Just like everything else about your rig, your RV awning requires a little bit of loving and care for it to function properly and provide you with a great extension of your place. It may not have a major role when it comes to your RV, but you will want to put some thought into how you will treat this small part of your RV. Here’s a couple of tips and tricks on how you can take care of your RV awnings.
1. Know Your RV Awning Fabric
RV awning is usually made from vinyl or acrylic, which can get mold even though you have properly rolled it off and stored it. With this said, before getting your awning for your next trip, you need to inspect the awning before using it. Mold will start to creep in the fabric when the moisture remains in the awning and isn’t dried fully.
Due to the high humidity and moisture during the winter season, the mildew may start growing in your awning. Having said this, you need to fully inspect your awning for fungus or mold before using it. Cleaning it right away should allow you to use your RV awning without any issue.
You can use a soft cloth to remove any stains and mold using the proper awning cleaner. Depending on the type of fabric that you have, most RV awnings can last between five to ten years on average. Most manufacturers provide about five years of warranty when you first purchase your awning.
2. Being Gentle is the Key When Cleaning RV Awnings
When you are cleaning your awning, you need to make sure you are cleaning it as gently as possible, may it be acrylic or vinyl. If you are not gentle when you are cleaning your awning, it can be prone to damages. Instead of washing it hard with a hose, you can lightly spray the awning with water.
When spraying your awning lightly, it can get rid of most of the dirt unless they are considered to be a tough dirt spot. This is the same scenario that you would do if your awning is super dirty; just spray the dirt down and deal with the tough spots individually.
In the process of cleaning your awning, you need to make sure to use a soft brush and a soap that is made specifically for awnings. The main reason why you shouldn’t clean your awning with force is it has a waterproof coating that can wear down easily. If you have an acrylic awning, it can be cleaned using a little stiff brush. However, if you have a vinyl cleaning, you need to make sure that you are using a soft brush.
You would need a sufficiently long handle when it comes to the brush that you are using because you won’t be able to remove your awning when you are cleaning them. When you are done, you need to ensure that it remains open until it dries completely.
3. RV Awning Cleaning Products You Should Know
RV awning cleaning products are not expensive to buy, and they are pretty accessible. One of the best RV awning products that you can buy is the Camco 41024 Pro-Strength Awning Cleaner. This cleaner works well on mold, mildew, dirt, and road game efficiently.
The Camco 41024 Pro-Strength Awning Cleaner boasts a versatile formula that makes it safe for acrylic or vinyl material awnings. You can use this product on other objects a well such as tents and pop-up campers, and it works well with stubborn dirt as well as accumulated debris.
The Camco awning cleaner comes in a 32 ounces bottle that is very easy to use and has a carry-on handle for easy carrying. Even though it is affordable, it will provide the highest quality result possible for your RV awnings. It’s perfect for versatility, and it’s safe to use on many awning materials that you may have, which prevents you from buying other brands for only one purpose. This awning cleaning costs $5.86 (32 ounces) and $22.19 (a gallon).
If you want to know more about the different RV awning cleaning products that you can buy, you can check this article that I’ve written.
Soap and Retract Trick. Now, if you can’t get your hands on some RV awning cleaning products, you can simply use home products that you already have in your RV. One of the easiest options that you can do is use Dawn dish soap or another gentle soap with water. Get your awning wet, add the soapy mixture that you’ve done, and then retract your awning.
Let the soapy mixture soak for about five to ten minutes, and when that’s done, unroll the awning and spray it with a hose. If you can get on the roof of your RV, you can place the soapy water mixture to the top side of your awning when it is extended. When that’s done, retract the awning, and the underside comes into contact with the soapy topside as it rolls together.
When doing this, you need to make sure that no one is standing under the awning as they might get dripped on. The soap and retract trick works wonders when it comes to cleaning your RV awnings. However, this process is only great if the dirt is not tough and hard to get out.
Magic Eraser Mop. When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your RV awning, magic erasers work wonders. If you tried the dish soap method and your awning is still dry, the magic eraser is the best choice for you. The Magic eraser mop works to quickly and easily remove any nasty black streaks that may be present on your awnings.
The best thing about the magic eraser mop is you will have a long handle to help any hard-to-reach spots on your RV awnings. You don’t have to worry about you falling off a ladder when scrubbing or use another cleaner which means another cost. As I’ve mentioned above, remember to clean gently.
Using Bleach on Your RV Awning. You can also use bleach on your RV awning when it is very dirty and think that mold or mildew has grown on it. Don’t use bleach anywhere on your awning; just focus on the bleach application where mold or mildew is strong. Also, don’t use bleach on your regular cleaning schedule when it comes to awning cleaning, as it can ruin it over time.
You can use an RV awning protectant when your RV awning is fully dried so that it can last for years. You can wash your awning at least twice a year so that you can avoid any mildew or mold.
4. Adding a Protectant Layer to the RV Awning
When you use your RV awning often, it might take quite a beating, especially when it is exposed to the summer sun. If you are one of the RVers that chases the sun, you need to consider getting a protective layer for your awning. You can purchase a protective spray that can provide some protection from UV light and condition your awning fabric to look good as new.
The best protective spray that you can use is the 303 UV Protectant Spray-Ultimate UV Protection. This spray ensures to brighten surfaces and keeps them looking newer for years. It can provide protection to different types of materials such as vinyl, acrylic, finished leather, and so much more. This means that this spray can be used on different surfaces aside from your awnings.
Now, the 303 UV Protectant Spray-Ultimate UV Protection does not only protect against fading, discoloration, and cracking from UV rays, and it also repels dust and stains to help extend your cleaning for your awning. It is also made from a rinse-free formula that is non-greasy and will provide your awning a matte finished with no odor.
Aside from that, it is also made with non-toxic materials and is water-based. It is also 100% free of grease-producing silicone oils and petroleum distillates. It comes in an easy-to-use spray-on bottle formula that is available from two ounces to 16 fl. ounces.
The 303 UV Protectant Spray-Ultimate UV Protection also comes in 40 towelettes and a five-gallon to refill your spray bottle. This protectant spray is available on Amazon with a price range of $9.50 to $326.69.
5. Use an RV Awning Lock to Keep it Secured
There are plenty of awnings being ripped off during travel due to high winds while driving on the road. When you forget or neglect to roll and protectively secure your awning, it can result in damages because of the high winds. To avoid these problems and damages, you need to make sure it is secured properly. The stow awning needs to be locked, so it doesn’t rewind itself while you are traveling at high speeds.
It is a small thing to do, but there are many people who neglect securing their awning or purchase ordinary mechanisms that wouldn’t handle the winds. There are different ways on how you can secure your RV awning while you are on the road.
The Dometic 930041 Travel Lock Kit is one of the awning locks that you can purchase. You can rest assured that your awning is secure while you are on the road. It helps prevent your awning from rattling so that you can have peace of mind while you are driving.
You can purchase the Dometic 930041 Travel Lock Kit is available on Amazon at a pack of two for $36.05. There are other types of kits that you can get to secure your RV awning to avoid any damages that may happen to it.
Using Awning Anchor Kits. These kits are made especially for securing your awning, and some kits include different kind of anchor that screws into the ground which is placed in each end. A sturdy cord or strap runs from your awning and through the anchor to give an added security against the light wind. The awning anchor kits can be expensive, but they will give you peace of mind.
Ratchet Straps. If you have an electric awning system, ratchet straps are the best option that you can get. These sturdy straps could provide a stronger hold for your awning than the straps that usually come with the kit. It is crucial that you don’t tighten the straps too tight, or else your RV awning will bend and damage.
6. Rule of Thumb: Roll It Up, When Not in Use
Though the main purpose of an awning is to provide shade from the sun, constant UV rays can damage your awning over time. If you are not using your awning for shade or any heat prevention activity, make sure to roll it up and stow it away. This way, it can minimize the damage from the sun’s strength.
If you are a full-time RVer, this is pertinent since you will take a lot of trips during the summer, and the sun is not really your awning’s best friend. Aside from the sun, you also have to keep your awning away during heavy rain and allow it to dry before you store it fully.
While it is raining, make sure to place one side of the awning lower than the other to let the rain run off instead of accumulating in the center. Pooled water can be heavy, and it can cause your awning to wear off quicker than usual.
Aside from the sun and rain, you also have to avoid heavy winds as they can also damage your awning. When wind speeds are more than 15 miles per hour or more, it is best to roll up your awning until the winds have calmed down. If you are not able to store your awning during the high winds, you can just keep a close eye on it.
If there are strong winds, it can totally rip off your awning entirely, which means that it will be costly to replace it.
7. Make Sure to Inspect Your Awning!
Inspecting your RV awning will provide proper maintenance and care. It can prevent it from wear and tear for years to come. To prevent your awning from wear and tear, it is best to inspect it at least twice a year. The first thing that you need to do when it comes to inspecting your awning, you need to open it slowly and pay attention to how it feels.
When you feel any resistance or hear loud noises, the awning should be inspected by a mechanic. When your awning is out, check all the mechanical parts and start by inspecting the roller tube closely for any signs of warping. If there’s warping, it will be obvious to you.
Next, make sure to check over the awning arms. Inspect the brackets and poles for any missing screws or signs of bending. Check for broken rivets or enlarged holes in the handles, and when you find these issues, they can cause future repairs. When that’s done, check out the awning end caps and check closely for any signs of damage, such as broken or missing rivets. You should also check the mounting hardware and make sure that it is properly secured to your rig.
Then, it’s time for the inspection of the awning fabric, and you need to keep a keen eye for any signs of excessive water as well as tears. If there are any holes on your awning, make sure to contact your RV mechanic about patching holes. When rolling up your RV awning, you need to pay close attention to its movement as you put it away.
While putting it away, make sure to listen to any loud noises, clicking, or other unusual sounds. Lastly, when your awning is away, test the safety lock mechanism and pull it gently on the awning to check if you can open it while it’s locked. When the lock is working properly, your RV awning should not budge.
8. Make Sure to Buy De-flapper Clamps for Your RV Awning
High winds are terrible for your RV awnings as they can damage them severely. So to make sure that you invest in the right RV awning tools, it can make it last for years. Purchasing de-flapper clamps and stabilizer kits are important in making sure that your awning doesn’t get damaged. When using these tools, you will be less likely to experience any wind damages.
The best de-flapper clamps that you can buy is the Camco Awning De-Flapper Max. It can protect your RV awning from any costly rips and tears that may happen during high winds. It can also prevent any noisy wind flapping that may annoy you. It also has non-marring grippers, which are eight-inch in width, which will leave no marks and will protect your awning fabric.
The non-marring grippers can be used with a screen room in the place, and they can keep awnings more stable in windy or rainy situations. It also provides a universal fit and can fit most RV awnings. The Camco Awning De-Flapper Max can hold the awning securely with hook and loop fastener straps which measure 8 x 3 x 2.5 inches.
The Camco Awning De-Flapper Max is made out of durable nylon with UV stabilizers, chemical-resistant, and rust-proof materials. It comes in two on Amazon for $17.06.
9. Lubrication is Key for Your RV Awning
When it comes to lubrication, you need to check all hardware parts that need lubrication. Retractable awning lubrication should be on your list when it comes to your awning maintenance. You can use silicone spray for lubricating your awning. However, you need to make sure that you are lubricating it too much.
When you are lubricating too much, it can attract dirt and dust. So, you need to take care of all your awning components, and when you do, you don’t have to worry about squeaky awnings anymore. RV awning sounds can become irritating when the winds are high. If you have an electric awning, problems can be avoided by keeping it well maintained.
One of the best lubrication products that you can buy is the Kwikee KwikLube Spray Lubricant. It is available on a 12 pack and a single can. The KwikLube will create a protective barrier for your RV awning mechanisms. It has a unique formula that is designed for the RVing lifestyle.
The formula goes from penetrating fluid to protective grease within minutes. It also helps fight rust, and once the rust is cured, it can help protect your awning mechanisms from damaging rust build-up. The Kwikee KwikLube Spray Lubricant also blocks moisture since it has a protective greases barrier.
Lastly, Kwikee KwikLube Spray Lubricant can withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which is great if your awning is exposed to the sunlight all day long. Kwikee KwikLube Spray Lubricant is available on Amazon for $19.01.
10. Cold Conditions Can Affect Your RV Awnings
As all of the RVers out there know, the warmer months are the prime RV season, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to RVing in cooler temperatures. During the colder months, you get to experience peaceful, uncrowded campgrounds without needing to worry about pesky bugs or excessive heat.
Having said this, it is important to be mindful of how cold conditions will affect your awnings. Make sure that you don’t let snow or ice accumulate on your awning since the weight can build quickly. If this happens, it can weaken the structural integrity.
When it gets too cold, it can be difficult to retract your RV awning. If heavy snow or frigid temperatures are expected, it is best to retract your awning rather than keeping it open. Ensure to roll up your awning when you leave the campsite or when you go to bed. This way, in case of an unexpected storm that may roll in, the RV awning can stay safe.
11. RV Awning Roller Ball: Avoid Any Black Streak
When your awning is tilted to shed rainwater, and the RV’s entrance door rubs on the awning when it opens, it can create a black streak. The black streak can lead to permanent damage if you are not able to attend to it right away. You can prevent this from happening by using an RV awning roller ball.
The RV awning roller ball is attached to your rig’s door with two screws, and on end, it has a smooth round plastic ball that glides across the awning fabric instead of the metal door edge. The Camco 42005 Awning Roller Ball is the best rollerball that you can buy to avoid any black streak.
The Camco 42005 Awning Roller Ball is great at protecting your RV’s awning from rips and tears that can be caused by the shard corners of your doors. It will be mount directly to your rig’s door. This rollerball has an innovative design that rotates a 360 degree to follow the arch of the door.
The Camco 42005 Awning Roller Ball includes a screen door slider and mounting hardware. It works best with round or square doors. You can purchase the Camco 42005 Awning Roller Ball on Amazon for $6.08.
It may be true that your RV awning isn’t as integral to the functionality of your rig as the other comments that you have. Still, making sure your RV awning is in good condition can contribute to your quality of life when you have your adventure on the road. Make sure to take good care of it, and you will be required with a great outdoor extension of your living space that will provide a great place to eat outside with your family.