Your awnings on your home are a beautiful addition that gives you so many benefits of extra outdoor living space, cooling temperatures, energy efficiency, and they also keep both your indoor and outdoor furniture in pristine shape by protecting them from the sun’s UV rays that cause damage. Since your awning works so hard for you and your household, it just makes sense to keep it clean so it looks beautiful and performs for you for many years. Read on to find out exactly how to clean awnings and keep them in top shape, depending on the type you have.
How Often to Clean Your Awning
Anything that is kept clean just lasts longer, no matter what the item is, so it just makes sense that you should do a bit of maintenance on your outdoor awning too. Clean awnings are an essential part of maintaining your home’s exteriors. Areas that have higher pollution rates in the city and areas in more rural areas with tree debris designate that you may need to clean awnings a bit more often. The process is simple and easy, though.
For the most part, awnings require very little care and should be cleaned at the beginning or end of the season when you use them most. This is usually during the warm months of the summer. A quick spray-off with a garden hose every so often makes the annual cleaning process quicker and easier. Retractable awnings require less care because when not in use, they roll up into a protective cassette where they mount above your porch, patio, or deck. This helps to keep the awning fabric cleaner all year round and resist wear and tear. Fixed awnings, however, may need to be cleaned a bit more often.
How To Clean Awnings - 4 Steps
Cleaning an awning requires special tools and techniques to avoid damaging its fabric or material, so let’s explore how we can effectively clean awnings. The basic steps are pretty much the same, effortless and quick to do.
- Step 1
Fill a bucket with warm water and a bit of mild dish soap. Avoid using chemicals.
- Step 2
Gently wipe down the frame and the fabric with a clean cloth or a soft, bristled brush. Let the dish soap do all the hard work for you and don’t get too industrious, or you can damage the canvas top.
- Step 3
Let the awning dry naturally after rinsing it off with a garden hose. Never roll up a retractable awning while it’s wet, or it can damage it, lead to mold and mildew and a smelly situation.
- Step 4
You can treat your awning with a waterproofing spray to freshen that layer up annually. It helps it to repel water and prevent mold and rotting to last for many years.
How To Clean Your Awnings According to Materials
Different materials require slightly different care to keep them in great shape, so it’s important to know how to clean awnings according to the material to avoid causing any damage.
How to Clean a Canvas Awning
Combine lukewarm water and 3 ounces of mild dish soap or laundry detergent. It doesn’t have to be measured precisely, but this equates to 6 tablespoons. Sweep off the canvas top with a broom to remove loose debris, twigs, pollen, or dirt. Wet the awning with a garden hose to dampen it. Dip a brush into the cleaning solution and scrub the awning using a circular motion with a soft bristle brush.
Work in small areas so the soapy solution doesn’t dry as you clean awnings. Use a garden hose to thoroughly rinse all the soapy mixture until the water running off is clear. Let your top canvas air dry completely. Repeat this process to clean the bottom side of the awning.
How to Clean A Vinyl Awning
To clean a vinyl awning, the preferred method is using a commercial awning cleaner approved for vinyl. First, use a broom to sweep any loose debris off, and then spray the cleaner in a mist from the spray bottle over the awning by starting from the bottom and working upward. Let the cleaner sit for a few minutes for it to work it’s magic, and then scrub it gently with a brush or sponge. Rinse it off thoroughly with a garden hose and allow it to thoroughly air dry. Repeat this process for the bottom side of the awning.
How to Clean an Acrylic Awning
Combine your mild soap for dishes or laundry soap with water in a bucket. Sweep off the loose dirt and debris with a broom, using a ladder if necessary. Wet the awning with a garden hose and then clean the top of the awning with a soft bristle brush or use a commercial cleaner that it approved for acrylic awnings. Rinse the soapy mixture off with a garden hose and allow it to air dry completely, then repeat the steps for the underside of the awning.
How to Clean an Aluminum Awning
Choose a solvent that is especially formulated for cleaning aluminum awnings. You can get this from a hardware store or from an awning supply store. Wet the awning very well with a garden hose and dip a brush into the solution of water mixture with cleaner mixed to the manufacturer’s instructions on the bottle and scrub the entire awning with it. Instead, you may use a spray bottle to apply the mixture.
Rinse the solution off with a garden hose and make sure it’s rinsed thoroughly until the water coming off is clear, so it doesn’t leave a soapy film on the aluminum. If the cleaner comes into contact with any other surfaces in the cleaning process, clean it off immediately with water. Clean the underside in the same manner and allow it to dry completely.
How to Clean an RV Awning
Open and extend your RV awning fully. Mix water and a mild detergent together, or use a commercial awning cleaner for fabric awnings. Sweep the top of the awning off with a broom, and then wet the awning with water from a hose on both the top and bottom sides.
Use a long-handled brush or a hand-held soft-bristled brush while standing on a ladder to scrub the awning on both sides, top and bottom with the cleaning solution. Roll the awning back up onto the protective cassette and let it soak for about 5 minutes. Open and extend the awning fully again, and use a clean sponge to wipe the top and bottom sides. Rinse the cleaner off with a hose and allow the RV awning to fully air dry before rolling it back up into the storage space.
Best Awning Cleaner for Every Type of Pollutant
Pollution and stains just happen, it’s a part of life. From bird droppings to odd ball things that get on your awning, it’s best to know what type of cleaner to use that works best based on the chemical compound of the pollutant.
For latex-based paint that gets on your awning, including vinyl, acrylic or canvas tops, just soap and water will remove it. If your awning is made of aluminum, though, use rubbing alcohol.
Use a commercial paint, oil and grease remover to clean oil-based paint from your acrylic and canvas awnings. Again, rubbing alcohol works best for aluminum awnings.
The Green and Black Stains: Mold and Mildew
To clean any type of mold or mildew on canvas awnings or acrylic awnings, use a mixture of water, dish soap and bleach. For a vinyl awning, use a commercial cleaner specific for these types of stains or combine vinegar and water. If you have an aluminum awning with mold and mildew stains, use water and bleach.
Annoying Algae Stains
Algae stains can be particularly hard to get rid of. They seem to grow and expand exponentially. Water and hydrogen peroxide works for canvas and acrylic awnings. For vinyl, use a 7:3 ratio of water and vinegar and for aluminum, try laundry soap and water or bleach and water for particularly touch algae stains.
Rust normally occurs on aluminum awnings, which dictates that you use vinegar and water and scrub it in. For all other awnings, you can use citric acid and water or oxalic acid and water.
Oil, Cooking Grease and Sunscreens
These stains usually occur on the bottom of an awning. Cold water and dish soap works on acrylic and canvas awnings, but use warm water and dish soap for aluminum awnings.
Other Types of Stains
Clean automotive grease off with acetone or dish soap and water, and use dish soap for vinyl awnings. For all types of awnings, clean bird droppings off with dish soap and water. For stains caused by leaves, use water and ammonia and for tree pitch such as pine tree pitch, use dish soap and turpentine for all types except use a grease remover for aluminum.
Is Pressure Washing an Awning Recommended?
Your awning looks particularly dirty, or you don’t have a lot of time to clean it manually. So, you’re wondering if you can simply break out the pressure washer and be done with the task. This isn’t a recommended method of cleaning your awning, no matter what material it’s made of, and especially not a fabric awning. Professional awning cleaning services can adjust the pressure of the water on a power washer so as not to cause harm to your awning and use special cleaners as well.
Clean and well-kept awnings are essential to their long-term functionality and lifespan, so take steps to maintain them regularly using suitable cleaning products for each material type. That way, you’ll enjoy having beautiful, clean awnings and all their advantages as part of your home decor!
If you aren’t certain how to clean awnings, you may want to call in a professional to do it for you. It’s better to be safe than sorry and ruin the investment that brings you so much joy all year round. At AAA Awnings, we care about your products long after the sale and installation. We offer cleaning services to keep your awnings in pristine condition, and we can add a fabric guard to them to make certain it’s waterproof for you. Call us for any questions on cleaning your awning or to schedule an appointment for expert cleaning services today!