How to Clean a Camper's Exterior Trim

camper parked near woods

New and even seasoned RV and camper owners often wonder how to clean a camper's exterior trim. A clean camper can quickly become dirty once it hits the road. Oil and grime can leave black streaks all along the exterior trim, and cleaning it is a job that can take a lot of time and elbow grease.

Tips on How to Clean a Camper's Exterior Trim

Gather together all the supplies you'll need, including the following:

  • Water hose
  • Chamois cloths
  • Large sponges
  • Rags
  • Cleaner of choice (see below for suggestions)
  • Buckets
  • Wax

Once you've got your supplies, you're ready to begin.

  • Tackle the black streaks first by spraying on the cleaner liberally.
  • Leave it on for two or three minutes, then using the rags, remove as much of the streaks as possible.
  • After you've erased most of the black streaks, you can go back and clean the entire exterior of the camper with your cleaner of choice.
  • Use a large sponge to work on one area at a time, rinsing thoroughly with the water hose as you go.
  • If stubborn black streaks remain, spray only those black streaks with cleaner, wipe, and rinse repeatedly until they are removed.
  • Buff the entire exterior with a chamois cloth.
  • Once the camper is completely clean, you can add a wax product to the exterior. However, don't wax over any remaining black streaks since this will make them virtually impossible to remove.

Camper Cleaning Solutions

Before you can begin the process of cleaning your camper's exterior trim, you'll need to purchase a product that can handle the job. The following cleaning products are often favored by camper and RV owners.

  • Dish soap and water - Many camper owners look to the basics to get their camper's exterior trim sparkling clean - dish detergent and water. Mix detergent and warm water, and use a sponge to clean. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
  • Thunderblast - Found at most Dollar General Stores, Thunderblast cleaner can be purchased in a spray container, but you'll need to dilute it with water. While it will typically work great on removing black streaks, you may not want to use it on areas that contain decals and stripes as it may remove these as well.
  • Snap - While this product isn't stocked at major department stores, you can find it at sites like Market America. Mix one part cleaner with 10 parts of water, and rinse well after use.
  • Dow Scrubbing Bubbles - Dow Scrubbing Bubbles has been around for a long time, and it is used for a multitude of cleaning purposes, including cleaning campers' exterior trim.
  • Rain Dance Car Wash - Not just for cars and trucks, Rain Dance Car Wash, which can be found at Amazon, can help your camper sparkle after that long road trip.
  • Simple Green - Another product that is found in major department stores like Wal-Mart, Simple Green is biodegradable, so it should be safe to use.

Camper Cleaning Tips to Consider

While any of the above products may work wonders for your camper's exterior, keep the following tips in mind.

  • To cut down on dirt and grime, clean the roof of your camper often.
  • Apply a good wax to the exterior of your camper. This will make quick cleanings a much easier task.
  • Test any new product you use on an inconspicuous area before you use it on the rest of your camper to ensure that the chemicals in the product won't damage your camper's exterior finish and detailing.
  • Talk to your dealer. He may be able to suggest products that are specifically designed to clean campers' exteriors.
  • After each thorough cleaning, consider protecting your camper's exterior with a good wax job.

The best cleaning and maintenance advice, however, is to clean your camper after each trip, regardless of how long or how short. Proper maintenance and cleaning can help you keep your camper in tip-top shape. Keep all your necessary products on hand, and tackle those black streaks as soon as possible so your camper is ready for the next time you hit the road.

How to Clean a Camper's Exterior Trim