Shades, awnings, & patio furniture need protection from winter elements such as snow, ice, and cold. If you follow a few fall cleaning tips, you can preserve your patio shades and furniture for next summer.
- Inspect the structure of the shades and awnings
- Clean awnings and shades
- Dry awnings and shades
- Make necessary repairs
- Store patio furniture and shade parts
1. Inspect the structure of the shades and awnings
The intense summer sunlight can hasten the wear and aging of your shades and awnings. Inspect the entire structure to make sure the frame and fabric are intact. Any loose, worn or torn fabric may need stitching. You should also tighten loose hardware.
2. Clean awnings and shades
Heavy rain can actually deposit dirt on, rather than wash off, your awnings. A leaf blower can clean off dried leaves and dirt. Use a sponge or soft cloth soaked in soap and water to wipe off the remaining dirt. Don’t use harsh chemicals, as they can stain or discolor the fabric.
3. Dry awnings and shades
After cleaning, dry the awnings and shades thoroughly. If you rely solely on on the sun and wind for drying, mold or mildew could form on the partially-dried fabric.
4. Make necessary repairs
Any small holes or tears can turn into larger ones. Be sure to stitch and repair any minor problems as soon as you detect them. It’s less costly than purchasing a new shade or awning.
5. Store patio furniture and shade parts
Take off any removable valances or rolling canopies, wash and dry them thoroughly, cover, and store them over the winter. To protect them from snow and ice, store grills and wicker or steel patio furniture in a garage or shed. At the very least, fit them with a protective covering. As a rule, aluminum and wood furniture are more tolerant of harsh winter cold, so you might be able to leave them outdoors.