If you have noticed your building's old canvas awnings are covered in mildew, you may wonder if there is a way to clean them without damaging or bleaching the material. If so, use the three-step guide below to safely remove the mildew using white distilled vinegar instead of bleach.
Step 1: Check The Awnings For Rips And Tears
This first step involves checking the window awnings for rips and tears. This is important before proceeding with the next steps because it will change the way you clean them. You will have to be gentler around rips in the fabric and use a softer stream of water while rinsing them.
If you find that the canvas shows signs of severe deterioration, such as excessive tears or dry rot, you may want to consider skipping the cleaning process and consider replacing them.
Step 2: Spray With Vinegar And Water
During this step, you will be using white distilled vinegar instead of bleach to kill the mildew. The acidity of the vinegar will burn the roots of the fungi when the liquid is absorbed. However, unlike bleach, it will not discolor the canvas of your awnings. You will also need a spray bottle attachment on a water hose to apply the vinegar.
If you have any flowers or shrubs near the awnings, cover them with plastic to protect them.
Fill the sprayer's bottle three-quarters of the way with vinegar. Then, use the mist setting to spray the awnings until they are saturated. Make sure you apply the vinegar to the underside of the material to ensure it is completely soaked.
Once the awnings are drenched, wait an hour or two to give it time to work. Then, go on to the third step.
Step 3: Scrub The Awnings With A Nylon Brush And Rinse
After letting the vinegar sit, use a nylon brush to scrub any mildewed areas. If the growth is near a rip or a tear, hold the fabric with one hand as you carefully scrub the surface to keep from ripping it further.
Once all areas are scrubbed, rinse the awnings with your hose. If there are no damaged areas, use a medium-hard stream to help remove any excess mildew. If the awnings do have rips and tears, however, use a light stream to gently rinse them.
Using the above guide should help you remove the mildew on your old awnings without causing more damage to them. However, if you find that they have too many tears or rips to salvage, you may want to contact a business that specializes in window awnings to discuss your options for replacing them.