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How to Wash and Wax Your RV Like a Pro

How to Wash and Wax Your RV Like a Pro

An RV wash and wax keeps your rig looking good and protected. Weather, debris, and the sun can harm your RV. So keeping it clean and the exterior maintained can help it look good for years. 

We share how to wax your RV in this article. And do you have those pesky black streaks? We give a tip for removing them. Keep reading to learn more, including our product recommendations for what to wash your RV with. 

Let’s get washing.

How To Wash and Wax an RV Like a PRO! New RV Maintenance, Tools, Products and Tips Ep. 14

Should an RV Be Waxed?

Your RV can and should be waxed. It will help protect the exterior fiberglass and paint from UV rays, water, and bug debris and it gives it a shine. Without wax, your RV’s exterior may look faded or keep dirt marks that you could prevent with regular upkeep.

If you have aluminum siding on your RV, stick with waxes for metal surfaces. And if it has fiberglass or another material, use wax for that specific exterior finish. We recommend using a wax specifically designed for RVs. A car wash can work, but we prefer to use a product proven on RVs.

Pro Tip: If you still have clouding, you may need some additional help removing oxidation from an RV’s fiberglass exterior.

How Do You Wash and Wax an RV?

Washing and waxing your RV compares to cleaning a car. But, of course, an RV is much bigger and has some more features on the exterior to pay attention to. 

Before beginning a wash job be sure to inspect all seals around the RV and roof. Washing the RV will increase the likelihood of a leak and making sure it’s sealed up properly before beginning is essential!

sealing RV Roof
sealing the RV first is essential!

Using a brush with an extension for washing your RV helps you get to hard-to-reach places. And you can use it for cleaning the roof, so you don’t have to go on your knees or hurt your back. 

Choose a soap that works for your RV’s exterior finish. Some products have a combination of soap and wax all in one. If you wash and wax separately, read the directions to know how long the RV should dry before waxing.

Depending on the size of your RV, you may want to wash one size or section at a time. And we recommend starting with the front cap and moving back toward the rear. 

For example, if you have a 40-foot motorhome, try washing the front 10 feet of one side first. Then, tackle the next 10 feet and so on. When washing or waxing big rigs, your arms get tired quickly, so take your time and breaks if needed. 

Pro Tip: Need to freshen up the exterior of your RV? Use our guide on RV Exterior Paint 101: How Do You Paint the Outside of Your RV?

Close up of RV covered in wash and wax product
Choose a soap that is made for your RV exterior finish.

What Will Remove Black Streaks From an RV?

Water, rain, or dew running down your RV can cause black streaks. The black comes from dirt that the water takes with it. 

Many people swear by Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner to remove them. In contrast, some use a mix of hot water, dishwashing detergent, and bleach. 

Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner Spray and Refill,...
  • All-purpose concentrated cleaner removes dirt, oil, grime, grease...
  • Recognized by the U.S. EPA's Safer Choice Program. This product...
  • For use on any washable surface. Cleans counters, carpet, floors,...
Man washing RV with wax product
For those with fiberglass RVs, it is still important to regularly wash and wax your rig.

What Is the Best Thing to Wash Your RV With?

Now that you’re ready to clean your RV, let’s look at the best RV wash and wax products on the market.

Camco 40493 Pro-Strength Wash and Wax

Sale
Camco 40493 Pro-Strength Wash and Wax - 32 fl. oz.
  • Provides a clean, shiny finish
  • Does not require buffing
  • Creates waterproof/resistant beading action

Camco’s 40493 Pro-Strength Wash and Wax is safe for all exterior finishes. It’s a combo product that cleans your RV and waxes it with Carnauba Wax. After it’s applied, it creates a waterproof beading action and doesn’t require any buffing.

RV WASH & WAX | CAMCO WASH & WAX + BRUSH REVIEW

Meguiar’s M5401 Marine/RV Gel Wash

Meguiar's M5401 Marine/RV Gel Wash - 1 Gallon...
  • RV/MARINE WASH: Safely and quickly removes boat scum, dirt, salt...
  • GENTLE FORMULA: Rich emulsifying wash with high sudsing action...
  • BRILLIANT GLOSS: Blends rich conditioners with optical...

Meguiar’s M5401 Marine and RV Gel Wash is a biodegradable soap. And it is gentle without a need for hard scrubbing. It also removes dirt and grime without stripping off any wax protection you’ve put on. In addition, the gel wash blends conditioners with optical brighteners to enhance the gloss of your RV’s surface.

Meguiar's Premium Boat Wash Gently Cleans Your Boat or RV, Boosts Gloss & Preserves Wax

Star Brite 071516P Premium RV Wash & Wax w/PTEF (71500) One Step Concentrated Cleaner

Star brite 071516P Premium RV Wash & Wax w/PTEF...
  • Cleans and enhances shine in one step; PTEF polymers enhance...
  • Concentrated formula is tough on dirt yet economical to use; a...
  • Specifically formulated to remove road grime, bug debris, dust,...

Star Brite 071516P Premium RV Wash and Wax is a one-step cleaner. It enhances shine and adds UV protection to prevent fading. The wash is specifically formulated to remove RVs’ dirt, grime, and bug debris. And the wax will not harm decals. Additionally, the product is non-toxic and biodegradable. 

Star Brite Premium Cleaner Wax

303 RV Wash & Seal – Clean, Streak-Free Finish, pH Neutral with High Foaming Formula

303 RV Wash & Seal - Clean, Streak-Free Finish, pH...
  • Deep Cleanse and Shine– This high-foam wash leaves your RV or...
  • Camping Season is Here – Stay ready for your next adventure,...
  • UV Protection – Powerful UV protection preserves your paint...

The 303 RV Wash and Seal provides a deep cleanse and shine on exteriors. It’s a high-foam wash with a non-abrasive pH-neutral formula that doesn’t strip wax. The wash also has UV protection to preserve your paint from cracking or fading. You simply gently scrub the surfaces with a wash mitt to remove dirt. 

303 RV Wash and Seal: Explained

Should I Wax My Fiberglass RV?

You can and should wax fiberglass RVs. Fiberglass has a gloss to it that you need to maintain by waxing. Use RV wax meant for fiberglass, specifically. A brand meant for metal or other materials won’t work as well. 

We recommend following the same regimen you would for washing and waxing any other type of RV. Protecting fiberglass is important and keeping it clean and waxed is part of the process.

Pro Tip: Unsure if a fiberglass camper is right for you? Check out these 5 Reasons Why People Love Fiberglass RV Campers.

RV covered in wax product while being cleaned
Try to wash your RV at least once a month to keep your exterior clean.

How Often Should You Wash and Wax Your RV? 

It’s good practice to wash your RV at least once a season to keep dirt from building up. Dirt can harm the exterior of your RV over time,  and the RV wax protects the paint and keeps it shiny. 

Be sure to wax your RV at least once a year, but you can do it twice or more as you see fit. Try to do so one a sunny and dry day if possible.

Man washing and waxing RV
Make your RV exterior shine by washing and waxing monthly to remove stains and stop your paint from fading.

Keep Your RV Shiny

A shiny clean RV keeps your tiny home on wheels looking good. And it also keeps your RV in good shape. The sun can eat away at RV exteriors quickly, so the more you can do to keep the surface protected, the better. 

Without wax, UV rays can fade your paint and may create permanent stains where dirt is present. Plus, you can get better resale value by keeping those decals in good shape.

Which RV wash and wax product will you use to polish your rig? Tell us in the comments!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
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John S.

Saturday 22nd of October 2022

Excellent article.

Greg Ledbetter

Saturday 22nd of October 2022

Howdy Mortons, I was glad to see you addressed the topic of washing and waxing RVs and look forward to seeing your recommendations for waxes for a fiberglass trailer and then suddenly your article petered out and gave no recommendations. By chance can you amend your article and add some of the products that you have found work we'll on fiberglass trailers? I have tried a couple of products--with mixed success--that are designed for automotive paint, but I am having low trouble locating waxes specifically designed for fiberglass finishes. Thanks, Greg

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