Caring for outdoor awnings

Awnings or outdoor blinds are a great way to stay cool in hot weather and protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays. They can also help cool your home in an energy-efficient way. Over time, though, awnings can become worn, dirty or damaged. To help keep yours in top condition longer, follow these basic tips. 

Keep them out of harm's way

If you have retractable awnings, don't leave them out if there's a risk they could be damaged. Take them down or retract them when they're not in use, especially if high winds seem likely. 

Store carefully

If you're taking your awnings down and storing them for an extended period, make sure that they're clean and dry when you pack them away. Rolling awnings when damp can lead to mildew, unwelcome odours, or discolouration. 

Take care of water quickly

Water pooling on awnings can damage or discolour them if left too long; after heavy rains, make sure that your blinds haven't collected pools of water. If they have, brush it off as soon as you can. 

Clean metal parts regularly

Metal awning frames don't need to be cleaned frequently, but a gentle cleaning twice a year can definitely help expand their useful lives. Salt and other substances can build up on the metal components and degrade their coatings; regular cleaning helps to reduce this. Wash the metal parts of your awning with lukewarm soapy water, then rinse it off and dry it. Apply a light coating of oil to hinges and moving parts, but make sure not to get oil on the fabric of the awning. 

Brush away dust

If dust or dirt build up on the fabric components of your awning, brush them away with a soft-bristled brush. If you need to, you can wash heavy dust deposits off with a hose, but only do so when you know you'll be able to dry your awning in the sun afterward. 

Use bleach on tough stains

If your fabric awning has a persistent stain, you can remove it with a solution of bleach and water. Read the manufacturer's instructions for your specific awning to find the right proportions, but a very mild solution is ideal. Apply the solution to the stain, allow it to dry, and then rinse the residue off with cold water. 

Use fabric protector

A fabric protector spray can help guard your awning against fading or colour changes. Your manufacturer's instructions may recommend particular products, so consult them to learn what works for your awnings. 

These steps aren't complicated, but they can have a huge impact on the appearance of your outdoor blinds. Care for your awnings and clean them regularly, and you'll be enjoying their shade for years to come.