If taken care of properly, your RV awning can be your best friend. While not an essential part of your rig, your RV awning provides shade, protects you from the elements and adds living space to your campsite. It can also be costly to repair or replace an RV awning! With the right maintenance and cleaning methods, your RV or camper awning can last for years to come!
Your RV awning should be cleaned every few months, depending on how much you use your rig. At the minimum, you should clean your RV awning at the end of each season before storing your travel trailer away for the winter. If you park near or under trees, you will want to keep up with any tree sap deposits. If you see any mould or mildew developing, now is definitely the time to clean.
Vinyl awnings are the easiest to clean and maintain, as they are non-porous and mildew-resistant, although not mildew-proof. Mildew can still form on the surface dirt and debris and must be eliminated to avoid further damage or spread.
Acrylic awnings are made of a breathable, woven fabric that is much more susceptible to mould, mildew and stains. Most acrylic awnings are also finished with a water-repellent coating, so avoid scrubbing too hard as to avoid removing the finish.
Here are the six basic steps to make sure that your RV awning is properly cleaned and maintained for years to come!
Whether you are using a commercial RV awning cleaner or a DIY home solution, it is always best to test clean a small, inconspicuous area to be sure that the cleaner does not discolour or harm your RV awning fabric.
There are a variety of RV awning cleaning products available which are designed to remove dirt, mould, mildew and tree sap from your awning while conditioning the fabric. Some RV’ers swear by a homemade solution of dish soap and water, or even a bleach and water solution. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for recommendations before you decide which is best for your needs.
No matter where you are doing your cleaning, be aware of your surroundings and how the run-off may affect grass, plants or wildlife.
Open up your RV awning as far as it will go without raising the side arms to adust it to the lowest position. You may need a ladder, step stool, broom or a long-handled brush to reach all areas.
Sweep away any standing debris then use a hose to wash away any dirt from the top and bottom of your awning. Keep the water temperature less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Apply your chosen cleaning solution to the awning using a spray bottle, brush or pressure washer. Be sure to mind the pressure so as to not tear or damage your awning fabric. Completely cover the awning fabric, top and bottom, then roll in your awning to let the solution sit for at least 5 minutes.
Re-open your awning and wipe away any remaining spots. DO NOT scrub, as hard scrubbing will remove the protective layer of your awning. A toothbrush will work great for small, stubborn stains while a rag, sponge or brush will do the rest of the job. For acrylic awnings, use a stiff brush. For vinyl awnings, use a soft brush.
Thoroughly rinse your RV awning using your hose or pressure washer. Be sure to remove all traces of cleaning solution to avoid damage or discolouration, especially if you have used a bleach-based solution.
Allow your RV awning to air-dry completely before closing and storing. Let Mother Nature do the job, without heaters or fans. High humidity can slow the drying process so be patient.
Never roll or store a wet RV awning! This is a recipe for mould, mildew and dry rot that can destroy your awning
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