before you start a seemingly endless cycle of replacing awnings every few years (when they start showing signs of wear), take a look at the steps that can keep these exterior elements looking almost-new.
Cobwebs, fallen leaves, and other outdoors debris can turn both sides (the top and underside) of your awning into mini messes. Instead of trying to wet wash this type of debris off, dry sweep it away. Adding water to cobwebs and dried plant materials may only make them harder to remove later on.
Keep in mind, if your awning hangs underneath a gutter or anything else that gathers natural debris (such as a window box), you'll need to clean what's above it too. Sweeping leaf debris from your awning before removing the leaves from your gutter is likely to double the work for you — especially if you have every intention of cleaning the gutters, window boxes, or whatever is above the awning later on.
Patch Test First
Spraying what seems like the ideal cleaner over the entire awning may seem like the best way to get it completely clean. But soaking a fabric awning in a cleansing product without testing it first can lead to fading or staining.
Try a small patch test first. Before cleaning the entire awning, apply the product to a not-so-noticeable area. This may be a swatch on the underside of the awning or a small area near the back of the fabric. Wait for the test area to completely dry before assuming that it's acceptable to continue using the product. You may not notice some types of fading or discoloration until the awning has had time to dry.
Unless the awning manufacturer has specified a type of cleanser to use, try a gentle product. Harsh chemicals can stain the awning fabric or may discolor the canvas, fading it or giving it a patchy appearance.
Washing soap mixed with water is a mild choice that can clean dirt and grime off in most cases. Never use dishwasher detergent, though, and instead always use the type for hand washing. Use a washcloth or light brush to gently scrub the awning until it's clean.
If you use a cleaner, you must absolutely rinse the cleaner completely from the awning. Any remaining cleaner could stain or discolor the awning.
Make sure all windows and doors near the area are completely closed before rinsing the awning. After securing these openings, turn on the hose and spray the awning. Continue spraying the awning until you don't see bubbles or cleaner streaming from it.
Along with rinsing after a deep-cleaning, you can also rinse (without the soap) the awning once a month. This helps to keep it dirt and dust free.
If the awning is on a low area of your home, a simple step stool or short ladder will help you to reach it. An awning that's located higher up may require a taller ladder or complete removal. Taking down the awning, if possible, is the easiest way to clean it. If you can't remove the awning and need to use a ladder, always have another responsible adult help.
Do you need a new fabric awning or need care tips? Contact Designer Awnings & Canopies for more information.