How to soft wash canvas awnings, canopies, marquees & umbrellas (video)

September 27, 2016 1 Comment

How to soft wash canvas awnings and umbrellas (video how-to)

How to soft wash canvas awnings, marquees and umbrellas

We've been asked about the best ways to soft wash canvas canopies, awnings and umbrellas to remove green and black staining.
The diversity of materials makes it challenging to provide precise recommendations without knowing the specific type of material in use. If the material is PVC, then Lightning Cleanze at a dilution of 5-10:1 will work effectively.
However, if the material is canvas, although the Lighting Cleanze will work, caution is advised.

Benz Lightning Cleanze can be used on canvas at a dilution of 10:1 but we only suggest using it as a “rescue” cleaner on old canvas that is in a very bad way.

Click below to watch our how-to video about soft washing canvas


    (Lightning Cleanze is the new name for "Blackwash" mentioned in the video, and Bio Cleanze is the new name for Biocidal Wash)

    Be very careful when soft washing canvas awnings and umbrellas, because ...

    1. Treating canvas could change the colour. A small unseen test patch will tell you what the results will be. It all depends on the condition of the canvas, whether natural or synthetic, and if the material it has a protective coating.

    Quick tip: If the canvas has recently been treated with a good quality protective water-proof coating then it will probably be safe to soft wash it.

    2. Lightning Cleanze could potentially damage natural fibres like cotton and hemp, and could lighten the colouring of non-porous artificial materials. This is especially true if used to regularly maintain canvas.

    Over time stitching and natural canvas fibres may start degrading.

    To reduce the possibility of damaging the canvas, keep the contact time of Lightning Cleanze to a minimum and rinse thoroughly.

    3. Benz Bio Cleanze diluted 40/50:1 is our preferred choice for cleaning canvas canopies, awnings and umbrellas, especially for repeated maintenance treatments.

    Bio Cleanze will take longer to work than Lightning Cleanze. So we suggest treating the canvas, allowing it to activate and dry for up to a couple of hours, then lightly rinsing it.

    Quick tips:
    1) Bio Cleanze does not usually need rinsing. But when treating canvas canopies, awnings and umbrellas we strongly suggest rinsing. This is because rinsing will avert any possibility of diluted Bio Cleanze dripping onto people who sit under the canopy when it's raining. The danger is extremely small but better to be safe than sorry.

    2) If needed, it's a good professional practice to spray canvas with a water-proofing agent following cleaning. Waterproofing agents for canvas are often added during manufacture but tend to wear off over time through natural weathering and repeated cleaning.


    Click here to get more practical soft washing how-to tips

    How to find answers to most soft washing questions: Simply enter a relevant "keyword" or short phrase – e.g. keyword for the above link = "how to" – into our in-site Search Engine (magnifying glass icon on the main menu).

    You can order Benz Softwash chemicals & equipment online or by phone:

    GB (England, Scotland, Wales)

    Phone: 0800 70 74 222 


    Ireland and other countries

    Phone: 00353 214 622 978


    Lines open Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm

    Please note: The above numbers are for orders only (click here for tech support)

    We hope this information is helpful and sincerely wish you great success in your soft washing business,

    Ben, Leo, Fiona, Stevie & Anthony

    PS: After completing the first soft wash treatment, put your customer on a "Clean & Maintain" ongoing maintenance programme. Your customers will enjoy a permanently clean property and you will enjoy a steady stream of repeat business.

    This is clearly a win-win arrangement for both customer and contractor.


    Click here to explore the extensive range of Benz softwash cleaning chemicals & equipment

    Benz Softwash Bio Cleanze DDAC biocide & Benz Softwash Lightning Cleanze SH sodium hypochlorite biocide

    1 Response

    Elina Brooks
    Elina Brooks

    January 02, 2023

    Thank you for your warning when you told us that soft washing our canvas canopies may change their colors, which is why it’s best to do a small unseen test patch first before doing so. I want to add more outdoor recreational spaces in my garden soon, so I’m considering canvas canopies as my friend suggested. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for a provider to contact for canvas canopies soon.

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