Living off the beaten path is exhilarating, but it can also take a toll on your Class B camper van or other RV, including your awning. From sun and moisture protection to adding extra square footage of living space, your RV awning is small but mighty! However, for many RV owners, it can be an overlooked area when it comes to routine maintenance. Help keep your RV awning clean and properly maintained with these tips from RVT.
Why Awning Maintenance is so Crucial
The last thing you want while exploring the great outdoors is for a damaged awning to leave you vulnerable. If you think your awning doesn’t make a huge difference, consider the following scenarios:
- By blocking direct sunlight, your Class A motorhome or other RV can stay cooler during those scorching hot summer days.
- If a pop-up storm leaves you scrambling to close your RV windows, your awning will help keep the rain out.
- If you need extra privacy from nosy neighbors, you can simply lower the awning enough to cover your windows.
Functionality aside, there’s also the financial aspect. Replacing your RV awning can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Proactive maintenance can prolong the life of your awning and your RV, saving you time and money.
3 Steps of Proactive Awning Maintenance
You should deep clean your awning at least once a year, but more frequently if your RV spends significant time parked under trees or in areas of high humidity. In between cleanings, practice these three maintenance tips:
1. Use a Protector and Some Protectant
If you don’t have one already, you might want to consider investing in (or, building your own RV awning protector!) a slipcover which fits over top of the case that holds your awning when it’s not in use. These handy protectors help keep debris out and moisture from seeping into your awning.
In addition to a handy slipcover-type protector for your rolled up awning, you should also consider applying a fabric protectant spray to your awning itself – after each cleaning – as well. This will help shield it against harmful UV rays while it repels water and other debris too.
2. Keep Your Awning Angled Down
A simple trick to keep your awning clean is to angle it slightly downward. Not only does this help prevent debris from accumulating, it also helps prevent water from pooling on your fabric, which could lead to stretching or tearing.
3. Be Mindful of Wind
Once winds blow sustainably at about 15mph, retract your awning so it doesn’t become a windsail. This also helps prevent joints from getting damaged from too much pressure and helps minimize the risk of damage to the fabric as well.
Step By Step: How to Deep Clean Your RV Awning
1. Gather Your Supplies
Change into clothes you don’t mind getting dirty (trust us on this one) and gather everything you need, including:
- Ladder or step stool
- Bristle brush with a handle attachment
- Water hose with spray nozzle
- Cleaning solution
- Bucket or spray bottle
- Protective eyewear like sunglasses or goggles
- Optional: a buffing sponge like a Magic Eraser
You can purchase a cleaning solution, or you can make your own by mixing up some dish soap or laundry detergent and water.
2. Prep and Examine Your Awning
- Unroll your awning and angle it down so you have clear access to the top and bottom.
- Brush away any loose debris.
- Check for tears or any loose attachments. If you have a fabric tear, cleaning may make it worse—in which case, you’re likely better off having it repaired or replaced.
3. Spray and Brush
- Soak both sides of the awning with your cleaning solution until it’s thoroughly soaped up.
- Optional: Roll your awning back up and let it sit for up to an hour, depending on how stained or dirty it is. Tip: If your awning is severely stained, you can let it sit a little longer.
- Unroll the awning and spray both sides again.
- Take your brush and gently scrub a section to loosen any dirt, mold or mildew.
- If you’ve got stubborn stains, try using a Magic Eraser sponge.
- Rinse that section, and repeat the process for each additional section until your entire awning is clean.
- Spray the entire awning again, along with the side of your RV, to get rid of any lingering soap.
- Leave your awning to air dry.
Important Tip: Let your awning air dry completely before rolling it up again, as residual moisture can cause mold or mildew.
Check out the RVT blog for ongoing tips & tricks about DIY RV maintenance, top RV destination spotlights, buying & selling an RV, and much more. And if you’re looking to buy your first RV, or upgrade from your current motorhome, browse all the inventory available for-sale on RVT.com.
By Audrey Somero
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