How to wash an RV
How to wash an RV
Whether you continuously use your RV throughout the year or only take a trip or two, performing regular maintenance on your RV is an essential part of retaining its value. And a big part of RV maintenance is the frequent washing of the exterior.
Benefits of a Clean RV
Washing the exterior of the RV provides many benefits. By removing the mud, dirt, salt, and rain from the RV, you avoid the corrosion, staining, and chemical spotting that the minerals in these elements can cause to the finishes and surfaces. Keeping your RV clean improves the exterior condition of your RV. It allows you to drive the vehicle when needed safely. A clean and well-maintained RV enhances the value of the vehicle and provides you with the pride of owning such a well-maintained RV.
How Often Should an RV be Washed?
How often you wash your RV depends on where it is stored and how often you take it out on the road. If you use your RV continually, you may need to wash it every month or every trip to keep it in top shape. Somewhat regular use may require that the RV be cleaned every three months. It is best to wash your RV at least twice a year. At the very least, wash your RV once a year, even if it is stored in a protected environment.
Ways to Wash an RV
There are three ways you can wash your RV – run your RV through an automatic RV or truck wash, have a mobile RV detailing company come to your home, or wash your RV yourself.
It is not recommended to use an automatic car wash to clean your RV. Many car washes cannot accommodate the RV’s height and length. If you want to use an automatic wash, go to a truck and RV wash.
If you use an automatic or truck wash to clean the exterior of your RV, remove any items attached to your RV such as bikes and other recreational equipment. Ensure the doors and windows are closed completely and don’t forget to check the roof vents.
How to wash your RV
There are benefits to washing your RV. This is the least expensive way to keep your RV clean and in good working order. Also, cleaning your RV allows you to simultaneously inspect the vehicle and make sure that the seams, vents, and windows have tight seals, and the attachments are securely fastened.
Before you turn on the water, park your RV on a level surface out of direct sunlight and sweep off any debris. Check your owner’s manual for specific cleaning instructions. Learn the type of materials used to construct your RV, recommended cleaning solutions and tools, and whether or not the roof can be walked on. Gather your supplies: ladder, mop, buckets, brushes, sponges, squeegees, washing mitts, cleaning cloths and solutions, and wash your RV in this order – roof, sides, windows, awnings, and tires.
Cautions of RV Washing
Be extremely careful if you choose to wash your RV with a pressure washer. Using the pressure washer too close to the RV or at too high a setting can cause a lot of damage. The pressure washer can remove paint and decals, loosen and break seals, tear awnings, and push water inside the cabin through seams, gaskets, and rivets.
Using dish soap in place of an RV washing solution is not recommended as the dish soap may remove the gel and wax coatings that protect the vehicle.
Different Washing Methods for Different RVs
Exterior RV roof and side surfaces typically are constructed from rubber, metal or fiberglass. An RV surface made of rubber, is durable, but you should not use abrasive or acidic cleansers or any products that contain petroleum distillate as they can break down the rubber.
To wash an RV surface made of rubber, wet the surface, apply a rubber roof cleaner and scrub with a sponge or car cleaning mitt, and rinse.
Metal RVs are often constructed from aluminum or stainless steel. To clean a metal RV, wet the surface and apply a pre-wash to remove the majority of the dirt and grime, and scrub with sponges and wash mitts. Rinse the surface and then wash the RV a second time with a non-abrasive cleaner, and rinse again. Painted metal surfaces can be cleaned and waxed with standard car products.
RVs made of fiberglass typically are coated in a gel resin to give the surface a smooth and shiny appearance. As the surface ages, the gel coat oxidizes and becomes cloudy and then black. The best way to maintain a fiberglass surface is to use a wash-and-wax product that both cleans your RV and protects it for the future.
Washing the RV Windows
Traveling with an RV is a great way to see new places, but to see them clearly you need clean windows. If you are doing an intensive clean of your RV, take down the curtains and clean them according to the manufacturer’s directions. Wash any blinds with a microfiber cloth and your preferred household cleaning solution.
Cleaning the RV Awnings
Before you tackle the RV awning, check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you use the correct cleaning products for your awning material. The awning must be dry before your roll it up or retract it to keep mold and mildew from forming.
Sometimes cleaning the awning is as easy as brushing off leaves and debris, rinsing both sides with water, and letting it dry before storing it away.
Chemical residues left on an awning can damage the fabric, so ensure all the cleaning solution gets rinsed from the awning.
Washing the RV Tires
Many RVs are not driven as frequently as cars and spend most of the time parked on driveways or in storage yards. This constant exposure to the elements can take a toll on the tires and cause them to deteriorate and crack. Proper maintenance and cleaning, as well as covering the tires while the RV is being stored will ensure you get the most life out of the tires.
To clean the tires, rinse the tires with water and spray on a rubber cleaning or mild soap solution. Use a sturdy brush to scrub the dirt and grime off the tires. Rinse them thoroughly with water to remove the dirt and soap. After the tire is completely dry, spray on a tire protectant.
Hit the Road in Your Sparkling Clean RV
Now that you know how to maintain your RV correctly, it’s time to plan a trip, pack up the RV, and head out on the open road!
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