How To Clean RV Awnings (5 Simple Steps)

RV awnings provide protection from the weather, sun, and other outside elements.

Because of this, they collect dirt and debris brought on by trees, bugs, rain, and so on.

Cleaning your awning is essential to extend its lifespan and keep it looking new.

So, let’s look at how to clean RV awnings in 5 simple steps, how to remove mold and mildew, and answer a few of the most frequently asked questions.

How To Clean An RV Awning (Quick Guide)

In a nutshell, cleaning your RV’s awning will require just five steps and will only take about 5 minutes (of actual work).

  1. Mix soap and water in a bucket and put it in a garden sprayer or a trigger sprayer.
  2. Spray the mixture on the underside of your awning — the part that’s not directly exposed to sunlight.
  3. Roll up your awning and let it sit with the mixture for at least one hour.
  4. Open your awning again and rinse it with water using a hose.
  5. Let your awning dry completely before closing it again.

This is arguably one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your awning back to its original state (or as close to original as possible).

Now, let’s go into a little more detail for each step.

Cleaning Your RV Awning (Detailed Guide)

Cleaning your RVs awning should take up no more than an hour, but the time you’re going to spend physically working on it should only be around 5 minutes.

Tip: I like to wash my RV between steps 3 and 4 (while the cleaner is sitting on the rolled-up awning) and then finish cleaning my awning when I’m rinsing off the RV.

Here are the five steps enumerated above but in a little more detail, so you know what other things to look out for.

Step 1: How To Make An RV Awning Cleaner (DIY)

Your RV awning cleaner can include any household soap that isn’t too harsh. Many RV owners like using dish soap because they’re softer on the hands than many laundry detergents. But, there are a plethora of cleaners you can use.

Hydrogen peroxide is a popular choice for a cleaner because it can kill bacteria and viruses more effectively than dishwashing soaps. You can also use car soaps and window cleaners, and even bleach if you have especially hard-to-remove stains.

Just know that bleach, if not properly diluted and left on your awning too long, may reduce the life span of your awning. We are not part of the camp that says absolutely no bleach. We’ve used it with success ourselves. But, be sure to use it properly and test it on a small part of your awning first to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration issues.

What Do We Recommend?

We recommend you use a simple and effective household dish soap like Dawn Ultra Dish Soap. Your mixture should be eight parts of water for every two parts cleaner.

If you need some extra cleaning power or you’ve noticed a little mold and mildew on your awning, we recommend you use Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover + Cleaner.

Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover + Cleaner

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Step 2: Spray Your Awning

Now that you’ve got your solution mixed and your sprayer ready to go, it’s time to learn how to spray the cleaner onto your awnings correctly.

Essentially, you need to cover the underside of the awning completely. If you’re cleaning them while they’re hanging, use a small stool so that you don’t strain your back.

An automatic sprayer will cut your workload in half. Just be sure that no other chemicals have been used in the sprayer before.

Step 3: Roll Up The Awning

When you’ve got the underside of your awning completely covered in your cleaner of choice, it’s time to roll it up.

Letting your awning sit with soap and water is an excellent motivator for cleaning other parts of your RV. Many RV owners, myself included, like to clean their interior and/or exterior as the awning soaks up the cleaner.

Side note: If you need help working your awning, check out our guide on how to open and close an RV awning.

Step 4: Open & Rinse Your Awning

After an hour, and hopefully, after you’ve done some more chores, you can unspool your awning and use a garden hose to rinse the underside and top.

If you’ve followed the soap-to-water ratio outlined above, it shouldn’t take you very long to rinse it off. But, if you went a little heavy on the soap, it might take a bit longer.

You can use a step stool if you’re washing awnings that are permanently attached to their frames.

Step 5: Let The Awning Dry Completely

Letting your awning dry is as simple as leaving it open and letting it dry in the sun. This method is the easiest but the longest part of the clean-up process. Drying an awning can take several hours.

Once it’s completely dry, simply close the awning and you’re done!

Awning Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

Awnings come in many different fabrics, but the two most mainstream materials are acrylic and vinyl.

Acrylic is not as waterproof as vinyl, but they can survive short showers without water penetration. However, if you pinch an acrylic awning on its underside while the top is wet, water will begin seeping through. It’s preferable to hose dirt, dead bugs, and other debris off your acrylic awning instead of scrubbing it, or you might reduce its water protection.

Vinyl is waterproof, but it has trouble adjusting to high humidity. While vinyl awnings themselves are highly resistant to mildew, fungus still grows on the dirt and dust that can accumulate as you use them outdoors. Make sure to regularly clean your vinyl awnings, especially when pulling them out of storage after a long time.

When using an awning after it’s been in storage for a while, you need to inspect it for stains and mildew. We recommend making it part of your camper winterization and de-winterization processes. You will have a more difficult time removing mildew from an acrylic awning, but most commercial cleaners, like Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover, can quickly kill and clear it away from both vinyl and acrylic material.

Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover + Cleaner

Star Brite Mold & Mildew Stain Remover + Cleaner

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Do not use wire brushes or other abrasive materials as they can tear through or poke small holes in your awning.

After cleaning, you should always allow your awning to completely dry in the sun, or mildew might start forming on it again.

FAQs

Can you pressure wash an RV awning?

Theoretically, power washing an awning seems like a great idea, but in practice, it’s a whole other ballgame. You need to be careful when using high pressure to wash your awning as you could potentially damage it and/or shorten its lifespan. Only use a power washer if you’ve power washed before and are very familiar with the pressure settings.

Can I use bleach on my RV awning?

Yes, you can use bleach to clean your awning. But, be sure to properly dilute the bleach and do not leave it on your awning fabric for too long, as it may reduce the lifespan of your awning. Also, it’s a good idea to test it on a small part of your awning first to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration issues.

How much does a new awning cost?

A new RV awning will cost between $250 and $2,500 on average. The total cost will depend on the type of awning material, the size of the awning, and if you have it professionally installed or not.

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