LAST UPDATED: October 7, 2019
Best RV Washes: Maintain and Protect Your Camper
Effectively wash away all the dirt on your RV with these cleaners
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 7, 2019
Taking care of a recreational vehicle requires a lot of time and effort to keep it in good shape. It gets exposed to harsh weather elements and often gets dirty if you are a frequent camper. RV wash products help make your work easier because they are great for cleaning the RV’s body, and most are formulated to add a layer of protection. Our buying guide features some ideal RV wash options for your consideration.
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Benefits of RV Washes
- Protect from weather and damage. Along with cleaning the surface, an RV wash also leaves a protective coat. The film that sits on the surface after the application prevents damage from weather elements and keeps dirt, dust, and debris away. It also prevents scratches, paint chips, fading, and more.
- Prolong RV lifespan. By keeping your RV clean at all times, you prolong its overall lifespan. A clean surface is more protected and resistant to damage, which means it will stay in top shape longer.
- Reduce maintenance. An RV wash will also help you prolong the time between cleanups. By washing your vehicle regularly, you keep it in top condition and reduce the need for excessive, time-consuming cleanups. The maintenance becomes easier and saves you money in the long run.
- Enhance vehicle appearance. Many RV washes contain conditioners and waxes that make the vehicle's surface shiny. By using them, you can achieve showroom results and show off with a sparkling-clean RV during your camping adventures.
Types of RV Washes
Spray-on washes are the easiest to apply. They come in convenient bottles with spray nozzles that quickly spread the liquid onto the surface. You can spray with one hand and wipe the product clean with the other by using microfiber towels or pads.
The downside to this RV wash type is the cost. Spray-on washes usually come in compact bottles that are convenient for passenger cars but too small for large RV surfaces. Therefore, while you may want to keep a spray-on wash for spot cleaning, you might need several bottles to wash the entire RV.
This type makes the most versatile option for cleaning RVs. Liquid washes come in large 32-ounce or 1-gallon bottles, and you often get to choose the size according to your needs. They can be applied by hand or a power tool, which makes cleaning very easy.
Typically, one bottle of liquid RV wash lasts for several applications on most vehicles. However, those who have big vehicles and travel frequently might want to consider getting a large bottle just in case.
Pastes are those RV washes that have waxes, usually carnauba. They clean and maintain the surface efficiently, leaving a thick film for more protection over time. They’re an excellent choice for those who want to achieve shiny results.
However, pastes are sometimes challenging to apply and wipe clean. Most RVers opt for spray-on or liquid washes that contain waxes instead of getting real pastes for cleaning their vehicles. Still, some people like to use them occasionally for enhancing the vehicle's look.
Chemical Guys is a company that specializes in car-care chemicals, washing accessories, tools, and more. It was founded in 1968 and is based in Southern California. With a long tradition of top-notch automotive products, Chemical Guys remains one of the first choices among drivers. The Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Gloss is one of the company's most purchased and best-rated cleaning products.
TR Industries was founded in the 1970s as a division of Granitize Products Inc. It's a family-owned company located in South Gate, Calif. We find it highly popular among drivers who need reliable products for cleaning, protecting, polishing, and waxing their vehicles. The Gel-Gloss RV Wash & Wax is one of those products that allows for a cost-efficient and effective vehicle cleaning.
Meguiar's was founded in 1901 and is located in Irvine, Calif. Being on the market for more than 100 years with high-quality and affordable products, the company gained a special place in the automotive industry. Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Cleaner Wax is one of its products that makes an excellent choice for RVers.
RV Washes Pricing
- Under $20: The most inexpensive washes come in small spray-on and liquid bottles. They’re efficient and durable, but in most cases not large enough for cleaning RVs thoroughly. For spot cleaning or detailing, RV washes at this price point are hard to beat.
- $20 and up: For a couple more bucks, you can get large cleaner bottles or kits with washes, conditioners, and waxes. Some of them even come with cleaning pads and towels. For the higher price, you get everything you need to wash your RV and make it shiny for the long term.
First and foremost, it's crucial to determine the RV wash’s compatibility with the vehicle's surface. Not all of them are suitable for all material types, so it's important to choose carefully to avoid accidental damage.
Some RV washes have versatile formulas that work on plastic, glass, metals, and more. These are great for a thorough cleanup of the entire RV, and they make a smart investment. Therefore, consider whether you prefer getting an all-purpose cleaner or several different products for washing and maintaining your vehicle.
Another important thing to consider is the protection an RV wash offers. Those who travel several times a year might want to get a product that provides strong weather protection. If you travel during summer, you want to get a wash that repels UV rays.
On the other hand, winter demands a conditioner that will protect the surface from low temperatures, water, snow, ice, and more. Some products offer protection from all possible weather threats, but they’re usually more expensive.
RV washes are highly popular because they not only wash the surface, but also keep it clean for a long time. They’re known to create a protective coat that repels dirt, dust, and debris from the vehicle. However, the longevity of the protective film differentiates from one product to another. Some will last longer than others, which is why it's essential to consider each product's durability before buying.
An RV wash should be free from chemicals and abrasives that could damage the surface. Toxic formulas might scratch or dent the paint as well as cause corrosion and premature aging. Look for nontoxic products with high scores in scratching and hazing tests.
We also recommend getting washes with biodegradable and environmentally friendly formulas because they’re safer for the planet. Moreover, after the purchase, make sure to test the product on a small area before applying it to the entire surface.
- Application. The ease of application shouldn't be neglected, either. Not all RV washes are easy to spread and wipe clean; some of them require quite a bit of elbow grease. Before buying, consider whether you want a spray-on, liquid, or paste wash. There are even waterless products you can use for when a water source is not nearby.
- Tools and Accessories. For efficient and thorough surface cleaning, it's important to get accessories such as pads, brushes, and fiberglass towels. All of these work wonders on RVs and make washing surfaces simple. If you have a large RV and travel frequently, you might want to consider getting a powerful tool like a pressure washer.
Best RV Washes Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The top pick on our list is an RV wash from famous Chemical Guys. It's a citrus-based product that features a natural and biodegradable formula. Designed to break and dissolve road dirt, grime, and debris in a few simple steps, the Chemical Guys wash is great for cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, and more.
Thanks to the slick and highly concentrated formula, this product will last for several applications, even when used on large RVs. The best thing about the cleaner is an efficient formula that foams and rinses off nicely, preventing damage to the vehicle's paint. There are no scratches or residues after the application, and the wash is safe for the planet too. On top of that, one cap mixes with 5 gallons of water, which means you'll be using the product for quite a while.
The only downside to the highly concentrated formula is its tendency to separate in the bottle. If you leave the product unused for a while, make sure to shake it well before the next application. Another thing to keep in mind is that it takes some time and elbow grease to remove tough stains with this wash. The product sometimes even leaves a yellow residue.
We recommend Gel-Gloss RV Wash and Wax for cleaning, maintaining, and protecting your RV on a tight budget. The product is hard to beat for the price—it gets rid of dirt and deposits in a breeze and makes the surface shiny. It's also easy to apply and comes in large 32-ounce and 1-gallon bottles for user convenience.
The ingredient that makes this wash so special is carnauba wax—something that keeps the RV clean longer, along with enhancing its appearance and protecting it from damage. The Gel-Gloss formula is non-abrasive and safe for different surfaces. It cleans and lubricates at the same time without removing previously applied waxes.
The product may not be strong enough for tough stains, though. If you need a powerful wash for removing persistent residues and buildups, we recommend checking other options on our list. Gel-Gloss Wash and Wax is also known to leave streaks on the glass and pink spots on white paint. It’s essential to wipe the surface clean right after the application to prevent this from happening.
Meguiar's offers one of those all-purpose cleaners that works wonders on a wide range of surfaces. The product is ideal for RVs and boats because it protects against corrosion, acid rain, salt, and UV rays. Along with weather protection, Meguiar's delivers excellent cleaning results, whether you're cleaning heavy dirt and grime or light road debris.
The Meguiar's cleaner is a one-step product that applies, spreads, and wipes off the surface in a few simple motions. After the application, the product leaves a protective coat and makes the surface smooth and shiny. It's also able to remove minor swirls, scratches, and oxidation. All in all, the Meguiar's cleaner offers unmatched protection and long-lasting cleaning results.
One of the things users don't like about it, however, is the strong chemical smell. If you have to work with it indoors, make sure to keep the area well-ventilated. We also recommend using the product for cleaning only certain parts of your RV because the bottle is too small for large vehicles. Another thing to keep in mind is that the liquid sometimes leaves residues on warm surfaces.
Mr. Pink is an excellent choice for weekly vehicle cleaning and maintenance. It’s ideal for those who travel frequently and often drive through rough roads and terrains with their RVs. Thanks to the powerful formula, Mr. Pink ensures quick and effortless cleaning no matter where you are.
Mr. Pink is labeled as a car wash, but it can be used for motorcycles, RVs, boats, and other vehicle types. The formula is pH neutral and safe for different surfaces. It provides a gentle wash and doesn't leave any scratches or residues while removing grime, dirt, debris, and other excessive buildups from the vehicle. Furthermore, the product leaves a slick and shiny protective coat and can be used under direct sunlight.
However, Mr. Pink doesn't always foam nicely. It may require high-power pressure washers because it often fails to make suds when used from the bucket by hand. Some buyers were also unsatisfied with the mild scent. It's not that noticeable and can fade away rather quickly.
The Aero Cosmetics Car Wash Wax Kit is one of the most popular all-purpose cleaners on the market. It's ideal for cleaning cars, motorcycles, RVs, and boats, and it performs well on all surfaces, from plastic to glass. For a few extra bucks, you get a kit with a spray-on bottle for detailing and spot cleaning, a large bottle for your RV, and four microfiber towels for easy cleanups.
The cleaner removes all kinds of dirt, from light debris to excessive buildups. It leaves a shiny film that protects the surface from harmful UV rays, water, and other weather elements. The coat also keeps the vehicle clean longer and prolongs the lifespan of the paintwork.
The water-based formula is free from chemicals and contaminants, and you can apply it to all kinds of surfaces and materials. On top of that, you can use this cleaner for waterless washes when a water source is not nearby.
Some users reported that the product works better on painted surfaces than on fiberglass. If you have a fiberglass RV roof to clean, we recommend getting an additional cleaner for that purpose. And although the wash applies and spreads on the surface quickly, it takes some time and effort to wipe it clean.
If you're looking for an inexpensive product to keep your RV clean and shiny, we recommend the Karcher car wash and wax. It's a budget-friendly product designed to be used with pressure washers. The liquid is highly concentrated, and it dilutes in water for ultimate cleaning results and impressive longevity.
A little of the liquid goes a long way, so you'll definitely be using the Karcher cleaner for a long time. The product dilutes easily and applies quickly when combined with a pressure washer. The gentle formula doesn't cause any scratches or leave any residues. It rinses off within a few moments and is biodegradable. You can use it on your RV’s roof, paintwork, windows, and all other parts.
Unfortunately, the Karcher car wash and wax is not perfect for resolving excessive dirt and heavy buildups. It's an inexpensive product mainly designed for removing light dirt and debris and keeping clean vehicles maintained. Some buyers also didn't love the strong scent that lingers.
TriNova offers a unique car wash and wax kit you can use for washing your car, motorcycle, RV, UTV, and more. The cleaner contains a safe formula that lubricates the surface and cleans and maintains it without scratching or damaging the paint in any way. It's also highly concentrated and meant to last for more than just a few applications.
Along with its excellent cleaning abilities, the TriNova wash provides strong protection against water and UV rays. The product restores the shine of the paintwork and prevents fading and chipping. All you need to do is dilute it in water according to the provided instructions, spread it on the surface, and wipe clean. The TriNova wash offers waterless cleanup for adventurers who are always on the go.
However, those who are looking for heavy-duty RV washes may be disappointed. This particular product is meant for light and quick detailing between thorough washes. It doesn't work well on excessive dirt and dust. The TriNova wash might also lack the ability to make the surface super shiny. For a glossy and long-lasting finish, you might need to buy another wax.
The Ice wash and wax is a powerful cleaner that resolves even the toughest dirt and most stubborn stains. It offers a synthetic blend that penetrates buildups and lifts harmful particles from the surface, making it sparkling clean after every application. Furthermore, the formula is safe to use on different surfaces and won't leave residues or scratches.
This wash dilutes in water and creates a rich foam to ensure quick and easy cleanups. After the application, you'll notice the liquid leaves a shiny coat that makes the paintwork pop out and protects it from damage. The pH-balanced formula is safe for all kinds of surfaces and the environment, and it protects the paint from weather and other road threats.
The Ice wash and wax comes in a small bottle that’s ideal for cars but not so much for RVs and other larger vehicles. You'll need to buy at least three washes to finish the entire cleanup, or use the product just for spot cleaning and detailing. Also, this wash may not leave a waxy finish, despite the statement in the product's description. You might need to apply another wax after using this cleaner.
The pink wash and wax is a liquid soap that ensures thorough and easy cleaning, even for super-large RVs. It features a pH-balanced formula that has a fruit scent and leaves a slick finish. Overall, the pink wash turns out to be super-efficient in resolving all kinds of dirt, and it lasts. With just a little of this liquid, you can wash the entire vehicle.
Buyers love this powerful cleaner because it fulfills one of the most important factors when choosing vehicle washes: It doesn't contain harmful chemicals. Therefore, you can use it on different surfaces without scratching or chipping them. We also like that the formula is biodegradable and safe for the environment. Additionally, the application is quite simple and doesn't require much effort.
When it comes to the shiny coating, some users feel this product doesn't have much to offer. If you wish to achieve showroom results and have a glossy finish, we recommend getting carnauba wax separately. You can always apply it after the cleanup. The pink wash isn't very efficient in repelling water, either.
Last but not least, the Bio-Kleen wash is specially designed for RVs and provides extraordinary cleaning results. It removes everything from dirt and grime to insects and bird droppings, leaving a clean and slick surface on your RV. Furthermore, the wash comes in a large bottle you can use for several applications.
The Bio-Kleen wash is ideal for cars, trucks, RVs, trailers, motorcycles, and other vehicle types. It features a safe and nontoxic formula suitable for different surface types and proves to be quite efficient. It spreads and wipes clean with ease and doesn't leave streaks, residues, or scratches.
One of the things that might bother you with this wash is that you'll have to add quite a bit of liquid to create rich suds. The wash doesn't foam as nicely as some of the other cleaners listed above. Also, we recommend getting wax for making the surface shinier after the cleanup. This wash may not create a very glossy finish.
- Most RV wash agents leave a residue if applied on a warm or hot surface. To prevent this, you can wash your RV under shade or on a cloudy day and ensure that the surface is cool before applying the wash.
- Do not use a hard-bristled scrubber or brush to apply the RV wash. Some harsh chemicals may remove the wax or the paintwork, and the scrubber may leave scratch marks on the body. Instead, use a cloth or a sponge to work the wash over the surface.
- If you are using a pressure sprayer to rinse the wash, hold the nozzle at correct angles to avoid detaching or breaking the side mirrors and windows. Change the pressure setting to low when you get to those parts.
- Consider using a ladder when cleaning the roof of the RV. You should have someone else around to hold the ladder for you and dry the steps as you come down. Get on all fours to avoid sliding off the roof.
Q: Can I use an RV wash to clean the interior?
A: Most RV washes can be used to clean insect residues, food stains, and other dirty surfaces in your vehicle’s interior. However, most of the cleaning agents have a strong smell that you may not want lingering in your vehicle’s interior. Do not use it to clean your upholstery. Check the instructions on the packaging to determine where you can use the product.
Q: Will RV wash remove car polish?
A: It depends on the chemical formulation of the product you choose. Avoid using products with harsh chemicals if you want to preserve your RV’s original wax coat. A safe bet would be an eco-friendly cleaner with no harmful chemicals that may strip off the polish. However, most eco-friendly products aren’t the best at removing tough stains.
Q: How often should I wash my RV?
A: Ideally, you should wash your RV with a high-quality RV wash and wax at least twice a year. If it’s a great product and you don’t use your vehicle often, your RV will look clean and glossy for most parts of the year. You can clean it more often if your RV is often exposed to dirt to keep it well protected from weather and road elements.
Our top pick is the Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Gloss. It’s helpful when removing dirt from your RV and offers long-lasting protection from harsh road and weather elements.
The Gel-Gloss RV Wash & Wax is a budget-friendly RV wash that’s capable of maintaining the mint condition of your vehicle. It’s protective and adds a layer of UV-resistant carnauba wax.