How to Clean RV Awning – Quick and Easy Steps to Care and Maintain your Awning

For those who enjoy traveling and living on the road, there is no better choice of a vehicle than the big three: trailers, campers, and RVs. One important fixture of an RV is the awning. What is an awning? Well, basically it is a built-in tarp that is located at the sides of the RV which you can extend to create a makeshift roof. This, in turn, creates a little porch outside your RV where you can sit back and relax under a cool shady area.

Awnings are important especially if you are always on the road with your RV. It creates a comfortable space outside your RV where you can set up tables and chairs for a little R and R. Awnings are extremely easy to set up and disassemble. However, while your RV’s awnings appear to be quite sturdy you will still need to care and maintain it properly if you wish for it to last for a long time.


Two Types of RV Awnings

Before learning how to clean and take proper care of your RV awning, you need to first know what type of awning you have. There are two types of materials used in making an awning: fabric and vinyl. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages as well as their own specific method of cleaning and maintenance.

1. Fabric Awnings

Fabric awnings, also called as canvas or acrylic, are made of breathable textile. They can tolerate UV rays better than vinyl and will dry exceptionally quick. Fabric awnings are also coated with a special waterproof and stain proof finish.

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The downside to a fabric awning is its susceptibility to wear and tear. Over time, the coating on the fabric will start to fade and once it takes its toll, you fabric awning will become harder to dry and could even lead to leaks. The only way to prevent this is by proper maintenance.


2. Vinyl Awnings

Awnings that are made of vinyl are mildew resistant but are not mildew proof. This makes vinyl awnings a great choice if you travel in an area that is warm and humid.

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Cleaning vinyl is relatively easy but you must avoid using awning cleaners. Awning cleaners usually contain bleach which is harmful to vinyl. If you have a vinyl awning, choose a cleaner with no traces of bleach.


Cleaning Both Fabric and Vinyl Awnings

There are three main practices you can do in order to help maintain your awning’s quality:

  • Step 1: Choose a high-quality awning cleaner that works great on cleaning fabric and vinyl awnings.
  • Step 2: Once you are finished cleaning the awning you should apply a protection to its surface. You will need different protections for both fabric and vinyl awnings. If you have a fabric awning then use a high-quality fabric guard while vinyl awnings will need a high-quality surface protection.
  • Step 3: Regularly clean and apply the protection to your awning. This will effectively increase its longevity and will be more tolerant to mildews and stains.

RV Awning Maintenance Tips

Now, cleaning is just one side of the coin when it comes to taking care of your RV awning. You should also know the important guidelines in maintaining your RV’s awning.

Tip 1: Learn How to Operate your Awning

Each awning will most likely use a different approach when operating. It depends on the manufacturer so always take your time with an instruction manual. One key element of using the awning is the rafter knobs. Remember to loosen this when operating the awning.

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Once the awning is open make sure that the knobs are locked in place. Familiarize yourself by practicing opening and closing the awning. This helps when you need to operate it an emergency.


Tip 2: Use the Awning Properly Depending on the Weather

Obviously, you will be using the awning primarily when it is raining. However, you should take into account how you set it up during a downpour. You should open it with a lower slant in order to let the rain slide off and not collect on the surface.

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Having water collect at the top will put a tremendous strain on the metal frames and might even cause it to bend. In the instance when strong winds are also present then you should avoid opening the awning to prevent any damage. This also applies to when there is a heavy snowstorm.


Tip 3: Do not Use any Abrasive Cleaners

Use water and soap. Avoid using any type of brush as you might cause the fabric or vinyl to tear over time. If you will be using bleach then makes sure it is safe to use on the fabric or vinyl.

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Don’t dry the fabric or vinyl by subjecting it to the heat of the sun. Air drying your awning is the safest method.

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Tip 4: Make Sure the Awning Dry Before Folding/Storing

One key tip I can give when it comes to making sure your awning stays sturdy longer is to ensure it is dry before you fold and store it. Storing the awning while it is still wet will cause mildews to form and could even cause an unpleasant odor.

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Tip 5: Do a Regular Checkup on your Awning

Inspect your awning every once in a while. This will allow you to spot any damages early so that you can take the necessary steps for repairs. Apply a regular coating of silicone spray to provide protection for your awning.

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5 Common Mistakes in RV Awning Care

You should also be aware of the following common mistakes RV owners do when it comes to using their awnings. These mistakes can cost you in repairs so it is best to avoid them from the get go.


#1. Never Ever Leave Your Awning Unattended

If you will be going on a hike or leaving your RV for a lengthy amount of time then you’d better make sure your awning is closed and secure. Weather can change without a moment’s notice. The last thing you want is to have your awning out while a strong gust of the wind or a thunderstorm rolls in.

See How to Open & Close RV Awnings...


#2. Secure RV Starting up

Make sure that your awning is completely secure before starting up your RV. There have been some cases where the awning suddenly falls open while the RV is on the move which is extremely hazardous for you and for other drivers on the road. Double check the locks and straps to ensure they are tightly secured.

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#3. Clean Your RV Regularly

Again, most will usually use their RV for months on end without cleaning the awning at least once. This is a huge mistake as mildew, stains, and rot can damage the fabric. Clean it regularly, clean it properly and dry it out before folding.

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#4. Dry Your Awning Before Folding It Back

Do not fold your awning while it is still wet. Air dry your awning before rolling or folding it back into place. Mildew will form if you don’t and chances are your awning will develop an unpleasant odor.

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#5. Apply lubricant to prevent grease on the awning’s steel frames

As the frames will be under attack by the natural elements regularly it is more susceptible to corrosion and rust. Prevent this by applying a lubricant. Do not use oily substances though as it might cause dirt to clog the joints. Instead, use a lubricant spray.


Conclusion

If you have an RV then you probably use your awning regularly. Protecting your RV awning is easy as long as you avoid the common mistakes. Cleaning is as easy as one-two-three but knowing the proper steps before and after is essential.

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Comment down below if you found this article helpful or if you have anything to add. As always, coming in prepared with the right information is an essential part of outdoor activities. Never get caught with your pants down and arm yourself with the right gear and know how.

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I guarantee you will be enjoying every single one of your camping trips if you come prepared.

Kevin Smith

About the Author

Kevin Smith

Ahoy there! The name’s Kevin Smith, the proprietor of this little travel and outdoors blog. The outdoors has always been a passion of mine since I was a kid as my parents were avid campers themselves. They taught me everything I know when it comes to camping, hiking etc. and I would like to do my part by imparting my know-how to like-minded individuals who enjoy the same hobby as me.I started this website in the hopes of helping other people when it comes to answering questions, giving tips and recommendations focusing on the camping niche. Along with some close friends of mine, we are here to help you make the most out of your outdoor experience. Enjoy your stay and enjoy the wild side!

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