Canvas patio covers should always be left to air dry completely before folding or storing. This will prevent mildew from forming, especially if there is not plenty of sunshine. They should also be given a good cleaning from time to time, as it helps maintain the canvas. Always make sure that they are clean and dry when they are about to be stored.
To clean your canvas patio cover, most of the items needed are found in your kitchen cupboards.
Step 1 - Mix Cleaning Solution
Mix liquid or powder detergent with warm water to work up suds for a good cleaning solution. Never use bleach on your canvas as this will ruin the colors and may even weaken the fabric.
Step 2 - Checking for Stains
Check the canvas for stains or mildew spots. If you happen to notice any grease stains, these are best removed with dish detergent as it neutralizes grease better than laundry detergent. This detergent should be poured directly on the stain, left to soak in for a half hour and then scrubbed.
Mildew spots are best first treated with sunlight before cleaning. Pick a sunny day and leave your covers out in the sun: the brighter the sun the better it is, because the sun’s rays kills mold and mildew spores.
Whenever cleaning is done, or after a heavy downpour, a canopy or umbrella should be left to air dry thoroughly before being retracted or taken down to prevent mold and mildew from forming where they fold. There are biodegradable cleaners on the market which remove mildew and mold and are color safe.
Step 3 - Scrubbing
Using the cleaning solution and the scrub brush, or the broom if you are cleaning an awning, work up a good lather to remove all stains including mildew and mold. Work in circular motions and rinse as you work, section by section. After scrubbing, give an overall wash with clear water, using the sponge, to make sure all debris is cleaned off. Finish off by using the garden hose for a really good rinse that will remove all traces of soap, dirt and debris.
Step 4 - Finishing
When the canvas is thoroughly dry, spray it with a fabric protector and water repellent which will also repels stains, and leave to dry. This will increase the life of your canvas patio cover and help protect its colors.
Canvas is a strong durable fabric but it needs care to last and look well. If possible, try to treat stains on patio covers when they occur, because canvas is a very absorbent material and stains are more difficult to remove when they settle deep into the fabric. If the material is detachable from its frame, like in an umbrella, it can be machine washed in moderately hot water and detergent. The more so if it is very dirty, or it can be professionally cleaned.