RVs are a fantastic way to travel without having to worry about all the expenses of hotels. Although, that does mean you have to keep the clean just like your car and sometimes that can be quite a bit more work than people expect.
Trying to take the easy route to clean your RV instead of handwashing sounds great, but is it really worth the risks you encounter?
Can you pressure wash an RV rubber roof? Yes, you can pressure wash your RV rubber roof. By taking some precautions, you can safely use a pressure washer to clean your RV rubber roof. The precautions you want to take are:
- Turning the power down on the pressure washer
- Using a nozzle that lessens the pressure point
- Stay away from seals, vents, and AC
So, it seems like using a pressure washer seems okay as long as you take the right precautions, however, this is not a one size fits all scenario. Depending on how old or new your RV is, you can encounter problems that others don’t.
The best way to wash your RV is the way your manual recommends but knowing different ways to keep your RV clean will help you as well.
Table of Contents
How to Properly Wash an RV
When you purchased your RV, you will receive a manual or a book that will tell you all the information you will need to know about it.
Along with specifications, and part information, there will also be information on how to best clean the exterior of your RV.
This is important for you to follow so you do not damage the exterior or cause leaks or holes in your RV.
With a Pressure Washer
If you are using a pressure washer, you have to do a few things to your RV and the pressure washer to ensure you do not cause any damage to your RV.
|Preparing your RV||Using the Pressure washer|
|1. Inspect all exterior seals for any holes or imperfections prior to cleaning.|
2. If any imperfections are found, do not use a pressure washer.
3. Close all windows, vents, and doors,
4. Inspect for chipping paint, or cracks in the rubber finish on your roof
|1. Turn the pressure washer down to the lowest pressure.|
2. Use the widest set nozzle
3. Stay away from Seals, vents, and AC
4. Do not go too slow or focus on one point for too long
5. Stay away from decals or painted areas
Without Pressure Wash (Hand)
Washing your RV by hand is the safety, most recommended way to wash it. Washing by hand protects the exterior of your RV from harsh pressure and maybe the reason your exterior lasts longer.
You can use a brush that has an extended handle for easy storage, as long as it isn’t too rough.
While you will still need to pay attention to seals, vents, and AC, you won’t be risking even half of the damage that can be done with a pressure washer.
When you hand wash your RV, it is good to note that some RV hold significantly more weight than others on the roof.
You need to know how much weight your roof can hold before you try climbing on it to clean.
You don’t want to step through the roof and cause even bigger problems than just a dirty RV. The weight limits should be noted in your manual.
Products to Use When Washing
There are certain products that are recommended to use when you wash your RV.
These are products that will improve the life of the exterior of your rubber roof, while also helping it to stay clean.
While a pressure washer is not highly recommended, it is still something that you can technically use, therefore it is not removed from the list.
|Cleaning Products and Tools||How do they help?|
|Rubber Roof Conditioner||This helps keep your roof from cracking or dry-rottingHelps repel dirt and grime|
|Small Pressure Washer||Although not recommended, can be used to wash RV|
|RV Sealant||To fix seals if any damage is found|
|Bristle Brush||When handwashing your RV, this helps you not have to climb on the roof|
Risk of Using a Pressure Washer
The difference between using a pressure washer and handwashing your RV is mainly the amount of physical labor you end up using to scrub all the dirt off the roof.
A pressure washer can usually get everything off without having to scrub much, but it comes with too many risks for most people to be okay with.
Handwashing takes a bit longer but usually does not cause near the problems that pressure washing can.
Related reading: Does RV Insurance Cover Water Damage? What You Need To Know
Your RV has a series of joints where each piece of material connects, these are sealed off by some waterproof material that helps keep water from leaking into your RV.
When you use a pressure washer to clean the exterior of your RV, you risk breaking or damaging one of those seals. This can cause minor, or extensive water damage.
Water damage can lead to mildew, mold, and the breakdown of some materials your RV is made with depending on the severity of the leak.
Damaging The AC
Using a pressure washer on the exterior of your RV can absolutely destroy the AC that is attached.
If a pressure washer can cut through mortar and concrete at 2500 PSI, just imagine what damage can be done from 2000, or even 1500 PSI. Even if you focus on keeping the stream away from the AC, accidents happen.
Holes in Your RV
While this is more uncommon than most of the risks, it is still possible. If you are not attentive to the PSI amount, nozzle you are using, or where you are spraying, you could easily blow a hole right through weak parts of your RV.
From there, you are looking at a hole repair and possible leak problems for a while until it is completed taken care of.
That opens you up for mold and mildew issues, which can take quite a while to get rid of if furniture or upholstery is involved.
Washing by hand can avoid this problem because there will be no high-powered water than can damage the RV.
Related reading: RV Sidewall Delamination – Crucial Guideline & Helpful Facts
Better Safe than Sorry!
People use pressure washers to clean their RV’s all the time, and many don’t experience any issues or negative consequences because of it.
However, that is definitely not a good reason to try it yourself. When choosing how to clean your RV, you have to figure out what risks you are willing to take, and how much money you could save by not taking those risks.
While some risks may be minimal or not affect much at all, others, like pressure washing, can really cause some major problems.
It really is better to be safe than sorry in a situation like this, otherwise you could end up with a laundry list of problems you have to fix when you could’ve avoided it.
Washing a Dirty RV With Beast Wash >> Check out the video below
Other Tips For Washing an RV
Keeping the whole RV clean is as crucial as cleaning the roof. Doing it wrong can still have its effect on the roof. You need to know how to do it.
In this section, let’s see some other essential cleaning tips that you should know if you have an RV.
1. Periodic Washing
We can’t overemphasize the fact that RVs and RV roofs would not last as much as they should without proper cleaning and protection.
Just as it is necessary to clean the roof and other exterior parts of the RV, so is the interior.
You want to wash the RV as regularly as possible. The best way to do this is to fix specific times when you’ll clean the interiors and exteriors of the RV.
Also, wax it during each cleaning. If you are unsure about the right wax to use, then you can search online for the best RV wax cleaners and what they are suitable for.
From there, you can choose the one that best suits your waxing needs.
2. Going Waterless
It sounds strange to wash without water, right, but there are RV washing products that truly do not require water.
This type of RV washing would be an eco-friendly way of washing. It will also save you a lot of water.
Although it works great, it is not recommended that you use it always. There’ll be times when you’ll need low-pressure washers or splashes of water to take off the tough dirt from the part of the RV that you are washing.
It’s crucial to decipher when to go waterless and when to use water for washing your RV.
3. Be Open to Trying Different Cleaning Solutions
Most manufacturers and cleaning experts would typically recommend that you use soap or certain kinds of cleaner for cleaning your RV. However, there are times when people choose to try other options that suit them.
If you are in the mood for some experimentation, then why not? You can try different things that suit you.
Popular options that people experiment with include homemade cleaners, vinegar, and baby shampoo. We are not in any way recommending that you try out all sorts of things.
Things like dishwashing soap can be harsh on the exterior of your RV and, as such, should not be used.
4. Clean The Interiors Too
Yes, we’ve talked so much about why you need to clean the roof and other exterior parts of the RV. While doing this, also ensure that you also clean the interior.
Make sure that you are not using harsh cleaning products for the interior, especially for areas like the shower or sink. Doing so may lead to damage to things like water pipes and seals.
Ask or browse online for recommended products. Homemade natural cleaners are great options for cleaning the interior of your RV.
Related reading: 15 Effective Ways to Stop Condensation in Travel Trailers or RV
5. Special Care for Roof
The truth remains that the roof of your RV needs special attention. Let’s mention again that the life of your RV depends on the condition of the roof. Therefore, a simple leak on the roof can cause significant damage to your RV.
Properly washing the roof will help take off accumulated dirt from it. As explained earlier, it is important to use recommended cleaning products and little pressure for this purpose.
RVs are a great way to save money when traveling for longer periods of time, but they will need to be cleaned as often, if not more, than cars.
If you decide to pressure wash, however, then you’ll need to reduce the pressure of the washer drastically. This article has also covered other aspects of generally maintaining your RV.
Using a pressure washer is not recommended but is an option. However, handwashing it is a less risky method that achieves the same goal.
While it might take more work on the front end, you will experience far fewer negative consequences than using a pressure washer.
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