It is important to clean your roof regularly to avoid staining and build up of leaves, branches, and dirt which can breed mold. Keeping your RV roof clean also enables you to more carefully inspect the integrity of all seams and joints.
Depending on what your RV roof is made of it will require different cleaning materials.
Generally your roof will be covered with a rubber membrane material or will be fiberglass gelcoat.
To take a deeper dive into the two main kinds of rubber roofs, you can click here to visit “RV Hometown”. They discuss both kinds of rubber roofs and give a pretty comprehensive overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each. The article is geared more towards repair or replacement of the roof, but is still good for a deeper dive into the subject.
Whenever you set about to clean your roof, you need to remember that the sidewalls and front and end caps of your rv are likely made of fiberglass.
No matter how careful you are, whatever you clean the roof with WILL run down the sides. Chances are the sides and front caps are waxed so you do not want to remove the wax with a cleaner you are using on the roof
For rubber roofs:
- You want to make sure that you stay clear of petroleum distillates. These can damage your rubber roof.
- Brush off the roof first then wet it down
- We always recommend that you start out with the mildest regular cleaning material you can first.
- Baby shampoo is a good start as it will not remove the wax on the sides and end caps.
- Use a sponge first then graduate to a brush on those areas that require more intense cleaning.
- rinse frequently to avoid cleaning solution running down the sides.
- Dawn is a powerful cleaner that will remove wax.
Fiberglass roofs have a gelcoat coating which is simply smooth fiberglass resin that gives your RV that shiny gloss. Most fiberglass roofs on RVs have a texture that is stamped into the gelcoat to make it less likely that you will slip and fall. This is a really good reason why we think it is unwise to wax a fiberglass roof.
For Fiberglass roofs:
- Brush or sweep the roof off first and thoroughly wet it down.
- Baby shampoo is also what we recommend for fiberglass roofs to begin with. Again always start with the mildest solution first. The maker of our motorhome, Tiffin, specifically recommends baby shampoo to clean its motorhomes.
- A small amount of liquid bleach can be used directly on stains that do not respond to the shampoo, but be careful to use lots of water to rinse because bleach running down the side will also remove the wax.
- If your rv is painted on the sides and end caps, bleach could harm the paint.
- You should avoid using abrasive cleaners on a fiberglass roof. They will scratch the surface making tiny areas that will collect dirt and make it more difficult to clean in the future.
- A good soft brush will also help remove stubborn dirt.
As a suggestion, many Rv parks will not allow visitors to use their water to wash Rvs. Often times there are city and town water restrictions regarding this. As a result we bought a Worx Powershot cleaner. It’s a battery run, pressure washer that uses a tube to get water out of a bucket rather than hook it up to the hose. No question it is not as powerful as a regular pressure washer but in a way that is a good thing. It worked well although sometimes it was hard to get it to prime. (link for the Worx Hydroshot is to the right or at the bottom if you are on a mobile device)
A powerful pressure washer can loosen caulking and even damage paint around fittings.
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2 thoughts on “Cleaning Your Roof”
Right now many roofs have lots of ash from our many fires, do you have any specific cleaning advise for getting ash off of roofs and coach without damage. I believe ash may be very abrasive?
I want to put this on the site but I am still working on that, lol. We had ash on our motorhome last year when we were in Petaluma. I think the best idea is to rinse it off the roof. I would make sure to wet the sides and front and end cap first, and then just use a spray nozzel to rinse it off. Then rinse the sides also. If where you are at they don’t allow you to rinse the motorhome then you might take buckets of water. In Olema they wouldn’t let us wash, so i took a bucket and mop and just kept mopping and rinsing. I didn’t use any soap. When we wash the sides and roof with soap, we only use baby shampoo and a wool pad like Tiffin recommends.
Hope that helps