Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Here are some tips on the best way to clean and care for the exterior of your RV

Nothing stays clean for long including your recreational vehicle. A recently washed RV just begs for a thunderstorm or sand storm to blow through.

Regular RV cleaning is important for the maintenance and longevity of your RV.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Grand Canyon Railway RV Resort in Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following are a few RV cleaning tips to use the next time you clean and maintain your RV.

Since there are myriad RV cleaning products on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be a challenge.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Distant Drums RV Resort in Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Opt for a high-quality cleaner that will help make the finish on your RV last longer. Look for a multi-purpose RV cleaner as well to save some money.

Some cleaners are created for special purposes such as cleaning awnings or rubber roofs, but others can be used for a variety of cleaning applications inside and outside your coach. The best solution is an RV cleaner with several applications to save your pocketbook.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Blake Ranch RV Park in Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s best to clean the RV from the top down. First, head up on the RV roof. Inspect the sealant around the roof vents, air conditioner, and all roof seams for signs of cracks or deterioration.

The roof is oftentimes an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ part of the RV, but it should actually be the last thing that is ‘out of mind’ because it is so vital to protecting the RV and its contents.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Gila Bend KOA in Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Open awnings and check for frayed or ripped material. Remove stains and mildew with special awning cleaner and allow awning to dry before rolling back up. Check hardware for functionality and replace as needed.

Next clean the RV side walls and back using a standard RV washing soap. Pay special attention to the seams where the wall joints, storage bay doors, marker lights, and appliance outlets are found. Remove dirt, bugs, tar, and other road residue from the surface of your RV.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inspect the side walls and around windows and doors for cracks or voids in the seams and seals. Scrape and reseal any affected areas with the appropriate sealant.

Insects and rodents can make winter homes in the outside compartments. Clear any nests or debris and inspect wiring and hoses for signs of chewing.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Las Vegas RV Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The front of the RV including side mirrors, whether a trailer fiberglass cap or motorhome, demands more specialized cleaning. This is where the bug abuse takes place. Sometimes the carnage can be enormous.

A good defense against super stuck on bug guts is a well waxed front cap.

A super absorbent microfiber sponge is a proven product for lint-, streak- and scratch-free cleaning.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Columbia Sun RV Resort in Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another method of removing the squashed little buggers is with a dryer sheet. Wet down the area and the dryer sheet prior to tackling the area.

Clean your RV as soon as possible after each trip using high-quality cleaning supplies that won’t scratch or mar the RV surface. Use soft, natural cotton washing cloths and soaps and cleansers made specifically for RVs.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at 12 Tribes Casino RV Resort in Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Just like your home, your RV requires some necessary TLC. Cleaning your recreational vehicle will not only improve its look but will also prevent any unnecessary paint chipping and parasite growth, increasing its lifespan and maintaining its value over time. At the same time, making sure your home away from home is spic and span is also important.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Ambassador RV Resort in Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cleaning your RV will take some time. But taking care of your RV is an investment that can pay off if you choose to resell in the future.

After a general clean with the soap and water it’s time to wax the beast. Waxing the RV is a huge task. Compared to a car it has a massive surface area. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your particular RV.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Irwins RV Park in Valemount, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And finally, admire a great job well done.

There, what a beautiful RV.

It is now time to crack open your favorite beverage and sit back and admire your gleaming rig. Best to let it all soak in quick because that next rain, dust storm, or mud covered adventure is on the way.

Worth Pondering…
A bad day cleaning the RVing—is better than a good day—working.