After you’ve gone through all the effort of designing and getting your new awning installed you want to make sure you get the longest lifespan out of it possible. Not only do you want it to last, but you want it to look good while making your business or home stand out! A dirty or moldy awning does the exact opposite of what you originally purchased it to do, instead of presenting a professional, branded outdoor appearance, it leads customers to wonder how bad the inside looks if the outside is allowed to be dirty and ill-maintained.
Much like your vehicle, your awning will benefit from regular light cleanings to stave off the need for deep or vigorous cleanings. First and foremost, always follow your fabric manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your awning fabric. We will focus on Sunbrella awnings in this article as that is the most commonly used awning fabric.
The easiest was to clean your Sunbrella awning is to gently hose them off on a monthly basis with clean water and brush off the underside (gently!!) with a broom or soft brush. Additionally keep your awning clear of tree branches, shrubbery, and anything else that is going to rub on the surface or allow dirt and debris to accumulate. These practices will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric and decrease the need for more frequent vigorous cleanings. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed every one to two years.
When the time comes for a more thorough cleaning you can either contact an awning cleaning professional or clean the awning yourself. Most importantly, NEVER use harsh cleansers, rough brushes, or powerwash an awning, especially a Sunbrella awning. You will remove all of the protective coating, causing the awning to mold quickly.
When cleaning Sunbrella fabrics, it is important to observe the following:
- Always use a mild soap i.e. Ivory Snow, Dreft or Woolite. Never detergent.
- Water should be cold to lukewarm. Never more than 100 degrees.
- Air dry only. Never apply heat to Sunbrella fabrics.
- Never machine wash or dry lace on awnings.
Follow these simple steps for cleaning a Sunbrella awning.
- Brush off loose dirt.
- Hose down.
- Prepare a cleaning mixture of water and mild soap (no detergents).
- Use a soft bristle brush to clean.
- Allow soap to soak in.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Air dry.
- Repeat if necessary.
Re-treating the Fabric:
As part of the finishing process, Sunbrella fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish is designed to last for several years, but must be replenished after a thorough cleaning. Based on test results, Glen Raven recommends 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™ as the preferred re-treatment product for Sunbrella fabrics. Fabrics should be retreated after thorough cleaning or after five years of use. Check with your local Sunbrella dealer or distributor for more information.
Other suggestions to keep your awning looking clean and new as long as possible include:
- Prevent objects from touching your awning. The wind will cause these objects, whether they be branches or banners to whip against your awning, creating permanent abrasives and stains.
- Remove any debris from your awning as soon as possible. Especially bird droppings, which are acidic and cause color fading on almost all materials.
- If you have a laced style awning and notice that it has stretched and is allowing water to pool, address the situation immediately. Pooling water causes a surprising amount of damage and staining to an awning.
- Working above the awning. Generally it is best to remove the awning if there is work going on above the awning, paints and stains are almost impossible to remove from the awning fabric. While dropping tools can cause rips and tears that need to be repaired.
- Speaking of objects above your awnings, carefully consider the placement of signs above awnings. Oftentimes they will drip and cause staining of the awning. Especially if it is a sign prone to rusting.
- This brings us to our last suggestion. If your awning is damaged, repair it immediately. It may seem like a small rip, but the longer it sits the more damage it creates and the end result is a more expensive and generally more visible repair.
Thank you for reading our blog on the care and maintenance of your awnings, please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.