Keeping the outside of your RV clean protects your paint and can help you stay on top of any issues that may arise. It also just feels good to see your home on wheels sparkle in the sunshine! There are several ways to wash your RV’s exterior depending on the amount of time, money, and elbow grease you’d like to put into the project.DIY
TRUCK OR RV WASH
If you need to wash your RV on a travel day, some truck stops offer washing bays. There are even businesses which offer this service specifically for RVs. Usually, this service is done by hand while you wait. A representative will speak with you about what products will be used on your RV and make recommendations, then your RV will be washed for you! If there are no truck or RV washes around, sometimes a regular car wash will have a bay high and long enough for an RV. Just be sure you can fit before trying, or dirt will be the least of your worries!
Prices for this service will vary with the size of your motorhome or trailer and the area of the country, but a fair budget would be around $50. It is usually the quickest of your options.
Many RVers have an independent spirit and prefer to do things on their own. It’s really not so different from washing your car! Before you wash your RV yourself, make sure that it’s allowed where you are. Many campgrounds don’t permit washing because of the water use involved or the potential for detergents and waxes to harm the area. You can usually find regulations about washing your rig in a campground’s guest guide, but it’s worth checking with the desk to be sure.
Gather your tools. You’ll need a water supply, soap, and a soft sponge or rag. Be careful to only use detergents that are safe for your RV’s exterior. You can usually find information on detergents in your rig’s manual. If nothing is listed or you no longer have your manual, check the packaging on the soap you intend to use for the materials it is designed for.A good bet for most surfaces is blue dish soap. If you have a pressure washer, be very careful around decals, any dents in your exterior, and windows and vents. A hose with a sprayer attachment usually works well. Once you have permission and your supplies, get to work! Spray some water to loosen dirt and bugs, clean it with a soapy rag, and rinse it clean. Be careful not to leave soap on the surface for too long, as it will scale quickly in direct sun. Give yourself plenty of time to get everything into tip-top condition, and don’t be afraid to ask for a second set of eyes on any places you may have missed! Joseph Tymorek, owner of Hottie’s Detailing, a MobileRVing preferred business, suggests that you also wax and polish your RV every six months to protect it from the sun.
The DIY route is the least expensive of options, but will require a large investment in time and hard work.
Another option is to hire a mobile detailing service to clean your rig. I asked Tymorek of Hottie’s Detailing why he thinks mobile detailers are the best choice for keeping your RV clean. “You avoid having to go the car wash, wasting valuable time that you could be using to do other productive things – or just relaxing and enjoying your RV!” Mobile detailers are meticulous and experienced in what they do. They will come to your site and ensure that your RV is looking its best and may even catch issues you have overlooked.
Even if the campground you are at does not allow you to wash your own RV, there is a good chance they allow mobile detailers (who may use eco-friendly detergents or their own water) to work on site. The campground’s guest guide or some word of mouth advice in their office is the best way to find a mobile detailer.
A mobile service may charge $2-$3 per foot for a wash, and will often offer extra services at an additional charge. The price varies by region. A mobile detailer will spend several hours ensuring your RV exterior looks great, but will save you time and effort by coming to you!