Patio covers work great to provide shade and protect your outdoor space from the effects of harsh weather, so it makes sense to do everything you can keep them in great shape. We asked our readers for some ideas on how they keep their patio covers up to snuff. Here’s what they had to say:
Cristina Miguélez

Cristina Miguélez

Cristina, Remodeling Specialist at

4 Tips to Maintain Patio Covers

Good maintenance of a patio cover increases its durability and the overall longevity of the patio itself, as the cover is protecting the patio from weather elements. Maintaining the cover will avoid the need to replace it, which decreases costs in the long term. Here are some top tips for maintaining patio covers:

Inspect the cover regularly
The main tip for maintaining a patio cover is to regularly check for the different problems that could arise. As the seasons change, different temperatures and weather conditions mean that periodically checking is a must.

Use a power washer to get rid of mold or mildew
Mold can build upon a patio cover mainly due to moisture. In very extreme cases it can be harmful to health, even outside, however, the unsightliness of mold means that removing it can keep your patio cover looking fresh and clean. A mild power washer should normally be enough, or a hired professional can treat mold stains with chemicals.

Understand the different requirements of varying materials
Depending on the type of material your patio cover is made of will ultimately determine what kind of maintenance is needed. Less common materials such as vinyl require almost no maintenance, however different types of wood can demand more regular work.

Seal and stain wooden covers
By sealing wooden surfaces, you can help to protect the material from things such as moisture, which in turn will decrease the chance of mold. Staining wood covers are an alternative method to dealing with the same benefits, but with the addition of color.

Treat Patio Covers Like Sofa Covers

Don’t neglect them, and clean them regularly. To do this, wash your covers with a simple mixture of warm water and mild soap. For scrubbing, a soft-bristled brush should do the trick. To strengthen your covers, it’d be wise to invest in some fabric guard spray.

Matt Scott

Matt Scott

Matt Scott, Founder of Termite Survey.

Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey, President, WikiLawn Austin Lawn Care.

Patio Cover Maintenance Depends on the Material

Regardless of the material, note that the sun will have an impact on your cover. It can fade it which could affect the durability over time. If you’re using something like a tarp, for example, sun damage can weather it considerably.

Outside of that, maintenance will mean removing debris and ensuring the cover remains clean. You may be able to get away with just using a hose for this sometimes, but it’s also possible to use a bleach solution for some materials or a pressure washer.

Consider an Alumawood Material

If your patio cover is made of the popular Alumawoood material, you don’t have to know any specialized maintenance tips, as it’s a low-maintenance material. If you see moderate dirt on it, it’s enough to hose it off and rub it with a soft brush. A brush for washing cars will be perfect.

If you have white or another color of aluminum patio covers, it’s necessary to mix a cup of white vinegar per one gallon of clean water, rub the surface gently with a non-abrasive pad, and then hose off the dirt. For heavy contaminations, take:

½ cup of any detergent
½ cup of trisodium phosphate; and
add 1 gallon of clean hose water.

This solution will remove any contamination from the patio cover without difficulties and damage.

Bryan McKenzie

Bryan McKenzie

Bryan McKenzie, Landscape Designer and Co-Founder of Bumper Crop Times. He is in love with everything about natural living, gardening, and landscaping, and believes that the tastiest food is the stuff you grow yourself.
Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson, Founder of Sawinery.

Trust the Pros

Lack of maintenance may cause the production of these surface fungi. Thus, always clean your covers regularly to avoid these since they may also cause health issues. You can easily remove these fungi by mixing a cleaning solution using bleach, detergent, trisodium phosphate powder, and water.

However, since this is not an easy task, it is a better option to call a professional to get the work done properly.

Different Materials, Different Cleaning Methods

Taking care of your patio and outdoor furniture is a must, and what better way to do this than to use a patio cover. The tricky thing is maintaining your patio cover in top shape.

  1. Polyester
    Use a soft towel to clean the cover with water and mild soap, especially if it has a coating. If no coating, you can wash it in a machine with cold water and bleach.
  2. Nylon
    Wash your nylon cover in a washing machine using cold water and detergent.
  3. Vinyl
    Clean your vinyl cover by wiping it out with a cloth or brushing it. You can use mild soap and water.
  4. Polypropylene
    Wiping your polypropylene cover with a soft towel and mild soap and water is enough. Brushing is not recommended.
Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith, a home expert, and pest control expert. Owner of Ant & Garden Organic Pest Control.

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell, Co-Founder of The Charming Bench Company.

Use a Bleach Solution Every Couple of Weeks

Mold likes to build up in patio covers because of the warmth and moisture. It can be bad for your health and it eats through the material of your cover. If you clean it off with bleach now and then, you can prevent buildup and prolong the lifespan of your patio cover.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.