Awnings add tremendous beauty and style to any home they might be a part of. They also provide homeowners and their guests with a place to relax, enjoy a snack, and even dry out after some time in the family swimming pool. Like all other things however, awnings become dirty over time and can be problematic to clean when you either do not know how to proceed in the work and/or don’t have the tools needed to do the job properly. Of course there is always the option of hiring a professional pressure washer though some people are adamant about doing the job themselves.
Great care needs to be taken in the cleaning of awnings, especially whereas amateurs are concerned. Knowing which solutions are safe for your particular awning and which tools might damage them is the first step in completing the job without issue. It behooves individuals to do a bit of research in order to determine what they should and should not use in the cleaning of their awnings.
High Pressure, Hot Water
Though there are many ways to clean an awning, none are more effective than a pressure washing unit. As effective as these units are however, do-it-yourselfers will still need to exercise caution in both their operation and all throughout cleaning. The following tips will help individuals use a pressure washer to effectively and safely clean their awnings.
Unit Size – There exists pressure washers of varying sizes. As units increase in size so do they in power and potential danger to inexperienced persons. The type and size of your awning should be deciding factors in what size you choose, as should the condition of your awning. Awnings that have fallen into a state of neglect often require higher levels of heat and pressure if they are to be restored. The vast majority of homeowners however will need little more than an electric pressure washer that outputs minimal PSI. This is because a great deal of the awnings out there aren’t large are are sometimes delicate; being made of fabric or thin woods.
The First Step In Cleaning – Before you introduce your awnings to your pressure washer it is a good idea to remove all loose debris from their surfaces. Utilizing a soft bristled brush and a very mild soap/detergent, you should have no problem removing dirt, mild stains, leaves, toys, and bugs from your awnings. Let your solution sit for 10-15 minutes before moving on. This first step makes the efficacy of your pressure washing unit all the more potent.
A Good Rinsing – After you have removed any loose debris from your awnings, rinsing them off with a garden hose is the next step. This rinsing serves to remove any residue from your detergent or cleaning solution, eliminates debris left behind by your brush, and further preps them for the pressure washing that is to come.
Under Pressure – With the first two cleaning steps behind you, the time has come to begin using your pressure washer. At the onset of this step you will want to start out with a low pressure nozzle and rinse your awnings from bottom to top. The bottom to top spray will prohibit detergent from running and leaving streaks that you won’t see until your awning dries out. This initial spray will also completely clear your awnings of long sitting residue and some stubborn debris. Continue spraying your awnings until their vibrancy returns and look free of stains and all types of debris.
Protective Sealants – Although your awnings have been thoroughly cleaned and are now dry you may believe your work complete. This erroneous line of thinking however can cost you money in the long term as clean awnings are best served and preserved by the addition of a protective sealant after they’ve dried out. These sealants will prohibit color fading, reflect UV light to preserve fabric integrity, and make awnings more resistant to stains as well as many types of debris. In applying a sealant to your awnings you also make them much easier to clean the next time out which in turn can save you both money and time.
Quarterly Cleaning – Awnings often go neglected for years at a time only because they aren’t something homeowners look at everyday. Out of sight out of mind can negatively impact awnings however as the longer awnings go without cleaning, the more problematic they become when you do finally get around to cleaning them. Instead of waiting until your awnings look dirty, give them a meticulous cleaning once a quarter or every 3 months. Such frequent cleanings will further protect their fabrics, vibrancy, and eliminate the need for repairs and replacements.
Calling In The Pressure Washing Professionals
At any point in your work should you run into a snag, be unsure of how to proceed, or need help operating your pressure washer it is in your best interest to contact a professional pressure washer. Even if you ultimately choose not to hire one, most will happily provide you with tips and point you in the right direction so that you can complete your work without issue. Should you decide to hire a pro however be sure to ask for their licensing and insurance information. You don’t ever want to be liable for mishaps that occur at your home and you’ll want them to be accountable for the work they do.