Clean an RV Awning

The awning on your RV provides you with shade and protection from the sun and rain when you are spending time just outside your camper. While retracted, mold and mildew can fester in the awning fabric, especially if it was rolled up wet. It is important to keep your RV awning clean to maintain your camper’s condition as long as possible. Even if there is no mold or mildew, it is recommended that your clean your awning every 2–3 years.[1]


Setting Up and Rinsing Your Awning

  1. Hose down both sides of your awning. Hitting your awning with a blast from a water hose is a good first step to removing mildew. If there is no mildew or mold, it is fine to just clear leaves and dust off your awning with a quick hose-down. It is good to hose down your awning every month.[2]
  2. Let your awning dry if you do not plan to clean it further. Make sure it dries completely before stowing, or begin cleaning with cleaning solutions after the awning is throughly rinsed.
  3. Extend and stabilize your awning. If you have an awning stabilizer kit, use it!

Cleaning the Awning

  1. Use a stiff brush for acrylic awnings, and a softer brush for vinyl awnings. How you clean your awning will differ slightly for these different common awning materials. It should be clear which type you have from the awning label, but vinyl awnings are plastic, and acrylic awnings are woven fabric.[3]
    • Make sure you are not using an abrasive scrubbing brush with a vinyl awning. You do not want to scrub off any part of the awning’s coating, which is there to lessen mildew growth.[4]
    • Acrylic awnings can handle a slightly more abrasive brush, but do not scrub so vigorously that you rip the awning.[5]
  2. Make sure your brush is mounted on a long pole. You will need to reach the top on the awning with your brush, so make sure it is long enough.
  3. Purchase or mix a solution. You can buy a specialty cleaner for awnings, or mix your own and place it in a spray bottle or bucket.
    • One good solution is warm water with a few squeezes of dish soap. Make sure the solution is bubbly, but you do not need to use more than a few hard squeezes.[6]
    • To address very stubborn mold or mildew, use a ¼ cup of bleach to 2 ½ gallons of water. Do not clean with bleach more than once every few years, as consistently bleaching your awning will shorten how long it lasts. Only use bleach for very stubborn mold.[7]
  4. Spray or brush your cleaner on the underside of the awning. If you are using a spray bottle, saturate the underside of your awning with spritzes of your solution. If you are using a brush, dip your brush into the solution and apply it evenly to your awning.
  5. Apply solution to the top of your awning with a brush. When addressing the top of your awning, it is probably easiest to apply with your long-handled brush. Scrub the hard plastic area the awning retracts into, but be gentle with the rest of the fabric. Let the solution sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Use your brush to gently scrub at any mold or mildew stains. If the stain comes off very easily, it will probably rinse off with water and you do not need to scrub.
  7. Rinse both sides with your hose. Make sure all the cleaner is rinsed off. If the water is not running off easily, dip one corner so that the water runs down it and off your awning. [8]
  8. Allow your awning to dry completely before retracting it. Retracting a wet awning is the surest way to cause mold or mildew, so allow it to air dry completely before packing it away. Remember that you will need to air dry it even longer if you are in a humid climate. [9]


  • When purchasing an awning, choose one with an outer layer of aluminum, which will prevent damage and discoloration from UV rays.
  • If you do not have an awning brush, spray your solution on the underside of your awning, retract the awning and let it sit for a few minutes. The solution will spread across both sides of the awning as it rolls up. Extend the awning and rinse both sides with a hose.
  • Extend the life of your awning, and prevent rips in windy weather with a stabilizing kit and De-Flapper clamps.

Things You’ll Need

  • A water hose.
  • A soft bristle brush for a vinyl awning, a stiff brush for an acrylic awning.
  • A cleaning solution.


Quick Summary