4 tips for cleaning a canopy or awning

A grungy awning or canopy can mar your house's curb appeal, which is how real estate agents refer to the impression your house makes on passersby. Even if your awning is not visible from the road, keeping it clean will help it last longer.

4 tips for cleaning a canopy or awning

1. Cleaning acrylic awnings

  • This chore is often a breeze because most have a soil- and stain-resistant finish.
  • Where necessary, use a stepladder to reach awnings.
  • Spot-clean by applying a solution of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid with a sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and air dry.
  • For stubborn stains, use a fabric stain remover, following the instructions on the container.
  • Again, rinse well and air dry.

2. Mildew on an acrylic awning

  • Mildew is usually found not on the fabric itself but on dirt, leaves and other materials that are not removed from the fabric. Acrylic awnings themselves don't promote the growth of mildew.
  • To remove mildew, mix 250 ml (1 cup) of bleach with a squirt of mild dishwashing liquid in 4 litres (4 quarts) of warm water.
  • Apply to the entire area and allow it to soak in (but not to dry).
  • Scrub with a sponge.
  • Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
  • Avoid using bleach on logos or prints on the awning as it may damage or erase them.

3. Cleaning vinyl or fabric awnings

  • A commercial cleaner works best if you don't wet the awning before cleaning it.
  • On a stepladder, if necessary, apply a vinyl and fabric cleaner evenly in a saturating mist.
  • Start from the bottom of the awning and work up.
  • Before it dries, scrub the awning with a sponge or soft- to medium-bristled brush. (Brushes work best on fabric awnings.)
  • Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers.
  • Rinse by spraying with a garden hose until the run-off water is clear.
  • You'll want to remove all the cleaner, because leftover cleaner will leave a chalky film once it dries.
  • Don't use a pressure washer to clean your awning. It's ineffective and can cause permanent damage.

4. To remove mildew on a vinyl or fabric awning

  • Use a solution of250 ml (1 cup) of bleach per 4 litres (4 quarts) of warmwater.
  • Before using the solution, however, test it by rubbing a solution-soaked cotton swab on a hidden section of awning to make sure it does not cause the colours to fade or run.
  • Don't let the bleach solution dry on the awning.
  • Rinse thoroughly with water, then air dry.
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