How to Clean the Outside of a Camper Trailer – Read These Expert Tips


It is important to know how to clean the outside of a camper trailer. Traveling in a camper is a unique experience that whoever tries it, repeats it, is part of a lifestyle, planned or unplanned trips become special, fun, and full of anecdotes that are never forgotten.

You can choose a destination or go on an adventure, travel wherever you want at all times, sleep wherever you want without the limitations offered by a hotel or apartment. You will not get the freedom that a camper gives you in any other way, you will enjoy nature in a different, closer way, and you can choose to take routes that you never thought you could do.

By keeping your camper always ready, you will extend its useful life. But since not everything is pleasure in this life, the camper has to be kept clean, inside and out; you must think that it is your second home, you live in it with your family (or the people with whom you make the trip). In this post, we give you some keys to maintain the vehicle’s exterior cleanliness so that it shines as if it were new.

Before starting, it is also important that you know that, according to regulations, it is forbidden to wash your vehicle (whatever it may be) on a public road, and if you still do so and get caught, you will be sanctioned. You have the option of taking the camper to a car wash, but the problem is that the dimensions of this type of vehicle are greater than the size of ordinary car washes, and most of them are not suitable. Thus, cleaning a camper would have to be done by hand.

Things You Will Need to Clean the Outside of a Camper Trailer

how to clean the outside of a camper trailer

For cleaning the outside of a camper trailer, you will need some tools. Without the tools, you cannot clean your trailer. If you have these tools already, then it’s good, and if not, get them right now and start cleaning your trailer. We have picked the best products and recommend here to don’t have to find it online or go to any shop. Get them right now and start cleaning your RV. 

Garden Hose 

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Ladder 

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Car Wash Liquid Soap 

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RV Wash and Wax

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Lambswool Washing Mittens

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Microfiber Towels 

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Auto Glass Cleaner 

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Paper Towels 

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Scouring Pad (without metal part)

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Scrubbing Brushes for Cleaning RV Tires

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Wash Brush with Adjustable Handle 

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How to Clean the Outside of a Camper Trailer Steps  

Step-1

Do not wash in the blazing sun. Before you start cleaning the outside of your camper, find a suitable location. Make sure that the camper is not in direct sunlight. A nice, shady spot is not only more comfortable for you but also for your mobile home. The major reason for this is because detergents dry faster in direct sunlight, leaving behind unsightly streaks and stains. It’s also best to park the RV slightly on a slope. It allows the rinse water to drain more easily from moldings and other debris. Next, allow the outside surface of the RV to cool completely. 

Step-2

Start by wetting the entire RV with a medium-strength water spray from a garden hose to loosen surface dirt and small debris. Next, rinse the roof carefully and work it down. (You would need to stand on a ladder to spray the roof properly). 

Step-3

Mix the car wash liquid soap with water in a clean plastic bucket. For best results, use the amount of soap and water recommended by the soap manufacturer. Use the soap above I had recommended. 

Step-4

Wash the camper roof with the soapy solution and Lamb’s wool washing mittens. Work this in 3 x 3-foot sections and rinse each section with water from the garden hose immediately after washing. Also, periodically wash the lambs wool washing mittens with fresh water to avoid reapplying abrasive particles to the camper’s exterior finish. 

Step-5

Dry the roof with microfiber towels to prevent water spots from forming. 

Step-6

Clean the sides, front, and back of the RV trailer using another lambswool mitt. Follow the same cleaning process as for the roof. Focus on one section of the RV wash at a time. 

Step-7

Wash the wheels and tires. When it comes to the wheels, thoroughly splash water on the dirty surfaces around the wheel housing. This is quite important because this part easily accommodates mud and dust. It is also best not to leave any encrusted mud or the leaves in the wheels if you do not travel with the camper again in months.

Step-8

Look at the engine, open the hood, and clean it, as leaves and other debris from your trip usually remain in this section.

Read More: How to Clean the RV Toilet?

How to Clean the Windows of a Camper?

We have kept cleaning the windows of a camper in a different section because they deserve special mention. They are also made of methacrylate, an element that can be damaged very easily if we do not pay special attention to them. Windows are a very important element of campers, as they guarantee good visibility for the driver of the vehicle and his passengers. Its materials normally scratch easily, so it should be cleaned with mild soap and a large amount of water.

Do not use glass cleaners that contain solvents or alcohol to wash them, nor do not use cloths or brushes that could scratch them. Dry cleaning an RV glass is also strongly discouraged. The first step to cleaning the windows will be to remove the remains of dirt with mild soap and water. A scouring pad (without metal part) and mild soap with water will be enough to remove the most adherent remains. Then, for a shiny appearance without traces of water drops, wipe it with clean paper towels until completely dry. To achieve a more professional finish, spray the camper’s windows with an auto glass cleaner for RV. Focus on one window at a time.

How to Clean the Outside of a Camper Trailer: Addition Tips

how to clean the outside of a camper trailer

Here are some additional tips on on to how to clean the outside of a camper trailer.

Always Clean Only One Side of the Camper from the Outside at a Time

Once you’ve found a good place to clean the outside of your camper as earlier highlighted, make sure you plan. Simply applying cleaning agents over a large area and then starting the cleaning process does not bring the desired result. Instead, you should only start with one side of the camper and clean it completely before moving on to the next.

The reason: If you soap up the entire body of the camper at once, a large part of the detergent will dry before you have properly cleaned one side. This leaves stains on the camper.

Clean the Camper from Top to Bottom

When cleaning the outside of your camper, you should start at the top. Then the dirty water does not run over surfaces that have already been cleaned.

Pay attention to your chosen camper cleaner

Read product labels and warnings before using any of the cleaning or protective chemical on your camper. If you are still unsure, test a small area to avoid any damage beforehand.

Although product recommendations may specify a special maintenance or re-order schedule, this is highly dependent on weather conditions and the extreme temperatures your camper may experience in your area of residence.  Also, it’s best to avoid using detergents that contain abrasive ingredients. Otherwise, you could damage the exterior cladding when cleaning your camper.

There is also the risk that aggressive cleaners will attack rubber seals. You should also avoid driving your camper into truck washes. Although these are big enough, the brushes of such systems are too hard. In the worst case, you can damage the surface of your camper.

Be Careful with High-Pressure Washers When Cleaning the Outside of your Camper

If you want to clean the outside of your camper with a high-pressure cleaner, you should pay attention to the set pressure. If this is too strong, you could damage the outer cladding. In any case, leave out seals and panes made of acrylic or plastic glass. These cannot withstand the hard water jet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use to clean the outside of my camper?

As earlier highlighted, before cleaning the camper’s exterior, it is important to make sure that the cleaning products you are going to use will not cause more harm than good, so always keep that in mind when purchasing a cleaning product. We had experimented with the above products, and they are the best products for cleaning the outside of your camper. You can pick them without any doubt they are specially made by the manufactures keeping in mind to protect your trailer quality. 

Furthermore, using the right materials will make the job of cleaning the outside of your camper easier and less time-consuming and provide a durable finish that will protect the exterior from future scratches and fading. 

Some materials you can use here include Garden Hose, Ladder, Car Wash Liquid Soap, Lambswool, washing mittens, Microfiber towels, Auto Glass Cleaner, Paper towels, and Scouring pad (without metal part) or scrub brush.

Can I pressure wash my travel trailer?

All true campers love to see the outside of their travel trailer clean and bright, but many adopt the faster and less tiring strategy to make it so, that is, to learn how to wash an RV with a pressure washer. This method is not recommended because the powerful jet could ruin the vehicle’s bodywork, but above all, it could get inside the walls, causing serious damage to your camper.

The best choice is to equip yourself with a garden hose or bucket full of water, soap, or normal car shampoo, as long as it is extremely dense and a scrub brush, preferably with an extension, to make it easy to get to the most complicated parts of the camper.

Can I wash my RV with Dawn dish soap?

If you don’t know how to wash your RV, you might assume that you can use dawn dish soap and water. But dawn dish soap will peel off the RV coating and leave a film, so don’t do this. Instead, buy an RV cleaner that is hard enough to remove dust, but not too hard on the paint.

For that safe and effective cleaning of nearly all surfaces commonly found in RV’s and campers, 3 d All-Purpose Cleaner is fairly the popular choice. It can be for very good reason because this broad-range cleaning product effectively simplifies an entire line up of costly cleaning products. Biodegradable and complaint using California VOC standards, this cleaning product is used in lots of faculty and medical preferences and numerous private confines.

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How do I get black streaks off my aluminum camper?

All black streaks that usually appear on your aluminum camper’s sides are caused by fallen leaves and other objects that accumulate on your roof and break down there. Heavy dew and rainwater usually cause them to trickle down the body and make your aluminum camper dirty.

To remove the black streaks, wash off with soap and water, then spray an appropriate cleaner on the aluminum camper.

How often should you sanitize the RV water tank?

Irrespective of the intensity with which you use your RV water tank, it’s best to sanitize it at least once in six months.

Will vinegar remove oxidation from fiberglass?

Yes. Vinegar stands as a slightly acidic solution which easily breaks down dirt and oxidation. Thus, it stands as one among the best RV cleaner for fiberglass, while leaving a streak-free shine in the end.

What is the best soap to wash RV?

With regards to washing RV, different soaps can be found on the market, but through diverse reviews, Chemical Guys CWS_301 Citrus Wash the best soap to wash RV.

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Can I use car wash soap on my travel trailer?

Yes. You can use a mild car-wash soap on your travel trailer, but ensure that you rinse it thoroughly and wipe dry with a soft cloth in the end.

How do you get black streaks off a camper?

It is best to clean the camper’s sides with high-quality washing products regularly to prevent residue from accumulating on the side area and resulting in black streaks. If you’ve encountered this issue, please wash with soap and water, and then remove the marks with a detergent formulated for this purpose.

Summary

In conclusion, camper trailers are versatile and affordable housing. Still, exposure to the elements, dust particles, road grime, atmospheric chemicals, and tree sap can cause the outdoor trailer to appear dirty and neglected. Surface contaminates also cause the camper trailer exterior surfaces to eventually deteriorate. Thus, regularly cleaning the outdoor camper allows it to last longer and prevents costly repairs. Waxing an RV, as well as washing the exterior, also retains their aesthetic appearance. In all, you can clean the exterior of your camper trailer using the solutions and RV cleaning tips highlighted above. Now you know how to clean the outside of a camper trailer.

Alix Johnson Romi

Alix is the Co-founder of Easy Trip Guides. She started with Michael to share her love for the outdoors with people from all around the globe. She started as an outdoor lover while skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry of New Zealand with her future husband, Antonio. They shared a dream to see the world, so in 2013 they set off to cycle from California to Argentina. The freedom of the open ice route, living close to nature, and the total annihilation of her comfort zone fueled Alix's desire to keep exploring long after the bike trip was over. Her adventure addiction has taken her scuba diving with hammerhead sharks, hiking to the K2 base camp, kiteboarding in Sri Lanka, and kayaking in Antarctica. Through these experiences, she has developed a strong belief in the power of adventure to reconnect people to nature, provide meaningful jobs to impoverished communities and promote the conservation of wild places and animals. At Easy Trip Guides, she covers snowing, skating, snowboarding, and skiing as she loves to do these outdoor adventures a lot.

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