Brush Off the DirtIt should go without saying, but you can’t clean awnings that are coated with loose dirt and debris. You will make your job significantly more difficult by attempting to start the cleaning process without first removing these items. If your awning is retractable, it’s time to roll it out and start brushing it down using a broom or a soft-bristled brush. Skipping this step will lead you to create mud and slime in the next stages of the cleaning process, creating more of a mess than you had to start with. When you’re finished brushing it off, take a hose and rinse away any loose debris that you might not have been able to get rid of initially. This is something you can do on a regular basis to prevent the dirt from building up. It’s also a great way to get rid of any spider webs or bugs that might be making their home under the protection of your awning.
Create Your Cleaning SolutionWhat should you use to clean awnings? This is often where homeowners become stumped and resort to calling in the professionals. They might believe that they can’t purchase products that'll clean the fabric of the awning as thoroughly as a professional company can. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception that leads them to pay more than they need to for basic cleaning services. You have several options for cleaners to make the most of this time with your awning. Some manufacturers create formulas specifically for outdoor fabrics and awning covers. These can be found online or at your local home improvement store. If you prefer not to spend the money on these convenient products, you can often create a powerful cleaner using items you already have around the house. For example, you might be able to mix dishwashing detergent with warm water for an effective solution that'll get rid of dirt and grime. Even mild laundry soap can do the trick in helping you to effectively clean your canvas awning. Consider adding roughly one-half cup of cleaner to every bucket of water you create.
Scrub Your Awning CleanDeciding how to clean awnings will depend on the size of your cloth covering. You'll have to climb up on a ladder in order to thoroughly scrub the top of it, but you might need to take the cover down to effectively clean it. This depends on the length of the brush, the dirtiness of your awning, and your desire to spend extended periods of time on the ladder. Whether you prefer to keep the awning in its place or to take it down, it’s time to start scrubbing it clean. Spray the top of the awning with your cleaning mixture and allow it to soak for a little while. A few minutes should be all that’s necessary to loosen up stubborn dirt, grime, and algae from the fabric. Then, you'll need to scrub the top of the awning using a soft bristled brush. Remember not to use a brush that is too stiff because repeated friction at a high degree can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your fabric. Pull the hose back out and spray the top of the awning with water to get rid of the dirt you loosened up. At this point, you should have a relatively clean top that simply needs to dry. You can now spend some time focusing on the bottom of the awning fabric by repeating these steps.
A Few PointersOnce you know the basic steps required to clean your awning, there are a few more tips you might want to keep in mind for it to resemble a professional cleaning. Be sure to read through these guidelines to determine how to improve your technique.
- Don’t allow the soap to dry: Letting the soap dry on your awning can create a splotchy appearance that isn’t flattering to your finished job. Instead, you should only wet and scrub small sections at a time in order to prevent the soap from drying on your awning.
- Don’t blow-dry your awning: Are you tempted to speed up the drying process so you can climb back under your awning again? Refrain from applying extreme amounts of direct heat onto the fabric of the awning with blow-dryers or other heating tools. You should always plan ahead so that you have plenty of time for your awning to dry in advance of your need to use it.
- Prepare to clean more than once a year: Some people underestimate how frequently their awning will really need to be cleaned. Letting the dirt and algae build up for an extended period of time can lead to unwanted and unsightly staining. You should plan to clean your awning every two to six months to keep it in pristine condition for many years to come.
- Spot clean your awning: Do you ever find that a certain area tends to get dirtier than others? Rather than wait for the entire awning to be grimy enough to warrant a thorough scrubbing, you can spot clean certain sections. This is ideal for the lifespan of your awning because it allows you to keep it cleaner for longer periods of time. It can also prevent staining in many of these areas.