Awnings offer many benefits for homes and businesses alike.  Not only do they save energy and provide  protection from the elements, but they also create a fabulous business front and brighten your home’s exterior.


Like any outdoor product, exposure to the elements will diminish the coating on the fabric over time if not addressed. In addition, tree debris, dripping water from signage, and bird droppings will also create their own damage. However, routine cleaning will prolong the life of your awning, and the necessary tasks are relatively easy to do.


Previously, we have written about proper care and cleaning for Sunbrella awnings, as that is the most commonly used awning fabric. This time, we’re focusing on the basics of awning cleaning and maintenance. Check out our simple tips below!


If you’re still unsure about caring for your awning, contact Canvasworks to connect with an expert who can provide customized advice for your particular awning.

Regular Cleaning With Soap and Water

First, avoid using a power washer on your awning; it will remove the finish on the canvas, reducing its lifespan. Instead, use only water and gentle soap or a cleaner recommended by the fabric manufacturer on your awning.

Bird droppings should be gently washed off right away with a gentle brush and soap as the acidic reaction will, in time, damage your awning. 

Cleaning Off Dust and Debris

Dust, dirt, and tree debris encourage the growth of mold and mildew when left on an awning. Tree debris is particularly troublesome since leaves will stain fabrics over time, along with encouraging mold and mildew growth. A simple, gentle brush, similar to one  for washing vehicles, can be used without water to dust off light dirt and debris. Regular brushing will help avoid future problems

Stubborn Stain Treatment for Fabric

If stubborn stains remain, such as dried bird droppings, tree sap, or grease, follow the fabric manufacturer’s instructions for pre-treating or other cleaning instructions. Find this information on the manufacturer’s website if you cannot locate the cleaning instructions directly on the canvas itself.

Mold and Mildew Cleaning

Address any water pooling on the awning as soon as possible to avoid mold and mildew problems. Removing mold and mildew from awnings becomes more complicated once it has been allowed to set in for a longer period of time. Once this happens, harsher cleansers are necessary for removing them, which increases the likelihood that the awning fabric or the thread will be damaged during cleaning.


If the mildew or mold is just starting, try to test clean in a small spot (remember that it is still wise to read the fabric label), or try using a professional grade mildew awning product, such as Star-Brite mold and mildew stain remover. But be sure to test a small area of the awning before proceeding and follow the product instructions. You can find cleaning instructions for your awning material on the manufacturer’s website if they were not included when you purchased the awning.


Home Exterior or Business Front Awning Cleaning

You might have an awning that is too high to reach with a regular step ladder creating a safety hazard. Hiring a professional cleaning service might be an option if the awning is too high to reach safely.

For lower awnings that you can clean yourself, it is safe to use water and any detergent which is gentle, color-safe, non-toxic and made for canvas materials.  Rinse your awning thoroughly to remove any residual soap that will attract dirt. If you are spot cleaning your awning, rinse the entire awning with water, not just the stained area, to avoid water rings.

Recovering Your Awning

Maintaining an awning is necessary for its longevity and appearance. If they don’t receive proper maintenance or have been up for many years, the skins may be ready for replacement. Contacting your local awning shop is an excellent way to determine if your awnings are due for recovering. In addition, it is helpful to take pictures of your awnings and measure their length, height, and projection. Once you have this information, most awning shops should be able to give you an estimate for recovering. 

Ready to Explore Your Options?

Awnings, whether residential or commercial, are a great way to add style and save energy to your home or business. So, if you’re ready to see what a residential awning can do to expand your living space or what a commercial awning can do to make your building stand out from the crowd, give us a call


If your building awnings are damaged or stained, or maybe you want to change up the look of your storefront or home, we can help! At Canvasworks, we can recover your awning and repair the frame if needed. However, if you think the awning might need repair instead of replacement, give us a call at 320-559-0165 or send us an email today.