rv wash and wax

The Best RV Wash And Wax For Any Rig

One of the best ways to keep your RV looking new is to regularly wash and wax it. In fact, it should be part of your regular RV maintenance. Kellie and I recently purchased four of the most recommended RV wash and wax products on the market and put them to the test.

The main goal was to find out, once and for all, which one holds the title for “Best RV Wash and Wax”. In this post we are going to cover some basics on keeping your rig looking great, as well as reveal what we found to be the best RV wash and wax. Let’s get to it, shall we?

washing top of Kodiak travel trailer from a ladder

Believe it or not, some RV parks and campgrounds have what is referred to as “The 10-year rule”. Perhaps you’ve heard or read about it. Did you also know that by keeping your RV looking new, most parks will allow you to enter, regardless of the age of your rig? Not only does regular washing and waxing your rig keep it looking great, but it also helps protect the exterior from fading and becoming oxidized.

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Best RV Wash And Wax At A Glance

How Often Should You Wash Your Camper?

How often you should wash your camper depends on a few different factors. If you only use your camper a few times per year, washing your rig before or after each trip should be fine.

If, however, you are located along the Gulf Coast, you might want to wash it more frequently. For example, Kellie and I live near the coast in Texas, and it is always humid. This humidity keeps everything wet during the early morning hours. And as a result, we tend to get mildew on the front cap of our Kodiak, not to mention along the bottom edge where the water accumulates.

Plus, driving through swarms of mosquitos can play havoc on the front of your RV. Leaving the remains of these pesky bugs on your RV can cause damage to the finish and will cause you more work trying to scrub them off.

If you use your RV several times through the year, or if you are more of a full to part timer, you may want to consider washing every few months. You will also want to wash your camper more often if it is kept in an unprotected storage area, like your yard. Mother Nature can really play a role in damaging the finish of your RV.

Using a quality RV wash and wax can help protect your RVs finish from damaging UV rays as well as mildew in damp areas.

Professional RV Wash And Wax Service

If you decide that washing your RV is just too big of a job for you to handle, you can always hire a professional to wash and wax your RV for you. In some instances, you might not have the choice of doing it yourself. Some RV resorts, parks, and campgrounds will not allow you to wash and wax your RV on-site.

If you go with a professional RV wash and wax service, be prepared to pay. I got a few quotes to have our Kodiak professionally cleaned and was surprised by the cost. These businesses hire professionals to come out and detail your rig for you. Prices will vary depending on how extensive you want your RV detailed.

Average Cost For Our Rig

For example, to have the basic RV wash and wax service performed on our Kodiak, the charge is $5 per foot. Included in this price is a basic wash, tire shine, and windows washed. The grand total for our rig comes out to $105.

For $13 per foot, you get the above package with an additional cream wax service. Our total cost would be $273.

The most extensive package costs $26 per foot and not only includes an RV wash and wax, with the above packages, but also includes oxidation removal. The total for this package would cost us $546.

And finally, the RV front cap restoration package is only for the front cap. The base charge for this service is $324.99.

As you can see, the price to have your RV professionally cleaned and detailed will vary depending on the type of service you want. If you are on a fixed budget, like most of us, you might to opt for the DIY package. It’s a little bit of elbow grease and hard work, but if you are physically able, you could potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars by purchasing a commercial RV wash and wax product.

Washing Your Rig

If you will be taking on the chore of washing and waxing your RV yourself, all you need is plenty of water, a quality RV wash and wax product, and some time. Oh yeah, you will need a ladder too.

Start off by washing the roof first. If you climb up on the roof, be careful. The last thing you want to do is fall off. While washing the roof, be extra careful around vents, skylights, and antennas. Again, the last thing you want to do is trip and fall off.

While you’re on the roof, take the time to inspect the seals around the items you don’t want to trip over. Make sure you clean out the gutters as well if your rig is equipped. Just like a “sticks-and-bricks”, the gutters are designed to shed water off your roof and away from your RV. Clogged gutters hinder this and can cause water to sit on the edges of your roofline.

Once the roof is finished you can work your way around the RV. Although it is almost impossible to do, most RV wash and wax products recommend you do not wash your RV in the direct sunlight. Try to follow the shade around your rig as you wash. If you have to wash it in the sunlight, make sure your partner is rinsing as soon as you wash.

Can I Wash My RV With Dawn Dish Soap?

You might be thinking that since Dawn is used to wash oil off little baby ducks that is safe to use on your RV. Well, by doing so you could strip your camper of a valuable coating on the exterior of your RV. I would suggest using a product that is designed for RVs. An RV wash and wax product will contain elements that will help keep the shine and luster of your exterior as well as protect it from Mother Nature.

finished product

Best RV Wash And Wax

Now it’s time to discuss what we found to be the best RV wash and wax. Like I stated above, we purchased 4 of the most recommended RV wash and wax products on the market and tried each of them. We placed four different buckets around our Kodiak and poured the recommended amount of soap in each bucket with around a gallon of water. Each side of the camper was washed with a different RV wash and wax.

#4 Gel-Gloss RV Wash And Wax

Gel-Gloss RV wash and wax

If you are looking for a thick consistency in your RV wash and wax, Gel-Gloss is for you. We found that it poured very similar to maple syrup. This RV wash and wax contains carnauba wax which helps protect the finish of your RV for months.

We found that it wasn’t super easy to clean the dirt and grime off the RV without some powerful elbow grease. It did however leave the finish somewhat shinier than before.

This product is biodegradable, and it doesn’t remove any wax that was on your rig before washing.

#3 Thetford Premium RV Wash And Wax

Thetford RV wash and wax

Next on our list is Premium RV Wash And Wax by Thetford. Like the Gel-Gloss above, this product requires some extra elbow grease to remove black streaks, dirt, and any mildew.

The plus side is you can use this RV wash and wax on your car, motorcycle, boats, and ATVs. Thetford advertises this product as “cleans black streaks, dried bugs, bird droppings, dirt, road film, and much more”.

The one thing they failed to mention in the description is the amount of extra scrubbing you must do to accomplish this.

#2 Star Brite RV Wash And Wax

star-brite rv wash and wax

Star Brite RV wash and wax made easy work of removing dirt, black streaks, and mildew. I was very impressed with the ease in which it cleaned the rig. The manufacturer suggests using three to four capfuls of the product for a gallon of water.

They also advertise this product to “cleans and shines in one step.” I would have to agree. When we were finished, the surface of the Kodiak was somewhat shinier than it was before. Our favorite thing about this RV wash and wax is the ease of use. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to wash the rig using this product.

#1 Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash

Meguiar's car wash

The label says “car wash” but it is the best RV wash product we have found. If you want an RV wash that cleans easily, leaves no streaks, and leaves a shine on your RV, then Meguiar’s is the right choice for you. Pair this product with the liquid wax and you have an RV wash and wax that is second to none. Of course, you will have to practice your “Karate Kid” moves with the “wax-on, wax-off” but the result will be well worth it.

This product is thick, like the Gel-Gloss, and I have never seen a product remove dirt, mildew, and black streaks as easy as Meguiar’s did. I would highly recommend this product for the DIYer looking for a great RV wash and wax.

If you are looking for an RV wash and wax all-in-one, I would recommend Star Brite RV Wash and Wax, #3 on our list.

In Conclusion

Keeping your RV looking great shouldn’t be complicated. I enjoy finding ways to improve the overall RV experience. And when I do, I like to share what I’ve found. What are your thoughts on the best RV wash and wax products? Have you used any of these with different results? If so, please leave us a comment below and tell us about it. We would love to hear from you.

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