Keeping your billowy shade sails in good shape will help maintain a cool and comfortable sheltered outside area where you can enjoy protection from the hot sun and its harmful rays. Sometimes also referred to as sun sails, they are frequently found attached to trees, fences, or posts on a patio or deck, around a pool, or in a children’s play area.
Shade sails require occasional cleaning to remove blemishes and debris, such as from bird droppings, leaves, dirt, tree sap, or mold and mildew, to ensure that they remain stain-free, bright, and colorful. With proper care, including annually cleaning, you can maximize the ability for your shade sail to function effectively for many years to come.
When you’re ready to clean your shade sail, it is critical that you not use products containing strong chemicals such as bleach, halogens, metal oxides, pesticides or sulfur that can cause damage to UV stabilizers, make the material wear out faster, or fade the colors, as well as potentially void any warranty.
Gather What You’ll Need
- Mild dishwashing liquid soap
- A low-pressure garden hose (using a high-pressure hose can cause harm) with a spray attachment
- A soft scrub brush
- A bucket
Step-by-step Shade Sail Cleaning Instructions
1. Start off by adding to your bucket about a tablespoon of clear liquid dish soap and then water on a medium pressure setting until you have a slightly soapy mixture.
2. Attach the sprayer to the garden hose and adjust it to produce a fine spray or light mist of water, and begin spraying the upper portion of the shade sail first with a light motion until it is completely wet.
3. Using the soft scrubbing brush and soapy mixture in the bucket, gently scrub the surface of the shade sail, beginning on one side and working in two-foot sections until you come to the other side.
4. For each two-foot section, scrub it thoroughly before rinsing well with the garden hose on a light setting with low force. If a section does not appear entirely clean after you’ve finished rinsing, then you may repeat the process.
5. When you have finished scrubbing all sections of the shade sail and it is satisfactorily clean, then perform a final rinsing of the entire shade, still using a low-pressure setting.
Warnings and Cleaning Tips
- Applying water from a garden hose at full-force pressure can lead to tearing of the grommets or stretching out and deforming of the shade sail.
- If it is difficult for you to reach high enough to adequately scrub and rinse the top sections of the shade sail, then a ladder may be necessary to finish the job.
- The mildest type of dish washing soap you can use is a clear liquid version free from coloring additives.
- The sail may deteriorate much more rapidly if the UV protection on the fabric breaks down due to the use of harsh chemicals or bleach on the shade sail.