Looking after awnings and canopies

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Fabric awning cleaning instructions:

What You Need Before You Start

Required Items:
Chemical Sprayer, Garden Hose, Garden Hose Nozzle, Brush or Sponge for Scrubbing Awning, Vinyl or Fabric Cleaner, Vinyl or Fabric Sealer, Ladder, Extension Poles

Applying Cleaners

Cleaner:
Use cleaners that are specifically formulated for vinyl or fabric materials.
Technique:
Apply cleaner to a dry awning. Wetting the awning often reduces the effectiveness of the cleaners. 

Apply cleaner evenly and with a saturating mist. Apply from the bottom up. Do not let cleaner dry on the awning.

Scrubbing the Awning

Tools:
Vinyl Awnings:
 Hand scrubbing with a soft sponge is the best way to clean a moderately soiled awning, although a soft bristle brush is also safe and effective. Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers.

Fabric Awnings:
 A soft or medium brush or similar scrubbing device works best.
Technique:
1. Wash in a consistent fashion with even and usually up and down strokes.

2. Apply uniform pressure when scrubbing.

3. Start from bottom and work up.

4. Overlap your strokes. This will guarantee that no sections are missed.

5. Apply cleaners to all underside surfaces and let dwell for 5 to 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Usually scrubbing of the awning interior is not required.

Note: If awning is still not clean, repeat the above process.

Rinsing

Equipment:
Garden hose or pressure washer. Pressure should not exceed 300 p.s.i.
Technique:
Thoroughly rinse the awning until the water runoff is clear. Residual cleaner may leave a chalky appearance on the awning after it dries.

Special Tips

Pressure:
Pressure cleaning is a common cause of permanent awning damage, and it is very ineffective. A pressure washer can be used as a water delivery system for rinsing your awning after cleaning or for removing debris (cobwebs, bugs, leaves, etc.) from the inside of the awning. Pressure should not exceed 300 p.s.i.
Mildew:
If limited mildew exists, then a chlorine-free “mildew cleaner” can be used. If mildew is severe, than diluted liquid chlorine is necessary. ALWAYS do a Q-tip test in a hidden spot to make sure the material is colorfast.
When using chlorine:

1) use it as diluted as possible but to still be effective,

2) use only where necessary,

3) do not let it dry on awning, and

4) thoroughly rinse so chlorine is completely flushed from awning. If there are plants nearby, they should be sprayed in advance of treatment to prevent burning of plant leaves and roots.

Fabric awning sealing instructions:

What You Need Before You Start

Equipment:
2 pint or 1 gallon pump sprayer, Ladder
Vinyl Material

The Product:
Vinyl sealers are typically water based silicone products and will last from two to four months.
Application:
The best way to apply the sealer is with a small pump sprayer. Lightly mist the product on the awning and rub in with a sponge or clean terry cloth towel.
Benefit:
The sealer is a barrier between the elements and the environment. They offer UV protection, slow the growth of mildew, and leave the material supple and shiny. Another benefit, is they make future cleaning easier.
Fabric Material

Equipment:
2 pint or 1 gallon pump sprayer
The Product:
Fabric sealers can be water or solvent based product. The water based products last six months, are easy to work with, and easy clean up. The solvent based sealers offer the longest protection.
Benefit:
The sealer is a barrier between the elements and the environment. They offer UV protection, waterproofing, and slow the growth of mildew, and make future cleanings easier.

Special Tips

Awning Interior:

It is usually not necessary to seal the bottom side of a fabric awning. If you are trying to waterproof a patio awning, then sealing both sides can be very helpful.

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