Awnings can serve many purposes. Not only do they offer protection from the rain and sun, but they can also enhance the look of your property making your facility stick out from the rest. On the other hand, awnings that have not been well maintained will stand out even more to your current and future clients.
Since most awnings are made of fabric such as canvas, they need to be handled with extra care when being cleaned in order to avoid any tears. Therefore, here are 8 tips to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning your awnings.
Washing machine. Depending on the size and the type of fabric some awnings may actually be removed and washed in a washing machine. In some cases this may prove to be beneficial, but often times is it easier to just wash the awning while it is still on the awning frame.
Prep the awning. Before you begin any deep cleaning, you want to prepare the area. Cobwebs are much more difficult to remove from your awning when wet. Take the time to not only sweep off any cobwebs, but also other debris such as pine needles, leaves, twigs, pine cones or anything else than has accumulated on top. You may also want to remove any debris from the roof or gutters above as these can easy fall onto the awning after it has been cleaned. Once you have removed all the debris, hose down the awning to assess which areas, if any, need more attention.
Cleaning solution. Fabric awnings can be delicate so it‘s very important to use a mild detergent when you begin washing. When selecting a detergent, you want to choose one that is powerful enough to remove dirt and grime, but mild enough to not harm the fabric. Always test a small area first when using any chemical for the first time.
A great cleaning solution for fabric awnings is HTD Heavy Duty Detergent. This detergent is especially effective if you decide to wash the awning fabric in a washing machine. HTD Heavy Duty Detergent is strong enough to remove those tough stains, yet mild enough to use on a wide arrange of fabrics. It is effective in removing dirt, bug guts, grime and anything else that may be clinging to your awning. Simply add to laundry load as described on the label. This detergent dissolves in water and is safe to use with all types of side-loading, top-loading, and high capacity washing machines.
Another powerful and yet mild cleaning detergent for fabric awnings is Oxy Care. Oxy Care is another product that can be used in the washing machine, but also is effective on indoor and outdoor surfaces. It is recommended to use with warm water as this activates the oxygenation cleaning process. Best of all, this product is Chlorine free and 100% environmentally safe.
Scrub. In some cases the initial cleaning many not remove all the stains. Most fabric awnings do not promote mildew growth, but if you do happen to run across mildew try letting the detergent dwell on the affected area. Some detergents can cause discoloration if not completely rinsed, thus make sure the fabric is completely free of any chemicals before allowing to dry.
Rinse. If you decide to rinse the awning with a pressure washer, make sure to rinse on the lowest setting possible or hold the wand far away from the awning. Too strong of water pressure can cause dirt to become embedded in the fabric or cause the fibers of the fabric itself to weaken. A simple water hose is all you need to rinse an awning. It is also important to rinse from the bottom, up as this will prevent unwanted streaks from the cleaning solution running down the awning. Make sure all the soap suds have been thoroughly rinsed from the awning before allowing to dry.
Underside. When it comes to cleaning awnings we often think of the outside, but forget about the underneath. Birds, bees and spiders are notorious for making nests under awnings. Hence, always rinse under the awning to ensure the entire surface it maintained.
Clean annually. Having your awnings cleaned is a relatively simple project. It should be done at least once a year, if not more, to prevent stains from setting into the fabric.
Protection. After you have cleaned the awning there are many products that offer some protection. You may want to invest in a UV-ray protectant , a waterproofing agent or just a general sealer. All of these can make it difficult for the fabric to stain as well as extend the life of your awning.
Business owners often think that cleaning awnings is a challenge or that they will need some sort of specialized equipment to do it. As you can see from the tips above, you need nothing more than a powerful detergent and access to a water hose. Awning cleaning is a cheap and effective way to make your facility shine.