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Old 05-09-2019, 12:21 AM   #1
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peeee-yew! somethiní smells funky and I think itís my awning!

Long story short, we bought a used 2015 Columbus 385bh located in NY, while we were in Florida. I know. But we got a really, really beautiful camper, sight unseen aside from detailed pictures and phone calls, etc.

So - it rained for our first 4 days straight and I noticed a wet dog-like, mildewy smell coming from around our entry door. Couldnít find it at my level and i smelled all around this thing where i could reach. Itís most likely the awning, since Iíve retracted it and itís gone.

How do I clean it? Is there a solution (not vinegar, please) you pros recommend? Iím a total newbie fulltiming it for 8 months.


Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:50 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by laurlaur576 View Post
Long story short, we bought a used 2015 Columbus 385bh located in NY, while we were in Florida. I know. But we got a really, really beautiful camper, sight unseen aside from detailed pictures and phone calls, etc.

So - it rained for our first 4 days straight and I noticed a wet dog-like, mildewy smell coming from around our entry door. Couldnít find it at my level and i smelled all around this thing where i could reach. Itís most likely the awning, since Iíve retracted it and itís gone.

How do I clean it? Is there a solution (not vinegar, please) you pros recommend? Iím a total newbie fulltiming it for 8 months.


Thanks in advance!
Star-Brite awning cleaner at wall mart
or wally's world as it's commonly known as on this site.
It worked great for me.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:24 AM   #3
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What you can do is make up a solution of water and bleach, spray the underside with it, roll it back up and let it sit for awhile, then unroll it wash it with soap and water, if it's still dirty or smells repeat the process, that should end your problem. Then after every rain always open it up so it can dry, never put it away wet if you can help it...
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:16 AM   #4
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Some times a little scrubbing may be needed....break out the Rain Gear First. I usually get soaked if I need to do some scrubbing on mine.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:04 AM   #5
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We had a rig with a stinky awning like that.

Not sure how it got started (Ie Previous owner put it up wet?)

A couple of things we found first clean it with soap or a product like ďtotally awesomeĒ from the dollar store.

We found it if the awning is dirty it tends to mildew faster so if you keep the awning clean it will mildew less often.

We use an RV cleaning brush to clean the canvas but you canít push too hard otherwise the canvas will stretch and thatís a another problem to avoid.

So after lightly scrubbing it with soap or totally awesome then use the bleach and water solution to kill the mildew

Regular maintenance after that would just be spraying the bleach water solution rolling it up for 15min or so and then opening and rinsing it off as noted above.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:22 AM   #6
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Another product that works well and doesn't have bleach which can damage some awning fabrics is Scotts Outdoor Cleaner




Spray on bottom of awning while out, roll up, let soak. If there are particularly dirty or stained parts give it a scrub with your long handled brush you wash your RV with. If the top is stained or has any stubborn dirt spots on it, roll the awning back so the dirty spots are on the bottom and outside edge of the roller and scrub them while there. Roll the awning back in a little more and continue scrubbing while the roller is backing up the dirty spots. When done scrubbing just extend awning and give it a good hose down. When I do mine I just pull the ends down and lock them in the "Rain Dump Position" so I don't have to get on the roof or stand on a ladder.


After the initial cleaning you probably won't have to do any scrubbing. Just spray and rinse per instructions. Especially important to clean any evergreen tree needles or sap off as soon as you get home.

Mold and mildew need more than just water to grow. Dirt, pollen, and tree sap provide the nutrients they need. Clean those off and an awning that's just wet won't grow mold/mildew.

BTW, this stuff works great on patios, decks, and outdoor furniture. I just spray it on, let it sit for a while, then pressure wash off.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:27 AM   #7
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I don't know about a awning not growing mold or mildew wet? The air is always filled with some kinda of pollen , a damp environment is ripe for it. I can get mold going in my basement just by being dark and moisture in the air. Never seen that Scott product before might buy some and try. I have always used CLR non bleach foaming mildew remover it really works well and you don't have to worry about bleach. I f rist learned that after I left bleach on to long rolled up, the top color side came out all bleached out after I unrolled it. Just a word of warning. Now I have never had a problem with the CRL NON BLEACH cleaner. Maybe try it. I personally do not like a dirty awning. I try to keep mine white like new. Might be OCD...😂😎
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by myxkp View Post
Star-Brite awning cleaner at wall mart
or wally's world as it's commonly known as on this site.
It worked great for me.
I hear Walmart has a nice RV section so I have to make it over there now that weíre somewhat settled, itís been one week. Thank you so much for your suggestion!!
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:01 PM   #9
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What you can do is make up a solution of water and bleach, spray the underside with it, roll it back up and let it sit for awhile, then unroll it wash it with soap and water, if it's still dirty or smells repeat the process, that should end your problem. Then after every rain always open it up so it can dry, never put it away wet if you can help it...
This makes a ton of sense. We had it out for a few days then rolled it up, but I believe itís been rolled up for months. Iím concerned about the bleach but hey - sounds like itíll work! Thank you!
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:09 PM   #10
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Some times a little scrubbing may be needed....break out the Rain Gear First. I usually get soaked if I need to do some scrubbing on mine.
Iíve got to get a long contraption to clean this thing. I never really thought about it like your car that you clean - wow. Iím 5í4Ē and this thing is huge! But Iíll grab a poncho while Iím grabbing that scrubber! Thanks for the advice!! Lol.
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