How to Clean an RV Awning Like the Pros

How to Clean an RV Awning Like the Pros


George Cummings
November 23, 2021

There’s nothing better than finding the perfect spot to pull up for the night and setting up your RV with the awning pulled out and some sun loungers in tow.

The quickest way to kill the mood though is by looking up and seeing that the awning is dirty, discolored, and covered in mold.

How do you clean an RV awning? An RV awning can be cleaned by wetting it, applying a cleaning solution suitable for that type of material, and then rolling it up and letting the solution sink in.

Once it’s sat for long enough, you can unroll the awning, wipe off any marks, and then hose it down.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors with an awning that’s not going to steal the show for all the wrong reasons, we’ve got the guide for you.

With our help, you’ll have a foolproof approach for cleaning your RV’s awning and some tips on how to keep it sparkling and like new in the future.

Why Should You Clean Your RV Awning?

Why Should You Clean Your RV Awning?

RVs are huge investments and bring a lot of joy to their owners, but they also come with a lot of responsibility.

If you own an RV, you’ll know how much cleaning and repairing goes into all parts of it, and that includes the awnings that are situated on the outside of the vehicle.

Although RV awnings are usually made with materials that resist everything from UV damage to mold, that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to damage.

As fixtures that get exposed to everything from rain to blazing sunlight, it makes sense that your awnings need to be regularly cleaned to keep them in good shape.

When we neglect parts of our campers, including the awnings, what starts as a bit of mold can quickly turn into permanent damage.

If you’re not cleaning your awnings as often as needed, the dirt and mold that builds up on them will eventually eat away at the material and you’ll be forced to replace it entirely, leaving you with a massive bill.

How to Clean an RV Awning The Right Way

If you want to enjoy the great outdoors in your RV, you’ll need a clean awning first.

We’ve got the easiest method for getting the job done using just four things and a little bit of elbow grease, so read on for a clean RV awning that doesn’t spoil the view.

Tools and Equipment Needed

As an incredibly easy job, it’s no surprise that you should already have all of the tools needed to clean the RV awning on board. These are all that’s required to get the job done in less than an hour:

  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Hose
  • Long-handled brush

The Steps to Follow

Keeping your RV’s awning clean is a low-fuss job and if it’s done once a year, the effort is even less. Follow these steps to give the awning a deep clean and get it sparkling new again.

  1. Unroll the awning and spend some time brushing off any debris or dust from it. The more dry debris you remove now the easier it will be to clean later.
  2. Using the hose, spray down both sides of the awning so that it’s thoroughly soaked and ensure that there’s no debris left on it.
  3. Make a mixture of the dish soap and water in your bucket, or use a stronger cleaning agent if preferred.
  4. Use the long-handled car washing brush and dip it into the bucket, then take your time gently sweeping the solution all over the awning. If needed, use a ladder to reach the top of it as well.
  5. Once it’s covered with the soapy solution, roll the awning back up and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. This gives it time to soak in and loosen up any of the stubborn stains.
  6. Unroll the awning and use the long-handled brush to sweep over it again, this time focusing on obvious marks and stains.
  7. Turn the hose back on and spray off the awning. Check that all of the stains are gone, and if not, use your brush again to work on them.
  8. Leave the awning open and out so that it has time to dry naturally, and then roll it away once dry.

Tips for Keeping Your RV Awning in Shape

Tips for Keeping Your RV Awning in Shape

RV awnings don’t take a lot of work to get clean, but if they’ve been neglected, they’re expensive to replace.

To avoid premature replacement of your awnings, follow our tips for keeping them in perfect shape.

  • Know the right brush: The type of awning you have will determine the best brush for it, so it’s important to match them. For vinyl awnings, a soft brush is better as the material is more sensitive, and for acrylic awnings, you should use a stiff brush that will be able to work it better.
  • Tackle small stains: Some of the most common, and most stubborn, stains that your awning will encounter are from tree sap. Using a larger brush on these isn’t always effective, so have a dedicated cleaning toothbrush that you can scrub them with. The smaller size makes it easier to get the hard-to-reach spots and won’t do any damage to the material.
  • Go harder: If you’d prefer something harsher than dish soap to clean your RV, there are dedicated cleaners out there. Avoid making home concoctions using bleach as it will create stains on the awning material, and choose a cleaning solution that suits either vinyl or acrylic materials.
  • Keep it dry: One of the main reasons why mold and mildew build up on your RV’s awning is that they’re rolled up wet. If you have the awning out and it starts to rain, leave it up until the sun comes out again. Give it time to dry thoroughly before rolling it back up otherwise the mold will start to grow.
  • Apply a treatment: There are treatments you can purchase made specifically for RV awnings that add another level of protection to their surface. RV awning protectants can prevent UV damage, mold growth, and signs of wear, so once you’ve finished cleaning, consider treating them with one of these products.
  • Don’t overdo it: The right schedule for cleaning the awning depends on how much you use your RV, and the general guide is to clean it once a year. You might find that stains start to build up sooner than this, so it’s okay to clean them off if they do. However, try not to overdo it or you can strip away the awning material and protective coating which only leads to more damage.

A Clean RV for a Beautiful View

One of the best things about RV ownership is being able to pull your camper up just about anywhere and enjoy the surrounding views, but it’s a lot harder to do when your awning is dirty or damaged.

Make this cleaning job part of your regular RV maintenance and you’ll ensure that a dirty awning never ruins the scenery again.

Related Questions

A dirty RV awning is not a death sentence but it does mean that you should spend more time following a regular cleaning schedule for your vehicle and its most important parts.

If you’re still learning about what’s required to take care of an RV and want to find out more, read on for some FAQs that can help.

How Often Should You Clean Your RV?

A full-time RVer who is living in and driving their vehicle permanently should be cleaning it every two to four weeks, or when it becomes dirty enough to warrant a cleaning.

Otherwise, part-time users or those with an RV in storage will only need to clean it after a trip and before it’s stored again.

How Do You Maintain an RV Slideout?

How Do You Maintain an RV Slideout?

Regular maintenance of your RV slide-outs includes cleaning and applying lubricant to their seals every few months.

When you’re using the slide-outs in your everyday RV life, check that the slide seals are clean and there’s no debris lodged inside, and if you notice anything in there, clean them out immediately.

Is It OK to Power Wash an RV Roof?

You should avoid using a pressure washer directly on the roof of your RV as it can damage the surface paint, as well as make holes in the seals and caulking.

To clean the roof of your RV, use a standard garden hose with regular pressure and a soft-bristled brush to remove any of the harder stains.


George Cummings

George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.