Outdoor shade cloth such as a retractable awning or patio umbrellas are wonderful to have around when it comes to protection from the heat of the sun. However the sun and other weather as well as the fact that they are outdoors can lead to dirty, dingy shade cloths. It is not exactly feasible to wash these items in a washing machine, so you must find another way.
Preparing a Cleanser
For outdoor shade cloth you need a cleanser that is gentle but will work hard to get rid of dirt, dust, mold and mildew. Then you must figure out the best way to apply it to the cloth. Spray bottles are a simple answer that also make it easy to mix your own cleanser product. Use 1/2 cup of laundry detergent, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and fill the bottle with hot water. This will make a cleanser that is strong, has antibacterial properties and is gentle enough to use on most any cloth.
Treating Outdoor Shade Cloth
Spray the cloth thoroughly with the cleanser and use a scrub brush and toothbrush to clean the entire piece. The toothbrush will come in handy for corners and seams. Allow the cleaner to sit for 20 to 30 minutes to give the vinegar a chance to kill and remove any mold or mildew within the fibers.
Rinsing and Drying
To rinse you can simply turn on the water hose and spray the shade cloth until the water runs out clean. Look the fabric over carefully and spot-treat any remaining stains directly, scrub them and re-rinse. Spread the cloth open in direct sun for maximum drying power and mildew prevention. Do not retract or fold the cloth until it is completely dried.
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