How to Clean Your RV Awning

It’s important to clean your RV awning regularly. Anyone with experience out on the road in a motorhome knows how precious an awning is. It offers you shade and a place to gather with friends and camp neighbors. 

Moreover, it’s an extension of your living space, like an outdoor living room. It’s crucial to keep your clean and fresh. That all begins by learning to properly care for your RV awning. 

When it comes time to clean your RV awning, it’s often not as straightforward as people think. That’s why we put together this cleaning guide! Read on to learn how to keep your awning clean and fresh. 

RV Awning Materials: What’s Your Awning Made Of?

In order to better understand RV awning care, it’s crucial to know what it’s made out of. Typically, they come in two different materials: acrylic and vinyl. However, the materials react in different ways to different cleaners. 

With this in mind, it’s important to follow the instructions specific to the type of RV awning you have. There are pros and cons to both materials. When you want to buy a new one, be sure to choose a material that holds up to the conditions you find yourself in most often.

Vinyl RV Awning Care Guide

The fabric in a vinyl awning is a marine-grade material. It has resistance to mildew but is not mildew-proof. When you spend a lot of time in humid, hot climates, it is easy for mildew to form quickly. This is especially true if you roll it up while it’s wet. 

Luckily, when you want to clean your RV awning, vinyl is pretty easy to clean. Generally speaking, it requires no special cleaners to restore it to its former glory. With warm soapy water and a soft brush, you have what you need to care for it. 

Consistent Cleaning

Often, awning cleaning products contain bleach. This actually damages vinyl awnings. To keep your awning clean and looking fresh, it’s important to avoid harsh cleaners. 

Instead, look for a mild cleaner like basic dish soap. With a soft brush, gently scrub the surface. It’s important not to scrub the awning too hard. That’s because this can remove coatings on the surface. Since vinyl isn’t porous, it’s pretty simple to clean. 

For added protection, you might consider adding a protectant like a 303 Aerospace Protectant to prevent damage from UV rays, cracking, and fading. 

Acrylic RV Awning Care Guide

In some cases, acrylic RV awnings require a bit more care. While they tend to dry more quickly, the coating that repels water degrades over time. As this happens, the material begins to absorb water. 

Without proper treatment, this fabric also has the potential to pick up permanent stains. 

Consistent Cleanings

When you want to clean your RV awning thoroughly, start with a brush to take off any loose dirt. After that, hose it down and scrub it with a light soap. Again, a dishwashing soap does the trick. 

Once that soapy solution soaks in, rinse it thoroughly and let the awning air dry. 

Deep Cleanings

At times, an acrylic awning requires a little more effort. While the material doesn’t promote the growth of mold or mildew, it’s still possible to see it. This is especially true if you have a habit of rolling up your awning when wet. 

For a deeper clean, follow these steps. 

  1. Prepare a solution of soap, water, and bleach. Per gallon of water, use one cup of bleach and about ¼ cup of soap. 
  2. Coat the awning in this mixture. Allow it to soak for about 15 minutes.
  3. Clean the surface with a soft brush. 
  4. Rinse the awning to remove all the residue. 
  5. Finally, allow the awning to air dry. 

In some cases, deeper cleans damage the protectant finish on the awning. As you clean your awning, keep this in mind. Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to apply another coat. When applied correctly, the protectant restores its ability to repel water and stains. 

Kick Back in the Shade

Now that you know how to clean your RV awning, it’s time to relax. With a fresh, clean awning, you have a beautiful, shady space to kick back and stay cool. Remember, it’s important to properly care for your awning. 

It protects you from rain and harsh sun, so you should pay it back for all its effort. The only other thing to remember is to roll it up before you hit the road.