Caring for Your Shade Sails: What You Need to Do (and What You Shouldn't Do)
Shade sails manage to be both aesthetically pleasing and rather darn useful when it comes to sun protection. The rather straightforward concept of a shade sail hides the fact that a complex manufacturing process is required to produce the sails themselves. This process allows the sail to offer actual UV protection, as opposed to simply offering a bit of shade. This process means that you cannot treat the sail as though it was a mere piece of cloth, and special care needs to be taken. So what do you need to be aware of when it comes to the cleaning and maintenance of your shade sails?
Cleaning: What to Do
Should your shade sail become discoloured or even stained, you can generally remove the stains yourself. The trick is to use mild cleaning agents with a fair amount of elbow grease. Try simply spraying the sail with your garden hose. You can also use a soft-bristled scrubbing brush combined with some household dishwashing detergent. If this fails to remove the dirt or stain, please request a professional cleaning service.
Cleaning: What Not to Do
Do not use harsh chemical cleaners on your shade sail. Anything that contains bleach or a chlorine derivative can affect the UV inhibitors contained within the cloth (which is a chemical protectant that has been applied to the sail). This reduces your shade sail's ability to protect you from UV light. Using a chemical cleaner that can degrade the UV inhibitors could also invalidate your warranty, so please check with the supplier of your shade sails if you're unsure.
Inspections and Maintenance
Your supplier will advise you as to how often an inspection is required. You should find out the cost of this service, and you might wish to opt for a supplier that includes a number of inspections as part of their overall process. More frequent inspections might be required depending on weather conditions. For example, an inspection might be needed after a period of high wind or heavy rain. Any maintenance required will be minimal. It's really just about tightening the perimeter wires and turnbuckles as needed to remove any slack from the shade sail. You could certainly take care of this maintenance yourself, but again, it might invalidate the warranty.
So while caring for a shade sail is not particularly difficult, it's vital that it's done correctly to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the sail.