Although you may have had a vinyl patio cover built because of its durability, you may still want to keep it clean. However, you may be reluctant to use chemicals around your lawn and patio plants. If so, use the following three-step guide for cleaning your cover using safe, green ingredients.
Step 1: Wipe the Patio Cover with Plain Water
The first step in the cleaning process is to wipe your patio cover with plain water. This will knock off any loose dirt, giving you a better view of any stains, mold, or mildew that need special attention.
You will need a long-handled mop and a garden hose with a spray nozzle. You may also need a step stool or ladder if you are unable to reach the top.
If you are tempted to use a pressure washer, it could be a bad idea. The extreme pressure could cause the joints to break apart. Before using a pressure washer, you may want to ask the patio and fence contractor who installed the cover if it is advisable for your particular model.
Using your hose, wet down the entire surface of the patio cover. Then, wipe it with the mop. Spray the cover again, then go on to the second step.
Step 2: Remove Mold & Mildew with Vinegar & Baking Soda
Now that you have knocked off the loose dust and dirt, look for any mold and mildew spots. Before going on to the third step, you will need to treat these individually to ensure they are completely removed.
While bleach is the usual go-to treatment for mold and mildew, it could kill your patio plants if it comes into contact with them. For a safer solution, use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.
White distilled vinegar kills 90% of mold and mildew, although it is safe to use around your flowers when diluted with water. The baking soda gives the remover a slight abrasive quality that will allow you to get to the root of the fungi.
Fill a gallon-sized bucket three-quarters of the way with warm water. Add two cups of white distilled vinegar and a cup of baking soda.
Dip a sponge into the mixture and rub the spots on the vinyl. For thick or stubborn mold and mildew, use fine-grained steel wool. Make sure you scrub the vinyl gently so the wool does not scratch the surface.
Allow the mixture to soak for a half an hour. Spray it off with your garden hose, then go on to the next step.
Step 3: Wash The Entire Surface With A Homemade Cleaner
The main ingredient in this homemade cleaner is castile soap, a vegetable-based detergent that will not harm any surrounding vegetation. When combined with the grease-cutting power of lemon juice, it becomes an effective cleaner that will not damage your vinyl patio cover.
In a gallon bucket, mix together two quarts of warm water, a cup of castile soap, and a quarter cup of bottled lemon juice. Saturate the end of a clean mop with the cleaner then wipe down the surface of the patio cover.
Let the cleaner sit for 15 minutes, then rinse it off with the garden hose. If you see any areas that are still soiled, spot-clean them by repeating the above.
After you have completed the above cleaning the first time, you can use it every month to maintain your patio cover's appearance. However, if you notice your vinyl patio cover is starting to deteriorate, you may want to contact the contractor who put it up. They can advise you whether it can be repaired or needs to be replaced.