After repeated use of your RV, you will find you need to clean your awning. This can be because of a few reasons, yet the result is it just looks dirty.
Before you begin to clean an RV awning, there are things to know. The good thing is you can learn all this in our awning-cleaning guide, and you may be surprised to find you don’t always need to rush out and purchase a professional strength cleaner to do the job.
How Often Should I Clean My Awning?
It is a recommendation to break out the awning cleaner once per year before winterizing your RV for the winter.
However, much of this is based on a certain amount of use. It may differ for anyone who is full-time RVing. If you are using your travel trailer for full-time living, you may think it looks grubby more often.
If you are living life on the road, you can give your awning a quick clean to keep it nice and clean as not to spoil the look of your environment.
What are the Different Awning Fabrics?
You tend to find there are two types of awning fabric. You have vinyl awnings and fabric awnings. Each requires a different approach to cleaning and their upkeep.
You tend to find one company, Sunbrella®, manufactures the majority of fabric awnings, also known as canvas or acrylic.
Because the material is woven, some dirt can seep into the weave, so it presents a challenge to clean.
It offers high YV resistance, yet the water repellency coating can wear and will need re-applying. If you don’t maintain this, you can find mold and mildew set in where the fabric is damp.
One good thing with a vinyl awning is that it will be resistant to mold, mildew, and other substances that may soak into the weave. Bird droppings and sap from overhanging tree branches being two culprits.
Vinyl may not give the same appearance as a fabric, yet when cared for, you will find they are easier to maintain, and you don’t need a premium RV awning cleaner in the same way as fabric may.
Items Needed for Awning Cleaning
- Stool or ladder (optional)
- Cloths and brush (hose brush ideal)
- Awning cleaner for fabric (dish soap suitable for vinyl)
How to Clean Camper Awning
Step 1: Open the awning and drop it as much as you can. If the canopy is too high, you may need to use a step stool or a long-handled hose brush.
Step 2: Prepare your cleaning solutions.
DIY Solutions: It is easy to use some DIY solutions. Dish detergent is popular for cleaning RV awning and other areas. Some may use bleach, yet this can fade the fabric, and weaken stitching if used incorrectly.
Commercial Solutions: You can find all manner of awning cleaners to tackle every part of your cleaning.
You will discover mildew stain remover, cleaners to remove black streaks, and much more. High-quality cleaner brands such as Star Brite offer a multi-surface cleaner suitable for a wide range of marks and stains.
Be sure to check your awning surface cleaner is suitable for your awning and isn’t abrasive, caustic, or oil-based.
One of the worst things to get on an awning is tree sap. It is harder on fabric rather than vinyl. You may find none of your stain remover solutions work on sap, so popular RV cleaning tips may offer a better solution. (Learn How To Paint An RV Exterior)
Isopropyl alcohol is the most recommended option. You can use turpentine, yet this smells and may leave oily stains itself. Peanut butter is another solution, yet this contains oils that may stain after use.
Step 3: Brush away and dried on dirt or debris before rinsing the awning with water.
Step 4: Using a spray bottle, cover your awning with the cleaning solution. If you are using a long-handled brush, you can brush on a water and cleaner mix.
To be sure, your solution doesn’t dry, roll up the awning, and let it sit and soak for 5 to 10 minutes
Step 5: Unravel your awning and wipe across the fabric with a cloth or brush.
When looking at how to clean underside of camper awning, you may find you can reach every area by hand. It will also be cleaner than the outer part of your awning.
Without scrubbing too hard, you can use a soft brush on vinyl. Fabric may require a stiff brush to remove all stains. If there are small areas, it may be easier to use a toothbrush.
Step 6: Rinse your awning clean with water, and make sure there is no solution remaining. Bleach, as mentioned before, can weaken and rot fabrics if not washed away correctly.
Step 7: Leave your awning fully extended so it can air dry properly. If using a fabric awning, you may need to apply a water repellent coating.
For vinyl, you can purchase a fabric guard that adds UV protection and helps improve the ability to repel dirt.
RVers who live in their vehicles tend to their awnings regularly. However, one area they often forget to care for is the roofs. RV roofs are exposed to the sun and get covered in more debris than an awning will.
Because many roof coatings are depending on the type of vehicles and camper trailers, there are. It may be worth making sure you use the best RV roof treatments you can afford.
Your RV roof is the equivalent to a roof on a house, and it is the only thing protecting you from the elements while you are on the road.