Just like the other parts of your home's exterior, your aluminum patio awning needs annual maintenance to look its best. These tips will help you clean your aluminum patio awning thoroughly.
General Cleaning Tips
Start by removing loose dirt from the underside of the awning with a dry ceiling mop. Focus on the corners and edges of the home, where spider webs and dust are likely to accumulate. When the mop becomes too filthy, bang it against a garden wall to knock off some of the loose dirt.
Next, spray down your aluminum patio awning with a strong jet of water from the hose. Move the spray of water from left to right and back to front to eliminate dirt systematically until the entire underside has been wetted down.
Check for Mold
In wet climates, mold may grow on your patio awning on the shady underside. To check the awning for mold, look for stubborn black stains that won't come off with spray from the hose. To test the stain, dab it gently with bleach. If the bleach turns the stain white, it's mold. If the stain stays brown, it's dirt.
To clean moldy areas, remove all potted plants and patio furniture from under the awning. Mix a solution of water and bleach. Put on rubber gloves and safety goggles. Use a stiff bristled brush to clean the stains off of the awning. Scrub the awning until all signs of mold or mildew have disappeared.
Clean off Soot
If you've been grilling or lighting a propane heater underneath your awning, check for soot on the underside where the grill or heater was located. Soot can be greasy (especially soot from the grill). To remove soot, use a commercial grease cleaner. Spray the awning with the grease cleaner, then wipe it down with a sponge. To rinse, spray down the area with a concentrated jet of water, then repeat if necessary.
Clean on Top
Get on your roof where it connects to the awning. Standing on the roof, use a long-handled flat broom to sweep off any leaves and debris from the awning. While you're there, scoop out the leaves from the gutters with a trowel, and put the debris into a bucket to be dumped when you've gotten down from the roof. Cleaning the gutters will prevent leaves and debris from accumulating on your awning, and will prevent water from overflowing the gutters and onto the awning.
If your awning is too big to reach all parts with the broom, stand on a ladder to the side of the awning and use the broom to sweep off the edges. Finally, have a partner pass you the hose, then spray down the top of the awning with a strong jet of water.
Following these steps once a year should keep your patio awning clean and well maintained. For more help, contact a company like Lehman Awning Co.