It’s that time of year when the sun starts to shine a little more every day, the snow is melting away little by little, and we’re hibernating less and less with every passing day. Winter is almost behind us and spring is right around the corner. This means we can think about putting away our skis and snowboards and getting out our maps in preparation for a fun year of camping. But before we can hitch up our much-beloved travel trailer or fifth wheel that’s faithfully traveled with us from one destination to the next, we have to get it ready for the road. And this means we have to spend some time cleaning and prepping it for use. Follow these steps to get your RV in tip-top shape for camping and you’ll be ready to hit the open road in no time!
This time of year also brings with it great deals on RVs at Lakeshore RV in Muskegon! As one of the nation’s top RV dealers, you’re guaranteed to save $1000s on a new or used RV! Shop today and start living the RV dream tomorrow!
Let’s Start With the Exterior
Since your RV has sat idle over the winter, it’s going to need a good exterior wash and wax. Dirt, debris, and bird droppings that have collected on your RV can do irreparable damage to your RV’s paint if not removed (even if it’s been covered). Up here in the North, Michigan winters can really do a number on RVs! So let’s get cleaning!
When going up onto your RV's roof, it’s a good idea to wear boat-style shoes that have great traction on wet surfaces. You should try to stay as far from the edges of your RV as possible while cleaning. Stay in the middle and turn in circles as you clean from one side to the other, using a brush on a long handle to reach the edges. Climb a ladder and arm yourself with these items:
- Long-handled soft-bristled brush
- Either mild detergent and warm water OR a rubber roof cleaner like Thetford Premium Rubber Roof Cleaner or Camco Rubber Roof Cleaner (these help remove chalky build-up that can leave streaks down the sides of your RV)
Scrub your roof with your cleaner and rinse thoroughly.
While on the roof, clean out the gutters and inspect sealants around the roof vents, A/C unit, and around all the seams for any signs of cracking or deterioration. If repairs are needed, Eternabond® makes a great line-up of seam repair products.
Sides & Rear
Once the roof is clean, you can get started on washing the sides and back of your RV. For this you’ll need these supplies:
- Mild detergent and warm water OR
- RV soap like Meguiar’s Marine/RV Gel Wash OR TR Industries WW32Gel Gloss Heavy Duty RV Wash and Wax (for a more protective coating)
- Thetford Premium Black Streak Remover (optional)
- Long-handled brush and hard bristly brush (hand-held)
Use the long-handled brush for the top half of your RV and the hand-held brush for areas you can reach. Or climb a ladder and use the hand-held brush for the entire RV. When washing, pay attention to the seams where dirt likes to stick. Brush harder in these areas, but make sure not to damage the seams. If you have black streaks defacing the sides of your RV, use the black streak remover to wash them right off.
Now let’s head up front to the area that gets the most abuse as you speed down the highway. The front-end cap of your toy hauler or destination trailer gets pummeled relentlessly by juicy bugs, and this can be a real pain to deal with! Attack this mess with these supplies:
- Dryer sheets and warm water OR
- Bugs N’ All Vehicle Cleaner
If using the dryer sheet method, wet the front-end cap, dip the sheet in warm water, and scrub to remove the bugs. Or follow the directions on the Bugs N’ All bottle. This product also claims to remove black streaks and oxidation, so you can put it to good use on your RV. It’s worth noting that if you are able to keep a good coat of wax on your front-end cap, the stuck-on bugs should slide right off.
Underbelly, Wheels & Seals
Head down under and clean your RV’s underbelly, wheels, and slide-out seals. Use a stiff brush on the stabilizer jacks, steps, rear bumper, etc. to remove dirt and debris. Spray with a hard stream of water to get it nice and clean. Treat your wheels to a nice conditioning with a protectant like Protect All RV Wheel & Tire Cleaner to help ward off premature aging and dry rot (the #1 cause of blow outs!).
Pay attention to your windows and slide out seals too by coating them with a seal treatment that prevents the rubber from drying out and cracking. Protect-All Slide-Out Rubber Seal Treatment is a good choice.
Restoring the Finish
If the sun has done a number on that brand-new, right-off-the-lot shine that your RV had when you fell in love with it at Lakeshore RV, don’t fret! You can bring it back by applying an oxidation remover like Protect-All Fiberglass Oxidation Remover and Color Restorer. This one-step wonder cleans, polishes, and seals your RV’s fiberglass exterior.
As a finishing exterior touch, apply a protective wax like Thetford Premium RV Wax or RV, Boat, and Aircraft Wax P-38-Q once a year. When you think it needs an additional barrier, apply a spray-on wax, like Protect-All Surface Cleaner, every once in a while for good measure.
Now Let’s Head Inside!
Cleaning the inside of your RV is a lot like cleaning your house, it just doesn’t take as long! Similar to the exterior, it makes sense to start over your head and work down to your feet.
Looking up, find the vents and A/C. Have these supplies handy:
- Wet rag OR disinfecting wipes
- Vacuum with hand-held attachments
Remove the screens from the vents and wash them with a hose. Take a wet rag or baby wipe and clean the inside of the vent and the vent cover. Clean the vent and the filter on the A/C unit as well. While looking up, keep an eye out for cobwebs on the ceiling and walls. Swipe them away with a wet rag or suck them up with a hand-held vacuum. Using a wet rag, wipe your RV’s walls to remove dust and dirt that might have settled over the winter.
Armed with antibacterial supplies, head to the bathroom with spray bottles filled with:
- Antibacterial bathroom cleaner OR
- Non-toxic cleaner (50/50 vinegar/water mix)
Using your cleaner of choice, thoroughly spray the shower/tub, vanity, and toilet. Wipe clean and rinse with a little water. Wipe down the walls with a wet rag as well. To clean the dark recesses of your black tank, first pour some fresh water down the toilet, leaving a little in there. Then toss a deodorizer/treatment product, like Camco TST Orange Drop-Ins, into it and let it do it’s magic.
Living Areas & Kitchen
The main living area, bedroom(s), and kitchen need a good cleaning and you’ll want to use these tools to do the work:
- Antibacterial spray OR 50/50 vinegar/water spray
- Vacuum with hand-held attachments
- Sponge or rags
In your RV’s kitchen, empty the cabinets and refrigerator and spray the insides with your cleaner. Wipe clean and let them air dry. Do the same to all the countertops, cabinets, and dinette table. Pick up your vacuum and suck all the dirt and dust out of the cushions on your dinette and sofa. Then turn to the floor and go over it thoroughly with the vacuum (don't forget the bathroom floor!). Once you’ve vacuumed up any loose debris, it’s time to let some cleaner and water go to work. You can do this with a sponge and a bucket of cleaner solution, but it’s backbreaking work this way. Using a mop is easier and it will go faster. Wipe it with a towel to remove most of the moisture and then let it air dry the rest of the way. Head to the bedroom(s) and use your cleaner and vacuum to wipe down wardrobes and/or dressers and to rid your bed and carpeting of dust that accumulated over the winter. Spend extra time vacuuming in here to clean the furniture, carpet, and air of contaminants that you shouldn't be breathing in at night.
Cleaning an RV to get it ready for the season is a big job! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments if you have a great cleaning tip or trick!
If you’re ready to step into the wonderful world of RVing or want to trade in your much-loved RV for a newer model, come see us in Muskegon or check out our huge inventory online. We offer worldwide delivery and special financing, so what are you waiting for?