How to Wash RV exterior, Roof, and More (Ultimate Guide)

Keeping your RV clean is the best way to protect it from dirt and grime. With all the miles you put on your RV, making sure you know how to wash it correctly can save you a lot of money in repairs while keeping you looking good as you drive down the road.

How to Wash RV exterior: One of the DIY ways to washing the exterior of your RV is to use a soft bristle brush and mild soap. This method protects your RV’s paint and other delicate features. Also, if you have a rubber roof, use a cleaner designed for rubber roofs.

To get all the information on how to wash your RV’s exterior, roof and other spots, just continue to read our article. It provides the answers to your questions and helps guide you to the correct way to wash your RV.

Best Way to Wash Your RV

The construction materials on your RV’s exterior often dictates the best way to clean it. For metal construction materials, normal every day non-caustic car wash detergents will do the trick. Just a little soap, water and a thorough rinse and your RV is clean.

Just be careful if you use a pressure washer as the sectional overlap may allow water to leak inside. If you own an Airstream trailer, it is best to contact the manufacturer to find out how to do the cleaning job the best way possible.

RV Wash Tools

Working with the right tools ensures that you can get the job done right and done the first time you do it. Here is a list of tools that should help you get your RV wash done correctly:

  • Lamb’s wool wash mitt- this will protect the surface of your RV and make sure scratches are not left behind
  • Flow through wash brush & extension- you can handle most of your washing chore from the ground. Plus, it allows you to apply both soap and water with ease
  • A good car polish- this will protect your RV from damage from the elements or dirt etc. Plus, it will keep it looking great
  • A good safe car soap- this will get all the dirt from your RV and should not remove any wax finish you already put on your vehicle
  • A synthetic drying chamois- get the ultimate drying experience with this tool
  • Collapsible water bucket- their 5 gallon size makes sure you have plenty of water. Then when you are done they just fold up for easy storage
  • A grit guard insert- this handy little tool will keep you and your brush from putting dirt back on to your RV during the wash cycle
  • A car wash gun- this will apply the right pressure you need as you put soap on your RV then rinse it off with pure water. You may need special soap to use the gun

Best Soap to Wash RV

The best soap to use is one that is not abrasive. An abrasive soap will scratch or cause some minor damage to your RV. You are free to use just about any safe mild soap that you use and is made for your car.

You can spend a little more and get a soap designed for RVs but choosing the right soap is yup to your judgment.

How to Wash RV Exterior (Aluminum or Fiberglass)

There are still RVs around that are made from fiberglass. The good news about this construction material is that you do not need any special cleaners or tools to get them looking their best.

If your RV has decals on it, then avoid using a pressure or power washer. These tools can chip away at the decal and leave them looking awful. Airstream trailers are made from aircraft aluminum and require special chemicals to get the exterior nice and clean.

The owner’s manual will provide the correct instructions on ow to clean aluminum surfaces.

What to Wash a Fiberglass RV With

Pressure washers cut your washing time down immensely. But they mat also cause a little damage to your fiberglass exterior. One of the more recommended ways to clean your RV fiberglass exterior is to clean it like you do your car

Use a garden hose with normal spray attachment. Then get a soft bristle brush or a soft cloth to handle the washing portion. After that, rinse again with your garden hose. This may take longer but protecting your RV from damage will save you time and money in the long run

How to Wash RV Roof (Rubber Roof)

For years rubber roofs were the construction material for RVs. It is the same compound used on a variety of manufactured homes. What you need t be aware of is that these type of roofs were designed to flake. That is normal and not something to worry about.

To keep rubber roofs clean, you need to wash them every few months and use special rubber roof cleaner. You can find these at your RV dealer or camper stores. The just wash your rubber roof like you would your car.

What to Wash RV Rubber Roof With

You need special rubber cleaning detergents to handle removing the dirt from your rubber roof. These detergents and a soft bristle brush should handle the chore with a little time. Of course, you can use a spray washer to help speed up the process.

The key is not to use any other cleaner than what is made for rubber roofs. The good news here is that most modern RVs do not come with rubber roofs any more.

Can You Pressure Wash RV Roof?

You can use a pressure washer on your rubber or fiberglass RV roof. For the former construction material it is okay to use normal car wash soaps and polish. Or you can spend a few dollars more and purchase cleaners made for a fiberglass roof.

The only thing you need to be concerned about is to avoid cracking any seals around vents, antennas and other roof top seals. Seals are usually made from silicone and they can easily be damaged when direct water pressure is sent their way.

How to Pressure Wash Your RV

Pressure washing takes a lot of the work out of washing your RV. But you should be careful how you use the pressure washer as the water comes out of the gun at between 1300 to 3000 psi.

First, to do the job right, park your RV out of direct sunlight

Second, give your RV a quick spray of water to remove any loose dirt and debris. Keep the nozzle a good 16 inches away from the body of your RV

Third, apply the mild soap through the gun but being careful not to hit seals etc., directly.

Fourth, rinse off the soap from your RV using the same method. Don’t use extreme hot water as this may damage your vehicle

Fifth, use a drying cloth or two to get the excess water off your RV

Finally, apply your wax if needed.

Can I Wash My RV with Dawn Dish Soap

It is not wise to use Dawn or any other dish washing soap on your RV. These brands and types of soap are made from harsh ingredients that may leave a film behind. Also, these type of soaps will strip your gel coat finish that is on your RV.

On top of that, they will strip the wax off as you wash.

Washing RV with Bleach: Good or Bad

There are sections of your RV where it is a good idea to use bl;each and there are sections of your RV where using bleach is a big no-no. Cleaning your bathroom/kitchen sink with bleach two of those sections where using bleach is not recommended.

The good place to use bleach is on your RV’s siding. Just mix about 4 cups of the liquid cleaner with one gallon of water. Then use a brush to apply it. Make sure to rinse of as soon as possible when you are done.

Another place you can use bleach is on your rubber roof. Just mix a little bleach with water and attack the mold, etc. Then after you a have done that, mix some vinegar and water and go over those areas you used the bleach. This will get rid of the bleach smell and neutralize the bleach’s cleaning power.

How to Wash RV Awning

There is a quick way to clean your awning without spending more than 5 minutes on it. All you have to do is first, spray the awning with water rinse. You can use a pump by hand spray bottle or spray gun. Either way is good.

After this, spray on your soap and roll up your awning. Wait an hour and unroll it again. Finally, rinse off the soap and dirt. This is quick and easy, plus it should get all the dirt off without too much trouble.

Can You Wash RV Cushion Covers

The simple answer is yes you can. In older RVs you may be able to clean the foam cushions that came with the unit when you bought it. All you need to do is is remove the covers and toss them in the washer.

A little elbow grease is necessary to clean the foam cushions but it can be done with a good sponge and a little time

How to Wash RV Cushion Covers

Washing RV cushion covers is basically the same as washing cushion covers in your home. Of course, you can spend the money and have an RV detailer handle the chore or take them to your local dry cleaner.

If you want to save money, just remove the covers and put them in your washing machine. Just make sure you follow the cleaning instructions in your owner’s manual. If your cushion covers are leather, then you will need to use those cleaners designed to clean leather. Don’t use any other cleaner.

Can You Wash RV Curtains

Again,yes you can. Some manufacturers recommend that you hand wash your RV curtains in lukewarm water and very gentle cleaners like Woolite. Or you can place them in your washer using the delicate cycle and cold to cool water.

But if the owner’s manual says to dry clean only, then you should not wash your RV curtains.

How to Wash RV Curtains

One method to cleaning your RV’s curtain sis to hand wash them in cool to lukewarm water. Use a gentle cleaner and then hang dry when the washing is done. Another method is to wash them in cool water using Woolite as the cleaner. Be gentle though and use a lower wash setting.

A third way to wash your RV curtains is to hang them outside, then saturate them with Spray ‘n’ Wash. Then use a nail brush to get the heavier stained areas. After that, just rinse them off with water from a garden hose.

How to Wash RV Cover

Washing your RV cover is not difficult but it may take a little time. Just follow the upcoming steps and you should be done before you know it:

  • Lay out a tarp or sheet of plastic as a base
  • Lay your cover on top of the plastic and rinse with warm water
  • Lay your cover on top of the plastic and rinse with warm water
  • Rinse the soap off, again with warm water
  • Hang dry and put away when it is ready

What you do not do with your RV cover is the following:

  • Put it in your washer or dryer
  • Use fabric softener
  • Take it to a dry cleaner Iron it

Wash RV With Baby Shampoo

It is okay to use baby shampoo when you wash your RV. The shampoo won’t leave a film and it is gentle on your RV’s exterior. To help the shampoo clean better and eradicate water spots add a little distilled vinegar to the shampoo & water mixture.

Baby Shampoo and Vinegar RV Wash

This is a simple yet gentle way to clean your RV. The added vinegar will help the shampoo clean better and keep water spots from forming. You do not need a lot of either to do a thorough job of cleaning your RV.

Homemade RV Cleaner Wash Solution

If you do not want to spend the money on specific cleaners for your RV bath time, then you may do like other people do- turn to homemade solutions. Some homemade cleaners, like baby shampoo and vinegar, won’t hurt your RV.

But if you use harsh chemicals or soap, like Dawn or other dish washing liquids or bleach, then chances are you are not helping your RV out at all. You may be damaging your paint, decals, or ruin the gel coating and removing the wax finish.

Double check your ingredients before mixing them into a cleaner.

Wash RV Battery

It is possible and safe to wash your RV battery and surrounding area. One way is to completely rinse your battery by spraying it with your garden hose and spray attachment.

The best way to clean your RV’s battery is to mix baking soda with water and scrub your battery with a wire brush. Once everything is dry, you can protect your battery area with truck bed liner coating or anti-rust primer and paint.

Wash RV Carpet

It may be difficult to get a carpet cleaner inside your RV. You may have to clean your carpet by hand. Here are some tips you can follow to wash your carpet:

  • NO shoes allowed- ban outside shoes from entering your RV
  • Spot cleaners- follow the instructions for application and wipe up
  • Club soda- works on red wine stains. As does pouring some white wine immediately on top of the red wine stain
  • Vinegar- does the trick if you have a white wine stain on your carpet
  • Pet cleaning products- these will remove dog odor and accident stains
  • Baking soda & cornstarch- if you get oil stains on your carpet, turn to this mixture to get rid of them. If there is still some stain left,use dish washing liquid that handles grease, etc.
  • Liquid and dry carpet cleaners- this is for cleaning the dirt deep down in your carpet

How to Wash an RV Without Water

It is not hard to turn to waterless washing products to keep your RV nice and clean. They are a great alternative when the campground or RV park you are in doesn’t allow for water washing.

All you need is a good waterless washing product and soft mop to tackle the job. Just spray or wipe it on like you would do if you were washing with water and applying soap. Then wipe off. It is that simple and easy to do.

Some Final Comments

For the most part, keeping your RV nice and clean just takes a little time and a little know how. Doing your cleaning chores right protects your RV and keeps it looking its best every time you hit the road.

One of the best ways to make sure you wash your RV and its different parts is to read your owner’s manual. That booklet should be filled with the right instructions and information you need to follow.

Getting tips from more experienced RV users is another way to find good methods for keeping your RV nice and clean inside and out.

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