Posted by: Mark Polk | 6:23 pm

How To Clean your RV Exterior – RV DIY® Channel Video

cleaning RV My first job at an RV dealership was washing RVs when I was 15 years-old. It was amazing to me how dirty they would get sitting on the sales lot. I washed a lot of RVs back then and I am still washing RVs today, so I would say I have a great deal of of experience in this area. 

I learned a few tips on washing RVs back in the day, but I can tell you there are no top secret cleaners or cleaning techniques for keeping your RV’s exterior looking new. It’s really not much different from maintaining the exterior of your automobile. You wash it, wax it and use products designed to protect surfaces like vinyl, plastic and fiberglass. The only secret, which really isn’t a secret at all, is to use lots of elbow grease and thoroughly clean the RV every time it gets dirty. This usually means  after returning from a trip, and if it stays outside, after a month or two of being exposed to the elements.

When you are traveling and camping in your RV the exterior gets dirty quickly. The key to keeping your RV exterior looking new is to clean it often. If you allow bugs, dirt and black streaks to stay on the exterior surface too long it can be extremely difficult to remove.

Let’s look at my top 5 RV DIY exterior cleaning tips to keep your RV exterior looking new.

1)      Use a soap that is compatible with the surface of the RV. There are lots of cleaners on the market, but the important thing is to use a product designed specifically for your RV’s exterior. If you RV’s exterior is metal a good quality car soap is all you need.

Tip: For washing and waxing fiberglass RV exteriors look at what boat owner’s use.

2)      Use a long handled brush with soft bristles to reach the high spots and use a wash glove or mitt for the easy to reach areas. RV’s are tall and the only way to reach those high spots is to use a brush designed for cleaning RVs. Make sure the surface is rinsed off first and use the long handled brush with soap and water to reach the high places.

Tip: Always start at the top and work your way down. This applies to washing your vehicles too.

3)      When you use commercial cleaners, like black streak remover, always read the instructions for the best cleaning results and to protect the RV’s paint and graphics from possible damage. Always test commercial cleaners in a inconspicuous area on the RV before using the product on your RV. Some cleaners can damage the painted surface, graphics or other surfaces on the RV.

4)     Avoid washing the RV in direct sunlight and/or if it is extremely hot outside. Rinse the area you plan to wash first. Always wash from the top down and rinse the cleaned area immediately after washing it. Work in 10-foot sections at a time so the soap doesn’t have a chance to dry. When you are rinsing the soap from the exterior surface avoid spraying water directly at or in any of the appliance vents like the furnace and water heater.

Tip: Never take the RV to a truck wash and be extremely careful if you decide to use a pressure washer to clean the RV. High water pressure can do lots of damage to your RV.

5)      You have probably heard lots of ideas for removing dead bugs from the front of your RV, but the best advice I can offer is clean it the bugs off as soon as possible and use lots of water on the front of the RV to make the chore of removing bugs and road debris easier. Again soap, lots of water and elbow grease is the secret here. I have had some luck with bug and tar remover products too, just make sure you follow the directions.

Tip: One of the best general purpose cleaners I have ever found for cleaning the RV and all kinds of things around the house is called The Reliable One. It is available online and in many stores.

Well there you have it, a nice clean RV until you head out on your next RV trip.

Happy RV Learning,

Mark Polk

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  1. 2 more tips.

    If the front is encrusted by bugs you can soak them with a wet towel to make removal easier. On something as large as an RV you will need to move the towel every 5 minutes or so.

    It’s hard to wax an entire RV but you should at least wax the front portions to protect them and make the next swarm of bugs easier to remove. And that includes the mirrors. If you have the time, wax the top of the RV as well.

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