Shade sails are a great choice for any outdoor space, as they're flexible and colourful and can provide protection from wind and rain as well as from hot summertime sun. Shade sails are also easier to install on your own than an awning, gazebo or pergola and can cover more outdoor space than an umbrella.
However, shade sails do need regular cleaning to remove built-up dirt and keep it from getting all over your outdoor patio or deck. Regular cleaning will also protect the sail material from getting worn down and eventually shredding or tearing, reducing the need for shade sail repairs. Note a few tips on properly cleaning a shade sail, and be sure to discuss these tips with your sail's manufacturer or installer so you know how to care for your sail in particular.
Remove the sail
To properly clean the sail, remove it from its connections and hooks and spread it out on a flat, smooth surface. Trying to clean the sail while it's still installed on its poles will increase the risk of the sail tearing under pressure. It's also difficult for water to drain away properly while a sail is still installed on its poles. It's also less dangerous for you to clean a sail while it's on the ground than to climb a ladder with a garden hose or pressure washer!
Avoid using very high pressure for washing a shade sail, as this might shred or tear the material. Start with a garden hose and a pressure nozzle on the hose and note if this washes away any visible dirt and grime. If a garden hose doesn't get the shade sail clean, opt for a high-pressure washer, but use the lowest pressure setting and a wide nozzle.
You might also need to use some type of detergent to dissolve thick and heavy grime, but note the best cleanser for the material of the sail. Detergents used for tents can be good for a nylon sail, whereas solvents meant for tarps are good for canvas sails.
Rinse and dry
Be sure that you thoroughly rinse your shade sail so that residual detergent doesn't dry on its surface, trapping dirt and grime with it. It's also good to ensure the sail is completely dry before you reattach it to its connections so you can stretch is properly and keep it taut after it's reattached. This will also ensure you don't get wet trying to reattach the sail to its poles!