Best Homemade RV Awning Cleaner Recipes: Keep Your RV Sparkling

Maintaining the pristine appearance of your recreational vehicle (RV) is a source of pride for many owners, and a significant part of that upkeep involves keeping the awning clean and well-maintained. Awnings not only provide shade and comfort but also contribute to the overall aesthetics of your RV. Commercial cleaners are readily available, but they often come with a hefty price tag and may contain harsh chemicals. Fortunately, there are several effective homemade alternatives that are gentle on your awning fabric yet tough on dirt and grime. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the best DIY RV awning cleaner recipes to keep your RV sparkling clean without breaking the bank.


1. Mild Soap and Water Solution: The Classic Approach

The simplest and most gentle cleaning solution for your RV awning starts with a bucket of warm water and a mild soap, such as liquid dishwashing detergent. This combination works wonders on light soiling and is safe for most awning fabrics. Begin by hosing down the awning to remove loose debris, then mix a few drops of soap with a gallon of water. Using a soft-bristled brush or sponge, gently scrub the surface, being cautious not to apply too much pressure to avoid damaging the material. Afterward, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap residue, and allow it to air dry completely before retracting.

2. Baking Soda Paste: For Stubborn Stains

When faced with stubborn stains like bird droppings or tree sap, a paste made from baking soda and water can be highly effective. Baking soda is a natural abrasive that gently lifts stains without causing harm to the awning material. To prepare the paste, mix three parts baking soda with one part water until you achieve a toothpaste-like consistency. Apply the paste directly onto the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, using a soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the area. Rinse well with water and repeat if necessary until the stain is removed.

best homemade rv awning cleaner

3. Vinegar and Water Mixture: The All-Natural Solution

For a powerful yet eco-friendly cleaning alternative, look no further than white vinegar. Vinegar’s acidic properties make it excellent at cutting through grease and grime while being gentle on fabrics. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the solution generously onto the awning and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen up dirt. Scrub lightly with a soft brush or sponge, focusing on heavily soiled areas. Thoroughly rinse with water to avoid any vinegar residue that could attract dirt later on.

4. Lemon Juice and Baking Soda Combo: Nature’s Cleaning Powerhouse

Combining lemon juice and baking soda creates a potent natural cleaner that can tackle even the toughest of stains. Lemon juice, like vinegar, is acidic and helps dissolve grime, while baking soda provides gentle abrasion. Start by sprinkling baking soda over the stained area, followed by squirting fresh lemon juice onto the baking soda. The mixture will fizz, indicating the cleaning reaction. Gently rub the area with a soft brush or sponge, then rinse with water and let dry.

best homemade rv awning cleaner

5. Oxygen Bleach Solution: Safe Brightening Agent

Oxygen bleach, unlike chlorine bleach, is gentler on fabrics and colors while effectively removing stains and restoring brightness. Dissolve one cup of oxygen bleach powder in two gallons of warm water. Before applying the solution, test it on an inconspicuous area of the awning to ensure colorfastness. Once confirmed, use a sponge or soft brush to apply the solution evenly, allowing it to sit for around 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water and let the awning air dry.

6. Club Soda: Quick Spot Treatment

Club soda, a household staple, serves as an instant spot treatment for unexpected spills or stains on your RV awning. Its carbonation helps lift stains, and its mild cleaning properties work well on fresh marks. Simply pour club soda directly onto the affected area and use a clean cloth to blot the stain gently. Continue until the stain lifts, then rinse with water and dry.

7. Precautions and Best Practices

While these homemade cleaners are generally safe and effective, it’s essential to adhere to certain precautions and best practices:

  • Always check your awning’s care instructions before using any cleaning product, homemade or otherwise.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the fabric.
  • Test any new cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area first.
  • Clean your RV awning regularly to prevent the buildup of stubborn dirt and grime.
  • Allow the awning to dry completely before retracting it to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Store your RV in a shaded area when possible to reduce sun exposure and prolong the life of your awning.

8. Gentle Detergent Wash: For General Maintenance

For routine cleaning or maintenance, you can use a mild detergent designed for delicate fabrics. Mix a quarter cup of liquid laundry detergent with a gallon of warm water. Using a soft-bristled brush or a sponge, gently scrub the awning’s surface, paying extra attention to stained or dirty spots. After washing, thoroughly rinse the awning with clean water to remove all soap residue. This method helps maintain the awning’s cleanliness without causing any harm to the material.

9. Insect Removal: Gentle Approach

Insects, especially those that leave behind stubborn stains like tree sap or bird droppings, require a careful touch. To remove such stains, dampen a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently rub the affected area. The alcohol will help break down the sticky residue without harming the fabric. Follow this by washing the area with a mild detergent solution and rinsing well.

10. Mold and Mildew Control: Prevention and Treatment

Mold and mildew can be persistent issues, especially in humid environments. To prevent their growth, ensure your awning is always dry before storing it. If you notice mold or mildew, mix a solution of three parts water to one part bleach (use oxygen bleach for colored fabrics). Apply the solution to the affected areas using a soft brush, let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Remember to wear protective gloves and goggles during this process and work in a well-ventilated area.

By incorporating these DIY RV awning cleaner recipes into your maintenance routine, you can maintain a sparkling clean awning without resorting to costly or harsh commercial products. Not only does this approach save money, but it also promotes a healthier environment for you and your family while preserving the beauty and longevity of your RV.

By Vitoria