Pressure washing is one of the quickest, easiest ways to wash your RV, but it’s not a foolproof method and if you’re not mindful while you clean you can wind up doing more harm than good. A pressure washer used improperly will strip your decals, force water into the frame of your RV, blast your seals away, and degrade your RVs finish, so be conscious to keep your pressure washer at least a foot away from the surface of the RV.
When you pressure wash the body of your RV, you’ll want to make sure you use smooth even passes horizontally along the length of the RV. You can absolutely use vertical sweeps, but you can push dislodged dirt back up the side of your RV, which will just take more time and water.
Washing your RV’s Roof
Your roof is likely made of one of two materials: rubber or fiberglass. Rubber RV roofs were an industry standard for years, but they’re slowly being phased out in favor of the sturdier fiberglass roofs.
Washing Rubber RV Roofs
The rubber roof of your RV is designed to flake off in order to maintain its flexibility. This is what often causes the unsightly black or white streaks running down the side of your RV. You can wash your rubber roof using a pressure washer, but if this is your go-to method you’ll need to be especially careful because the pressure washer will easily break away seals around protruding structures. To manually wash a rubber roof it’s recommended you use rubber roof cleaning supplies (first a cleaner, then a treatment), these supplies are require about a day to cure, so don’t plan on using them during your sunday cleaning blitz.
Washing Fiberglass RV Roofs
A fiberglass RV roof is much easier to clean than a rubber roof, and these roofs are becoming more and more common, which is great. To clean your fiberglass RV roof use your normal preferred auto cleaning supplies. If you have problems like oxidation on your fiberglass roof (or on the front cap) there are products specifically for those challenges, however be conscious that many more severe fiberglass cleaning products eat away at the finish and top layers of fiberglass, and so you’ll have to polish and wax those areas after a serious cleaning operation.
Washing the Body of your RV
The body of your RV is probably made of one of two main materials: metal, or fiberglass.
Metal RV Bodies
Painted metal RVs are pretty easy to wash. You can use your favorite automotive cleaning supplies. The biggest thing to look out for is the areas where the metal sheet siding on your RV overlap. Using a pressure washer on these areas can force water underneath the siding which can cause structural problems. If you’re pressure washing, back off an extra 6” or so to avoid this problem.
Fiberglass RV Bodies
Fiberglass RVs require a bit of extra care. Unpainted fiberglass will typically have decals along the RV, which can be blasted off in seconds with a pressure washer. The best way to care for your fiberglass RV is using an RV wash and wax that’s designed specially for fiberglass which will help the fiberglass keep its color and resist damage. If you have a fully painted fiberglass RV the clear coat means you can get away with some automotive products, however RV specific products are still best.
Wheels and Rims
The wheels of your RV need some sprucing up once in awhile as well. The three common types of wheels on an RV are painted, aluminum, and chrome. For painted metal, always keep an eye out for rust or corrosion, but otherwise use traditional automotive cleaning supplies. Aluminum needs to be cleaned using aluminum cleaners to maintain the best look. Chrome is the trickiest, as you’ll need chromes and a mechanical buffer. Make sure you get the right polish and brushes or you’ll wind up stripping the shiny finish right off.
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.