It’s easy to imagine yourself traveling in your RV, seeing all the sights, and experiencing new adventures. An adventure you may not have envisioned is cleaning and maintaining your RV–including cleaning the roof. While you may have initially considered the upkeep of your new rig, you might be a little overwhelmed when it comes time to give your RV a little TLC. Take a deep breath and read on–you’ve got this.
RV Roof Cleaning: Why And When To Clean It
So, why does the roof of an RV even need to be cleaned? Dust, dirt, and debris collect on the roof over time. If you neglect your roof, it may eventually leak, letting water seep in and damaging the interior of your RV, including the electrical wiring. The best way to prevent these problems is to sweep, wash, dry, and seal.
Aim to clean your RV’s roof two to four times a year. You may need to adjust this number based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Frequent traveling may mean more frequent cleaning. On the other hand, if your RV spends most of its time covered, a once or twice-yearly cleaning may be all that’s necessary.
What Type Of Roof Does Your RV Have?
Preparing to clean your RV’s roof means knowing what material it is. There are four main categories: Fiberglass, aluminum, PVC, and rubber (TPO or EPDM).
Fiberglass: An RV roof of this material requires a fiberglass cleaner or mild dish detergent. As it ages, this material may produce a white, powdery residue. Buffing the roof after washing and a coat of wax will help with this problem.
Aluminum: This material is the sturdiest but least common among the four types. An aluminum cleaner or dish detergent will help achieve a shiny, streak-free surface.
PVC: Because dirt doesn’t cling to it, PVC is easy to clean. You can use a specific RV cleaner, but a household dish soap can do the trick.
TPO & EPDM Rubber: TPO and EDPM are both rubber and require a similar approach to cleaning. It is important to use a designated rubber roof cleaner to avoid causing any damage to this material.
Steps To Clean Your RV Roof
Be sure the roof of your RV is stable enough to walk on. Check your owner’s manual for this information and additional cleaning tips and instructions.
- Ask someone to help you. Having an extra set of hands and eyes while moving around on the roof is a good idea.
- Slip-resistant shoes are your friend in this situation. Make sure you have a good pair on before undertaking this task.
- Gather your supplies and put them in a backpack or something you can lift to the top of your RV with a rope. Don’t attempt to carry anything with you on your trip up the ladder unless you can still use both hands for climbing.
- Sweep the roof thoroughly to clear debris, then rinse off the roof with a hose.
- Start at the end of the RV, farthest from where your ladder is attached or securely propped. Begin scrubbing with your chosen cleaner and a medium-bristled brush. Tackle this job in sections of three square feet to make it more manageable.
- Rinse the sections thoroughly as you go. Ensure all the soap is gone to avoid leaving any residue. The suds will likely run down the sides of your RV, so give them a quick rinse as well. Wait for the roof to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
- You can apply UV protection coating to a rubber roof at this point. This step is only necessary every two years.
- If your RV roof requires sealant repair, now is the time to take care of any problem areas. You can use a liquid sealant or sealant tape.
- Make sure your RV is dry before covering or moving it into storage.
- Stand back and admire your handy work–and start planning your next RV adventure.