Caravan awnings are obviously great accessories for extending the amount of usable, and, crucially, covered floor space you have for your tourer outfit. At Caravan Helper, we’ve covered numerous topics related to caravan awnings.
From a look at the different types of caravan awnings available, including air awnings, how to work out the right size of awning you need and various accessories designed for awnings like lights, heaters and storage solutions to awning pole tensioners, awning rail lubricant and flooring ideas. If you give them the right love and attention, most high-quality awnings, particularly from the top brands, will last a very long time.
However, like anything, that does mean you have to do some work. Self-cleaning awnings have not been invented yet. So, until such time when we see the roll-out of self-cleaning awnings, you have some work to do. First on the agenda is figuring out whether you’re going to clean the awning yourself or hire a caravan awning cleaning company to do it for you.
As we are aware there will be many people reading this who will want to do one along just as many, who want to do the other. So, we’ll discuss each option one at a time.
Doing Your Own Awning Cleaning Vs. Hiring a Professional Awning Cleaning Company
Before we dig into more information about both awning cleaning options you need to choose between, we thought it might be helpful to discuss some of the pros and cons of each.
Cleaning Your Awning Yourself – The Pros
There are many advantages to cleaning your own awning, rather than hiring a professional, including:
- Saving some money
- Greater sense of pride and joy in your caravan outfit
- Fun activity to get involved in with whole family
- Teaches your children about the responsibility they must look after things that cost money
- If your caravan awning is a cheap one, it might not be worth paying for a professional service
Cleaning Your Awning Yourself – The Cons
There are also, of course, downsides to cleaning your own awning, instead of hiring a pro, including:
- It’s a very laborious, often boring and time-consuming job – how precious is the time you have?
- Risk causing damage to your awning, that might cost more money to repair or replace it than you’d spend to hire a professional cleaner
- If your awning is a particularly expensive model, you may want to protect your investment by ensuring it’s cleaned to a high standard by professionals who know what they are doing
Hiring a Professional to Clean Your Awning – The Pros
Conversely, there are some pros to hiring a professional cleaner who offer an awning cleaning service to clean yours, such as:
- That’s their full-time job (even if they carry out all kinds of maintenance, awning cleaning is likely a regular task they’ll have to complete for their customers), so they have lots of practical experience
- They often have access to better quality products and equipment
- They may often have experience dealing with stains and types of dirt and grime
- If it’s an expensive awning, it may be better to leave the cleaning to the professionals
Hiring a Professional to Clean Your Awning – The Cons
As with doing the job yourself, there’s some distinct disadvantages to hiring a professional caravan awning cleaning service company to carry out the work, including:
- It can be expensive – not ideal if the reason you own a caravan is to save money on family holidays and weekend breaks. If its not an expensive awning, it may be worth just trying it yourself
- Depending on their experience and how skilled they are, they might cause damage to it while they’re cleaning
- Depending on in demand their services are, there might be a waiting list for their services, or you may find your awning cleaning is at the bottom of a very long queue. As you normally must give it to them, rather than them coming to you, it could mean you have a long wait until you get your awning back and can use it again
- Caravan awning cleaning companies often only clean at certain times of the year, again meaning you are inconvenienced because you will have to wait until there is availability. and as you will normally have to give it to them to clean, rather than them coming to you
How Often Should You Clean Your Awning?
There really are no hard and fast rules about when you clean your awning. Though, a good habit to establish would be to clean it after/before anytime you use it, i.e. go on a caravanning trip. However, if you caravan regularly or are fortunate enough to live a nomadic lifestyle and travel in your tourer most of the year, you may need to clean it more often.
As you will want to get as much use out of it for as long as possible, you should really spot clean whenever dirt and grime build up on it. Even if that means during your current trip. Obviously, over time, if you have not cleaned it for a while, it will collect dirt, even if you’ve been blessed with mostly good weather while you’ve been away.
Tips for Cleaning Your Caravan Awning
If you’ve decided to do carry out the cleaning yourself, and this is your first time, you might need some pointers to help make it a success. Check out the following tips:
- Unless otherwise stated on the care labels or documents that came with your awning, you should avoid sticking any part in the washing machine, because one, the other or both the washing machine and awning could get damaged.
- Only clean it when it is properly erect or opened out fully. Never clean it when it is folded away.
- Avoid using just any cleaning solution, especially one featuring strong chemicals that could ruin the waterproofing on the fabric, the fabric itself or other key parts of the awning.
- A very diluted bleach solution could be used to deal with mildew and mould stains. Sterilising liquid that you’d normally use on baby bottles and dummies are a good option. It might not be able to get rid of that horrid black staining that mould causes, as bleach in a strong enough concentration for dealing with it would likely cause irreversible damage to the awning fabric, but it will help get rid of the organisms that cause the mould in the first place, as well as eliminating that horrid musty scent.
- Always rinse the awning thoroughly after cleaning to remove any trace of the cleaning solution, even if you’ve just used water as his will help clear dirt that’s been lifted and stop it drying back onto the awning.
- Always air dry and make sure it’s properly dry before you store it away
- You may have to, from time to time, reproof your awning. We’ve covered this in greater detail here. Needless to say, you should only use the reproofing chemicals suitable for the awning you have
- Clean the awning rail as well as the fabric, as this will prevent it from getting stuck or not working as smoothly when you slide the awning on and off it
Caravan Awning Cleaning Products
If you are going to clean your awning yourself, you need to tool up with the right tools and products. It’s especially important, as we’ve discussed further up the page to get the right awning cleaning chemicals for your specific awning. We’ve included some great options you can invest in below.
coverandcarry lesisureaccessories Awning/Tent Exterior Cleaning Brush
First on our list is a brush that’s been designed specifically for brushing down the outside of your awning. It’s made from PVC and has bristles that are hard enough to remove any dust and dirt, but soft enough it won’t cause any serious damage. Thanks to its slimline design, it can also be used to easily get into the hard to reach nooks and crannies on the railing.
Fenwick’s Awning and Tent Cleaner – Off-White (1L)
Fenwick’s is a reputable brand of caravan cleaning and maintenance products and this product is another fine example of that fact. It’s designed to clean cotton and synthetic materials and will remove those nasty and stubborn algae growths and streaks. To make it easy to apply, it comes in a trigger spray bottle.
HG Tent and Awning Cleaner (500ml)
Another great cleaner, this time from HG. It also comes in a handy trigger spray bottle and it’s very easy to use – you simply spray the areas you are cleaning, leave it to soak for at least 5-minutes, brush at it and then rinse it off. Simple as that!
Fenwick’s Awning and Tent Re-proofer – Transparent (1L)
Another great product from Fenwick’s, this awning and tent re-proofer, much like the cleaning product we highlighted further up the page, is designed for use in cotton and synthetic materials. Not strictly speaking a cleaning product, this will help top up the waterproofing on the canvas of your awning. It’s a solvent-free and water-based solution, so is great for the environment and won’t damage the material.
W4 Awning Brush
W4 are another popular and highly reputable caravan accessories brand and the awning brush is a great example of their attention to detail and high standard they adhere to when it comes to producing products. This is designed specifically for use on the actual railing and its track to help get rid of any debris and dirt.
If necessary, it can also be used to apply awning rail lubricant.
IOSSO Water Repellent Re-proofer Protector
From IOSSO, again, this is a water repellent proofer protector that’s suitable for all fabrics and provides protection against various pollutants, bird poop, oil, soil and water. The formula is non-silicon and non-solvent. It comes in various sizes, including a 32-ounce bottle that makes a solution of 2-gallons for covering an area of 37-square-feet, 1-gallon concentrate which makes a waterproofing solution of 5-gallons that covers 150-square-feet.
Companies Who Will Clean your Awning
If you decide to go down the route of hiring a professional to carry out awning cleaning and reproofing, you will find that there are many to choose from. Although we’ve only found a small number online, you could consult your local caravan dealerships and ask other caravanners in your area for ideas of companies they could hire.
Custom Exteriors and Covers, Unit 6 Erme Bridge, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 9DU
Custom Exteriors and Covers is a company based in Devon and serves customs throughout the county and the wider southwest of England. Although focused on an extensive range of upholstery related services, they also offer caravan awning cleaning.
So, if you’re based in that part of the country, give them a call to receive a quote for the work, as they don’t offer prices on their websites.
Cleaner Cars Ltd, Alchorne Place, Portsmouth, PO3 5PA
Cleaner Cars, also based in the southwest in Plymouth offer a range of motorhome and caravan cleaning services, including caravan awning cleaning. According to their website, they will clean and wash both sides of the awning as well as its housing.
Wash and Waterproof, First Avenue, Southampton, SO15 0LJ
Another based in the south western side of England, Wash and Waterproof offer a cleaning service for caravan awnings. You send them the awning via courier, and they wash it and send it back to you, as good as new.
Tent & Awning Clinic, 26 Fenham Hall Drive, Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 9UU
The only northern awning cleaning company we could find is the Tent & Awning Clinic company based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It should be noted that they only clean between October and April.
Depending on the service you opt for and what’s available in your part of the country, you can expect to pay anything from £40 or £50 to over £100. To find out the most accurate awning cleaning prices though, you should always phone or contact the company you are interested hiring directly to obtain a quote.
It’s clear that cleaning your awning is an important part of maintaining it to ensure you get the best return on your investment possible. At Caravan Helper, we’re not here to make the right choice for you. We’re merely here to discuss the available options.
There are clearly pros and cons for both cleaning your awning yourself and hiring a professional to take care of it for you. Really you need to think about each and your own situation, not just your budget, but the type of awning you have and how labour-intensive the work involved would be to clean it. It really is one of those areas where you must make the best choice for you.