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Old 09-05-2019, 10:17 AM   #1
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Cleaning very dirty acrylic slide toppers

The previous owner of our fairly new to us motorhome must have left the coach outdoors under trees with the slides out for an extended period of time. There is quite a bit of green mold/mildew and black stains on all the slide toppers and some on the main awning. My questions is what works best to clean these without damaging them? In some areas they are solid black and green from the growth and stains. I am considering replacing them but would rather clean them up since they appear to be ok otherwise and I would rather not spend the money on new ones.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated as always!
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Old 09-05-2019, 10:20 AM   #2
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I'd start with soap and water before moving to stronger cleaners
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:24 PM   #3
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I'd start with soap and water before moving to stronger cleaners
I use auto wash soap and a few oz of bleach in a 5G bucket of water. Soap removes dirt and road oils without removing wax or damaging clear-coat, the small amount of bleach kills and removes mold/mildew without damaging awning material or anything else.
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Old 09-05-2019, 06:51 PM   #4
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Start with powerwashing. That will get rid of 95% with the least effort as long as your careful not to overdo it.
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Old 09-05-2019, 07:29 PM   #5
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You have a lot of work cut out for you. Good luck! This web site gives some good hints. A little bleach and rolling it up wet to clean for a short time sometimes helps.

Also, you said it was left open under trees so what you are seeing could be a lot of tree sap with dirt over it. This web site also gives suggestions for tree sap.

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-clean-RV-awning.aspx
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Old 09-06-2019, 06:30 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I did want to mention that our awnings are the woven acrylic awnings that are like fabric rather than the ones that are more like plastic. Can I still use bleach on those or will it take the color out of them???
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Old 09-06-2019, 09:44 AM   #7
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You can use bleach, just like you can use bleach when washing clothing at home. In moderate quantities, no harm at all. The awning fabric is quite robust, so can handle more bleach than your shirts and socks. I use a heavy duty detergent and maybe a half cup of bleach in a couple gallons of water. If you are worried about it being too strong, start with a bleaching laundry detergent like Oxyclean instead.

The technique is to apply the detergent-bleach solution with a medium bristle brush or broom and then roll up the awning for 20-30 minutes to soak. Unroll and rinse. Repeat if needed.

Be aware the the acrylic fabric awnings have a waterproofer applied and sooner or later it will have to be re-applied. The stronger the cleaner and the more vigorously you bruch it, the sooner it will need waterproofing again. Any standard outdoor waterproofer will work fine, e.g.303 Fabric Guard.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:41 PM   #8
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You can use bleach, just like you can use bleach when washing clothing at home. In moderate quantities, no harm at all. The awning fabric is quite robust, so can handle more bleach than your shirts and socks. I use a heavy duty detergent and maybe a half cup of bleach in a couple gallons of water. If you are worried about it being too strong, start with a bleaching laundry detergent like Oxyclean instead.

The technique is to apply the detergent-bleach solution with a medium bristle brush or broom and then roll up the awning for 20-30 minutes to soak. Unroll and rinse. Repeat if needed.

Be aware the the acrylic fabric awnings have a waterproofer applied and sooner or later it will have to be re-applied. The stronger the cleaner and the more vigorously you bruch it, the sooner it will need waterproofing again. Any standard outdoor waterproofer will work fine, e.g.303 Fabric Guard.
On our first 5er(1997) the awning was sewn with cotton thread. I didn't notice, DW did, being a former seamstress, and admonished me to not use bleach and let it soak-rolled up.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:02 AM   #9
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Bleach probably won't hurt the acrylic fabric, but will shorten the life of polyester thread used to sew it, as will UV from the sun. We have restitched many acrylic boat covers and enclosures with PTFE thread after the stitching gave out. Some 15- 20 years old.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:54 AM   #10
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If you can't get them clean enough, harsh chemicals won't help in the long run.

Replacement fabric would be best at that point.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:05 AM   #11
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I used a house siding cleaner call JoMax mixed with bleach on both my house and motorhome. Follow the mixing instructions on the JoMax jug, sprayed it on with a cheap garden sprayer, waited a couple of minutes, rubbed it down with a sponge mop and then hosed the crud off. The black mold turned brown as the product killed it.

I did not see any damage to the motorhome.

Automotive cleaners were useless.

For small areas, I have used Clorox plus Tilex. The results were the same.
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