If you have an RV, you are a lucky person! An RV (or recreational vehicle) allows you to travel wherever you want and whenever you feel like.
With this “house on the wheels” you can spend a lovely vacation anytime you feel like!
And of course, it is a dream of each and every one to sit under a tent of your RV on a warm summer evening drinking beer with friends and enjoying life and good talks!
However, owners of these vehicles often face the same issue that comes with the tent of their RVs: how to clean an RV tent (also known as awning) to keep it mildew-free and dust-free?
And since having a dusty and moldy awning is not a good idea, and besides, it is not safe for your health, we are going to teach you how to keep your rV awning clean.
From this article, you will learn how to clean your RV awning from mildew.
Also, we will explain how to clean mold off RV awning, and what to do to clean the awning that is made of fabric.
In addition, you will find out what can help if your awning is extremely dirty!
How to Clean Your RV Awning?
If you have an RV with an awning, and you tend to travel quite a lot, you know that after a few trips, your awning may look not quite nice and clean.
Birds poop, rain, dust, dry leaves – all these “gifts” of mother nature leave traces and marks on your awning that you will then have to deal with being armed with a brush and soapy water!
This is why no wonder that RV owners often wonder how to clean my RV awning safely to keep it clean, and how this can be done quickly enough.
Of course, nobody wants to wait until their awning dries after being washed, or until they get it back from the professional washer’s.
Fortunately, you will be happy to learn that it is rather simple to figure out how to clean under your RV awning.
The procedure will take you around one hour, and since awnings usually dry pretty fast, you can easily wash this tent the day before your departure.
So basically, the RV awning cleaning procedure looks like this:
- You spray the underside of your awning with a soap and water mixture
- You roll the awning up
- Let it sit for about an hour or so
- Then you roll the awning back out and rinse it off
- Finally, just let it dry
And now, let us explain in detail what each of these steps implies.
And one more thing: before you start with washing, you might want to brush the dust off your awning first. It will help to clean the material a bit before you apply water.
Since if you start washing it straight away while the awning is still dusty, you can spread the dirt all over it which will require you to spend more time on cleaning than you initially intended.
So gently brush the dust off the awning with a soft bristle brush first, and then proceed to the main cleaning procedure!
Prepare Your RV Awning Cleaning Mixture
This is the very first step of the cleaning process. To do it, find an old spray bottle or pulverizer.
Check it out to make sure that the bottle is clean, and then mix together two parts cleaner and eight parts water.
Feel free to make use of really any cleaner that you like or you have at hand right now.
By the way, some RV owners prefer using a regular dish soap when they clean their awnings.
It makes sense, in fact, since it is a softer soap and they feel more comfortable using it around the paint that is on the RV.
For example, Dawn Ultra dish soap is quite a popular option.
However, there are many different types of soap you can use, so feel free to pick the one that you like most. Nevertheless, we would like to suggest you a few alternative options in case Dawn is not at hand:
- Camco awning cleaner for RVs
- Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap
- Simple Green
- Automobile wash
- Star Brite Mildew Stain Remover
Now that the washing product is selected, it is time to proceed to the next step.
Applying the Washing Product
Well, everything is extremely simple here.
You just take the washing product that you have chosen and spray the entire underside of your rV awning!
Roll the Awning Up
Once the cleaning mixture of a soap is applied, you need to roll up the awning.
After you do this, let the washing product sit there for about one hour.
This period of time is usually enough for the product (both soap or a DIY cleaning mixture) to work. By the way, this method works great for both manually retractable awnings and automated awnings!
And when it’s time, proceed to the next stage.
Unroll And Rinse Off
After one hour of waiting, unroll your awning and rinse it off, both top and back sides, with a hose.
While doing this, make sure that all the soap is removed and there is no foamy or soapy residue left on the tent!
If there is any, then it can result in mold growing there later!
Let Your Awning Dry
Finally, after your Rv awning takes a good “bath”, let it dry.
For this purpose, it is recommended to wash awnings on a sunny day since the sun will do the drying job best of all.
All you have to do is to let the awning stay open. And once the tent is dry completely, roll it up. Now your camper is ready to set off!
As you can see, cleaning an RV awning is not very complicated and time-consuming.
However, if you travel a lot or if the area you usually travel around is known for quite unpredictable weather, your awning may need more attention and care to clean all the dust and dirt off it!
In this case, we suggest you check out how to clean an RV awning that is extremely dirty.
How to Clean an Extremely Dirty RV Awning?
If your awning has not been cleaned for quite a long time, or if it has some extremely stubborn stains on it, you might want to use a couple of extra cleaning steps to deal with those.
Of course, it will make you spend more time on cleaning, but at least, your effort will not be in vain.
So for the vinyl awning, you can use a brush that has soft bristles.
Avoid rubbing too vigorously or too harsh though since it can damage the surface of the tent! In case your awning is made of acrylic, feel free to use a stiffer brush for those hard to remove stains!
The general cleaning procedure will mostly be the same, however, you will need to apply a bleaching solution (if the tent has stubborn stains or if it’s just very dirty).
Let it sit for one hour, and then unroll the awning back and use a brush connected to a long pole in order to scrub the top and the bottom of the tent.
Regarding the step by step instruction, you will do the following:
- Unroll the awning
- Spray it down with a solution made of two part soap and eight part water
- Roll it back up
- Let it sit for one hour
- Unroll the awning and rinse the soapy mixture off with a hose
- Let it all dry
And also, remember to complete that extra step!
- Reapply the cleaning solution
- Roll the awning up
- Let it sit like this for at least half an hour. If the tent is really dirty, then you can give the cleaning product more time to work
- Unroll the awning and rinse it off
- Let it sit out and dry
Of course, this extra step requires extra time, however, while the cleaning product is working on the awning, you can use that time for cleaning and washing your RV!
So not a single minute will be wasted. You will end up with both a clean awning and a washed trailer.
How to Clean a Fabric RV Awning?
Those who have RV awnings made of fabric often ask how they are supposed to clean those since fabric is not like vinyl or acrylic, it is way more delicate and you can’t just scrub it with a harsh brush!
Indeed, to clean a fabric awning, you need to be more careful.
The cleaning procedure will look like this in your case:
- Delicately brush the dust and debris off the tent with a soft bristle brush
- Hose the dirt off, both from the top and from the bottom
- Wash the top and the bottom side of your awning with a homemade cleaning mixture. Simply blend together a quarter cup of dish soap, a quarter cup of bleach, and five gallons of warm water
- Roll the awning up and leave the cleaning mixture to work from ten minutes to one hour depending on how dirty the tent is
- Now your awning can be unrolled and the washing solution can be rinsed off
- Let the fabric air-dry completely before you roll it back up since if you do it when it is still damp, it may lead to mold growing there later!
- In case you need to deal with some stubborn mildew on your fabric tent of your RV, apply white vinegar to the affected area and rinse it off thoroughly
Like this, you will be able to relatively simply and quickly deal with even the most difficult dirty marks on your RV awning if it is made of fabric.
How to Clean Mildew Off RV Awning?
Mildew is a common problem for the RV awnings especially if you store yours being rolled up while they are damp or wet.
But even though it is not as harmful and hard to get rid of as mold, taking care of mildew is still necessary to do in time while it is still on the surface and the affected area is small.
Depending on the material that your awning is made of, mildew cleaning methods may vary.
For example, to deal with mildew on a vinyl awning, make use of diluted bleach, vinegar, and baking soda, or a commercial antimicrobial bought in a nearby store.
As for the use of bleach, you will definitely want to spot-treat affected areas by spraying diluted product on them and letting it sit for ten minutes. Then you can scrub off the mildew and rinse off the bleach.
In case your tent is made of acrylic, try to soak the mildew spots in bleach.
However, since acrylic is a porous material, it is possible that the bleach will not be able to penetrate deep enough to get all the mildew away. In addition, bleach can discolor the surface of the tent.
This is why we would recommend you stick to a more delicate product, for example, a mix of baking soda and vinegar.
Just soak the affected area with it and scrub your tent with a brush using a soft one for the vinyl awning and a harsh one for the acrylic.
And even if this method fails, you can always go for a commercial antimicrobial product anyway!
How to Clean Mold Off RV Awning?
Mold is a bad thing on your RV awning since it penetrates the material much deeper and it is way harder to get rid of! In addition, mold is bad for your health since inhaling mold spores is not good.
This is why you need to know how to clean moldy RV awning anyway!
First of all, forget about using bleach if your awning is made of acrylic!
This material is too porous so you won’t get rid of the problem, bleach will just remove the problem from the surface leaving the root deep inside.
However, for the vinyl tent, bleach will work great!
So what about the acrylic awnings, you may wonder? Consider using commercial antimicrobials! As an alternative method, opt for a mix of baking soda and vinegar.
It is safer for you and for the awning, and it is the same effective as commercial store-bought products.
Between 5 and 15 years. Roll it up and keep in a dry and shaded place.
Frequently Asked Questions
⭐ How long does an RV awning last?
⭐ How to store an RV awning?
Between 5 and 15 years.
Roll it up and keep in a dry and shaded place.