Owning a RV comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of them is cleaning the awning. Due to their exposure to outside elements, awnings get dirty from time to time. You want to clean your RV coverage immediately to prevent the mess from soaking into the material. This post contains a guide for how to clean RV awning.
What cleaner to choose?
Before you start cleaning the awning, you have to prepare the supplies. Basically you will need a rag, a brush, a hose, and a cleaning solution. You can go for a soap and water mixture or a store-bought agent. For tree sap you will need isopropyl alcohol. Bleach can also be an option, but you have to test it first on an inconspicuous area on the awning. Many RV owners do not trust bleach, replacing it with safer alternatives like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
How to clean RV awning
Step 1. Prepare the awning
Start by sweeping away the leaves and big debris from the awning. Use a hose to clear away loose dirt and make the surface ready for cleaner application. You don’t want leaves and dirt to fall on furniture and food. That’s why, move all the stuff away before grabbing the hose or brush.
Step 2. Apply the cleaning solution
Cover both sides of the awning with cleaner. The best is to use a spray bottle to spread the agent evenly and in generous amount on the fabric. Roll up the awning and allow 5 minutes for the cleaning solution to soak into the fabric. If you can’t reach to the top of the RV coverage, use a step stool or a ladder.
Step 3. Wipe
Roll the coverage back out and wipe it with a clean rug. If you deal with stubborn stains, take a brush and scrub with a little more force to lift the dirt. If you can’t reach to all dirt, attach the brush to a pole. Do not scrub too hard as it can stretch the awning, making it look unaesthetic. The fabric may also tear under excess pressure. If you see tree sap, use a toothbrush soaked in isopropyl alcohol to remove it. Don’t get discouraged if the tree sap doesn’t disappear with your first efforts to remove it. Keep scrubbing until it finally gives in.
If you spot mold on your RV cover, use bleach to get rid of it. If bleach fails the safety test, use vinegar instead. Its acidity is also effective against mold. It would be perfect if you allowed the vinegar to sit on the mold stain for an hour or so. This will save you scrubbing efforts.
Step 4. Rinse
Rinse the awning with your hose. Rinse for a couple of minutes to make sure no residue of bleach or vinegar remains on the fabric. Bleach is especially dangerous as extended exposure to it leads to fabric damage.
Step 5. Allow to air-dry
After rinsing, give your awning the chance to dry naturally under the sun. If rain is coming or you have to change the location of your RV, wipe the awning dry with paper towels or a rug. Then, roll it up. Never roll up the awning while it is wet, as it gives green light for mold to grow and multiply. Once the RV coverage is completely dry, you can apply a protectant on the fabric to keep water, dirt and UV at bay.
Cleaning acrylic vs vinyl awning
Most of the time, RV awnings are either acrylic or vinyl. Each material has their pros and cons and are cleaned in slightly different ways.
Acrylic awnings are more difficult to clean because of their porous surface that leisurely absorbs dirt. If you don’t act immediately after the stain occurrence, you will have to spend more time later on its removal. Another thing that makes acrylic awning cleaning challenging is its water repelling protective layer. If you scrub too hard, you will peel off that layer. To give your acrylic coverage the best cleaning, scrub it gently with a stiff brush soaked in a soapy mixture or a store-bought detergent for acrylic surfaces. If you notice the fabric doesn’t repel water anymore after cleaning, it means the repellant coat has scrubbed off. You can fix it by applying a fresh coat.
Vinyl awnings don’t have an absorbent surface, which makes them easier to clean. Another good news is that mildew doesn’t grow on vinyl. It grows, though, on the dirt that settles on the awning. To clean the vinyl RV coverage use a soft brush and a sudsy solution either from the supermarket or homemade. Just like in case of acrylic awnings, avoid scrubbing the material with vigor. You risk removing the mildew-proof coat. You can always make sure your awning is mildew-resistant by applying a new coat at an interval of several months.
How often to clean RV awning
You should clean your RV awning at least once a year for maintenance purpose. If you actively use the awning throughout all seasons, make sure to clean it 3 times a year. If you hit the road on your motorhome ocassionally, give its awning a deep clean twice a year. When your RV coverage gets dirty, it’s time to clean it. Don’t wait for the calendar cleaning day to come. Use the supplies on hand to remove the dirt or tree sap before it penetrates the fabric.
Owning a RV with awning makes it imperative to know how to clean RV awning. Being exposed to leaves, tree sap, dirt, the coverage can easily end up with a mess on its top. It makes it unaesthetic and hard to roll up. Moreover, the leaves deshape and stretch the fabric with their weight. That is why, you have to take RV awning cleaning seriously. Clean it 1-3 times a year depending on how often you pull it out and every time it gets dirty. Use the cleaning supplies and techniques recommended in this post to get your awning spotless and prevent its damage.