Kingsdown SchoolBackground: 
UK Specialists in Tensioned Fabric Structures and Pods Since 2000

Time for a Spring Clean?

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance for your Tensile Fabric Structure

How to keep your fabric canopy in tip top condition…

Spring is traditionally the time to give your house a good clean and get everything sparkling and in order.

The same principal should apply to your tensile fabric structure. Installing a fabric structure is not a cheap option and once you have made that investment, you should ensure that the structure is maintained to ensure it remains as good as it did when it was first installed.

Extend the lifespan of your structure

By including regular cleaning and maintenance in your annual calendar, a tensile fabric canopy will not only stay looking in tip top condition, but it will also extend its lifespan considerably.

Cleaning the canopy also offers the perfect chance to examine the canopy for any damage, blocked water routing or perhaps evidence of vandalism. The frequency of this will really depend on a number of factors: including the shape of the canopy, the type of fabric used, its position in relation to trees and traffic and any other airborne dirt.

As a general guideline we recommend that a canopy should be cleaned and have a maintenance check annually. Our maintenance department cleans many canopies yearly – but as you can see from the images here, clients often leave long periods between cleans, allowing dirt to build up that can be tough to remove, potentially threatening the lacquer layers on the fabric.

Exterior canopies are best cleaned in-situ* to avoid damaging the canopies while taking them down and re-erecting them. The topside of external horizontal surfaces tend to collect the most dirt and in our experience the underside of canopies only require a light clean. 

We always recommend that canopies are cleaned on cooler, cloudier days if possible (when the fabric is cold). Cleaning on a warm day means warm fabric which may dry too quickly and risk streaking.

In normal circumstances the following method is effective:

  • Remove loose surface dirt and leaves etc by spraying with water.
  • Apply cleaning solution diluted to its specification – a non-solvent washing up liquid is great . This can be done with low pressure spraying equipment, sponges or soft brushes.  The solution should then be left for several minutes to allow time for it to act on the dirt.  During this time the use of soft brushes or sponges may be found to be beneficial to loosen heavy deposits.
  • Rinse off the mixture of dirt and cleaning agent with large quantities of water or high-pressure hoses. The latter should be used with caution as the extremely high nozzle pressures developed by some of these devices could puncture the fabric or damage seam areas.  A cleaning rate of 1-3 minutes per square metre of fabric should normally be adequate providing access is readily available.

We also clean and maintain interior canopies - the images below show a series of suspended canopies which were vacuumed to remove dust, gently cleaned with wipes and then reinstalled. We do this on an annual basis for this Visitor Centre and Café.

Tensile Fabric Ltd will always be happy to provide a quotation for a full maintenance and repair programme. Contact us for more information.


* It should be noted that the fabric is extremely slippery when wet and personnel operating at high level on the fabric canopies should wear a harness connected to the head rings at all times.  Allowances have been made for this by design in accordance with CDM regulations.



By Abi Smith, 3/28/2024