How To Clean Awnings Fabric

Awnings give a unique look to a home and offer protection from the sun and other elements while you are outside enjoying your space. 

Awnings are durable and can withstand quite a bit of weather and elements. However, over time, awnings do tend to build up on dirt and grime and need a wash. If you’re wondering how to clean awnings fabric, you’re not alone!

A lot of people will realize one day that their awnings are looking a little dirty and wonder, how do I clean those? We will cover how to clean your fabric awnings in this article.

How To Clean Awnings Fabric

Awnings have been around since ancient Egypt and Syria. Their ability to shield the home from the bright, direct sun has been in use for longer than we normally realize! 

Yours probably look a lot different than the ones used in ancient Egypt, though. They might even be able to be controlled through your smartphone! 

Clean red awnings fabric installed in a closed restaurant

The first step in washing the fabric of your awning is preparation. A prepped awning washes much simpler and cleaner than one with no preparation. There are different preparation steps for attached awnings vs. removable. We’ll go over those now.

How to Prepare Removable Awnings for Cleaning

If you have removable awnings, the preparation is a little different than if your awnings are permanently attached. You’ll first want to take them down to make the process easier. 

Some types of awnings are difficult to remove. If this is the case for you, it might be best to wash in place. Look at the next section if you aren’t feeling up to the task of removing them. 

Materials

To prepare your removable awning for washing, you will need:

  • Ladder
  • Old sheet or tarp (optional)
  • Broom
  • Awning’s directions on how to remove 
  • Hose

Method

In order to properly prepare your removable awning for washing, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the directions on how to remove your awning—all manufacturers have different steps, so it’s important that you follow the directions for your brand.
  2. Be careful for taller awnings—make sure your ladder is properly placed with both legs on the ground. 
  3. Lay out your tarp or sheet and place the awning on top of it.
  4. Sweep away any excess leaves or dirt.
  5. Flip the awning.
  6. Sweep away any excess cobwebs on the underside.
  7. Using your hose, run water over both sides of your awning to remove any loose dirt.

After following those steps, your awning is ready to be washed! 

How to Prepare Non-Removable Awnings for Cleaning

Awnings that are attached or non-removable must be washed in place. This isn’t hard to do when you prepare properly!  You may opt to use this method if your awnings are difficult to get off and back on, as well. 

Red and white awnings fabric

Materials

For non-removable awnings, you will need slightly different materials than you will for removable awnings. To prepare properly, you’ll need:

  • Tarps or coverings
  • Ladder
  • Broom
  • Hose

Method

To properly prepare your awning for a wash, follow these instructions:

  1. Cover anything nearby that you don’t want to get wet with your tarps or coverings, this includes furniture, shrubbery, flowers, etc.
  2. Set up your ladder near the first awning you want to tackle—remember, safety first! 
  3. Using your broom, brush all the dirt and debris that you can from the awning.
  4. Pay attention to the bottom, as well, and knock down any cobwebs.
  5. Use your hose to remove any loose dirt from both sides of the awning.

Now, you are ready to wash your attached awnings! 

Washing Your Awning

The moment you’ve been waiting for: it’s time to learn how to clean awnings fabric. There are different methods again for attached awnings and removable awnings. We will go over two methods: hand washing and machine washing.

If your awnings are attached, you will be on a ladder the entire time. If you have already removed your awnings and they aren’t machine washable, you will be able to do this on the ground with your awning.

Hand Washing Your Awnings

Hand washing the top of awnings is relatively simple if you have the right materials on hand. Luckily, it’s something that doesn’t need to be done more than once a year unless you are noticing dirt and debris. 

Materials

With the proper materials, cleaning the top of awnings is a breeze. You will need:

  • Dish soap or mild detergent
  • Warm water
  • Cleaning bucket
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Ladder (if awnings are attached)

Method

Depending on where your awning is, you can follow these same steps on the ground or on a ladder:

Cleaning tools
  1. Create your cleaning mixture
    1. Use your soap or detergent and warm water until you have a soapy mixture
    2. Add in baking soda and mix together well
  2. Use your sponge to get a good amount of cleaning mixture on the awning
  3. Let soak for a while to make sure the mixture penetrates the surface—remember these are made to withstand water and elements! 
  4. Use your soft-bristled brush to scrub and activate the mixture, removing the dirt
  5. Repeat the same process on the underside of the awning
  6. Rinse both sides well with a hose 

For drying, leave the awnings extended if they are attached until they are fully dry. If they aren’t attached, lay them out in a sunny area, like your Azek decking, where both sides can get good airflow. 

Machine Washing Your Awnings

Check the tag on your awnings. You may be one of the lucky ones who has a machine washable awning! While this sounds extremely simple, you still will need some materials to get the awning down and in the wash.

You should still follow the preparation steps. At this point, you will have the awnings down already and rinsed off any extra debris.

Materials

To machine wash your awning, you will need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Washing machine

Method

Take your rinsed awnings from the end of the preparation step and follow these steps:

  1. Place your awning in the wash with your mild detergent
  2. If there are stains and mildew, you can optionally add non-chlorine bleach or color-safe bleach
  3. Set your washer for a gentle cycle—although they are built to withstand elements, washing machines can be rough on awnings
  4. When the cycle is complete, hang dry your awnings in the sun outside
  5. Make sure they are completely dry before hanging them back up

And, there you have it! Clean awnings to return to your windows. 

Removing Stains or Mildew from Your Awning

Did you finish washing your awnings and now you’ve noticed there’s either mildew or stains leftover? Don’t worry, this has a simple solution.

Materials

You’ll need similar materials as you used when you washed the awning, but one added ingredient, non-chlorine bleach or color-safe bleach depending on your awnings.

Method

First things first, create your cleaning solution in a bucket:

  • Use a large tub and mix together a ratio of bleach, soap, and water using the ratio 2:1:32
    • This means water should take precedence here with 32 c for every 2 c of bleach. You can take your best guess at this, it’s more of a guidance than anything! 
Rows of awnings fabric

The method differs for removable awnings and attached awnings. If you have a removable awning, follow these steps:

  1. For removable awnings, soak the awning in the mixture for at least 15 minutes
  2. Remove the awning and hose it off well to make sure no bleach remains
  3. Repeat for stubborn stains, adding in some scrubbing if needed
  4. Rinse entirely
  5. Hang to dry

For non-removable awnings, you obviously can’t soak the material! Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Dip your soft-bristled brush in the bleach solution and work on the stained or area with mildew in a circular motion
  2. Re-wet your brush frequently
  3. Continue working on it until it is gone
  4. Alternatively, you can dump some on and wait a few minutes before going to scrub it
  5. Rinse off your awning well
  6. Let dry in extended state

Following this method, the mildew or stain will be gone in no time! 

How Often Do I Need to Wash My Awning? 

Now that you know how to clean awnings fabric, you may be wondering just how often you need to do this. 

Awnings are on the rise in popularity and are expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.4 by 2024. That’s for a reason other than the elemental protection! They are also relatively simple to maintain. 

An awning consists of material that can withstand the elements. It only needs help cleaning itself when it’s noticeably dirty or one time a year. Whichever happens first! If you have a large tree, you may need to clean off the leaves from the awnings in fall more often than if you didn’t have that tree. 

If you catch the leaves soon enough, it may be as simple as wiping the leaves off and not having to go through the full wash process—it depends on if there are any stains left behind! 

Conclusion

Cleaning your awnings doesn’t have to be a difficult task. You can follow the methods above to have your awnings cleaned in no time. Remember to make this a yearly habit and you shouldn’t need to use anything heavy duty to clean your awnings fabric. 

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