One of the best accessories you can get for your caravan is an awning (like those at Wilfords Annexes). It helps provide extra shade during the day when you park the caravan to have lunch or simply relax outside of the caravan. However, it won't last in its good condition for long if you don't take care of it. Here are some essential maintenance and cleaning tips to keep the awning in good condition.

Clean the Awning Before Each Trip

Before you head out on your trip, it is a good idea to give the awning a good cleaning. It has probably been rolled up for weeks or months, and has dirt and dust buildup. Unroll the awning and first wet it with a garden hose. Then use a mild detergent combined with water to gently scrub the surface. Don't use a metal scrubbing brush as it can remove the waterproof coating on the awning. Instead, use a sponge and start washing the awning. Rinse it clear with a hose, then let it dry.

Always Allow the Awning to Dry Before Rolling it Up

You should never roll up a caravan awning when it is wet, whether after rinsing it or following a rainstorm. Make sure it has had plenty of time to dry, otherwise rolling it up could cause mould. It can also lead to mildew and rot, which destroys the fabric and often requires you to replace it and get a new one. If it is raining and you need to leave the campsite, stop when you get somewhere with proper shelter so you can unroll it and let it dry properly.

Keep the Awning Locked While Driving

It might seem like the awning is fine in its rolled-up position without locking it, but if there is a heavy wind, it could end up rolling out on its own. With the heavy winds while driving, it not only becomes a disturbance and possibly hitting a vehicle next to you on the road or highway, but the awning can get severely damaged if it is rolled down while driving. Always take the extra minute it takes to lock the awning in place.

Inspect the Awning Regularly

Instead of dealing with a damaged awning you don't discover until you are camping and need to use it, inspect the awning on a routine basis. Either check it before each trip, or after the trip is complete. This lets you know when it needs to be cleaned, if the mounting or brackets are worn and need replacing, or if the fabric needs some repairs.