One of my least favorite tasks to do when I’m doing maintenance on my RV is cleaning the awning. However, over the years I’ve learned several tricks to efficiently clean my awning and, in this article, I’ll share some of my tips for cleaning your RV’s awning as well as the proper tools you’ll need for this task.

Get yourself a hand pump sprayer

One of my favorite tools for cleaning my awning as well as other areas of my RV is a hand-held spray bottle. This model made by Chapin, is my preferred tool for this task as it is reasonably inexpensive, sturdy and best of all, it’s made in the United States.

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Chapin 20541, 1 Gallon Lawn, Garden and...
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This tool is easy to operate too. Simply fill it with your cleaning solution, unlock the handle which also acts as the air pressure pump and then pump some air into the tank, lock the pump handle back in place and now you’re ready to begin cleaning your awning.

Preparing your cleaning solution

For both vinyl awnings and acrylic awnings, it’s especially important that you have the proper cleaning solution to avoid damaging to avoid damaging your RV. I like to use my own solution (versus buying a prepared RV awning cleaner) that consists of 1 ½ tablespoons of bleach, one tablespoon of Dawn dish soap per gallon of water.

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Start by putting your bleach into the sprayer tank. It’s important that you use the recommended amount of bleach because it’s a corrosive agent and too much of that will degrade your RV’s awning material.

The reason I use Dawn dish detergent is because it’s the best detergent I know of that cuts grease. While it’s highly unlikely that your awning will be exposed to grease, it is likely that it will be exposed to tree sap, especially if you are camping under evergreen trees and over time I have discovered that this brand of detergent works best when dealing with tree sap and even bird excrement.

Once you have added the detergent and bleach to your tank, slowly fill it with water to avoid the detergent from getting the cleaning solution too sudsy. Now you’re ready to pressurize your tank and begin the first step of cleaning your awning.

Starting the cleaning process and taking a break or nice walk

When you start cleaning your awning, you should first extend it fully out and to its lowest setting. Once you have done that, use your sprayer to disperse a good layer of the cleaning solution on the upper and lower sides of your awning. For this step, you may need a good ladder and I recommend a ladder that can extend to full-size length or be foldable to save your valuable storage place when not in use.

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Once you have fully sprayed your awning with the cleaning solution, retract the awning and let it soak within its holding casing and go for a hike or just sit down and chill for an hour or so. This will allow your cleaning solution to do its stuff and remove or breakdown any mildew or residue that has built up since you last cleaned the awning.

Giving the awning a good scrubbing

After you’ve let the cleaning solution do its stuff, extend your awning, and use a soft bristle brush to gently clear away any mildew that may have developed while the awning was retracted.

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It’s important to keep in mind that while your awning is retracted and you may be storing it for the season, moisture can still get into the awning cannister and you will have a mold or mildew issue. Clearing that out as soon as you can is vital to keeping your awning in good shape.

In short, give it a good soak with your cleaning solution, then give it a good scrub with the brush.

Once you’ve given your awning a good soaking and scrub, you’ll need to rinse the bleach and detergents off from the awning. One of the most important tools for this task is a hose and of course an appropriate hand-held sprayer to rinse those surfaces. If you’re staying at a place that allows you to use their water for these tasks, by all means take care of that. However, if you’re at a location that prohibits or limits this type of water usage, then you should probably limit that use to a gallon of water and cleaning agents within your hand-held sprayer and a gallon of water to rinse off your RV’s awning surfaces.

Final thoughts

Thanks again my friends and fellow campers. It’s a pleasure sharing my thoughts and ideas with you and I truly look forward to seeing you out on the road someday.

If you’re upgrading the outdoor area of your RV, be sure to read this guide on the best awning lights for your RV as well.