An outdoor shade sail is a great way not only to keep cool but also to protect you from the harmful effects of exposure to ultraviolet rays. Shade sails are hard-wearing and long-lasting, but a little routine care and maintenance will help keep them looking their best over years of use.
Correct installation is the first step in keeping your shade sail looking its best. A shade that's too loosely fitted will flap in the wind, increasing stress on the fabric and fittings and reducing its lifespan. Follow the manufacturer's instructions precisely when you're setting up the sail to avoid a loose fit.
Over time, a shade sail can accumulate a layer of wind-blown dust, leaves, bird droppings and other debris. This is harmless but should be dealt with regularly; simply clean the surface of the fabric gently with a soft-bristled brush to remove any debris. Giving each sail a few minutes of attention at regular intervals -- once every month or two -- will help keep your shades looking good.
If you have to deal with more difficult stains, you can wash your shade sails with a solution of water and mild detergent. Wet the entire surface of the sail, then scrub it using the detergent solution and a soft brush. Once you're done, let the detergent stand for a few minutes before rinsing the sail completely. Don't use a high-pressure hose; a steady but gentle stream of water will do the job. Rinse the sail completely to remove all detergent buildup.
Once you've washed your shade sail, you'll need to dry it. Spread it out in the sun to dry. Check thoroughly that the sail is dry, especially if you're putting it into storage rather than putting it back up. A damp sail can suffer from mildew or other damage while being stored. Make sure the place you'll be storing your shade sail is clean and dry.
Take it down
If possible, take your shade sail down when it isn't going to be in use, especially if the weather is going to be bad. Regular rain and wind are no threat, but heavy weather can cause damage, so keep your sales safely stored away during the worst of it if you can. Many owners choose to keep their shade sails in storage during the winter when they're unlikely to be in regular use.