How to Easily Clean Your Shade Sail (Without Damaging It)

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How to Easily Clean Your Shade Sail (Without Damaging It)

21 December 2017
 Categories: , Blog

When was the last time you gave your shade sails a thorough cleaning? So long ago you can't remember? Or possibly never? You need to be careful when doing the job, since too much enthusiasm and using the wrong tools and materials can significantly damage the deceptively complex surface of the sails, meaning that they might have looked better before you cleaned them. But by knowing what you're doing and with a bit of diligence, you can make sure that your shade sails will emerge from the cleaning process bright and clean, and ready to offer many more years of service. 

What to Avoid

It's really not all that complicated to clean a shade sail, but it's important to know what types of tools and materials should be avoided. Do not use a high pressure water cleaner unless you also need to remove mould, and even then, only use it on a medium setting. A garden hose should be sufficient otherwise. You should also not use any ammonia-based cleaning products. The chemicals can weaken (and even remove) the sail's ability to reflect UV light. So while it will still offer some shade, it's not going to be able to protect you and your family from UV light as well as it should be able to. So, enough about what you shouldn't use. What tools and materials should you actually use to clean the shade sail?

What to Do

All you need is a bucket of warm, soapy water, your garden hose (with a spray nozzle), and a soft-bristled brush (a clean broom with plastic bristles is ideal). You also need to do this job on a sunny day. Opt for dishwashing liquid that is low in phosphates, as this minimises damage to your local waterways (since much of this soapy water will simply drain away into your backyard).

  1. Carefully detach the sail and lay it flat on your backyard.
  2. Turn on the garden hose. Working up and down, give the sail a thorough soaking.
  3. Dip the brush into the warm, soapy water, and gently scrub every part of the sail's surface.
  4. Once you've completed brushing the sail, soak it with the hose again.

The sail should be noticeably cleaner, and now you need to allow it to completely dry (which is why you need to do this on a sunny day) before reattaching it to your home. Use a high pressure water cleaner (set to no more than medium) in place of the hose if you also needed to remove mould.

So while a bit of effort is involved in cleaning a shade sail (and you should really have a family member on hand to help), it's not a particularly complicated job and the benefits can be immense.