Hosing down covers and enclosures with cold water on a regular basis can eliminate much of the need for harsh cleaning at season's end, but all fabric items should be cleaned before storage. Grit that remains can abrade fabric fibers, and salt crystals not only cause abrasion but attract moisture, inviting mildew and more.
Here are some pointers in caring for fabrics:
- Synthetic fabrics like Sunbrella can be washed with detergents when necessary, but repeated washing reduces their water resistance, which is the result of a coating applied at the factory. If this happens, apply a product that will restore the fabric's water-resisting quality.
- Fabrics must be thoroughly dry before storing, especially if they are to be folded. They should be kept in a cool, dry place and protected from rodents and insects.
- Panels with clear plastic windows should be stored so that no two plastic surfaces rub together. Sections of cloth - old bed sheets work well - placed between them will prevent scratching and hazing. They should never be stored in plastic bags.