Having an awning on your RV means that you can enjoy your time outdoors even more. Pulling it out is a great way to create some shade so that you can be outside at all times of the day, and it can also protect you and your family from the rain. Of course, to ensure that your awning works the way it’s supposed to and lasts for as long as possible, you need to take care of it. This means taking the time to clean it.
How to clean an RV awning in 6 easy steps
Cleaning your awning can be a chore, but it is necessary. Below are the steps to take to ensure that your awning looks good, as well as to reduce the chances of mold or mildew growing on the surface.
Step 1: Determine What Type of Awning You Have
In general, there are two types of awnings that are placed on RVs: fabric and vinyl. You have to know what your awning is made out of to ensure that you are caring for it properly. If you have a fabric awning, it might also be referred to as “acrylic” or “canvas.” Should you have a vinyl awning, it will be more resistant to mold and mildew growth, but it’s still important to clean and dry it to prevent the growth of these items.
To start the cleaning process, you’ll want to extend your awning out as far as it will go. Add any of the supports to ensure that it stays flat and secure to make the cleaning process easier.
Step 2: Use the Right Cleaner
Once you have determined what type of awning you have, you can then find the right cleaner for the material. In many cases, whether you have a fabric or vinyl awning, you might be able to get it clean by hosing it off with clean water. If you notice that there are stains or mold growth, then using a cleaner and a brush might be necessary.
It’s possible to find special cleaners for awnings online, in stores or at an RV dealer. Should you decide you want to make your own, you have the option of mixing warm water with dish soap. You want to make sure the solution is bubbly, but this doesn’t require more than a few squeezes of the detergent.
If you are trying to get rid of mold or mildew, you might need to mix ¼ cup of bleach into 2.5 gallons of water. Of course, before mixing this solution together, you need to be aware that it could strip the dye out of a fabric awning, so you might consider using color-safe bleach or testing a small area before applying this cleaning solution to the entire surface.
It’s also advised that you only use bleach once every few years. Using bleach more often can shorten the life span of your awning. It’s best to only use this if you have incredibly stubborn mold that you can’t get rid of easily.
Step 3: Apply the Cleaner
You can place the cleaner into a spray bottle or leave it in the bucket. If you are using a spray bottle, you will spray the cleaner onto the underside of the awning, making sure to soak the entire awning. If you are using a bucket, you’ll want to use a brush to dip it into the cleaning solution and then apply it evenly to the surface of your awning.
Step 4: Scrub the Awning
When it comes to scrubbing dirt, mold and mildew from the surface of your awning, you’ll want to use a brush to help with that endeavor. If you have a fabric awning, you’ll want to use a stiff brush, while vinyl awnings require softer brushes.
Keep in mind that even though a fabric awning can withstand slightly harsher scrubbing, you still want to make sure that you don’t rip or tear the fabric. Vinyl awnings require a softer brush because they are covered with a special coating that helps reduce the growth of mold and mildew. Scrubbing too hard could remove this coating.
When it comes to both awning types, getting a brush with an extended handle can be incredibly beneficial and help you reach all areas. You might also consider using step ladder or regular ladder to access the top of the awning, but make sure to only use these on level ground and ensure that they are securely in place to reduce the chances of injury.
Once you have applied the cleaner to the awning, you can then use the brush to scrub any debris that might be present on the surface. Again, be cautious not to scrub too hard, as this can damage your RV awning.
If you don’t have a brush to clean your awning, all is not lost. After spraying the cleaning solution to the underside of the awning, you can then roll it up and let it sit for a few moments. This will ensure that the cleaner gets onto both sides of the material. You’ll then want to unroll it and hose it off with clean water.
This technique works best if you don’t have any stains or areas where mold and mildew are growing on your awning. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to invest in a brush to get it as clean as possible.
Step 5: Rinse the Awning
After you have scrubbed the dirt and debris from your RV awning with the brush, you will then need to rinse it off with clean water. Make sure to rinse both sides and ensure that you are removing every last bit of cleaner from the surface. If the water isn’t draining well from the top of the awning, you might consider pulling down one corner to create a lower area for the water to flow to.
Step 6: Let the Awning Dry
Once all of the dirt, debris and cleaning solution have been removed from the surface of the awning, you will need to make sure it is completely dry before you roll it back up. If it’s not, the chances of mold or mildew growing increases. Placing the awning directly in the sun can help with this endeavor. It’s also important to remember that if you live in a humid environment, it will take longer for the awning to dry.
If you want to ensure that the awning on your RV lasts for as long as possible, you need to take care of it. If possible, you never want to roll it up while it’s wet, as this can lead to mold and mildew growth. You’ll also want to clean it every so often to keep it looking amazing and functioning properly.
Done! Now you know how to clean an RV awning. 🙂
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