Ah, yes, the inevitable task of cleaning the roof of your RV. It’s not a task that RVers typically look forward to. However, there are two things that need to be pointed out. One, it’s a task every RVer needs to do as the roof is going to be subject to the elements such as snow, ice, rain, and the sun.

Two, it doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor. If you keep up with the roof of your RV, cleaning it can end up being a process that you don’t even sweat. With that in mind, when it comes to choosing the RV roof cleaner you end up going with (and the overall maintenance of your roof, in general), it mainly comes down to what RV roof you have.

The material of the roof of your RV is very critical

There are a number of different roof materials that RVs can have, and three of the most popular are aluminum, fiberglass, and rubber-coated. Those are the three that we’re going to break down (regarding cleaning and washing) in this post.

Speaking for rubber roofs specifically, you also need to check whether your roof is made of either Thermal Polyolefin (TPO) or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM). Again, this comes down to the importance of knowing what RV roof cleaner will be safe to use.

For example, as opposed to TPO roofs, EPDM roofs have less oil resistance and solvent. So, more abrasive cleaners or even petroleum distillates should not be used to clean EPDM roofs. Basically, it’s important to clean your RV roof with a cleaner that’s not going to possibly damage it in any way.

How to clean a rubber roof

The safest bet for a rubber roof is to use a cleaning solution that doesn’t utilize harsh chemicals. A good option is Simple Green’s All-Purpose Cleaner, and the company themselves even provided a safe and easy way to clean any type of rubber roof.

  1. To start, use the RV roof cleaner (Simple Green’s All-Purpose Cleaner) and mix it with a bucket of cold water. You should be good to mix eight cups of water with six ounces of the cleaning solution in the bucket.
  2. With the solution ready to go, climb up on the roof and sweep off any loose debris, dirt, and leaves that are on top of the roof.
  3. Ensure you can drag your garden hose to your RV as you’re now going to want to spray down both the roof and the sides. The reason you want to spray the sides is to avoid clean streaks as the cleaner’s probably going to run down the sides of your RV.
  4. With either a soft cleaning brush or mop, you can now apply the RV roof cleaner that you mixed in the bucket to clean the roof. As you would with a vehicle, work in sections to avoid letting the cleaning solution dry. Rinse off as you go. Also, be careful not to slip while on top of the roof or while on the ladder.
  5. Once you’re done with each section, give the roof another good rinsing and also rinse off the sides with your garden hose to ensure you get all the cleaner off of your RV.

How do you wash an aluminum RV roof?

More or less, the process is going to be the same with an aluminum roof. As with a rubber roof, the key factor to keep in mind is what RV roof cleaner to use. With an aluminum roof, you can probably get away with some dish soap if you want.

Then again, if you wanted to, you could always look up the best aluminum cleaning solutions on the market. But the process is going to be pretty much identical. And, again, it’s very important to ensure you rinse off all the soap or solution. Also, always be careful when washing the roof as the last thing you want to do is fall off the roof or fall off the ladder.

What about fiberglass roofs?

Would you believe us if we said the process is still going to be basically the same? We sound like a broken record at this point, but it comes down to choosing the right RV roof cleaner for a fiberglass roof.

Now, one of the reasons fiberglass RV roofs are so nice is on top of being durable and lightweight, they require less maintenance when compared to rubber roofs. In fact, you may only need to clean a fiberglass roof a few times a year. When cleaning, most RVers will rely on a granular-powered product. Bar Keepers Friend is a good example of that.

Additionally, with fiberglass roofs, it’s a good idea to add wax or polish after it’s cleaned to help prevent oxidization. Plus, a nice wax or polish made for fiberglass can help restore that shiny finish and can also help repel debris a lot easier.

How often do you need to clean an RV roof and how long is one going to last?

Both of these questions are going to have varying answers. To address the first question, it depends on a number of factors such as the material, how frequently you drive your RV, how your RV is stored, and the elements the roof has endured.

As mentioned, a fiberglass roof may only need to be cleaned a few times a year. Meanwhile, a rubber roof may need to be washed every 3 months or even more frequently depending on the factors listed above.

Regarding how long an RV roof is going to last, the average roof will last around 20 years. That’s the number you’ll see, but even this can vary. Leaks can be expected around 5 to 10 years into a new roof’s lifespan. Of course, you can always extend the life of your RV roof by applying a silicone roof coating.

Considering this can possibly extend the life of a roof to 50 years, it’s advised to spend the money and get a silicone roof coating applied.

Final thoughts

No matter the RV roof you have, it can be a relatively easy process to wash it as long as you stay on top of things. Of course, the most important factor is choosing a safe RV roof cleaner to use based on the material.

Given the importance a roof serves to your RV, it’s best to not neglect it. On another note, as we’re pretty much done with this topic, would you like to know how to paint the exterior of your RV? If so, go ahead and click that link so you can enjoy that read too!