Just like your home environment, your motorhome deserves cleaning frequently. After all, it’s your home on wheels.
Before taking your family on that summer trip you planned all season, why not do a thorough cleaning of your motorhome?
Right now, it might sound like a tedious task, but believe us, with the right guidance, you’ll even get to enjoy the entire process.
Cleaning motorhome goes beyond washing the exterior and tyres, we are talking about deep-cleaning.
Let’s explore all the tips you’ll need, to prevent you from overly stress yourself when cleaning your motorhome. So, let’s tag this article “the motorhome handbook for cleaning a motorhome”.
What Is The Importance Of Regular Motorhome Cleaning
As a motorhome owner, you aren’t just keeping your motorhome clean only for it to look good, but to extend its lifespan as well. Leaving debris on your motorhome might lead to mildew rust, and this is a problem you do not want to deal with.
Some of the problems that can arise from not cleaning a motorhome include;
- When not washed off, bird droppings, green algae, unwanted mud, and leaves can cause damage to the exterior of your motorhome
- Not cleaning your motorhome, can lead to a lack of shine
- Not washing your motorhome after it has been exposed to the sun for long hours might result in corrosion and chemical spotting
Where Should You Clean Your Motorhome?
Do you have a large garage at home that can accommodate your motorhome? If, yes, you can clean a motorhome in your garage, although you might need a step ladder for the hard-to-reach places like the roof.
But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a garage, there are other locations worth checking and trying.
For those who are into RV living, finding a spot while on the road shouldn’t be that much of a task. And the best part of this is that you can find motorhome cleaning stops with stairs to help you properly clean the roof of your motorhome.
The last option will be to check for campsites that allow motorhome owners to use their campground for cleaning. They mostly have fully serviced pitches dedicated to motorhome cleaning.
When Should You Clean Your Motorhome?
Naturally, it makes sense to clean your motorhome when you realize its exterior is dirty, right? But do you know that cleaning a motorhome during summer or hot days isn’t the best, and that’s because the washing-up liquid will dry up faster than you can rinse it out.
Depending on the size of your motorhome and how dirty it is, cleaning takes an average of 60 to 90 minutes.
So, it’s best to clean your motorhome on an overcast day when there’s little wind.
However, if your motorhome is always on the road, you may need to wash it every month, because why drive around with a dusty-looking motorhome?
What Are The Essential Cleaning Tasks In A Regular Motorhome Cleaning Routine?
Cleaning a motorhome is not all about using clean water or soapy water to rinse its exterior. Let’s go over the process, so your cleaning efforts won’t be wasted.
The exterior of your motorhome needs “extra love” because that’s where is exposed the most. It usually accumulates a lot of residue, moisture, and is also affected by UV damage.
But, as with all motorhome roofs, you might experience just a little difficulty when cleaning because of its height. However, this can be remedied by using a ladder.
What Steps Should Be Followed To Clean The Exterior Of A Motorhome?
When washing the exterior of your motorhome, this is what the cleaning process should look like;
Start with a pre-rinse to get rid of the dirt and debris on the body of the motorhome. For this part don’t use a pressure washer, unless, of course, you can control the pressure.
Make sure the cleaning product is specifically designed for motorhomes. Spray it on the body of your motorhome, and gently scrub with a soft brush to avoid small scratches, or ruining the acrylic windows.
Roof And Roof Lights
Most times it’s best to start with your campervan roof, so the warm soapy water can drip to the sides of the motorhome, and make washing a lot easier. For the roof lights, don’t use any motorhome cleaner, just warm water and maybe a mild detergent if you feel it’s necessary.
Remember, the roof light is made of plastic components, and it’ll deform under heat or if you use boiling water.
Once you are done, give the entire exterior one final rinse with the hose, and use a soft microfibre cloth to dry off the body.
How To Clean A Motorhome Roof?
Cleaning the roof of your motorhome is easy with step ladders or a long-reach telescopic brush with a hose connection.
Can I Stand On The Motorhome Roof To Clean It?
Yes, you can. But is it safe? Absolutely not.
The roof of your motorhome can get really slippery when wet with soapy water, and you’ll most definitely fall. Plus not all motorhome roofs can take your weight, you honestly don’t want to find out, so for your safety, don’t!
Cleaning the solar panel of your motorhome is important, because when dirty, solar panels are not nearly as efficient as they should be.
Use a sponge to clean the solar panels with water, and rinse it to wash off any soap residue.
How To Clean Around Motorhome Solar Panels?
When washing the roof of your motorhome, you can use that opportunity to clean the solar panel as well. The easiest way to do this is with a soft sponge and soapy water, and gently wipe it across to get rid of all the dirt.
Clean The Front, Side Panels & Rear Of A Motorhome
There are specific car washing detergents for the panels of a motorhome. Purchase one and use a soft cloth to rub through the panels. But make sure you it’s a soft microfibre cloth to avoid light scratches.
What Is The Best Way To Remove Dirt, Dust, And Grime From The Motorhome’s Exterior Surfaces?
To remove stubborn dirt and grime from your motorhome’s surface, you need to use a cleaning product that’s specially designed for motorhomes.
You might think hot water will do a fine job, but the truth is, it’ll only foster premature damage to your motorhome’s exterior. So, your best bet is to use warm soapy water with a soft cloth, and gently scrub off the dust and grime.
How To Remove Black Streaks?
To remove black streaks on your motorhome, you’ll need an abrasive polishing agent. Or you can just use a black streak remover (there are a couple of different brands in the market); use it along with a microfibre cloth, mitts, and brushes.
Can You Prevent Black Streaks?
Yes, you can. The most effective way to prevent dreaded black streaks from appearing on your motorhome is by constantly cleaning it.
Also, after washing your motorhome or caravan, open up the windows and doors, and use your preferred black streak remover to wipe down the rubber seals. This process will help remove the denatured rubber particles from the seal’s surface before it starts dripping down your paintwork.
You can also use an overwintering spray to keep the surface slippery and prevent particles and dust from sticking to the paintwork.
Wheels And Tires
Cleaning your motorhome wheels is a must, as that’s one sure way to give your motorhome a sparkling look. Because the wheel of your motorhome bears the brunt of dirt and particles from the road, you’ll need a soapy water mixture and a non-scratch brush to get rid of everything including brake dust.
What Is The Best Way To Clean The Motorhome’s Wheels And Tires?
The best way to clean your motorhome wheels and avoid damage is by using a wheel brush and the right cleaning product.
Use the brush to get rid of the dirt between the wheels, and after the first wash, you should repeat the process. Yes, it might be time-consuming, but worth it. To give your wheels an enviable look, use the Autoglym instant tyre dressing or any pigmented tyre serum.
Windows And Mirrors
Windows and mirrors are termed vulnerable areas in a motorhome, hence you need to be careful. Use the right motorhome cleaning products which in this case is a thin latex glove and mild detergent.
The essence of this is to prevent scratches, plus, windows can easily get damaged by harsh chemicals. Also, use a microfibre drying cloth for quick drying, but remember, don’t wipe too hard.
How Should You Clean The Motorhome’s Windows, Including Both Glass And Frames?
To clean motorhome windows, excess water is required, as you need to make sure no particles are stuck.
It’s important to softly hose the frames as well because dirt can easily get trapped there.
How Should You Clean The Habitation Windows?
Habitation windows also called plastic windows can be cleaned with just warm water and an acrylic window cleaner (this can be used for both the outside and inside of the window).
Remember that the habitation windows are plastic, while the cab windows are glass, so you might need a different type of acrylic window cleaner. Plus, avoid using methylated spirits and isopropyl alcohol; alternatively, you can use vinegar and water.
Awning And Outdoor Accessories
To successfully remove soiling from your motorhome’s awning, you’ll need clean cold water (warm water can do the trick too) and a spray cleaner.
Remember not to fold your awning fabric when it’s wet, as this will cause mold and mildew to form.
How To Clean Your Motorhome Awning?
To clean your motorhome awning, don’t scrub too hard, and don’t forget to clean beneath, because they are prone to getting dirty underneath.
For the final rinse, don’t use a pressure washer, as too much pressure will ruin the window seals and cause water ingress.
Use a hose, and hoover around the habitation area as well to give your motorhome a good clean.
How Do You Dry A Motorhome After Washing It?
If you don’t want your motorhome to dry naturally, you can get a clean damp cloth and wipe through. Doing this will help you achieve a streak-free finish.
To finish up and maintain your motorhome exterior, use a finishing wax or apply polish, so your cleaning efforts can last longer.
Are There Any Specific Cleaning Products Or Techniques To Protect The Motorhome’s Exterior Finish?
Yes, not all products can be used for motorhome cleaning. For instance, regular car washing detergents are too harsh for anything beyond a motorhome cab, so you need to go for special cleaners designed for motorhomes.
The best motorhome cleaner is one that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can damage the metal surfaces of the motorhome.
What Is The Best Way To Clean The Outside Of A Motorhome?
To clean the outside of a motorhome, follow these few simple steps;
- Rinse with clean water
- Wash with a soapy water mixture
- Rinse again with clean water
- Dry off with a clean cloth (be sure to rinse cloths in clean water when cleaning to keep it grit-free, as the build-up of dirt on cleaning cloths can affect the cleaning process)
- Apply wax or polish to add shine and an extra layer of protection
Can You Pressure Wash A Motorhome?
No, it’s not advisable to use pressure washers when cleaning your motorhome, because you are putting more pressure than required on specific areas like the door and window seals.
Over time, using a pressure washer will weaken the seals and lead to water ingress, so it’s not worth it. Instead, use a telescopic brush and hose connection.
Of what use is cleaning the exterior of your motorhome, if you won’t clean the interior? The truth is, the interior is just as important, and you should give it the same care.
Let’s go over some top tips for cleaning the interior of a motorhome.
Declutter And Remove Loose Items
The first thing you’ll need to do is throw out items you aren’t using. This might be a bit difficult (due to sentimental reasons), but if you need your motorhome to be cleaned thoroughly, you need space.
Dusting And Vacuuming
Vacuum the floors, carpets, and upholstery of your motorhome, start in small sections so you don’t tire out. The hardest part will be to lift all furniture out of the way, but it’s necessary so you can access it everywhere.
Wipe Down Surfaces
Use a damp cloth and non-abrasive cleaner to clean the surfaces like cabinets, cupboards, and picture frames. Sweep out the cobwebs if any, and check the corners for food crumbs and hidden particles.
It might be tempting to use a dishwashing liquid, but this is not ideal as it might contain harsh chemicals.
Just like you would your home kitchen, treat your motorhome kitchen the same. To clean sinks and worktops, use a vinegar mixture, as it helps remove stains.
Wash all the utensils, pots, and plates, and arrange them in their designated spots.
What Are The Best Practices For Cleaning The Motorhome’s Appliances, Such As The Refrigerator, Stove, Or Microwave?
Empty your refrigerator and microwave before cleaning. You can use dishwashing liquid to wash the dismantled components, then use a damp cloth when cleaning inside the fridge and fridge vents.
To clean other appliances like the dishwasher or cooker, just use a wet cloth and gently clean it, but be sure to dry it properly.
To clean the bathroom, you’ll need an antibacterial solution. And you might need to use the vinegar mixture for the walls to keep it sparkling.
How Do You Clean A Toilet Bowl In A Motorhome?
Bleach isn’t a suitable product for your toilet bowl, even a small amount, as it might cause damage to the seals and plastic.
Use a soapy water mixture and brush to wash it properly, then pour in vinegar solution inside the cassette to eliminate any foul odor.
Clean Upholstery And Fabric
Vacuum all the upholstery areas like the couch and bench seats. This will help in removing dust and dirt that can damage the surfaces.
A dirty windscreen is not only unattractive but dangerous as well.
Motorhome windows are susceptible to scratches because they are acrylic windows, so when cleaning it’s best to use a soft cloth like chamois leather when drying. Make sure to use cleaning products that are mild and not corrosive.
After vacuuming the floor of your motorhome, jump ahead with a mop and floor, especially for hard floors.
Are There Any Specific Cleaning Tips For The Flooring In A Motorhome?
How you clean a motorhome floor depends on the flooring. For rugs, you should use a vacuum cleaner, but if you have vinyl or carpets, a mop and bucket of water will do.
Cleaning Storage And Organization
Cleaning motorhome is beyond washing the outside, you need to clean every nook and cranny, that includes your storage space.
After cleaning, be sure to arrange everything back in its original spot so your campervan can dazzle!
Cleaning Water And Plumbing Systems
To prevent bacteria from growing in the tanks and pipes, it’s vital you clean your motorhome’s tank.
What Are The Recommended Methods For Cleaning The Motorhome’s Water And Plumbing Systems?
The best approach to cleaning the tank is emptying it, refilling the tank with a cleaning solution, and cleaning the pipes by pumping water with the cleaning solution through the hose. Allow this process for about 5 minutes, then drain the pipes and rinse the tank.
You want your motorhome to smell nice right? Get your preferred air freshener and hang it around different locations in the motorhome. And don’t forget to open up the windows for proper air circulation.
How Often Should You Clean The Interior Of Your Motorhome?
To keep your motorhome clean, you should clean the interiors at least once a month. Plus, you can always clean it after every trip.
Are There Any Specific Areas Or Surfaces In A Motorhome That Require Special Attention When Cleaning?
- When cleaning motorhomes, be extra careful with the windows, as they can scratch easily.
- Don’t be in a hurry to get off the step ladders when cleaning the roof, as it deserves utmost attention, because that’s where the majority of dirt lies, plus you can use elbow grease for easier cleaning.
- If you are using pressure washers, avoid the window and door seals, so you don’t cause damage
Cleaning The Motorhome’s Electrical Outlets, Switches, Or Entertainment Systems
This is very dicey, and unless you have to clean the electrical outlets, let it be! However, if you find out that it’s too dusty, just use a soft cloth and clean it.
What Precautions Should Be Taken When Cleaning Electronic Devices And Appliances Inside A Motorhome?
When cleaning anything electrical, make sure not to use a wet cloth, to avoid getting electrocuted. Also, make sure you always disconnect it from the power source.
How Often Should You Clean Your Motorhome?
Always wash your motorhome when it’s dirty; it could be after a trip, or after bringing it out of storage, especially after the winter months.
What Cleaning Products Should You Use For Different Surfaces Of The Motorhome?
You can’t use just one cleaning product for all areas in your motorhome. Let’s go over the best motorhome cleaning products for different surfaces.
To keep the exterior of your motorhome in good condition, use a motorhome cleaner that’s PH neutral and won’t cause damage to the bodywork.
Windows And Mirrors
For windows and mirrors, use products designed for acrylic windows, and you can use a window cleaner to add extra shine once dry.
Wheels And Tires
Cleaning motorhome wheels can be hard a bit, so you’ll need a wheel brush and wheel cleaner to get wash away the road grime on your motorhome nicely.
Use a mild detergent and warm water to wash the awnings.
Kitchen Countertops And Surfaces
Kitchen countertops can be cleaned with vinegar and warm water.
There are special RV cleaning solutions for bathrooms, a quick search on the internet will show you lots of options.
Upholstery And Fabrics
Upholstery can get damaged easily, so use a mild detergent and lukewarm water
You should use a gentle detergent for hard floors, and carpet cleaners for carpets.
Important Tips On How To Clean Your Motorhome Efficiently?
To clean your RV properly, follow these tips;
- Make sure all your cleaning products and supplies are ready before you start cleaning
- Pay attention to the roof to remove all traces of grease and dirt
- Always preserve your motorhome’s exterior with wax
- Don’t fold the awning when dry
- Clean the exterior of your motorhome before the interior, so you don’t transfer dirt
- Don’t use harsh chemicals; there are cleaning products designed for motorhome cleaning, use that
- Check all the hinges and repair them when necessary
- Vacuum and mop the carpet
- Unhook the curtains and wash
What Are The Most Common Mistakes When Cleaning Motorhomes?
Some of the mistakes motorhome owners make while cleaning their motorhome include;
- Using boiling water for cleaning
- Using harsh chemicals for acrylic windows
- Using pressure washers
- Hurrying the cleaning process
- Hoovering way too early
- Reusing already dirty water
How Can You Maintain The Cleanliness Of Your Motorhome While On The Road Or During Trips?
To maintain the cleanliness of your motorhome while in motion;
- Make sure everything is organized and secure
- Have indoor slippers to avoid bringing in dust from outside
- Always sweep the floor every day
- Don’t allow the dishes to pile up
- Wipe the surface with a damp cloth daily
- Clean your fridge and throw out spoilt leftovers
- Use a dehumidifier to keep out mold
Ideally, cleaning your motorhome regularly is the best option for keeping it clean and prolonging its lifespan. When you wash your RV frequently, you won’t have to deal with issues like the dreaded black streaks and build-up of grease.
Just make sure to use the right products and you are good to go.
Can You Use Car Shampoo On A Motorhome?
Yes, you can use a mild regular car shampoo to wash your motorhome, as it helps with getting rid of moss and algae.
What Kind Of Shampoo To Use On A Motorhome?
You can use the “Autoglym Interior Shampoo” or “Care-Avan Caravan Shampoo” when cleaning your motorhome.
What Is The Best Thing To Clean A Motorhome?
There’s no “best thing” to clean a motorhome. There are different cleaning products for different parts of a motorhome, so, use the right products for specific surfaces.