Every two to three months I thoroughly wash and detail our travel trailer. I will give it a quick “once over” when we park from a long, sometimes dusty trip, if the RV park will allow us to. In this blog post I want to share with you my methods, the products I use, and the parts to pay special attention to.
When I wash our travel trailer I always have to get on the roof. Most times I use the utility ladder screwed on to the rear of our trailer. Other times though I may use a 6′ step ladder just to reach roof lines and curves from the side of the rig. Let me warn you about being on the roof. If you are not physically up to the task or you are effected by heights don’t try to do this job yourself. There are plenty of service companies to wash your RV and most of them are reasonably priced. Falling of the roof of an RV is just like falling off the roof of a sticks ‘n bricks. You can be seriously injured or even killed. When I am washing the roof I either go barefoot or I wear a no-skid, rubber soled shoe, staying as close to the middle of the roof as possible so as to avoid any slips. It is a good idea to keep your cell phone with you or have someone watching in case you should fall. This way 911 is just moments away.
RAISE THE ROOF
Just like cleaning a car or even pressure washing a house, it is best to stop from the top down. So I first head to the roof. I start by removing my vent covers and wash the EDPM rubber roof with Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Car Wash and a Camco (43633) Wash Brush with Adjustable Handle. In more desperate times I have used Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid , warm water, and a regular sponge. Because the AC unit on top can oftentimes create moisture and trap “gook”, creating potential mildew areas I also use Zep Mold Stain and Mildrew Stain Remover which is an industrial strength formula that quickly dissolves mold and mildew stain while safely bleaching it for further damage. I just spray this product on, let is sit for a minute or two, and then spray it off with the hose. There is no scrubbing as I don’t want to damage the sealant around the unit. After scrubbing the whole area of the travel trailer roof (typically in about 6’x6′ segments) I inspect all the sealant around the replaced vents, AC unit, and seams to make sure there are no signs of cracking or deterioration from the weather and travel.
TO THE LEFT. TO THE LEFT. TO THE RIGHT. TO THE RIGHT.
Using my Camco brush I do all the travel trailer walls as well as the back using just a rather boring Camco (40492) Wash & Wax spray. I try to make sure I scrub (and yes, sometimes I will use a toothbrush) the seams where the walls join, the area around the storage bays, the running lights, the electrical outlets, and the exhaust vents. From my experience this is where “gook” tends to build up and stick. Remember, when scrubbing be sure not to damage the seal. Just get the dirt out and get the seal looking white and new again.
The front of our Aruba is a magnet for street gunk. It is the end of most bugs’ life. It is also the place where much of our rain runoff from the roof streaks down. And because our travel trailer is white it shows dirt (as you can see above) more than any other part. To combat this I first start with a dry surface. I then spray ArmorAll Bug & Tar Remover at on the black streaks and let the liquid penetrate for two to three minutes. I then take an old t-shirt (something soft without a logo or decal) and wipe from the top down. The result is immediate. However, if you don’t quickly follow up with a water spray and Wash & Wax you will be left with white streaks where there were once black. The clean will be evident rather than the dirty streaks. I find that the front is the most rewarding to wash since it shows the most result and is the part of our home that most people see!
SHE GOT SHOES
Even though no one may notice I like to make sure our wheels and tires are clean as well. For this job I find that soap and water (just regular dish soap) clean the tires just fine. I don’t use a scrub brush or toothbrush. Rather, I use a chenille microfiber mitt from the auto parts store. For the wheels (which are chrome mag) I like to use Turtle Wax Wet n’ Black Ultra Wet Spray Tire Shine. I spray it one, let it sit for about a minute, and then I use an old t-shirt or rag to wipe it off, being careful to clean all the crevices and curves of the mag.
DO YOU WAX?
I don’t enjoy waxing our travel trailer at all. It is tedious and the couple of times I have done it I have missed as many places as I have protected. Therefore I find it a better investment of time and money to have a professional RV and Boat cleaner do the job. They typically come to your site and do a thorough job. Be sure to check the references of the detailer and when pleased with the job, tip accordingly.