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One of the crucial ways to extend the life of your RV is by proper maintenance while paying extra attention to the roof. Because RV roofs require much more cleaning effort, pressure washing may seem convenient. But should you pressure wash your RV roof?
You can pressure wash an RV roof if you take the proper safety precautions. When you pressure wash your RV roof, use a pressure washer with a low-pressure impact nozzle and avoid using the pressure washer on caulks, seals, vents, and hatches on the RV to prevent damage, that is how I do it.
In the rest of this article, I will show you the best way to clean your RV roof. And if you insist on the quicker pressure washing method, I will share safety tips on how to do it effectively.
Best Ways To Clean an RV Roof
Irrespective of the cleaning method, you should consider how much weight your RV roof can hold before cleaning it. Check the RV manual to confirm this information to avoid causing damage to your roof.
If the roof cannot withstand the load, you’re better off cleaning the roof while standing on a sturdy ladder. Ultimately, I recommend working from a ladder because this method prevents safety hazards from working on a slippery soapy roof.
When in doubt, the best way to clean your RV roof is to use the good old medium bristle brush and mild soap. While this traditional method may require a lot more effort than pressure washing, it is safer and less likely to cause any damage to your roof.
Here are a few simple steps to clean your RV roof using the traditional method.
1: Sweep and Hose Down the Roof
The first step to cleaning your RV roof is removing any loose dirt. Start by picking up big items like tree branches and leaves off the roof. Then use a long broom to sweep off the smaller specks of dirt.
You may also spray down the roof with a hose to remove as much loose dirt as possible.
2: Clean the Roof
You need a medium bristle brush and an appropriate cleaner at the cleaning stage. The best cleaner for your roof will depend on the type of roof that you have. If yours is a rubber roof, avoid petroleum-based products, as they can damage the roof’s material.
You often can’t go wrong using a simple dishwashing soap on your roof. Of course, it will require a lot more elbow grease, and more stubborn dirt may require something more potent, but be sure that the solution won’t cause damage to your roof before you use it.
If you are tired of using shitty cleaning products and you want to save time and energy in this process, I would recommend this specially made RV rubber roof cleaner from Camco that comes with two bottles; the first one is for cleaning and conditioning, and the second one is a protectant that you put on after you have cleaned the roof to minimize maintenance and protect your roof against the elements.
Once you’ve figured out the right cleaner, you can start scrubbing it on your roof. For best results, work in sections and concentrate on stubborn areas as you go. So, scrub, rinse, and wipe each section dry before moving to another. This prevents water and soap stains from staying too long and sticking to the roof.
3: Inspect the Roof for Damage
While handwashing your roof poses less risk of roof damage, inspecting your roof for holes, cracks, and any damage after cleaning is always helpful. Are there holes in the roof? Any peeling sealants? You can fix them with a roof repair kit and seal any holes or cracks.
4: Apply Roof Treatment
The final step is to treat the roof. A good RV roof treatment will protect it from oxidation and excessive damage from the sun. Many suitable roof treatment kits also prevent residue buildup from plant waste and animal droppings.
To treat your roof, apply a generous amount of your preferred treatment and spread it with a wet sponge. Work in sections until you cover the whole roof.
You’ll need about 24 hours for the treatment to dry, which is why you may want to consider doing this during the dry seasons of the year.
How To Pressure Wash Your RV Roof
That someone else uses a pressure washer on their roof without negative consequences doesn’t mean you should do the same to your roof. Inspect your roof for any existing damage first. If there are any signs of wear, don’t pressure wash.
If there are no damages, you can pressure wash your roof following these simple steps.
- Close the windows, doors, vents, and any openings. This is to avoid any damage from getting water into your AC or the RV interior.
- Set the pressure washer to the lowest pressure. A low-pressure wash is a safe way to clean your RV with less risk of damage. The low impact of the water jet is not likely to affect the roof.
- Choose a wide nozzle. Pressure washing with a wide nozzle also reduces the risk of damage to the roof because the impact of the water is not concentrated on a small area.
- Wash the roof with the pressure washer. This is the stage where you get the actual work done. Sweep the pressure across the roof, but avoid going too slow or focusing on a section for a long time. Avoid the seals and caulks too.
- Inspect the roof. Once satisfied with the cleaning outcome, inspect the roof for any cracks or holes and fix them.
- Treat the roof. Apply a good roof treatment after inspections and repairs. This treatment will prevent oxidation and provide resistance to dirt, which will prolong the roof’s lifespan in the long run.
Do you need expert cleaning tips on maintaining other areas of your RV? Then you may be interested in an article I wrote on how to keep your RV fridge from smelling. Read it up for a detailed guide.
When cleaning an RV roof, pressure washing is an option you must consider carefully. The risks of pressure washing an RV roof include expensive or irreparable damage to seals and vents and cracks and holes in the roof.
This article explained how you could safely pressure wash an RV roof. Determine if you can pressure wash yours and follow the steps I shared. When in doubt, opt for the traditional handwashing method.