No matter the size or type of your RV, the RV awning is a key component to your camping experience. An RV awning can expand your living space to provide an outdoor dining area. It can provide shade and help keep you cool when temperatures soar. An awning can protect your entryway from rain or even offer a great place to hang some lighting for a late evening gathering or game night.
The best way to keep your awning in tip top working condition is with proper care and cleaning. Your awning can last for many years and provide hours of outdoor comfort and enjoyment by following these RV awning maintenance & cleaning tips.
Cleaning Your RV Awning
For the best results, clean your RV awning several times per year. Depending on the camping environment and the tree coverage at your site it may be necessary to clean more often. You’ll want to pay special attention to any leaves or sap that can cause your RV awning to become exceptionally dirty. If you experience this type of dirt and debris, clean your awning before you close it up.
Just Use Water
A hose is all you’ll need to clean your RV awning in most cases. If you want to get a good angle for cleaning the top of your awning, using a ladder can help. You’ll be able to see debris and push it off more effectively with the added height from being on a ladder.
Some RV awnings have waterproof coatings. These coatings are generally found with vinyl and acrylic RV awnings. Most unwanted debris tends come right off when you have a waterproof coating. Be aware that they don’t last forever, though. Even waterproof coatings can be worn off!
Cleaning Tough Awning Stains
Occasionally you may get some spots or tough stains on your RV awning that plain water just won’t clean. When this happens a soft brush can be used along with mild soap to clean your awning. Another option is to purchase special awning cleaners. These are cleaners that are awning-safe and can even help restore the look of your awning to “like new.” You can find specialized awning cleaners at most RV supply stores. Just remember that even if you’re using awning-specific cleaners that you don’t want to be overly aggressive with a brush. It’s better to have a slight stain that you simply can’t remove than to scrub so hard that you begin wearing down the special waterproof coating on your RV awning that keeps moisture from penetrating into it.
Let It Dry
As with any part of your RV, moisture can cause major problems including mold, rust, and warping issues. When caring for your RV awning, make sure that you let it dry after you clean it. An awning that is stored with even a small amount of moisture trapped inside can lead to mold, mildew, or worse. If it’s necessary to retract or stow away your awning when it’s wet, be sure to air it out and let it dry completely as soon as possible. Even a small amount of mildew can result in a stinky RV awning. If left too long, that mildew or mold can lead to rotting. Rot can compromise the structure of your awning and is another factor in the breakdown of the waterproof coating, which can lead to leaking.
Keep in mind that your RV awning also contains supports which can become damaged by rust if left stored in a moist environment. Over time, this could eventually result in your RV awning failing to work properly if at all.
So, whether your awning is extended because you are camping or because it’s being cleaned, always confirm it is completely dry prior to putting it away. You’ll save time and money by using that ounce of prevention.
RV Awning Maintenance
Watch for UV Damage
RV awnings aren’t just for keeping you dry. They also are a great way to block the sun. Whether it’s high noon or later in the afternoon, your awning can keep the sun’s damaging rays at bay. Those strong UV rays can break down the fabric of your RV awning over time. Awnings can protect you, your family, and your RV from the sun and harmful UV rays, but they aren’t immune.
To extend the life of your RV awning, keep it rolled up and protected whenever it isn’t in use. As with many things in life, if it is exposed to the sun for days on end month after month, it will begin to show signs of wear and tear much faster. So use it in short spurts to ensure the longevity of your RV awning.
Lubricate Your Awning
Your RV awning has many moving parts. A key factor in keeping these moving parts in good working condition is to make sure they are well lubricated. Both manual and power awnings have moving parts that will benefit from regular lubrication. You can use silicone spray lubricants to keep all your rollers, hinges and support arm pistons in good shape. Be sure to wipe away any excess with a rag.
Keep Your Awning Slightly Unleveled
Water is heavy. If enough of it collects on your awning it could potentially cause damage. To prevent this, when using your RV awning to protect your entryway from rain, don’t let water pool up on the fabric. Keeping your awning slanted is an easy way to provide a natural run-off for rainwater. However, sometimes water can gather in a small puddle even when your RV awning is slanted. In a heavy downpour it doesn’t take long for water to collect and in no time a small puddle can become a huge body of water that can bend the support system and ruin your awning.
While slanting the awning doesn’t always prevent pooling water it certainly helps. Additionally, you are also more able to control where the water will run off, so when you are slanting your awning, take the time to assess your surroundings and adjust your awning accordingly. You may be able to direct the run-off away from your campsite so you can keep yourself and your area fairly dry – even in heavier rains.
Include the RV Awning in Your Inspections
Regular inspections of your RV are important. It’s something that should be done a few times every year and especially prior to a major trip. Your inspection should be of both the inside and outside of your RV. Unfortunately, many times out of sight means out of mind. But don’t let the fact that your awning is rolled up and out of the way keep you from making it a part of your inspection process. When you inspect your RV awning on a regular basis, you can make sure they are in good shape as well as avoid small issues becoming larger ones.
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871
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