By investing in an RV, you can enjoy a great outdoor living style. The awning if your RV is one of the vital parts of that living style.
The awning is basically used to keep you and your stuff safe from rain, and can keep the sun away as well. However, if you’ve used the awning of your RV in the past when travelling, you’ll know how dirty it can get.
Awning is one of the most abused parts of an RV. It can develop dust, dirt buildup, sap stains, mold and mildew in different types of climates. That’s why it is important for you as an RV owner to properly clean the awning of your RV to prevent the above mentioned problems.
So, of you want to keep your RV perfectly clean, you should know how to clean its awning properly. Also, you should know how often you’ll need to clean the awning of your RV in order to keep it safe and durable in the long run. You should in fact make RV cleaning a part of your regular RV cleaning routine.
Here are some steps that you should follow when cleaning the awning of your RV.
Why Clean The Awning in The First Place?
Before you learn how to properly clean the awning of your RV, it is important to know why you should clean it. This is fairly simple, as time passes by, you’ll need to maintain the awning of your RV in a good shape, or else it can degrade really quickly. There are quite a few protective measures that can help you keep the awning of your RV clean.
Cleaning on a regular basis is the best way to keep the awning perfectly clean in the long run. By cleaning, we don’t mean just dusting off the awning. In fact, we mean the process of deep cleaning your RV’s awning on order to get rid of materials like dust, dirt, grime, mold and mildew. Keep in mind that mold and mildew damage your RV’s awning in the worst possible way, so, you’ll need to keep them away. Never roll up the awning when it still wet, as this is the biggest cause of mold and mildew.
But there are certain circumstances when doing this isn’t practically possible, and you might end up thinking that the awning is dry when its still wet.
Whether the awning has mold and mildew or not, you should still clean it thoroughly at least once or twice in a year. However, doing some quick cleansing every couple of months and then a deep cleaning once a year is highly recommended.
Here are the actual methods to clean the awning of your RV.
Steps to Cleaning The Awning of Your RV
There are many ways of properly cleaning the awning of your RV. However, we’ll only mention two of the most effective methods in this article. Both of these processes are very similar in some steps, so, they’ll be mentioned together.
You do not need a bunch of materials in order to clean your RV, and you can get away with just a few materials.
All you’ll need is a water hose, a brush (soft or hard bristled depending on acrylic or vinyl awning respectively), cleaning solution, and a spray bottle.
This might sound surprising, but yes, that’s literally all you need to properly clean the awning of your RV.
Use The Hose First
Before you start the actual deep cleaning method, you’ll need to set up the awning of your RV for a deep cleaning. So, set the awning in the right way to start cleaning, and pick up a hose to start the process.
Use the hose to wash the awning of your RV thoroughly before moving on to the next step. This is an easy way of cleaning any loose debris on the awning.
When using a hose, spray water on both the top and the underside of the awning. If you use your RV often, or are a full time RVer, you can make a routine of regularly hosing off the awning to keep in perfectly clean in the long run.
This type of cleaning can be done once every two weeks, and then the deep cleaning can be done once or twice a year. However, let the awning dry completely before closing it after this type of cleaning.
Set Up The Cleaning Solution
When shopping for a cleaning solution, you can look for special cleaners made specifically for awnings. However, if that’s out of your cleaning budget, you can easily make a cleaner by yourself.
Making an At-Home Cleaner
- You can use a dish soap to clean the awning of your RV. This is a popular cleaner because a lot of people have it available in their house. Choose any dish soap, and it’ll do a fine job.
- Car soap can also be used.
- Hydrogen Peroxide works as well.
- Simple green is a great cleaner as well.
- Pinesol also does a wonderful job of cleaning RV awnings.
For Tree Sap Accumulation
- Isopropyl Alcohol (the best one)
- Peanut Butter
- Clorox Clean-Up Spray
- Formula 409
Making a Cleaning Solution By Yourself
Before using the spray, make sure that the bottle you’re using is clean. Use a bucket to keep the brush in if you’re using one. Cleaning agent and water should be mixed by two parts and eight parts respectively.
Do not use a bleaching agent on the awning unless you have a stubborn stain or a mold that you can’t remove with a brush and regular cleaning. And of you’re using the bleaching agent, only use it on the affected area instead of using it on the whole awning. Using a bleaching agent on a regular basis will definitely make the awning deteriorate quickly, and will only decrease its lifespan.
Also, never use anything causatic, abrasive or oil based when it comes to choosing the cleaning agents. These things will do more harm to your RV’s awning than good.
If you’ve chosen an cleaner that you’re unsure about, try it first on a small area ro see how it works. If it starts to discolor the fabric or damages it, stop using that cleaner and choose another safe one.
Use The Cleaner on The Underside First
Before going into the next steps, make sure that the awning is stabilized, ideally at an angle of 45 degrees. That is especially needed if you’re going to use a brush to clean it.
Cleaning the underside of your RV’s awning shouldn’t be complex. You can simply spray the underside of the awning with the cleaning solution. If your don’t own a spray bottle, you can easily dip the brush into the cleaning solution and rub it on the surface. However, choose the right bristle type for the brush according to the awning material as we’ve mentioned before.
Stiff bristled brushes are used for acrylic awnings, and soft bristled brushes are good for vinyl awnings.
Whichever cleaning solution you might end up choosing, make sure that you apply it thoroughly on the whole awning when cleaning it.
Use Brush to Apply The Cleaning Solution on The Top
It is usually easier to let the solution sit on top the awning by rolling it up. This should be done for at least an hour for the best results.
During this time, the cleaning solution will have enough time to get completely soaked up both from the inside and the outside of the awning to clean it deeply.
However, a brush with long handle can also be used to apply the cleaning solution on the top part of the awning. When using this minute, you should let the solution sit on the material for only about 5 minutes or so. You shouldn’t let the solution dry on the material.
But the method where you let the cleaning solution sit on the awning for a ling time is the best way to achieve a deep cleaning. Additionally, this is a lot easier than picking up a brush and rubbing it all over the top of the awning without missing any area.
Use The Hose Again
After applying the cleaning solution on the awning and allowing it to sit for an appropriate time according to your chosen cleaning method, you’ll have to use the hose again to wash the awning once again.
If you chose the rolling up technique, you’ll need to unroll it before using the hose.
Regardless of what method of cleaning you chose, you should properly rinse both the top and underside of the awning to clean it properly. After this process, there should be not cleaning solution left on the awning.
However, if you have some stains that haven’t gone away, you’ll have to use your brush to scrub those stains, and spray again to get rid of them.
Let The Awning Dry Completely
This is an important step in the awning cleaning process that you shouldn’t ignore. After the spraying and washing thing is done, you’ll need to give the awning proper time to dry before rolling the awning back up.
If you roll up the awning when its damp or wet, it will create a perfect environment for the mold and mildew to grow on the awning, and thus, all of your cleaning methods will be in vain.
If sunlight is available, let the awning dry in a sunny area. Sunlight will help in killing mold and mildew, and it will speed up the drying process as well. If the climate is humid, the awning will take a bit longer to dry.
Usually, the bottom part of the awning take longer than the top part to dry completely. However, if it’s taking too long, you can always use a fan to help it dry faster.
Does The Awning Material Affect The Cleaning Process?
Usually, the RV awnings are made of materials like acrylic, vinyl, or a heavy duty fabric for added durability.
However, a dominant percentage of RV’s have their awnings made of vinyl and acrylic. So, these materials are can determine the type of cleaning solution used to clean the awning. But the cleaning process is always the same.
Vinyl vs Acrylic
Since acrylic is a woven fabric, it are usually harder to clean as dust and dirt can hide between threads. But an benefit of this materials is that it is waterproof. However, the waterproof coating isn’t permanent, and ends up coming off as time passes. So, you should never scrub the awning aggressively when cleaning it, or else you might end up damaging it. You should also use waterproof sprays after cleaning the awning for longevity.
Since vinyl isn’t a porous material, it is much easier to clean. While vinyl is immune to molds, it is still damaged by mildew, and should therefore be cleaned properly as well.
Additionally, you shouldn’t let the cleaning solution sit for too long on vinyl as compared to acrylic which is unaffected by this process. Use the rolling up method, or simply use a brush to properly clean the awning if you have a vinyl awning.
Can I Pressure Wash The Awning?
Many RV owners also have this question.
The same answer is, while you can pressure wash the awning, it isn’t recommended. That is because pressure washing can harm the waterproof coating, and the material of the awning in general. So, it can do more harm than good. However, if you are pressure washing he awning, keep checking for any signs of damage.
How Often Should The Awning Be Cleaned?
The ideal rule of thumb of cleaning the awning of your RV at least once every year. And .ore of the RVers do this befire winterizing their RV and putting it in the garage. You can also clean the RV before the camping season starts.
For those who use their RV year round, the best method is cleaning the awning whenever it starts looking dirty.