Caravan awnings are a great addition to any camper as they provide extra space and protection from the elements. Thanks to your caravan awning, you can invite guests or fellow travelers to relax with you next to your caravan—and perhaps, discuss your next campsite. Unfortunately, while you enjoy a refreshing afternoon breeze on a summer evening, you’re shocked to see mold all over your favorite awning. It’s not a great sight, especially when your awning is new. But you don’t know what to do, and you don’t want to relocate with an unsightly awning due to mold.
Don’t worry; if you know why mold grows on caravan awnings, you can prevent it or ensure the problem doesn’t get worse. Prevention is better than cure, after all. By treating the problem, you can avoid buying a new awning. Caravan awnings are not cheap, so saving your caravan awning while you can is vital. Fortunately, there are several ways to remove mold from a caravan awning. Removing mold from a caravan awning is not difficult as long as you have the right tools and products.
You can remove mold from a caravan awning by treating it with antimicrobials or using bleaches, vinegar, and baking soda. However, you must consider your awning material before using any of these ways. While acrylic-based awnings must be scrabbed, the vinyl-based ones can be bleached.
In this article, I’ll discuss the potential reasons you have mold on your caravan awning to help you determine what’s causing the mold growth in the first place. After that, I’ll take you through effective ways to remove mold from your awning. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to keep your awning clean and free of mold—and you’ll be ready for your next thrilling campsite experience! Let’s get started.
Reasons You Have Mold on Your Caravan Awning
Mold is an unfortunate reality when it comes to caravan awnings—the first step to averting this menace is knowing what causes them. The following are the primary reasons you have molds on your caravan awning:
Your Caravan Awning Has High Humidity Levels
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), high humidity levels in the air supply enough moisture necessary for mold growth. The same happens in your awning, creating an optimal environment for molds.
The following are the factors that can increase humidity levels in your caravan awning:
- Seasonal Changes
Seasonal Changes Can Cause Mold Growth
You may have noted few to no cases of mold on your awning in summer.
However, as fall draws in, you start noticing molds. Why? It’s because, during fall, the rains begin, and the temperatures drop, increasing the amount of humidity in the air. The increased humidity in the air is then trapped in your awning, resulting in mold.
Dampness From Condensation Promotes Mold Growth
Have you ever noticed tiny water droplets on the inner side of your caravan windows? That’s condensation, which happens when humid air comes into contact with a cold surface.
As the Centre for Sustainable Energy discusses, the water droplets that form increase dampness, a recipe for molding.
If the dampness from condensation in your awning exceeds 15%, molds will start forming. Other risks include rust and rotting.
Some signs that your camper awning is damp include:
- Musty odor
- Damp patches
- Tiny water droplets on the windows
The causes of condensation in a caravan awning include:
- Using a heater in the caravan, especially in the evening
- Cooking in the caravan
- Not ventilating the awning while cooking or using the heater
- Leaving wet clothes inside the awning to dry
A Significant Amount of Dirt and Dust Has Accumulated on the Awning
If you don’t clean your awning regularly, dirt and dust will accumulate on the surface. The more dirt and dust, the higher the chances of molds developing because they offer an excellent breeding ground.
When mold spores mix with dirt or dust, they form a perfect environment for mold growth. It takes 24 to 48 hours for the mold to start developing.
Your Awning Is Leaking
A leaking awning creates an environment ripe for mold growth because it increases dampness. The water droplets that form are trapped in the awning, creating an excellent breeding ground for molds.
One of the ways you can tell that your awning has leaked is by checking for water droplets on its inner surface.
Poor insulation, especially around window seals, is another factor that can cause leaking in a caravan awning.
How To Remove Mold From a Caravan Awning
The following are the ways to remove mold from your caravan awning:
1. Use a Combination of Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda are excellent at removing mold from a caravan awning, especially if you don’t want to come into contact with harsh chemicals like bleach.
To use this method, you’ll need:
- A clean spray bottle
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Mix water and white vinegar in a ratio of 1:4, then pour the solution into a spraying bottle. Black and Gold White Vinegar (available on Amazon) is a better option because it’s in the right amount to clean your entire awning.
- Spray the mixture on the moldy areas of your awning, making sure to saturate the mold.
- Allow the vinegar to sit for an hour before scrubbing with a brush. You’ll need a stiff-bristled brush like the Addis ComfiGrip (available on Amazon) for an acrylic awning to remove dirt from the woven fibers. This brush has a soft rubberized grip, ensuring it can penetrate through the fabrics to remove mold roots.
- Mix baking soda and water to form a paste, then use it to scrub the areas you sprayed with vinegar.
- Rinse off with clean water, then allow your awning to air dry. If you want it to dry faster, use an air conditioner.
It’s also recommended to spray your awning with a waterproofing spray after drying it. Fenwicks 1813C Tent and Awning Reproofer (available on Amazon) is an excellent option as it will repel water from your awning fabrics to prevent mold.
2. Use a Bleaching Solution
Bleach is a common household cleaning product that can remove mold from a caravan awning.
You need the following to make an effective bleach solution that can remove molds from an RV awning:
- Clean water
- Mild cleaning soap
- Mix one cup (240 ml) of bleach with a quarter cup (59 ml) of mild soap for every gallon (3.79 liters) of water you use.
- Use a sponge or brush to apply the bleach solution on the entire caravan awning (not just the moldy parts).
- Allow the solution to sit for up to 15 minutes as this allows it to soak into the fabrics.
- Clean the awning with a soft-bristled brush. The scrubbing should be thorough enough to get into the nooks and crannies.
- Rinse with water to get rid of the soap.
- Air-dry the awning.
Remember, the bleaching method works well only on vinyl-based awnings. Mold burrows its roots into the acrylic materials where bleach can’t reach. Therefore, using bleach on an acrylic awning will only remove the mold spores, not the roots. After a short time, you’ll notice mold again.
Expert Tip: Use gloves and face masks when using bleaching chemicals as they can be harsh on your skin.
3. Treat the Caravan Awning With Antimicrobial Cleaners
Antimicrobial treatment is the best solution for stubborn mold that keeps coming back. The treatment works by killing the mold spores.
There are many antimicrobial cleaners on the market, but you should choose one designed to treat caravan awnings like the Awiwa Awning Cleaner (available on Amazon). Awiwa Awning Cleaner is excellent for mold because it has a strong effect that removes micro-organisms and any green growths.
To use this method, follow these steps:
- Apply the cleaner on the entire awning following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Allow the cleaner to settle for 30 minutes before scrubbing.
- Rinse with clean water.
- Air-dry the awning before storing.
How To Prevent Mold on a Caravan Awning
If you just bought a new caravan awning or removed mold from one, you definitely want it to be free from mold.
Preventing mold from your caravan awning will ensure it lasts longer while serving you better. The following are some ways to ensure your awning stays free of mold:
Store the Caravan Awning Properly
One of the best ways to prevent mold growth on your caravan awning is to store it properly when not in use. Here are a few tips on how to do this:
- Make sure the awning is clean and dry before storing it.
- Fold the awning properly and keep it in a dry, well-ventilated area.
- Check the awning regularly for mold and mildew growth, especially if it’s been stored for an extended period.
Clean the Awning Regularly
The accumulation of dirt and dust is one of the leading causes of the molding in caravan awnings. Regularly cleaning the awning will remove any dirt and debris that may cause mold growth.
The material your awning is made from should guide you on how to clean it. You can clean a vinyl-based awning with a soft brush and water. That’s because vinyl doesn’t require digging dirt out of a porous material.
On the other hand, acrylic-based awnings are porous and need a cleaner soaking into the porous fabrics to remove dirt. Therefore, apart from scrubbing, you need a cleaning agent like soap for an acrylic caravan awning.
Here are a few tips on cleaning your caravan awning:
- Use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to avoid damaging the fabrics.
- Rinse the awning with clean water after scrubbing to remove any soap residue.
- Dry the awning completely to prevent mold growth.
- Avoid cleaning the awning in direct sunlight as this may damage the fabrics.
- Check for leaks and repair them immediately to avoid moisture accumulation.
Use a Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers help remove moisture from the air, one of the main conditions that promote mold growth.
Here are a few tips on using a dehumidifier:
- Place the dehumidifier in an area with good air circulation.
- Check the dehumidifier regularly and empty the water tank as needed.
- Keep the humidity level below 50% to prevent mold growth.