Like any fabric, the sturdy acrylic that your fabric awnings are made from can stain and dull if you don’t clean it regularly. With regular attention, the fabric part of your awnings should last for seven or eight years. Their metal frame should last much longer, so you won’t have to replace it every time you change your fabric awnings.
Here’s how to keep your acrylic awnings clean and free of mildew and stains:
- Rinse your awnings with cold water from your garden hose every two or three months. Choose a day when it’s not too windy or dusty to do this job, as dust and dirt will stick to the wet fabric.
- Don’t forget to hose down the underside of the awning. Do it on a hot, sunny day so it will dry quickly.
- Remove bird droppings as soon as you spot them, as they contain acid that can stain your awnings.
- Use a stiff brush, water and a mild dish soap like Ivory. Thoroughly rinse all traces of soap away, as soap residue attracts more dirt.
- Repair small tears immediately so they don’t have a chance to become large tears.
- Trim shrubs and vines away from awnings. Some foliage contains acid that can harm the awning fabric.
- Avoid spraying insect repellant near the awnings, as it can stain the fabric and weaken its ability to repel water.
- Dry standing water from awnings so it doesn’t cause the fabric to stretch or leave water marks.
- Clean gutters that sit above your awnings to prevent roof runoff from spilling onto the fabric.
- Steer clear of awnings when you’re painting. Paint splatters on the fabric attract dirt and mildew and can cut short the life of your awning.
- You may need to re-treat your awning with stain guard after cleaning. Check your owner’s manual to learn which kinds are safe for your kind of fabric.
To maintain the metal frame:
- Keep mist systems and sprinklers far enough away that they don’t spray water onto the frame. The moisture can prematurely rust the frame. Frames typically are made from steel, which is painted to match the color of the fabric.
- When the paint begins to wear after four or five years, sand it off and repaint it. Unpainted frames can rust, and rust can stain the awning fabric.