Do’s and Don’ts of Awning Cleaning

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There are lots of things people should and should not do when it comes to awning maintenance. The Do’s and Don’ts of awning maintenance aren’t the most straight-forward. That’s why we’ve put together a list to help you get the most out of your favourite shading structure. 

Do’s:

1. Check for wear and tear

Always look for signs of wear, especially for holes and mildew. Before storing your awning for the winter, make sure you fix any damage to the canvas. If there are any indications of filth, clean the area and consider using a water- and stain-resistant solution.

2. Check the frame

Try to check the frame on a regular basis. Doing so will ensure that you don’t end up having to fix any major repairs. The sooner you catch an issue, the better! Signs your frame is damaged include the frame detaching from your home, rust, or bending. If you have a motorized awning, you should inspect the motorized portion of it regularly, too. Ensure that the components are in good operating condition.

3. Clean it thoroughly once per month

Though you should brush dirt and debris off once per week, you should clean your awning thoroughly once per month. Awnings are often subject to inclement weather like strong winds and heavy rains. Because of this, you should make sure to get rid of rain and debris that is weighting the awning down. If you let it accumulate too much, then the awning fabric may suffer tears. Give your awning a rinse, but if the grime isn’t coming off, use a soap solution and a soft-bristled brush to scrub it off. For a more thorough explanation, contact an awning professional.

4. Protect your awning from inclement weather

If you have a retractable awning, you should take care to retract it during inclement weather, especially when there are strong winds, rain, and snow. Whenever you do not use it, you should retract it, otherwise the weight of snow, ice, water, or debris will weigh the fabric down and tear it. Retracting it can not only protect your awning fabric, but the motorized mechanism as well. So be sure to put it away when not in use in order to increase its lifespan. 

Don’t:

1. Pressure Wash an Awning

Although you think pressure washing your awning will get the dirt and grime off the fabric faster than scrubbing, you’ll only be causing more harm than good. Awnings are pretty sturdy and can withstand a lot for many years, however awning fabrics are not meant to withstand excessive pounds per square inch of pressure. Ultimately, you’ll only be causing a quicker degradation of the fabric.

2. Spray insect repellant on your awning

We’ve all been through it: the amazing barbecue parties ruined by a swarm of flies and mosquitoes. As tempting as it may be to spray your awning with insect repellant to get rid of the little pests for good, you might actually be reducing your awning’s protective qualities. In fact, insect repellant can reduce your fabric’s resistance to golf, water, and mildew. So you might see yourself having to scrub stubborn stains more than once a month.

3. Leave it open when not in use

As mentioned above, you should always retract your awning when not in use. Although awnings can last you many years, leaving it open can greatly reduce its lifespan if it happens often enough. Sometimes we can be a little forgetful, and accidents happen, but try to remember to close it as much as you can.

4. Hang lights or plants from the frame

Hanging plants and decorative lights have gained an incredible amount of popularity in recent years, and we can see why. They add so much charm to a backyard area, it’s hard to resist the idea of hanging your own lights and plants on your awning’s frame. However, unfortunately this is something you should avoid — unless they’ve been approved. Some plants and lights are okay to hang, but others may just be too hot or too heavy for the awning to support over prolonged periods of time. When in doubt, ask a professional.

5. Barbecue directly under the awning

Just as certain lights shouldn’t be hanged from your awning’s frame, barbecuing under your awning isn’t recommended. Though you might be tempted to hide from the sun’s harsh rays while tending to the burgers and hot dogs, the rising heat and smoke that the barbecue is giving off isn’t good for the fabric. In fact, it can cause deterioration and oil stains and you may find yourself having to replace the fabric earlier than you had anticipated.

6. Use harsh cleaning products on the fabric

As previously mentioned, awning fabrics can be pretty sturdy, but they’re not totally invincible. They can’t handle a lot of pressure, so you have to avoid pressure washers. They also can’t handle bleach. Bleach can wear away your awning’s fabric, making it less protective and have a shorter lifespan. You definitely don’t want to be spending all of your hard-earned money on awning fabrics every year! You should also take care to use a soft-bristled brush rather than a rough one.

When giving your awning a deep clean, it’s recommended that you use a mild cleaning solution and water to then gently brush away and remove and dirt and stains. You can also you a more gentle method such as a soft washing, which is a lower pressure wash. But it’s always recommended that you ask a professional first!

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