Caring For Your RV Exterior

Regular cleaning of the exterior of your recreation vehicle is important for its maintenance and longevity.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Every six months or so I wash, wax and detail the RV. Pictured above camping at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

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

Parking Under Trees

Rinse off any bird droppings and tree sap off as soon as possible. Tree sap is a form of sugar and will dissolve after several washings. Bird droppings can eat into a painted surface if left unattended and should be removed as soon as possible. Lukewarm soapy water can help speed up the cleaning process.

Parking Near Salt Spray

Regularly rinse off the salt mineral to minimize the corrosiveness of the salt.

Ice Or Snow

Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona

Never use a bristled brush or broom to wash the painted surface. This will cause scratches in the finish. Pictured above Canyon Vistas RV Resort, Gold Canyon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scrape from the surface of the RV. Brush off but avoid being aggressive with the brush. Brush scratches may show once the RV thaws out and may be removed by hand waxing with a silicone free liquid wax.

Driving

Antifreeze, fuel, or window solutions spilled on the painted surface should be rinsed off immediately with water and allowed to air dry. Wiping dry with a towel may create fine scratches due to the sometimes aggressive nature of these types of fluids.

Antifreeze and window solutions can be diluted and will dissolve with water. Fuel will not and needs the attention of a mineral spirit-type cleaner (like Bug-B-Gone) or a silicone free spray wax and micro fiber cloth to remove the stain left by fuels.

When driving in wintry conditions the road surface may be covered with heavy salts or sand and small stones to improve road traction. These types of road conditions can cause undue surface damage to your RV. If possible, avoid driving in these conditions.

Washing

Commercial vehicle wash facilities should be avoided. The truck-style wash centers have high-pressure wands that emit higher than necessary water pressures. These brushes are designed to clean heavy road films on semi-trailers and are not designed for custom painted RVs.

Most truck wash brushes are made from a heavy plastic that increases their lifespan but will scratch the clearcoat finish. Many times the scratches can penetrate the clearcoat finish, causing delamination and/or other paint related issues not covered under warranty.

Wash with cool or lukewarm water. Use a standard RV washing soap such as Meguiar’s to wash your RV.

Ranch RV Park near Kingman, Arizona. A great home base to explore the area including Route 66 to Oatman and its wild burros.

It’s best to clean the RV from the top down. Pictured above camping at Blake Ranch RV Park near Kingman, Arizona. A great home base to explore the area including Route 66 to Oatman and its wild burros. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never use a bristled brush or broom to wash the painted surface. This will cause scratches in the finish. Use a clean lamb’s wool mitt, sponge, or micro fiber mop to wash your unit. A dirty application can scratch your RV.

Washing Procedure

It’s best to clean the RV from the top down.

Rinse area to be washed with cold water to remove surface residue. Make sure you are not in direct sunlight.

With area to be washed still wet from the rinse, use the recommended soapy mixture to clean the area. Use care to make sure that a clean lamb’s wool mitt, sponge, or micro fiber mop is used to apply soapy water.

Rinse washed area before soap evaporates.

Dry rinsed area before rinsed area evaporates.

After a general cleaning with the soap and water it’s time to wax the beast using a quality RV wax such as Meguiar’s. 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.

And finally, admire a great job well done.

There, what a beautiful RV.

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

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