Most RV owners take their awnings for granted. Just pull them out when you get to the campground and don’t forget to put them away when leaving, right? Wrong… Just like any material used on an RV, awnings need to be cleaned and conditioned at least once a year and dried when put away or they will become deteriorated and moldy.
There are several types of awnings:
- the patio awning that provides shade and a nice porch style area outside the entrance door
- window awnings that help keep it cooler inside the rig
- slide room awnings that help keep debris off the top of the slide room
- entrance door awnings often found on diesel pushers
Most awnings are made of either acrylic or vinyl and are mildew resistant, however, mildew can form on the dirt trapped in the weave or on the material itself. Acrylic awnings are designed with a woven material that allows air to circulate which helps the material dry faster. Acrylic material is water-resistant, but once again, not waterproof! Both can be cleaned with Dawn Dish Soap and it’s environmentally friendly.
Cleaning Your Patio Awning
- Pull the awning out, but don’t lift it up all the way, this will make it easier to reach up close to the rig.
- Put about ½ cup of dish soap in a bucket of water and use a soft bristle brush on an extension pole.
- Wet the entire awning down with a garden hose and wet the side of the rig just in case some of the stuff you are cleaning off runs down the side. It will be easier to clean off if it’s not dry!
- Soak the brush in the soapy pail and start with the upper left-hand side of the top of the awning and work your way in 3-4’ squares across and down.
- Rinse off well and move to the underside of the awning as well.
- Next, determine if your awning has vinyl material or acrylic.
- Once you have determined the material, use the approved conditioner and apply as listed.
- Let the awning dry completely before storing it!
- Make sure you spend a little more time conditioning the stitching at the seams to keep them protected and reduce deterioration and coming apart.
- At this time also inspect for any loose or broken stitches which may need attention.
Maintaining Your Awning
- Always have the awning dry completely before storing it throughout the rest of the year. If it is stored wet, it will mold and mildew, and deteriorate the material. Often times the awning will develop condensation during storage therefore it is recommended to pull the awning out occasionally and inspect it.
- A&E awnings recommend a lubricant called Go-Easy to be applied to any moving part. That would include the slide arms, arm-locking mechanism, and roller locking mechanism. It’s important to use the recommended lubricant as some will attract dirt and grit and cause damage later.
- Periodically inspect all of the fabric edges for wear and tear. It’s not uncommon to find a tear at the attachment points of the awning to the sidewall rail.
- Check all connection points to make sure they are secure and not starting to loosen, especially the arm attachments at the base of the arms and any attachment points on the sidewall.
- Verify all screws or fasteners holding brackets are secure and sealed with an approved sealant for the type of sidewall material.
- Spray silicone lubricant on the threads of the black locking knobs for the slide arms.
About the author: Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair, and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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