Homemade Solution for Cleaning Mold Off of RV Awnings

Homemade Solution for Cleaning Mold Off of RV Awnings
RV awnings serve multiple functions and can greatly add to the enjoyment of a camping experience. But awnings, like the exterior of the RV, are subject to weather, debris and dirt. Often awnings are put away wet and it is common for an awning to discolor, become stained and even moldy. Keeping an awning in good shape so that it is attractive and healthy to be around, is a good idea. Your RV awning should be cleaned regularly to help prevent the build-up of stains and mold and mildew growth.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ladder Face mask and gloves Bristle brush Shop vac Distilled white vinegar with 5 percent acidity Garden sprayer Old toothbrush Sponge Old Towels Spray bottles 3 percent concentration hydrogen peroxide Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) Borax (sodium borate) Fels-Naptha soap Grater Bucket Power washer Hose with spray nozzle head 2 cups lemon juice 2 cups salt Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Ladder
  • Face mask and gloves
  • Bristle brush
  • Shop vac
  • Distilled white vinegar with 5 percent acidity
  • Garden sprayer
  • Old toothbrush
  • Sponge
  • Old Towels
  • Spray bottles
  • 3 percent concentration hydrogen peroxide
  • Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)
  • Borax (sodium borate)
  • Fels-Naptha soap
  • Grater
  • Bucket
  • Power washer
  • Hose with spray nozzle head
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups salt
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Step 1
Extend the awning to its full length in a sunny location. Put on protective face mask and gloves. Mold spores can easily be inhaled causing serious illness so protective gear is necessary when disturbing moldy areas. Use a bristle hand brush to sweep dirt, debris and loose mold away from you and off the awning. Use a shop vac if necessary.
Step 2
Fill a spray bottle with undiluted distilled white vinegar with 5 percent acidity. Saturate the awning paying particular attention to moldy or stained areas. If the awning is quite large it may be helpful to use a garden sprayer to speed this process. Allow the vinegar 30 minutes to dry. Vinegar will kill up to 80 percent of known mold types. Do not use vinegar on acetate-based fabrics.
Step 3
Spray a mixture of one part 3 percent concentration hydrogen peroxide to three parts water on color-fast awnings. Hydrogen peroxide has some bleaching properties so test your awning fabric first. Saturate the awning. Allow the awning to dry for 15 minutes and repeat. Keep hydrogen peroxide in a dark container when storing for future use.
Step 4
Mix a detergent solution using: washing soda (sodium carbonate), borax (sodium borate) and grated Fels-Naptha bar soap. All of these are available in the laundry section of most stores. A typical recipe is two parts Fels-Naptha, one part borax, one part washing soda and hot water. Adjust your mixture to work best on your application. This will produce a semi-liquid soap when it cools. Extra cleaning solution can be stored for future use.
Step 5
Apply the detergent mixture to the awning using the power washer. Heavily stained areas may need additional hand scrubbing. Use the soft toothbrush to work tight corners. Wipe and sponge away dirt and stains using blotting techniques and the sponge.
Step 6
Mix a rinse solution using equal parts lemon juice and salt. Add one cup of each per gallon of water. Make sure the salt dissolves well. This can be run through the power washer.
Step 7
Deodorize with baking soda if mildew smells persist. After the awning is completely dry, baking soda can be lightly dusted across the surface. Brush the residue off with a brush.

Tips & Warnings

 
These basic cleaning ingredients can be used to clean most surfaces inside and outside the RV. Bought in bulk these products can be labeled and stored on-hand to make cleaning easy, inexpensive and ecologically friendly. Awnings that have been cleaned may require re-waterproofing. Use products designed to work with your fabric.
 
Mold spores are quite light and become airborne quickly. Protect yourself before disturbing the mold and keep children and small pets out of the area until the mold is removed.

Article Written By F.R.R. Mallory

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.

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