RV Detailing – RV Exterior Wax

We’ve been on quite the journey the last couple months with detailing an RV. A few weeks ago we spent some time on the inside of the RV talking about the interior detail. Today I’m going to talk about the final step of the RV detail, the RV exterior wax. There are a few different ways that you can wax an RV. They can range from a spray wax or sealant that is applied by hand with a spray bottle and microfiber rag to a wax or sealant that is applied by a buffer or a palm polisher.

The RV Exterior Wax Pre-Check and Prep

Before applying any RV exterior wax, you will want to double/triple check to make sure all of the bugs and debris have been removed from all surfaces that will be waxed.

Another thing to keep in mind is that much time will be spent working on the upper half of the RV. In most cases that will require climbing a ladder, working, moving ladder, and repeating. Be prepared with extra rags, extension cords (if needed), sunglasses, etc. Being prepared and having all that you need will make this big job go a lot smoother.

Spray RV Exterior Wax or Sealant

First, I will talk about the spray RV exterior wax that is applied by spraying and applying by hand with a microfiber towel. The process of applying the spray wax will be an easier and more convenient work load for someone with minimal time or limited budget. As I mentioned though, the longest part of the application will be the process of moving up and down the ladder and moving the ladder. An obvious, but a very important thing to remember is to make sure that the ladder is stable before you climb and work. While working on the top half of the RV exterior, you will spend much time on the ladder so be sure to make sure the ladder is properly placed. The way I prefer to start is at any corner of the RV. As you work and move along the RV, pay close attention to the areas that you are waxing. While you are on the ladder, it is fairly easy to lose track of the areas that you can reach and can’t reach while you are working. An easy method is to pick out something that you can keep track of such as an edge of a painted area, decal section, a window, a vent, a storage compartment. Without this method it can be easy to lose track of areas that have and have not been waxed. It may sound funny but it’s important to stay focused when you are waxing an RV.

Another thing to remember is that you are going to want to make sure that you have plenty of microfiber towels on hand. One towel will be able to do anywhere from 4 to 6 feet of the RV. Depending on how well the surface is prepped and how much wax you spray will be factors as well. If you start noticing the wax not adhering to the paint as well or start noticing streaking it will be time to switch rags. Using spray wax will also give you the opportunity to do more than one coat in a short amount of time. Many spray waxes will still take time to adhere to the paint and fully cure even after the application process. This step can be very customizable with so many quality spray waxes and sealants to choose from. It will allow you to do more coats if desired. More coats or layers will not only protect the surface of your RV for longer but will lengthen the time between now and when you have to wax it again.

Spray RV Exterior Wax or Sealant

Another method to waxing an RV exterior is using a higher quality wax that is applied with a buffer or what we like to call in the detail biz, a “palm-polisher”. The process for this type of application will take even more focus and attention to detail. It will also take a significant time longer than the spray wax. The reason being after being applied to the surface. The wax (or sealant) used will take a little bit of time to cure. It should only take about 30 seconds to a minute before you should wipe it off, but his can vary greatly depending on the type of wax/sealant you are using and the conditions in which you are working. This method of waxing will take much more time than the spray wax for just that reason. This type of wax will still adhere to the paint after the “wax-off” step and this will also allow you to go back and do another coat if desired. As I said, this method will take a significant time longer than the spray wax but will last much longer in most cases. On average, doing a 30” RV could take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, depending on your determination and caffeine intake. Be sure to keep an eye on the pad you are using as well. It will most likely need to be changed a couple times while applying the wax. If you only have one pad, rinsing it out extremely well with hot water will work. You will know when the pad is ready to be switched or washed when the wax starts collecting on the pad. The quality of the work will continue to be more and more diminished the longer you continue to work with an oversaturated polish pad. The wax will not attach itself to the surface as well and you will actually need to use more and more wax as you go. It may also cause it to not look evenly waxed and will look patchy.

Mixing and Matching RV Exterior Wax

I’m going to give away a little secret right now to make the whole waxing process hopefully more easy for someone. When you think about the area of the RV that takes the most damage and has more exposure to the elements you will most likely think about the front of the RV. Something that has always been an easy sell for me for people that want to take care of their RV but not spend an arm and a leg is doing a buffer/machine RV exterior wax on only the front section of the RV and spray waxing the rest of it. Pretty brilliant stroke of genius isn’t it? The higher quality wax will protect the front for an extended period of time while the spray wax on the sides will still be protecting but you will not need as much protection for the sides and back because they obviously will not take as much damage but will remain protected. This is a really good method for 5th wheels especially.


Well there you have it. Over the course of the last couple months we have gone over the cleaning and detailing of an RV. I hope you have learned something that is beneficial and can help you in the future. Have a fun safe summer! Safe Travels!

by Andy Stallings, CD, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail

RV Detailing – RV Interior Cleaning

We’ve spent a lot of time on the exterior of this monster of a vehicle. The exterior still has more work to be done on it but we’re going to take a break from that and take a little journey into the belly of the beast. Although the interiors of RVs are more like houses than vehicles, they still require an occasional interior cleaning and detailing.

When it comes to the process of RV interior cleaning, there isn’t as much of a strict order for RVs as there is for regular vehicles. It can vary greatly depending on what kind of interior parts and pieces are in there and its it has upgrades and high end materials. It also depends on if you are doing a “quick” cleaning or a deep clean. Since most people hopefully know how to clean a house I will do my best to throw in some pointers about cleaning the inside of an RV. Some of the areas that I will be focusing on are the master bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen area, and the driver and passenger seats to name a few.

RV Interior Cleaning is like Cleaning a House

If you have ever cleaned a house then you usually have a process or at least an idea of what needs to be tackled first. The area I most typically like to start in is the area that is furthest from the side door that you enter the RV from or at the highest portion of the RV if there are stairs.

Vacuuming the RV Interior

I would most commonly start the RV interior cleaning with vacuuming and cleaning the blinds and windows. If there are closet or storage areas, don’t hesitate to vacuum and wipe the insides of them down. If the RV is completely empty, you will have a much easier time in the cleaning process. When vacuuming, you can vacuum sections at a time or vacuum the entire RV. I have done it both ways because there have been cases when doing sections at a time was easier than trying to do the whole thing.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

After vacuuming, you’ll want to wipe down and disinfect. As far as the chemicals you will want to use for RV interior cleaning, just think of the chemicals you’d want to use for house cleaning and typical auto detailing. A simple all purpose cleaner that is environmentally friendly will work great for your basic cleaner. I have also sprayed degreaser on a microfiber rag for some surfaces, such as cupboards and tabletops. This step will help remove most of the dirt and dust that may most common.

Glass Cleaner Tricks

Next, if there are any surfaces that have a glossy surface or finish, you can use a glass cleaner to help remove any dirt and/or streaks. This also helps them shine better and won’t leave behind any cleaning residue.

“The Next Level” of RV Interior Cleaning

After wiping down and cleaning, steaming and shampooing will be the next step if you are wanting to take the RV interior cleaning to the next level, detailing. Like I said, the inside of an RV will be much like a house and most to all of the chemicals and techniques will be the exact same so it will mostly depend on your routine and personal preference on how deep you want your cleaning and detailing to go.

Cross Contamination Safety

A very big thing that you will want to remember while cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen and pay attention to what is being used to clean certain areas. For example, much of the cleaning may be done with paper towels. Paper towels are definitely okay. They are thrown away after use. BUT if you are using microfiber rags or sponges. DO NOT use the same rags on the kitchen counter that you used on the shower or worse…THE TOILET! This will only lead to cross contamination and possibly get people sick. I know it sounds obvious and dumb but it can happen easily if not monitored closely. Especially if you are using rags that are usually washed and reused because sometimes the rags won’t leave your hands from one section of the RV to the next. I highly recommend to have a plentiful amount of rags on hand if that is the route you are taking and to have a basket or bag close by to throw used rags in. Another method is to have 2 or 3 different colored rags and to use one color of rag for surfaces such as the bathroom rags, floor rags if there are areas of the floor that aren’t carpet, and the other color for the kitchen areas and stove tops. And then of course window rags. We usually use 3 to 5 different colored rags for this very purpose. As I said though, paper towels are perfectly fine and easy to tell when they have served their time.

Bathrooms and Kitchens

The big areas of focus that you will want to make sure are done well and thoroughly are the bathroom and kitchen areas. You will want to make sure that said areas are disinfected and wiped down well. If there are chemicals that work well and you are comfortable using, use them. This is one of those things that will largely be up to your own discretion. These are great areas to use a steamer as well to help clean and loosen up gunk and dirt. The steam will also sanitize.

RV Storage Compartments

Some extra areas that are important to keep an eye on are kind of on the exterior but are kind of interior as well. Confused enough yet? I’m talking about the storage compartments that are on the exterior of the RV. It is important to clean these compartments out often and inspect them closely. Rodents, spiders and other insects can find their way inside those compartments and set up a nice little hang out pad.

The storage areas on the interior are important to keep an eye on as well. Taking everything out, inspecting, vacuuming, and wiping down all of the storage areas are important to do at least twice a year. If you have had the RV in storage or it has been awhile since being used it is very important to do a full inspection on the RV. Being on the road or on vacation is not the place you want to be when you discover that you may have some stowaways on the road with you.

Driver’s Cab Area

Lastly you’ll want to approach the driver’s cab area and treat that as you are working on a car. The materials used to clean and protect this area should be auto friendly. If you are cleaning a 5th wheel trailer then you can omit this step obviously.

So basically, keeping the interior of your RV clean is just as important as keeping a clean house. I know most people know how to clean a house and parts of the house including the bathroom, the kitchen, and the master bedroom. Most people probably don’t need to be told how to clean their house but I hope that I said something that will help you in cleaning the inside of your RV. As always be careful with any electronics or specialty equipment. If you don’t feel comfortable with cleaning it yourself or you have better things to do with your time, you can call a house cleaning company or a mobile detailing service to come take care of that for you. The advantage of a detailing company is they can handle the interior and exterior as well. This can take the load off you and make it easier for you to get it all taken care of in one call. An RV is in that awkward area in the middle of a vehicle and a house, just make sure you are thorough and regular in your cleanings to avoid the problems of letting it get too dirty. If you feel like some help give us a call at Onsite Detail, (801) 412-9274 or request an appointment online. We’d be happy to help out with you RV interior cleaning and detailing project. Either way, be careful and safe travels.

by Andy Stallings, CD, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail

RV Detailing – RV Wash after the roof is done

So a few weeks ago, I wrote an article about washing the roof of an RV and why it is important to start with the roof. You do not have to wash the roof when you wash an RV but it is highly recommended. Today, I’m going to explain some pointers on the rest of the RV wash.

If you’ve washed the roof well, you may see some streaks that have run down from the roof. This is okay and it is normal. There will be dirt and other contaminants in the streaks and they may also appear to have a white coloration to them. This is also normal. The white will most commonly be from oxidation that could’ve been washed off from the roof. (If your roof is rubber, which is the most common material found on RV roofs, it is recommended to treat the roof with a rubber sealant to prevent further oxidation. If it is not rubber, you will still want to put some form of wax or sealant on the roof. Also, doing your best to protect the roof from the consistent and direct sunlight will help).

Before the RV Wash

As you did with the roof, check all the windows inside the RV to make sure they are all closed before you start washing the RV. You can start wherever you want to. Personally, I preferred to start in the most dirty of places on the RV. Most typically, that will be the front area of the RV. The front of an RV will be about 50% window and 100% bugs… If the RV has been driven a lot and cleaned…not a lot, the front of the RV will most likely be plastered with bugs and any other souvenirs you may have picked up from the road.  Having a good bug remover will help you in this process. If you do not have a bug remover, degreaser will work as well. Make sure that any chemicals you use are properly-diluted and automobile safe. You will also want to have a soap bucket with PH balanced automobile soap and an extendable scrub brush or wash mitt.

Beginning the RV Wash

To begin, spray a generous amount of bug remover (or degreaser) on the area (sometimes it may be necessary to wet the surface first). In my experience, it works best to agitate the product a little. To do so, spray a small amount of water on the surface. It works best with a pressure washer. After agitating, take the scrub brush and scrub the desired area. In some cases you may need a ladder to reach the very top of the window. If this is the case, be very careful when needing to ascend and work on the ladder. Between the pressure washer and the scrubbing, keeping your balance could become a problem so be extremely careful. Don’t be shy when it comes to the scrubbing portion. Dried on bug guts can be stubborn and will want to continue joining you on your travels. Some old sayings that come to mind are-get after it, put your back into it, a job worth doing is a job worth doing well. Fill in the blank and take your pick. A lot of jobs in detailing will depend a lot on properly using the right chemicals, tools and techniques. I may have just revealed the Pandora’s Box of detailing. Most of detailing is proper use of chemicals, tools and techniques. There are a couple times when using a little bit of elbow grease comes in handy though. Scrubbing the front of an RV is one of those times. Don’t feel bad if you have to re-scrub after rinsing. Just repeat the process and focus on areas that need it.

Doing the RV Wash in sections

Washing the rest of the RV should be much easier after the roof and the front are completed. The most effective way to proceed is to pick a side from the front and spray about 5 to 6 feet in. The easiest way that I have found it to pick a spot on the side of an RV to stop at. It can be a storage compartment, a window, a tire well, a vent, etc. Whichever one comes first after 5 feet or so. After spraying said area, scrub the area well and then rinse it off. Continue down the sides of the RV. Remember to keep the areas of work small. If you are using hard water, you may want to do your best to chamois off the RV as best as you can. If you are using soft water, after your final rinse, you will be able to let it air dry with no water spots. You may need to go back and clean the windows with a window cleaner as well. After you have gone all the way around the RV the next and final area that you will want to put some time into are the wheels/tires.

RV Wheels

Tires and wheels on RVs should be pretty easy to clean, for the most part. Most of the time, the tires and rims will clean off pretty good with a degreaser. Most of the wheels that you will see on many newer RVs will be made of aluminum. If this is the case, you will want to avoid using acid based wheel cleaners. Acid will dull the aluminum and can etch it or leave markings on it. Cleaning the wheels with car soap and a soft bristled brush will clean the wheels well. If you want to take it a step further as far as polishing the wheels, you can get some aluminum polish with some fine grade steel wool or use other polishing tools. Make sure to test an area to make sure it will do what you want it to before proceeding to do the entire wheel. Make sure that the steel wool is automobile safe and at least a 000 grade or 00 grade. This will insure the highest gloss possible. 0000 grade is good to use as well. Just be sure to test them on a spot before doing the entire wheel. If you have any tire dressing that you would like to apply to the tires you may. Tire dressing will protect the tire from the elements. It will also condition the rubber to help the overall health of the tire.

Final Touches of an RV Wash

You have now completed washing an RV. If you desire (you’ll need a glass cleaner and a ladder), doing the windows can be an option. You should also just go back and double check and touch up any spots missed or that may still be dripping. Believe it or not, for the full service on the RV you are not done yet. As with cars, RVs will also require a coat of wax or sealant occasionally. Whether you are getting ready to hit the road or are getting ready to put the RV away for the winter. It is wise to think about protection. If you ever want to have your RV professional washed and detailed give us a call or text at (801) 412-9274, and we would be more than happy to help out. Next time, I will talk about the waxing of an RV and the different methods you may use. Safe Travels!

by Andy Stallings, CD, Operations Manager, Onsite Detail