How to tidy up your camper van, class B motorhome or RV
Cleaning the exterior and interior of your beloved campervan or RV is a tall order, literally! Unlike everyday cars or full-sized vans, it can be difficult to find a place that will properly clean such a sizeable vehicle. If you’re on the road, this can be especially challenging.
If your class B motorhome or RV has been collecting dust, it probably needs a solid wash before your next trip. Maintaining the cleanliness and tidiness of your travel vehicle can help you avoid costly, unnecessary maintenance down the road and allow you to earn the maximum value should you decide to trade it in or sell.
When you’re on the road, RV parks will typically allow you (at most) a bucket of water for cleaning. This guide should help you efficiently, safely and easily wash your campervan, RV or trailer.
Continue reading to learn how to reach difficult-to-clean areas, use the right products and keep your home on wheels in tip-top condition.
RV Cleaning Guide: Getting Started
Before you go to the store and buy a bunch of expensive cleaners and tools, you should examine your vehicle closely. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How big is my RV?
- Is the body painted? Do I have decorative decals?
- What type of rims does my vehicle have?
- Is my motorhome, trailer or RV made of fiberglass or metal?
- What type of roof material does my vehicle have?
Exterior Motorhome Cleaning Tips
If you have a particularly large RV or motorhome, the easiest solution may be to find an RV or truck wash while on the road. Expect to shell out some money for it. Most of these washes aren’t cheap, but may save you a lot of aggravation and time.
Decorative decals are common on RVs and campervans. Use caution when cleaning vehicles with decals, especially if using a pressure washer. Next time you’re at a camping retailer or your local RV dealership, purchase a bottle of specialty cleaning agent. The decals on many newer campervans and RVs are finished with a clear coat, and a specialty cleaning agent helps protect the decals from peeling. Remember, when you go to trade or sell your campervan you want the exterior in the best shape possible!
If you happen to own an Airstream Interstate, or another campervan or RV with an aluminum finish, make sure to purchase cleaning products that won’t tarnish. Again, use caution with a pressure washer. Apply the pressure washer 18-24 inches away from the exterior.
If your campervan or RV is made of fiberglass (this is most common), use a high quality wash and wax product for the best results.
Cleaning the rims on your RV or campervan rims should be one of the most straightforward parts of the exterior wash process. If your rims are chrome, use caution with heavy-duty brushes. Chrome scrubbers can sometimes scratch the clear coating off the rim.
If your motorhome or RV has a fiberglass roof, these are typically pretty easy to clean. All you need a ladder and proper fiberglass-cleaning agent. You can also use a pressure washer as long as you’re cautious around the AC units, vents and antennas.
If your RV or campervan is an older model, you may have a rubber roof. Don’t use any types of sealant or coating on your rubber roof. There are special products for this type of roof that can be found at your local camping store or by calling your RV dealer.
Recommended RV Cleaning Products & Tools:
- Car wash foam gun. Simply fill the foam gun with car shampoo and attach a hose. This will give you better reach for soaking your RV or campervan with suds. Car wash foam guns are specifically for auto cleaning products; do not use everyday dish soap!
- Meguiar’s Gold Class Shampoo and Conditioner. This cleaning product effectively washes away dirt and debris without infiltrating your wax. You can buy it on Amazon or at your local automotive store.
- Flow-thru wash brush with extension pole. Cleaning the top of your motorhome or RV requires a brush and a pretty large extender as well. A flow-thru wash brush will allow soap and water to spread more evenly.
- The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois. This drying cloth is made of PVA (Poly Vinyl Alcohol) and expert RV/campers say it’s the best way to absorb liquid from your rig.
- Lambswool wash mitt. This mitt easily slips on your hand to create a shiny finish while avoiding scratches.
- NuFinish Polish: If you’re a car enthusiast, you probably already know this stuff is considered the automotive industry’s #1 car polish.
- The Grit Guard. This little insert is pretty genius! The Grit Guard fits inside a standard 5-gallon bucket, effectively straining debris and dirt from your cleaning solution. Instead of slopping more dirty water onto your motorhome, the Grit Guard will keep heavy dirt at the bottom or your bucket, allowing for a clean finish.
- Collapsible bucket. This is a great space saver, especially when you are on the road and spare room is hard to come by!
Interior Campervan Cleaning Tips
Continuously tidying up the interior of your RV or class B motorhome will keep your rig in good shape for the long run. Every so often, you should also give your travel vehicle a deep cleaning. Having some basic cleaning products handy will help you maintain your on-the-go living space:
- Multi surface cleaner or wipes (Clorox disinfectant wipes)
- Glass cleaner (Windex)
- Broom and dustpan
- Vacuum with attachments
- Paper towels
- Bathroom cleaner
Where to get started? First off, open all of the windows of your campervan to avoid that overwhelming chemical smell.
We suggest using the top-down method. Start with the ceiling and walls, then work your way down to the floor. Make sure you don’t forget the vents! Clorox or multi-surface wipes are great for this part.
Next, remove everything from the cabinets and shelves. Place them in boxes so you can easily place the items back to their respective spots afterwards. Clean your cabinets thoroughly inside and out.
The bathroom is up next. After the toilet, shower and sink have been disinfected and sprayed with cleaner, move on to the bathroom floor. A vinegar and water solution is a good all-natural alternative to cleaning out the shower.
The floors are your final task. Maintaining a clean floor will help you avoid having to replace it prematurely.
Find Your Perfect Travel Vehicle Today
Are you searching for a class B motorhome, campervan or conversion van for travel? At Classic Vans, located in the San Francisco Bay area, we have the largest selection of new and used road-trip vehicles.
Browse our campervan inventory or give us a call at (866) 370-8222. Don’t forget to ask about our low-cost nationwide delivery!