How to clean a rubber RV roof

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How to clean a rubber RV roof

Over the last year we’ve cleaned our RV roof a handful of times. It’s not a particularly difficult job to do, but it’s definitely not a job we want to do every week either. It’s definitely more pleasant than clearing snow off the top of the RV!  This spring we have decided to instal solar panels on the top of our RV, so we had to make sure the roof is in tip top shape beforehand.

RV roof cleaning safety

When it comes to RV roof cleaning, the first thing to consider is safety. The safest place to clean your roof is actually from a ladder beside it. However, that is not convenient for us, so Jay went up on the roof. Before getting up on an RV roof it is important to make sure that it is a walkable roof. Not all RV’s have this, so it’s always good to double check. If it’s not a walkable roof, up a ladder you go. Here are some of Jay’s safety tips while on an RV roof:


  • Avoid standing on the roof, and instead kneel or craw. This just makes it less likely that you'll lose your balance. Knee pads can come in handy to protect bad knees.
  • Make sure that the trailer is chalked and the stabilizers are down. That'll just prevent it from rocking back and forth too much while you’re moving around.
  • Working from front to back when applying the cleaner will prevent you from having to crawl through a potentially slippery surface
  • On a bright sunny day (or even a cloudy day) don’t forget to wear sunscreen

4 Steps to a clean RV roof

  1. Sweep off all the dust. Use a soft brush here to prevent scratching the surface.

Surprisingly, our roof was actually pretty clean to begin with. The back part was the dustiest. I suppose all that winter rain we had kept things relatively clean because we had not cleaned the RV roof in 6 months!  


  1. Give it a good rinse starting from the opposite side to where you got up to the roof from.

For us, that meant Jay was working from the front to the back since the ladder to get up on the roof is on the back of the rig. So, interestingly this roof is not really that slippery when it's wet. It's rubber and it's got little grooves on it. So yeah, still feels pretty safe to me.

  1. Wash the roof. We use a bucket of warm water with some very mild biodegradable laundry soap mixed in.

Now the type of soap is something that is hotly debated, but there are two things you should definitely not use:

  1. Anything with petroleum distillates. That will wreck your rubber roof. It happens by drying out the rubber which makes it more susceptible to cracking and leaking.
  2. Anything with citrus or that is acidic. That's going to wreck your roof, too.

One thing that is commonly suggested is a very mild laundry detergent or something like Dawn dish soap. So I've got some and my scrubby pad so let's get to it.

  1. Rinse it all off. This time, work in the opposite direction from how the soap was applied so that you are avoiding having to crawl through potentially slippery spots.

There you have it, a clean RV roof! Springtime is a great time to prepare the RV for the coming camping season and it is just one of the things we do to get ready. This year, we also upgraded the shower head and bathroom faucets.  

Until next time, keep on living the life you’ve imagined!

Mel, Jay & Benny

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