How to Clean a Cloth Awning Effectively: A Step-by-Step Guide

Routine maintenance, including cleaning and reapplying protective solutions, can significantly extend your awning’s longevity by protecting it from the elements. Fixed and solar retractable awnings alike are exposed to extreme temperatures, rain, and snow which wear on them over time. Simultaneously, they are subject to airborne pollutants, dirt, grease, bird droppings, insects, leaf tannins, and tree pitches in addition to other substances which can stain or bleach their cloth. Rain washes away some of these blights, but even in areas with heavy rainfall, dirt can embed itself into the valance’s weave and introduce mold growth. Thankfully, staving off these harmful elements is a simple fix.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regular maintenance of cloth awnings is essential to prolong their lifespan.
  • Cleaning awnings at least twice a year is recommended, with additional cleanings for heavily soiled areas.
  • Different cleaning solutions should be used based on the type of fabric and the substance being removed.
  • Proper maintenance includes thorough cleaning before winter and spring, and applying a retreating agent to refresh the fabric’s protective properties.
  • Following these steps will help ensure your cloth awning stays clean and maintains its appearance for years to come.

Cleaning Methods for Awning Window Treatments

When it comes to cleaning awning window treatments, it’s important to follow the right cleaning methods to ensure optimal results. Whether you have a residential or commercial awning, regular cleaning is necessary to remove dirt, stains, and other substances that can accumulate over time. Cleaning your awning at least twice a year is recommended, but certain factors may require additional cleanings.

One key consideration is the type of material your awning is made of. Not all cleaning solutions and techniques are suitable for every material. It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations and choose a cleaning solution that is compatible with your awning fabric.

Table: Recommended Cleaning Solutions for Different Awning Materials

MaterialRecommended Cleaning Solution
Acrylic and Natural FibersMild soap mixed with cold water
VinylWater only (avoid using cleaning solutions)

Additionally, the type of substance you’re trying to remove from your awning can also influence the choice of cleaning solution. For example, mildew stains may require a mixture of bleach and dish soap, while algae stains can be lifted with a hydrogen peroxide solution. It’s always a good idea to test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the awning before applying it to the entire surface.

By following these cleaning methods and using the appropriate solutions, you can effectively clean your awning window treatments and maintain their appearance and longevity.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Cloth Awning

Cleaning a cloth awning is a straightforward process that can help prolong its lifespan and keep it looking its best. By following these simple steps, you can effectively clean your cloth awning and remove any dirt, stains, or debris that may have accumulated over time.

  1. Brush off surface debris: Start by brushing off any leaves, cobwebs, or loose dirt from the awning’s surface. You can use a soft-bristled brush or a broom for this step.
  2. Mix a mild soap solution: Next, prepare a solution of mild soap and cold water. Make sure to use a soap that is recommended for the specific type of fabric your awning is made of. Mix the soap and water in a bucket or a spray bottle.
  3. Wet the awning: Leave the awning on its frame and wet it thoroughly with a hose. This will help loosen any dirt or stains and make the cleaning process easier.
  4. Scrub the fabric: Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the awning’s fabric in quick, sweeping motions. Pay extra attention to any areas that are particularly dirty or stained. Be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric.
  5. Rinse off the soap: Once you have scrubbed the entire awning, rinse it off with clean water. Make sure to completely remove all the soap and dirt from the fabric. You can use the hose to rinse off the awning from the top down.
  6. Allow the awning to dry: After rinsing, let the awning dry completely before rolling it up or folding it. Damp awnings should not be retracted as they can develop mildew. If possible, leave the awning open until it is completely dry.

Cleaning your cloth awning regularly using these steps will help keep it in excellent condition and extend its lifespan. Remember to always use gentle cleaning techniques and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive brushes that could damage the fabric.

Additional Tips for Effective Cloth Awning Cleaning

Here are some additional tips to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning of your cloth awning:

  • Use a soft-bristled brush: When scrubbing the awning, choose a brush with soft bristles to avoid causing any damage to the fabric.
  • Test cleaning solutions: Before applying any cleaning solution to the entire awning, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t discolor or damage the fabric.
  • Protect surrounding surfaces: If you’re using any cleaning solutions that could potentially damage surrounding surfaces, such as the siding of your house, consider covering them or rinsing them thoroughly after cleaning.
  • Remove stubborn stains: For stubborn stains that don’t come off with regular cleaning, you may need to use specialized stain removers or consult a professional awning cleaning service.

Following these tips and regularly cleaning your cloth awning will help maintain its appearance and protect it from the elements, ensuring years of enjoyment and functionality.

Cleaning StepsMaterials Needed
1. Brush off surface debrisSoft-bristled brush or broom
2. Mix a mild soap solutionMild soap, cold water, bucket or spray bottle
3. Wet the awningHose
4. Scrub the fabricSoft-bristled brush
5. Rinse off the soapClean water, hose
6. Allow the awning to dryOpen space, air circulation

Removing Stains and Substances from Cloth Awnings

When it comes to cleaning cloth awnings, different stains and substances require specific cleaning solutions. By using the right techniques, you can effectively remove these unwanted marks and keep your awning looking its best. Here are some expert tips and cloth awning cleaning hacks to help you tackle common stains:

Stain: Mildew

If you notice mildew on your cloth awning, a mixture of bleach and dish soap can be an effective solution. Create a mixture of one part bleach, three parts water, and a few drops of dish soap. Apply the mixture to the affected area, gently scrubbing with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly with water to remove the cleaning solution.

Stain: Algae

To remove algae stains from your cloth awning, a hydrogen peroxide solution can be used. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water, then apply it to the stained area. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then scrub gently with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue.

Stain: Cooking Grease or Sunscreen Residue

If you’re dealing with cooking grease or sunscreen residue on your awning, standard dish soap can be effective. Create a mixture of warm water and dish soap, then apply it to the stained area. Gently scrub with a soft brush and rinse thoroughly.

Stain: Sticky or Dried Tree Pitch

Sticky or dried tree pitch can be challenging to remove, but a solution of turpentine and liquid dish soap can be effective. Mix equal parts turpentine and dish soap, then apply the solution to the pitch stains. Gently scrub the area with a soft brush, then rinse thoroughly.

It’s important to note that before using any cleaning solution, you should test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the awning to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for both the cleaning solution and your awning material to prevent any adverse effects.

StainCleaning Solution
MildewMixture of bleach and dish soap
AlgaeHydrogen peroxide solution
Cooking Grease or Sunscreen ResidueStandard dish soap and warm water mixture
Sticky or Dried Tree PitchTurpentine and liquid dish soap mixture

Seasonal Awning Maintenance Recommendations

Proper maintenance of your cloth awning is essential to ensure its longevity and keep it looking its best. In addition to regular cleaning, there are a few seasonal maintenance tasks you should perform to protect your awning from the elements and maintain its quality.

Winter Maintenance:

  • Clean the awning thoroughly before closing it for the winter. This will prevent any dirt or debris from getting trapped in the fabric fibers and causing damage over time.
  • Ensure that the awning is completely dry before retracting it. Damp awnings can develop mildew during the winter months, so it’s important to let them air out before storing them away.
  • Consider covering the awning tightly with a tarp during the winter to provide additional protection from falling debris and harsh weather conditions.

Spring Maintenance:

  • Before opening your awning for the spring season, give it a thorough cleaning to remove any dust, dirt, or grime that may have accumulated over the winter.
  • Inspect the awning for any signs of damage or wear. Look for loose stitching, tears, or holes that may need to be repaired.
  • Check the awning frame for any rust or corrosion. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage.

By following these seasonal maintenance recommendations, you can ensure that your cloth awning remains in excellent condition and continues to provide you with shade and protection year after year.

Seasonal Maintenance TasksBenefits
Thoroughly clean the awning before winter storagePrevents dirt and debris from embedding into the fabric fibers
Ensure the awning is completely dry before retractingPrevents the development of mildew during the winter months
Cover the awning tightly with a tarp during the winterProvides additional protection from falling debris and harsh weather conditions
Clean the awning thoroughly before opening for springRemoves dust, dirt, and grime accumulated over the winter
Inspect for any signs of damage or wearAllows for timely repairs to prevent further damage
Check the awning frame for rust or corrosionPrevents structural damage and ensures the longevity of the awning

Retreating the Awning Fabric for Added Protection

As part of regular cloth awning maintenance, it is essential to retreat the fabric to enhance its longevity and protect it from water and stains. Over time, the water and stain resistance of the fabric may diminish, leaving it vulnerable to the elements. To restore its protective properties, we recommend applying a retreating agent.

One popular option for retreating cloth awnings is the 303 Fabric Guard. This specialized product not only strengthens the fabric but also restores its water repellency. After thoroughly cleaning the awning and allowing it to dry, simply follow the instructions on the container to apply the retreating agent.

By retreating your awning fabric, you can maintain its appearance and performance for years to come. The added protection will ensure that your cloth awning continues to withstand the elements and repel water, keeping it looking its best and maximizing its lifespan.


How often should I clean my awning?

Both residential and commercial awnings should be cleaned at least twice a year. However, awnings exposed to substances like bird droppings, tree pitches, or cooking grease may require additional cleanings.

What cleaning solutions should I use for different types of awning material?

Different awning materials require different cleaning solutions. Acrylic and natural fibers can typically be cleaned using mild soap mixed with cold water. However, vinyl should only be cleaned with water as it is more sensitive.

How do I clean my awning?

Start by brushing off leaves, cobwebs, and loose dirt. Then, use a soft-bristled brush and a mild soap solution to scrub the valance. Rinse the awning with water to remove all soap and dirt, and allow it to dry before rolling it up.

How do I remove specific stains from my awning?

Different stains require different solutions. Mildew can be removed with a mixture of bleach and dish soap, while algae stains can be lifted with hydrogen peroxide. Cooking grease and sunscreen residue can be removed with standard dish soaps, and sticky tree pitch can be cleaned with a solution of turpentine and dish soap. Rust stains can be treated with lemon juice or vinegar.

How do I maintain my awning during the winter months?

It is recommended to clean your awning before closing it for the winter and covering it tightly with a tarp. This prevents debris from falling on it and dirt from embedding into the fabric fibers. Damp awnings should not be retracted as they can develop mildew.

How can I refresh and protect my awning fabric?

To refresh the fabric and restore its protective properties, apply a retreating agent like 303 Fabric Guard after thoroughly cleaning the awning and allowing it to dry. Follow the instructions on the container for best results.

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