Is there anything better than chilling at the campground, sipping a cold drink, and relaxing under your awning on a hot sunny day? But what’s that? Ugly black streaks all over your awning? Having a dirty or otherwise poorly maintained RV awning can put a real damper on your camping trip. Fortunately, there is some simple RV awning maintenance that will help you. If you want a clean RV awning free of rips or broken arms, here is everything you need to know.
RV Awning Cleaning
Let’s start out with those horrible black streaks. You may be wondering how to clean your RV awning without damaging the fabric. The thought of scrubbing away above your head all day also sounds less than appealing. Together, these factors can make it easy to neglect your RV awning. I know Joel and I have been guilty of this as well.
The Easiest Way to Clean Your RV Awning
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to clean your RV awning that take away the hassle. One of the easiest options is to use Dawn dish soap or another gentle soap. Get your awning wet, add a soapy water mixture, and then retract your awning. Let the soapy mixture sit and soak for about 5-10 minutes. After that, unroll the awning and spray it off with a hose.
Pro tip if you’re comfortable going on top of your RV. You can add the soapy water mixture to the top side of the awning when it is extended. Then, as you retract the RV awning, the underside comes into contact with the soapy topside as it rolls together. No standing under the awning trying to reach it while simultaneously getting dripped on.
The soap and retract trick works wonders for many RV awning cleanings. If you have put the cleaning off for longer and have more dirt and grime built up, you might need to take things a step further.
Using a Magic Eraser Mop to Clean Your RV Awning
Magic erasers really are magic when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your RV awning. If you tried the dish soap method and your awning is still dirty, have no fear, the magic eraser is here. Magic eraser mops work to quickly and easily remove those nasty black streaks from your awning.
The best part is since it is a mop, you’ll have a long handle to help you reach the awning. You won’t have to worry about falling off a ladder while scrubbing with a regular magic eraser or another cleaner. The key to cleaning your RV awning is to be gentle. The fabric is fairly durable, but you still don’t want to scrub too hard and risk tears.
Check out the difference a good cleaning can do to bring your RV awning back to life!
RV Awning Maintenance
Aside from cleaning your awning, there is other RV awning maintenance you should be aware of. Just like maintaining the rest of your RV, the awning deserves a little love.
Check for Tears in the Awning Fabric
It is a good idea to check your awning for tears. If you catch a tear while it is small, you can often repair it with awning repair tape. If left unchecked, it can cause bigger problems. In some cases, you may have to replace the awning fabric entirely. Not only is it a hassle, but it is also very expensive.
Lubricate Power Awnings
Another part of your RV awning maintenance is lubrication for power awnings. As far as RVs go, if it moves, you typically need to lubricate it. Read your awning manual to ensure you are doing everything correctly.
In most cases, though, you’ll want to use a silicon-based spray-on lubricant. Spray the awning arm joints, adjuster screws, and slide grooves. Some RVers recommended opening and closing the awning a few times after lubricating to work the lubricant into all the nooks and crannies.
Consider Adding a Protectant Layer to your Awning
If you use your awning often, it can take quite a beating in the summer sun. If this sounds like you, it is worth considering a protective layer. A protective spray gives some protection from UV light and conditions your awning fabric to keep it looking and working like new. (Aerospace 303 is a popular brand).
Properly Using your RV Awning to Avoid Maintenance Needs
Another important way to maintain your RV awning is to use it the right way. Strolling around the RV park, I can’t tell you the number of unsecured awnings I see left out all the time. Many times, they are even left out on windy days. This is hands down the most likely way to ruin your awning.
RV awnings aren’t made to withstand strong winds. Generally, if the wind is 20 miles per hour or more, you should retract it. We don’t keep ours extended even in slightly less wind than that.
If you really want to leave your awning out all the time, one way to reduce (but not eliminate) potential damage is to secure the awning. Strapping the corners down using a stake into the ground is an option. I still recommend retracting the awning when leaving, just in case. After all, you aren’t using it when you aren’t around and it would be a real drag to have to replace.
We had a neighbor left his awning out in a storm. It wasn’t especially windy, but lightning struck his awning and essentially shattered the awning tube. If that isn’t a good reminder to retract your awning, I don’t know what is.
Another important way to keep your awning working well is to make sure you retract and secure it before packing up camp. This should be on your RV departure checklist, because it is easy to miss.
If you retract the awning but don’t secure the arms during your stay, things may look good when you go to leave. But if you forget to secure the arms, you’ll be cruising down the highway when your awning suddenly flies open. Always best to double-check.
Enjoy Your Awning For Years to Come
RV awning maintenance and cleaning don’t need to be an ordeal. With a few simple steps, you can enjoy a shady spot to sit all summer long. And don’t forget to stay up to date on all your other RV maintenance needs.