If you’re like me and have rolled out your RV awning only to look up and see gross black marks or mold, you’re not alone – so let me show you some of the best ways to clean it!
The marks usually come from moisture left in the awning (such as after a rain) or just after a long time in storage as moisture builds up.
It can seem pretty intimidating to do since it’s hard to actually scrub it (on a ladder, looking up and scrubbing… ugh!) but luckily there are some easy ways to do it.
I’m going to start with the least abrasive/damaging to the vinyl awning first…
Ask this question in any group, and you’ll get alot of reccommendations AND opinions. Many people feel some of the stronger cleaners can strip the protective layer off of the awning and cause it to age or become brittle faster than normal.
It seems people have alot of success with most methods, but some are pretty intense and most agree they should be avoided. For example, Simple Green and other strong cleaners can actually dry rot the glue and stitching!
I’ll leave it up to you though to make the best choice for your situation.
Here’s the methods we’ll go over to best clean your RV awning
- Dometic DIY Awning Mix!
- Dawn + Baking Soda
- Magic Eraser Mop
- Starbrite/409/30 second cleaner (pre packaged cleaners)
- LA Awesome Spray (use with caution!)
- 303 Sealant to finish the job!
Dometic DIY RV Awning Recommendation Mix!
This method does include bleach, but since it’s coming from Dometic (a major manufacturer of all things campers/RVs) I wanted to include it at the top for sure!
Dometics DIY Awning Cleaning Mixture
- 1/4 cup of Dawn dish detergent
- 1/2 cup Clorox
- 1 gallon water
Spray on the mixture and scrub with a brush. Then roll up your awning, and wait 20-30 mins. Unroll and spray it clean!
Dawn + Baking Soda
Mix up some dawn in a bucket of warm water and use a mop handle (I have a swiffer mop handle I use!) with an old rag on it. Sprinkle some baking soda and scrub!
It’s a bit more intense than other ways, but it’s not as harsh as some chemicals that can break down the awning material. I also love that it uses something I already have around the house!
Make sure to rinse and dry completely before rolling it up!
Magic Eraser Mop
This is the easiest go to (and I’m quite a fan of it for almost everything else!) and is great for an initial easy to moderate clean or upkeep.
Just open up your awning and wipe! If the buildup hasn’t been there long (meaning you didn’t buy a used camper and the stains have been sitting there for some unkown amount of time) then it will come off easy and leave a fresh smell.
You can pick one up almost anywhere (I see them in Home Depot and Walmart), but I did include an Amazon link below if you’re the type who prefers that!
StarBrite, CAMCO Awning Cleaner, etc (non DIY options)
When it comes to buying something premade, there’s quite a selection! They do basically the same thing – quickly remove mold and mildew stains.
For these, after applying to your awning, you only need to let a sit for a couple of minutes! Always check the specific directions on the packaging, but these cleaners are the go to if you prefer something “professional” and don’t want to DIY
- Starbrite – It specifically mentions that it’s for use on RVs and other outdoor things as well as being very good at getting rid of mildew stains!
- Camco awning cleaner– Camco is a brand everyone knows, so it can feel pretty reassuring to use something from their brand on your RV. You do need to dilute it, but I like that it says it’s safe to use on even fabric awnings and that it removes things like sap!
LA/Totally Awesome Spray from the Dollar Tree
If you’re on a budget and absolutely cannot afford anything else, this might be an option. Being from the dollar tree, it’s of course filled with a ton of really crazy chemicals and many people on RV forums seem to agree that it can destory the integrity of your awning.
If you do choose to use this, make sure to dilute it and wear proper PPE (goggles, gloves, clothes you don’t care about etc).
I’m only putting this on the list because I know it’s so popular, but I wanted to address the possible effects of it’s use long term!
Don’t forget to RESEAL your awning after cleaning!
Many forget to do this, but if you’re someone who cleans your awning often or opt for the quicker but more abbrasive cleaners, put some 303 on to really finish the job!
As well as being recommended by some awning pros in some of my fav RV groups I’m in, the product info page itself says this:
“303 Aerospace Protectant also repels dust, dirt, lint, soiling, staining, water spots, salt water and mildew. Safe and effective for vinyl, gel-coat, fiberglass, carbon fiber, synthetic/natural rubber, plastics and finished leather. It’s great for use on vinyl awnings to keep them from fading and cracking”
I hope you found the best choice to clean your awning! Here are some more articles to help keep your camper clean and tidy!
- 61 ways to kick the clutter in your camper!
- Here are the spots your probably missed while cleaning your camper (EW!)
- 9 tips to organize your camper bathroom and get more space!
- Get these four free camp log pages to keep your camp trip memories organized!
- Get these 9 free RV camping checklists so you never forget anything again!
- 29 camping DIYS you need to try this summer!