RV cleaning is no fun for any of us!
These big ticket items also come with
big needs of care and maintenance. While in many ways RV's can be
treated like over-sized cars with regards to cleaning and detailing, the
biggest factor is the enormous size of RV's!
The size of your RV will be enough of an obstacle to delay and defer all the many levels of cleaning, washing, polishing, and waxing your RV will need. Likely you RV is in need of a healthy amount of cleaning and washing at a minimum already.
For many, the two best days with your RV is the first day you get it, and the day you sale it!
page is dedicated to making the time in between a little less painful
and more enjoyable. Every project of RV cleaning and detailing can be
made simpler and easier if you pick the right tools, find the right
products, and use the right techniques.
Having worked on hundreds of RV's, Motorhomes, Motor Coaches, and Toy Haulers over the past thirty-plus years, I want to share some of the useful RV cleaning and maintenance tips I learned and developed along the way to make me more efficient, effective, and profitable as a professional.
Cleaning and detailing tips that will help you achieve professional level results while making your life with your RV a little more enjoyable.
Just like your car, RV's of all kinds need the same basic requirements of care and cleaning.
The bigger challenge next to the size of RV's is the many types of materials used in constructing RV's. From full-body painted RV's, to gel coat, to fiberglass, to vinyl decals, etc., etc.
Unless you have a full-body paint RV, your challenges with RV cleaning will require more work, more products, and more strategy. The majority of people simply do not have the money to enter the world of the high-end, diesel pushing RV's that typically come with a massive price tag, but also come with full body paint.
Just like your car, washing your RV is a necessary evil. While there are many people who consider washing there car for a few hours on the weekend is a form of therapy, the size of most RV's will suck that idea right out of most people.
But if we can equip you with the right products and tools, you might just find yourself a little more willing to go out and take on that beast!
As any RV-er knows, these "toys" are big! RV cleaning in the best of cases is difficult. I want to show you how to make your RV duties less-hard, not more-hard.
Before I take you into the specific products and techniques I recommend in cleaning your RV, I want to lay down some basic tips as a starting point:
If your RV is in good to excellent condition, you don't have to over-think the type of wash shampoo. But RV's are big, and RV cleaning and washing is not like washing your car.
While you could realistically wash your RV just like your car so long as you had a ladder, you could do this and I have done this myself. But showing you the tools and products to keep you on the ground will be the best way for most of you.
Either of these wash brushes are built with the ability to attach your garden hose at the end of the extension pole allowing water directly at the washing head. This can be very useful in many ways, but it can also make working your way around during the RV cleaning more cumbersome as you drag a hose, filled with water around your RV.
Only you can decide what system of RV washing you adopt. Just know that these recommendations of RV cleaning tools can be used either with or without your hose attached and make great RV washing brushes either way.
Carrand 93072 Flow-Thru 10" Quad Brush with 71" Aluminum Extension Handle
Garage Monkey Engineering Scrub Brush for Washing Cars, Trucks, RVs, Homes | Long Handle, Adjustable Telescopic Pole, Heavy-Duty Wide Bristle Head | Flow Through, Dip Cleaning | Exterior
Darren's Tips: I prefer both these RV washing brushes due to the bristles that surround the entire washing head. If you have yet to experience the fun of RV cleaning and washing (sarcasm), you will quickly realize how easy it is to bang a traditional wash head against the many accessories on your RV.
Whether you are washing the roof or the sides of your RV, you will be working around countless accessories just waiting to be damaged as you scrub and wash.
These brushes are as safe as you can get with the added bristles around the entire wash head.
Every RV cleaning and washing moment will truly be unique for many reasons. Not only will RV be unique in its size and condition, but the amount of dirt as well as the type of material of your RV will greatly impact your choice in RV wash shampoos.
See my two recommendations below when it comes time for you to equip yourself to wash your RV at home or storage facility.
SHINE ARMOR Ultra Concentrated Car Wash Soap for Car Washing, Detailing, Cleaning - Wash & Wax Formula - Car Wash and Wax - Spray on or Mitt - Hydrophobic Top Coat Polish - 128 oz. (1 Gallon)
There are endless RV cleaning wash soaps to choose from. Whether you are looking at dedicated RV wash soaps or traditional car wash soaps matters not.
And for this reason I have chosen a highly rated car wash soap that also contains added gloss enhancers to add that extra zing to the appearance of your RV cleaning efforts. After all; if you are going to take the time to wash your RV properly, you might as well maximize your efforts!
Darren's Tip: These types of ph neutral or ph balanced car washing shampoos are super safe. These type of washing shampoos are not only safe for all the countless "materials" on your RV, but will also remove what is called the superficial dirt in a safer manner due to way the lubricants and surfactants used in these formulations.
But they are also limited in their ability to cut through heavy dirt and staining. Most of you reading this will likely have RV's that have the traditional gel coat siding that is not painted.
Even if you have a full body paint RV there is always going to be the drip stains that naturally occur over time as your RV sits and collects dirt. Whenever water in the form of rain or morning dew is introduced to the moment, this moisture/water will bring the dirt that has collected on the roof down the sides of your RV.
Some of these drip stains can be removed with a gentle RV wash shampoo like the one I recommended just above, along with a more heavy-handed approach with your scrub brush.
But in many cases the drips will have to either be treated separately after you have washed your RV, or you will need to switch to a more aggressive type of cleaner that has some real detergents formulated into the RV wash product.
Not all dirt is created equal. And your RV is not created equal just as the amount of dirt your are attempting to clean away will be in varying amounts.
The roof of your RV will accumulate heavier amounts of dirt and represent greater challenges when RV cleaning. Just as the amount of dirt will vary, the roof material on your RV will also vary.
Not all RV roofing material cleans up as easily as other roofing material.
Not only will your RV represent different materials you will be required to clean, but each area of your RV will represent unique challenges due to the "fixtures" or nuances of that area.
RV roofs are going to be very different than the sides of your RV. From the many roof-top "accessories" to the roofing material itself.
Chemical Guys CLD_201 Signature Series Orange Degreaser (1 Gal)
Darren's Tips: Dirt happens. And dirt happens everywhere. If this is your first rodeo with attempting to clean your RV, depending on your exact situation, you may in for a rude awakening.
Only you can decide which approach you ultimately figure out what will be the most effective and efficient approach based on your desired outcome.
Unless your RV is truly brand new, and in pristine condition, I would actually recommend people get both these products. As most RV's are kept outdoors and subject to the build-up of much dirt. Even the nicest of RV's will accumulate enough dirt to make the traditional RV washing products ineffective to remove more than truly basic dirt build-up.
Before I get into more of the basics of RV cleaning, washing, and waxing, I am going to lay out some additional pointers for you that includes techniques and tools.
Smith 190285 1-Gallon Bleach and Chemical Sprayer for Lawns and Gardens or Cleaning Decks, Siding, and Concrete
Darren's Tips: I love these pump sprayers due to their versatility and low cost. Whether you are cleaning a car or cleaning an RV, anytime I need to dispense large amounts of a liquid, I use this pump sprayer that makes me very efficient and productive.
Particularly useful in RV cleaning when it comes to the many duties of cleaning your RV:
Kirkland Signature Ultra High Pile Premium Microfiber Towels, 36 Count (Pack of 1), Yellow - 713160
Chemical Guys MIC_506_12 Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towels, Gold (16 Inch x 16 Inch) (Pack of 12)
Darren's Tips: There are endless choices when it comes to micro fiber cloths for RV cleaning. Different sizes, different thickness, different cloth weaves, etc. Anything goes.
It would be very easy to find yourself overwhelmed at the endless choices and endless opinions as to which micro fiber cloth is the best. You seriously don't have to overthink it (you can do that later after you get the hand of this RV cleaning thing)
This is why I have narrowed the search down to these two choices. You will figure out which cloth to use based on your needs of the moment, and how much you feel like concerning yourself with a "nice" micro fiber cloth, and a "really nice" micro fiber cloth.
Now that I have laid out some of my best RV cleaning tips and tricks, we can get down to the basics of RV cleaning, waxing, and polishing.
Because f the many types of materials used to construct RV's, you will likely be challenged by these many materials in moving forward with a game plan on how to deal with these many materials:
Liquid X Complete Bucket Kit with Dolly - Bucket, Gamma Seal Lid, Grit Guard & Dolly Wash Combo
Darren's Tips: As a side note, I love having a wash bucket on a dolly when I am washing an RV. Instead of bending over and repositioning the wash bucket repeatedly, I can simply push it along with my wash brush and extension pole.
But keep in mind that unless you are washing your RV on a surface that is mostly flat, rolling wheels will prove obsolete. Which in most cases is not a problem, but I have worked on many RV's within outside storage yards that have dirt or gravel.
Shurhold 2466 Black 5 Gallon Ultimate Bucket Kit, 32. Fluid_Ounces
Darren's Tip: As noted above, there are many times I have been required to wash an RV on ground that is less-than-ideal. From uneven dirt to uneven gravel. From completely flat terrain to terrain with a slope.
If this is the situation for you, this bucket is a perfect fix for keeping your RV wash bucket perfectly "affixed".
Meguiar's X2000 Water Magnet Microfiber Drying Towel
If you are still drying your RV (or car, or truck, or anything else for that matter) with an old bath towel you have hijacked from the house, you need to really catch up to the times.
With this superior drying cloth from Meguiar's you can say good-bye to unnecessary scratching from your "safe" 100% cotton bath towels that are anything but safe.
You can also say good bye to all the unwanted lint your bath towels leave behind when trying to dry your RV.
RV's in general are BIG! A whole lot of real estate to clean, wash, and wax.
If you have never experienced the benefits of water treatment systems like the CR Spotless filter when it comes to washing your behemoth RV then you are in for a real treat!
No more water spots as you scurry around like a headless chicken trying to keep your RV from spotting up as you wash your RV.
These water purification systems remove all the minerals in your water that create spots. These minerals often times will literally etch into the paint, fiberglass, windows, and even chrome to become permanent fixtures.
CR Spotless DIC-20 Deionized Water System, 1 Pack
With this system, you simply hook your water line to it and you are set for spotless RV washing. With all the minerals removed from your water supply, now you will not have to worry about racing the the clock, trying to manage the wash and rinse water during the process. And with the recommend wash soap from above, many RV owners simply wash and rinse with this spotless water treatment system and let their RV drip dry.
It will not be as perfect as if you were still to take the time to dry off with a quality drying cloth like the one I recommend above, but when it comes to these rolling behemoths, many RV owners find this an acceptable trade-off.
As soon as RV owners start talking about the task of cleaning an RV, there is the proverbial ripple effect:
"Now that I have cleaned my RV, now I need to wax my RV."
And since most RV owners recognize that basic RV cleaning and washing is part of the essential required maintenance, it is very likely that you yourself will also recognize the need to wax your RV at a minimum, and maybe even polish your RV.
So if you have consumed all the information on this page as to what I recommend for RV washing and cleaning and are ready for the next step, then head over to my fiberglass wax page where I make all my professional recommendations for your RV when it comes to waxing and polishing.
I hope I have helped in adding the resources and information for you to not only take on this daunting task, but that you might also get better results with my recommendations!