Monday, August 8, 2016

Give Your RV a Bath! How I Wash and Wax Our Travel Trailer!

It was such a beautiful day when I woke up this morning.  It was slightly cooler than it has been so far this August in New York and with Lauren out of town on business, I decided today would be a great day to give our Jayco a bath!  After I was done admiring my handy work, I thought it'd be a good idea to write up a blog post about how I typically wash our Travel Trailer in case anyone is looking for any guidance or new ideas!  

SOME INFO

It's typically a good idea to wash and wax your RV every 6 months or so.  Most people usually do so at the start and the end of each season with a few quick washes in between during each camping season.  A good waxing not only protects your trailer or motor home (or car!) but it also helps make the cleanup easier and faster for those quick mid-season washes.  

The easy way to wash your RV is to hire someone to do it for you.  I've heard anywhere from $150-400 for a wash.  It's recommended for someone who can't easily climb ladders, doesn't feel comfortable exerting several hours of effort and elbow grease, or are just the type of person who prefers to go to a drive through car wash!  I have to admit, I'm guilty of running down to the car wash a lot more often lately as life is just busy sometimes!

It's a little hard to tell from this photo, but, it shines real nice once washed!  Unfortunately, the skies clouded up right after I finished!

Before starting out on your own, know that it requires the ability to climb on ladders and spend some time on the roof of your trailer.  Being on the roof is dangerous enough but when water and soap is involved, the roof is extra slippery!  Use extra caution, stay away from the edge, and wear good soled shoes that have a bit of grip (boat shoes or good sneakers) will help you avoid a fall from heights of 10 feet or higher that could be disastrous!  BE CAREFUL!


However, if you are a DIY'er like myself, then here's a quick guide on what products I use and how I wash our Travel Trailer!

UP ON THE ROOF!

Just like washing your car, start from the top down!  Why wash the bottom just to have the dirty water from the roof run down and ruin your hard work?

On the roof, the first thing is to check the seals and sealant for ANY points of water intrusion.  I added a bit of extra Dicor Lap Sealant in a few spots that looked suspect to me where the factory might have been a little more light handed than I would have been.

After giving it time to dry, I used a light solution of Dawn dish soap and some water along with a long handled soft bristled brush.  The nice thing about the brush I used (and I'll include the link to Amazon below) is that you can attach a garden hose to it and spray water from the bristles making the mixture extra soapy.  This makes washing, scrubbing, and rinsing even easier!


I work in small sections side-to-side starting at the front and make my way towards the back and then down the ladder.  Again... BE CAREFUL UP ON YOUR ROOF!


ON TO THE SIDE WALLS!

Using the same extendable soft brush, I get a Home Depot Homer Bucket (those big orange 5 gallon buckets) all sudsy from Turtle Wax's "Quick and Easy Zip Wash" and water.  Using the hose attached to the brush, I wash down the trailer top to bottom, turn the water off at the brush's handle, and then dip into the soapy water.


BE CAREFUL OF ANY SEAMS, JOINTS, STORAGE BAY DOORS, LIGHTS, OR ELECTRIC OUTLETS.  Try not to spray water directly at or into these items, even though this is typically where dirt accumulates thanks to the tackiness of the sealant or caulk used around such items.  If yours are really bad, use a hand held soft bristled brush and give them a good scrubbing but be careful not to damage the seal itself.

After scrubbing down the side wall with soapy water, I turn on the water and rinse off the remaining suds.  This also cleans the brush's bristles off for the next wall as the water shoots through them.  I work one side wall at a time (street side, back, curb side, front).  It's slightly more difficult due to my ribbed siding as opposed to flat fiberglass walls of some other trailers... but I like the look of the ribbed siding better so I'll deal!

GET THAT ELBOW GREASE READY!

It's time to wax your RV!  I used Turtle Wax's Quick and Easy (Notice a trend?!) Wax and Dry spray wax.  Spray on liberally and with minimal amount of elbow grease, use a micro-fiber towel and wipe dry.  Easy enough, huh?  There are purists out there who will demand the use of carnuba type wax and lots of elbow grease... but I think this spray on-wipe off shines up just as nice, so why not?



As I said earlier, I've decided to only wax the rig twice a year.  If you choose to go with this method, you can cut out this entire time consuming step on your "mid season washes."  The wax adds an extra layer of protection against road grime, dust, and other dirt so a few quick rinses are in order to keep your rig shining like new!

THE WINDOWS

After the rig is all clean, I go around to all of the windows with a dry micro fiber cloth and a bottle of Stoner's Invisible Glass with Rain Repellent.  Just spray on and wipe clean.  It dries without streaks and looks great!  Window cleaning couldn't be any easier.  I've never had a problem with this product in my car or otherwise,  With other products like RainEx, I often have a film on the window that easily fogs up.  I've never had that with Stoner's.


THE WHEELS

While cleaning the side walls, I use a harder bristle brush to clean the wheel hubs to get any wheel or brake gunk that accumulates from towing.  Then I spray them clean using the soft bristle flow through brush and soapy water.  Then rinse clean.  

After I clean the windows I go back and use Turtle Wax "Performance Plus Tire Foam and Shine" to give the tires a slick, wet, black look that I think looks quite sharp.

THAT'S IT!

You'll notice I use the Turtle Wax brand a lot.  I do NOT get paid or any free swag from them (although if anyone from Turtle Wax is reading this... just kidding.  Maybe!)  But I've used their products on my cars for years and have never had any issues or been disappointing with the shine or ease.  You've probably also noticed I use the "quick and easy" line from Turtle Wax because it just makes my life easier.

That said, it still takes me about 4 hours to wash and wax the entire rig from roof to tires.  It's quite a bit of work and I'm in need of a good cold drink afterwards.  And I only have a 23 foot long trailer!  If you have a longer rig, it could be quite longer!  I've heard some folks break up the tasks to one step a day (roof one day, walls the next, wax the third, etc) but I prefer to take my medicine all at once just to get it out of the way.  To each his own!

When you're done, enjoy the fruits of your labor and look at your baby shine!  She'll not only look great but will be protected from collecting dirt and debris and clean off quicker and easier next time!

Happy Trail(er)s!  

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