Can you pressure wash rv ? (And other tips to wash RV)

Can you pressure wash rv ? (And other tips to wash RV)

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High pressure washing RV or RV roof should be avoided as it may cause damage to paint, worn out seals and caulking. It can result in loosing the finish of your travel trailer or camper.

A high pressure wash need to be avoided, using pressure washer with reduced pressure can work though. Many people do try out high pressure washing but its always going to be tough for your RV. You cannot be harsher on the RV exterior specially if its many years old. Using a medium bristle brush is mostly recommended.

Washing RV roof

It is not a good idea to wash your RV rubber roof with pressure wash as it may damage the roof. Some products used for cleaning may recommend pressure wash but you need to be more careful and not set the pressure too high.

Make sure the nozzle pressure is set to less than 1200 psi. Pressure washer can bring out water at psi as high as 3100 and that can be very bad for your RV walls and roof. Specially for the RV roof, a high psi can cause damages that can cost you much more to repair.

Remember a RV roof is a critical component of the RV and any leaks can result in water drop and other issue inside the RV. The RV paint and seal can get impacted when the high pressure water hits the roof. And thus high pressure wash may not be considered a safe idea.

Reason why people want to try pressure washer is because it makes the job easier. Pressure wash also removes the tough dirt, removes decals and bird dropping with ease. This may seem like an easy effort but it will result in other issues as mentioned.

If you go by using the recommended method of using brush than it may be little more efforts of yours. A RV roof or a RV documentation may recommend whats the best method to wash your RV or camper. If it does not mention anything then it does not mean that you can use pressure wash.

Most RV roof are made up of rubber or TPO or fiberglass and are recommended to be washed using low to medium bristle brush wash and not using high pressure washer. You need to understand a high pressure can result in the paint and seals getting affected with the pressure.

A rubber roof is a coating of EPDM that comes on with a fabric and such spray contact of water at high pressure will result in damage. Also a RV roof no matter of what type will have things like vents, air conditioner which are mounted with screws or another methods. This may affect the mounting and result in damages to them as well. Small gap or cracks can then result in holes that can worsen.

Caution and keeping a closer look while using a pressure washer is all you need to do. Make sure you have lesser pressure on nozzle just to be sure when washing the motorhome or travel trailer exterior or the rv roof. Having a pressure adjustable nozzle will make your job easy. Just set the pressure to less than 1000 psi and you should be fine.

How do you wash the Roof without pressure wash

A big RV will have a bigger roof area obviously and washing it without a pressure wash will need more efforts. You need to use a good cleaner or soap and wash it gently using a brush with a handle.

Going up there can be risky as well when you have splashes of water so just be careful and don’t climb up there. Instead get a ladder go up there at the edge and use the brush with a handle sufficient enough to reach most part of the roof.

pressure washing a rv

You need to wet the brush enough , scrub the RV roof gently and get it rinsed to make sure all cleaner is washed away. One can also try washing the roof with hands but you need to go up there and you surely don’t want to be there when its slippery.

How to wash the RV body and other parts

rv parked for cleaning
rv parked for cleaning

The travel trailer or the camper body washing need to be done after you exactly know what kind of material its made up of. Most people are not aware or are ignorant of that fact. In most modern campers the fiberglass material is used as its lightweight and yet more sturdy making them durable. Remember RV roof can support weight upto certain limit and you need to keep that in mind.

You also get metal RV bodies, mostly aluminium is used. RV body will be covered with layer of paint and you need to wash it like any other automobile. But, just be sure too much pressure isn’t used as it may lead to paint layers getting removed.

Wash the body with a mild soap with soft brush and rinse the soap with water splashed not high in pressure. At times you may have to try harder to get the dirt removed but do not use harsh brush for this.

Washing awnings is the next step, you need to be gentle here too as it may result in damaging the fabric. Most times the awning would be less dirty unless you are a boondocking guy where it will catch the dirt and dust. For wheels you need to use recommended product specially made for wheel and rim cleaning.

Read : Tips to maintain an RV Awning

How often should you clean RV roof?

It totally depends on how you keep your RV. It also depends on where you live or go camping. Roof is exposed to all the types of outer elements. Thus, it can get dirty very often. Its therefor necessary that you inspect its condition often.

To say the least one should wash RV roof 4 times a year. One has to decide after having a look.

Other important thing with rubber roof is to avoid using citrus or petroleum products for cleaning. Strong and harsh abrasives can be bad for rubber roof. Use cleaners that are manufacturer recommended as far as possible.

Read : How much weight can rv roof hold Check this before you start walking out there

Other tips to wash the RV

Cleaning the RV exterior is as important a keeping the interior clean. Lets check out some cool tips to clean and wash the RV exterior.

1. Water-less RV washing

You do get RV washing products that can be without water. Now that’s great. This will be an eco-friendly way of washing and will save you water. It can work great but not always. At times you will really need those splashes of water or low pressure washer to get the tough dirt and other things on RV roof and on body.

tips for washing an rv

2. Try different things for washing

RV manufacturer would recommend the soap or type of cleaner to be used for cleaning. But, at times people try different things which suit them or also try home made cleaners. Baby shampoo or vinegar can be tried for washing the RV. This however does not mean you try all sorts of things. Do not use dish washing soap for washing the outside of your RV as it can be harsh on your RV.

3. Wash periodically

A RV not cleaned and protected will not last as many years as it should normally. As the interior cleaning is necessary so is exterior. Make sure you wash the RV or travel trailer regularly and also wax it. You can search on web for best rv wax cleaners for fiberglass RVs and you should find a lot of those listed. Whichever you chose make sure its recommended one for your RV.

4. Special care for Roof

Roof of the RV needs specially attention and the life of you RV in general is also depended on how the roof is. A roof not protected well will leak and damages can be so big that it may need replacements. Washing the roof properly will help get rid of accumulated dirt and other dust particles. Bird dropping, tree leaves are other things that make the roof dirty and susceptible to damage.

5. Cleaning the interior

As we saw that exterior cleaning needs to be done carefully so is interior cleaning. Make sure you do not use harsh cleaning products for sinks or showers as that may lead to damages to water tanks, pipes and breaking the seals. Use products that are recommended and aren’t that harsh. Using home made natural cleaners can also be a good idea.

6. Start with RV roof cleaning

Before you wash the body of the RV make sure RV roof is cleaned. Try sweeping the roof dry to remove any debris or dirt, this will make the rest of the process easy for you. Rubber roof are little harder to clean and thus take extra care while doing that. Whatever RV you have may it be class A motorhome or class c or a fifth wheel makes sure roof is gently cleaned and do not put scratches as that will lead to further damage with time.

Yoganand Gadekar

Yoganand is a RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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