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How to Clean RV Awning? Top RV Awning Cleaners

Make sure your RV awning remains free of dirt, mildew, and stains. Here is how to clean your RV awning and the best awning cleaners.

How to clean RV awning

Whether you are a seasoned RV enthusiast or a new adventurer, one thing is certain: a well-maintained RV awning can significantly enhance your outdoor experience. From shielding you from the elements to providing a shady retreat on sunny days, your RV awning is essential to your home away from home. Not only that, a clean and well-maintained awning also adds aesthetic appeal to your vehicle and extends its lifespan. However, with exposure to the elements and regular usage, awnings can accumulate dirt, grime, and stubborn stains.


That is where the importance of proper cleaning and maintenance comes into play. Whether your RV awning is made of fabric or vinyl, it is crucial to regularly clean the awning to prevent mold, mildew, and other unsightly blemishes. But don’t fret if the job sounds tough! We will help you explore the ins and outs of cleaning an RV awning, from essential maintenance tips to the top awning cleaners that can restore your awning's pristine condition. So get your cleaning gloves on and prepare to get that shine back on your RV awning!

RV awning

Why You Need to Clean Your RV Awning Regularly

Keeping your RV awning clean is incredibly important for several reasons. A clean awning enhances the visual appeal of your RV by helping maintain the overall appearance and reflects your commitment to proper maintenance. Committed maintenance also ensures the longevity of the awning by minimizing wear and tear. Additionally, removing dirt, debris, and stains from your awning prevents the buildup of harmful substances like mold and mildew, which can cause damage and unpleasant odors. Issues arising because of this may cost much more than if you properly and regularly clean the camper awning.


By dedicating time to proper RV awning cleaning and care, you can enjoy a fresh, inviting outdoor space that adds value and comfort to your RV adventures. But how often should you do it? The quick answer: once a month when the camper is in constant use. The longer answer: it depends on where you are camping since windy, damp, and dusty environments require cleaning more often. However, it is always a good idea to clean the awning once after every trip and brush off any debris and gunk even when on the road to avoid accumulation.



Tips for Cleaning Your RV Awning

Here are some Do's and Don’ts of cleaning your RV awning that will help protect it from wear and tear.


Do's of Cleaning an RV Awning:

  • Inspect for damage:

Before starting the cleaning process, carefully inspect your RV awning for any tears, loose stitching, or signs of damage. Address any repairs needed before cleaning to avoid further damage during the cleaning process.

  • Choose the right cleaning method:

Different types of awnings require different cleaning approaches, so choosing an appropriate cleaning method and products is crucial. Consult your awning manufacturer's guidelines to determine the recommended cleaning method and suitable cleaning products. Using the right products ensures that the material won’t be damaged while cleaning the awning on the RV.

  • Be gentle:

Begin cleaning gently by removing loose dirt and debris using a soft-bristled brush or broom. Gently sweep the surface of the awning to avoid any potential damage. This step helps remove the initial layer of dirt before moving on to more intensive cleaning techniques.

  • Use awning cleaners for the hard stuff:

When it's time to tackle stubborn stains or dirt, use a mild detergent or a specialized cleaner for RV awnings. Be sure to follow the product instructions carefully to avoid a concentrated solution that could destroy the fabric. Apply the solution to the awning surface using a soft sponge or cloth and rinse thoroughly afterward to remove all traces of the cleaning solution.

  • Drying is crucial:

After cleaning, thoroughly dry the awning before retracting or storing it. Moisture can lead to mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors. Open the awning fully and let it air dry in a well-ventilated area. If possible, avoid folding or rolling up the awning until it is completely dry to prevent moisture buildup.


Don'ts of Cleaning an RV Awning:

  • No harsh cleaning tools:

Avoid using abrasive scrub brushes, steel wool, or harsh cleaning chemicals on your RV awning. These can cause damage, discoloration, or deterioration of the awning material. Stick to soft brushes, sponges, and gentle cleaning solutions that will protect the awning material while softly cleaning it.

  • Don’t wash with high pressure:

While it can be tempting, avoid using high-pressure washers to clean your RV awning. The force of the water can damage the fabric or vinyl and may even cause the awning to tear. Stick to manual cleaning methods or low-pressure sprayers if needed.

  • Don’t forget to clean the hardware!

Cleaning your RV awning involves more than just the fabric or vinyl surface. Remember to clean and inspect the awning hardware, such as the arms, brackets, and mechanisms. Wipe them down with a damp cloth and check for any signs of wear or loose components. Lubricate the moving parts as required.

  • Don’t apply the solutions for long:

When using cleaning solutions, try not to let them sit on the awning for extended periods. Some cleaning agents may have strong chemicals that can damage the awning material if left on too long. Follow the recommended contact time, and rinse thoroughly afterward.

  • Don’t use bleach!

Make sure not to use a bleach mixture for cleaning RV awning when using a DIY method. Bleach is known to weaken and deteriorate materials over time, potentially ruining the awning’s long-term use.


What Will You Need to Clean Your RV Awning?

Before getting to the cleaning stage, it's important to ensure you have all the cleaning supplies and tools you might need when cleaning RV awnings. Take a look at the list we have made below!

  • Ladder:

Make sure to have access to a sturdy ladder. You need to reach the higher sections of the awning safely to do a thorough cleaning, and a ladder will provide better access. However, before you begin, ensure the ladder is stable and positioned on a level surface to prevent accidents or injuries.

  • A 5-gallon bucket and clean water:

You will need a bucket to mix and hold your cleaning solution. Since you will need a sufficient amount of solution while cleaning, a 5-gallon bucket is recommended. Moreover, having access to a consistent and clean source of water is necessary to ensure thorough cleaning and rinsing at the end.

  • Hose:

A hose will help reach the spots that are difficult to reach with your hand, and a steady flow is required to ensure proper rinsing. However, be sure to adjust the water pressure to a gentle spray to avoid damaging the awning material while finishing up.

  • Long-reach bristle brush:

A bristle brush with sufficient reach is crucial for effectively scrubbing away dirt and stains from your RV awning. The brush should have soft bristles to prevent scratches or damage to the awning fabric and be long enough to reach all areas of the awning comfortably.

  • Mild detergent:

You will also need a detergent to make the cleaning solution. As recommended before, use a gentle detergent to ensure that the chemicals do not damage the material of the awning. Otherwise, dilute the solution by adding more water to reduce the effect of the harsh cleaners.



A Guide to Cleaning Your RV Awning

Cleaning your RV awning can be a daunting task for new RVers. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to clean your camper awning in just a few steps.


Extend the awning:

Make sure you have enough space to extend your awning all the way to clean it properly. Also, ensure that you are on level ground before using a ladder if you require one.


Inspect:

Before cleaning, inspect the awning for any damage, tears, or loose stitching carefully. If you find any damage or tears, try to make necessary repairs before starting to clean. Also, clean out any loose debris on the awning, such as leaves, twigs, etc.


Prepare the cleaning solution:

Fill the bucket with water and add a small amount of mild detergent or a specialized RV awning cleaner according to the product instructions. Mix the solution well before using it.


Apply the cleaning solution:

Dip the soft-bristle brush into the cleaning solution and begin scrubbing the awning. You can start at one end and work in small sections, applying gentle pressure to remove dirt, stains, and mildew. Be sure to pay some extra attention to heavily soiled areas!


Let the solution sit:

Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the awning with the solution, wait for it to work its magic. This step allows the cleaning solution to break down dirt and debris on the fabric, cleaning it exhaustively. Some even suggest that retracting the awning helps to apply the solution on the underside without extra work.


Rinse it off:

After 5 minutes, use a hose to carefully rinse the water from the awning to get every inch of the fabric. Make sure not to allow the solution to dry up before the rinse, as that could potentially damage the fabric in the long run.


Dry or repeat:

Allow the awning to dry completely before retracting or storing, as any dampness on the fabric can harm it in the long run. However, if you can still see dirt or spots on the awning after rinsing, repeat the process from step 4 until you are satisfied.



Top Five RV Awning Cleaners

With RV awnings being sensitive to overly strong solutions, we understand if you need more clarity about what cleaners to use. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best RV awning cleaners available in the market. Check them out below!


rv awning cleaner

Known for its UV protection and ability to restore the appearance of awnings, Aerospace Protectant is a versatile cleaner that helps prevent fading, cracking, and discoloration caused by sun exposure.


Price: $13


rv awning cleaner

One of the best cleaners for RV awnings, this heavy-duty product is designed to tackle tough stains, dirt, and mildew on RV awnings. It works well on both fabric and vinyl awnings, leaving them clean and refreshed.


Price: $21


rv awning cleaner

This all-purpose cleaner is a favorite among RV owners for its effectiveness in cleaning awnings, as well as other surfaces like tires, carpets, and upholstery. It is safe to use on various materials, including fabric, vinyl, and plastics.


Price: $42


awning cleaner

Thetford offers a specially formulated cleaner for RV awnings. It is designed to remove dirt, bird droppings, and tough stains without harming the awning material. It also helps protect against UV damage.


Price: $21


rv awning cleaner

If your RV awning is plagued by mildew stains, this cleaner is highly recommended. It effectively removes mildew stains, as well as mold and algae, restoring the awning's appearance.


Price: $39


Bonus: Homemade RV Awning Cleaner

If you do not want to use harsh chemical products to clean your RV awning, here’s a more budget-friendly homemade RV awning cleaner that can help remove mild to moderate stains. This natural recipe can also be used in case of emergencies, as it requires supplies that should be on hand, even when you’re out on an adventure.


All you need to do is combine an equal amount of water and vinegar in a bucket and add half of ¼ cup of dish soap into the bucket after measuring. Make sure not to overuse the dish soap as it could be harsh on the awning material and difficult to clean. Mix the solution well and use a soft brush to clean the awning. Voila!

RV essentials

How Can You Maintain Your RV Awning?

Cleaning is important to get your awning back to being new, but it is equally important to maintain its condition. Here are some tips on maintaining the RV awning post-cleaning that will protect the fabric from excessive wear and tear and prolong its use.

  • Proper storage:

Ensure that you properly store your awning after drying it. Dry places should be the go-to to prevent mold and mildew from growing on the awning.

  • UV protection:

Consider applying a protective coating or treatment specifically designed for RV awnings. These coatings can help repel water, resist stains, and provide UV protection.

  • Secure the awning when it is not in use:

When you're not using your RV or during spells of heavy rain, wind, or storms, retract or secure the awning to prevent damage. Sudden weather changes can cause the awning to become damaged or torn.

  • Inspect regularly for damage:

After cleaning, remember to inspect the awning regularly for any signs of damage, wear, or loose components. Repair any tears or loose stitching promptly to prevent further damage.

  • Lubricate the hardware:

Don't overlook the awning hardware during your cleaning routine. Regularly lubricate the moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer and wipe down the arms, brackets, and mechanics with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or residual cleaning solution to ensure smooth operation.


Conclusion

Say goodbye to your RV awning worries with a little bit of effort and a lot of care! With the right cleaning routine, appropriate tools, and suitable products, there’s nothing stopping your awning from being the cleanest, shiniest, and most well-maintained RV awning in the campground. Follow this guide for the best tips, how-to’s, and products, and you will be good to go. Happy RVing!




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