Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Ask Dave: What can I do to extend the life of my awning?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses the maintenance of RV awnings.

Dear Dave,
My wife and I have a Jayco North Point 5th wheel. I am going to retire in 2022 and we are planning to live in our RV in Florida. Do you have any idea what I can use to protect the awning and slide toppers from the sun? Thanks. —Tim

Dear Tim,
There are dozens of awning or fabric cleaners flooding the market. However, most awning manufacturers recommend using a mild dish soap and water to clean the fabric. There are two materials used for awning fabric, acrylic and vinyl. Both can be cleaned with dish soap and water. I recommend and have used Dawn Dish Soap (blue), as it’s a great cleaner for bird droppings and tree sap and also is environmentally friendly. Remember the oil-soaked wildlife in Alaska and other oil spill disasters?

Cleaning an awning

Dometic, the parent company of what used to be called A&E Awnings, recommends using ¼ cup dish soap and ¼ cup bleach with 5 gallons of water. I typically only do this if there is mold present on the underside. Liberally coat and scrub the top of the awning fabric and then roll the awning up for 5 minutes. This will apply the cleaner to the underside as well. If there is mold present on the underside, I also clean that with a soft bristle brush or small broom. It is messy, though!

Dometic uses a vinyl material on their 8500 and several other models and recommends using VINYL FORMULA 201 spray with UV blocker to maintain color and gloss and extend the fabric’s life. They recommend using ACRYLIFE™ by Dometic once a year on the acrylic fabric of the 9000 models. Check your owner’s manual for the most up to date recommendations.

Lippert recommends washing the awning periodically with mild dish soap on their Solera model, but the owner’s manual does not have a conditioning recommendation.

Dry a wet awning as soon as possible

One thing all awning manufacturers do recommend is to make sure the awning fabric is not retracted wet as it will form mold and mildew. Or make sure you extend it to dry as soon as possible.

There are other products labeled as awning conditioners, UV protection, and cleaner/protectant. But over the years I have used 303 Protectant, which now has an awning product. Just recently, ProtectAll has come out with an all purpose conditioner that has a UV protection for vinyl. I would suggest finding the type of fabric your awning has and look at the appropriate conditioner.

Weather and the sun will be the most damaging to your awning fabric, so cleaning it periodically and conditioning are recommended. I would also suggest retracting the awning whenever you are not using it, especially in the heat of the day.

Read more from Dave here


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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberghttp://www.rv-seminars.com/
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


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Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

We had to replace our awning earlier this year while down in Houston. Our old one literally tore up! So we agonized over picking the “right color” and design. When our new one was finally installed, to our dismay we saw that the color was only on the top of the awning (unlike our original awning which had color and design on both sides). So we look up at white while passing airplanes, helicopters, and birds see the cool color we picked. Not that big a deal, but disappointing just the same.

1 year ago

I use 303 Aerospace Protectant on my acrylic fabric awnings.

1 year ago
Reply to  Dr4Film

Me too

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