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Cleaning Your Pop-Up Camper

Each adventure you take your pop-up camper on adds to the memory bank...and adds to the dirtiness of your camper. Embarking into the wilderness means traversing the inevitable dusty campsite and muddy trail. The layer of grime that collects on your pop-up camper does more than hurt the aesthetic. Left unaddressed, it can cause damage. We put together an easy to follow guide for cleaning your pop-up camper below. For all your pop-up camper needs, visit Big Country RV. We offer a range of models for sale including the ever-popular Forest River pop-up camper. You’ll find us in Bend and Redmond, Oregon.

The Canvas of Your Camper

The canvas of your pop-up camper starts to look worse for wear quickly. Each time you use your Forest River pop-up camper, the canvas experiences friction from the deploying and retracting. Combine this with the drain of the elements and you get a worn-out looking canvas. If you ever accidently stow it while wet, you’ll end up with an unsightly mildew fiasco.

Proper cleaning of your camper canvas starts by consulting the owner’s manual. Different models, like a Forest River camper, often have different care instructions. Look for any specific washing instructions as some materials require avoiding or using certain products.

In general, you can use a gentle detergent (like Woolite) mixed with gallons of water. But if you spotted mildew, you’ll want to use a more powerful mixture. Try a combination of bleach, dish soap, and water or opt for a special mildew-treating product.

Once you gathered up your soap and some sponges, you are ready to begin cleaning. Start with the inside. Use a soapy sponge to scrub the tent walls. Then use a freshwater sponge to wipe it away. You want to clean in small sections to avoid the soap drying on before you can wash it off. When cleaning the outside of the canvas, you may want to use a scrub brush. This will give you more leverage to scrape off hardened grime.

Waterproofing Your Pop-Up Camper

As you wash your Forest River pop-up camper, hopefully the water is pooling into droplets and sliding right off. But sometimes the canvas soaks up the moisture. When this occurs, you’ll need to waterproof it. Many models are created with waterproofing built in, but it wears down after around five years.

When you need to add waterproofing, start with a freshly cleaned canvas. Otherwise, the soap mixture can interfere with the waterproofing process. Make sure it is fully dry as well. Check your owner’s manual for any recommended products to be safe. If nothing is listed, you can use a waterproofing product used for cars. Try to avoid spraying the product on any vinyl components (like the vinyl screens). If it happens, wipe it away immediately to avoid damage.


After your Forest River camper is cleaned and waterproofed, it’s time to clean the vinyl. Use a protect-all product (or similar automotive product). Scrub with a clean cloth and wipe it away. It’s pretty simple!

This information is for educational purposes. VIARV shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.

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