Washing Rig After Cross Country Trip

Washing the Rig After a Cross Country Ride March 2017

Full Time RVing – How Do Folks Keep Rigs Clean?

Winter Fun Times

March – Sudsing and Washing

This is the Before Picture. Hard to Tell The Rig is Dirty, But It Is

This is the Before Picture. Hard to Tell The Rig is Dirty, But It Is

We spent December 2016 thru February 2017 in Largo, Florida which is part of the greater Tampa-St Petersburg metro area. For us, this was a first. We had never wintered in Florida before with our RV. We had always spent our winters somewhere in the deserts of the southwest. While there were advantages to being in Florida, mainly sunny and warm weather, there were disadvantages as well. In fact, too many disadvantages to cover here in this blog post, that will have to be for another day.

Disadvantage to RVing in a City

To us, one of the specific disadvantages of the Tampa-St Petersburg metro area was the constant flyover of aircraft. The area hosts 4 major airports in close proximity. There is the close-by Clearwater Airport, the very busy Tampa-St Petersburg International airport, a Coast Guard airport and of course the massive MacDill Air Force Base. There was constant air traffic above us at all times of day and night, both civilian and military. Beyond the noise, not a huge deal except for one important factor.

Aircraft exhaust particulates in the air eventually settle on everything on the ground. Our rig, our truck, and our motorcycle were constantly getting fouled with black colored, nasty fine particles that settled everywhere.

Early in our Florida stay, we spent a couple weeks away from our campground visiting with our in-laws at their time shares further south. We came back to see a mess. Our motorcycle, which was parked under the nose of our toy hauler and thus, presumably semi-covered, was coated with a most unsavory looking black particulate slime. Over time, we found our covered motorcycle needed a good washing every 2 weeks or so.

Most Campgrounds Do Not Allow Washing

Of course, we can take the motorcycle and truck off to wash them, no problem. The rig was a different story….it’s not moving until we leave. And like in most campgrounds, the rules don’t allow washing on site. Even the couple of torrential-grade rains we had during our stay failed to dislodge this nasty black grime from our rig. I figured I would get it washed at a truck wash along the way west.

Washing the Roof and Rig

Washing the Roof and Rig

Well, due to other issues, chores and delays heading west, including our Truck Conked and Roof Snafu article, we never had time to take the rig in for a bath. We had some downtime in Las Vegas waiting on some medical appointments and we took advantage of that time to head over to the Clark County Shooting Complex. Unlike many campgrounds, the Clark County Shooting Complex has pretty liberal rules on rig washing and plenty of room to do it as well. Over the course of 2 days, I completely washed the rig including the roof, solar panels, all slides, all sides, cap, wheels and undercarriage.

In the hot desert sun, that means getting up at 6AM to start work, take a break before lunch and continue after 4PM so to avoid washing in direct sunlight. I wish I had some “before” pictures as the rig really looked bad after sitting in Florida all winter and the bugs + grime of a cross country trip…..but unfortunately I don’t. So you will just have to deal with seeing the “after” pictures:

Washed the RIg

Washed the RIg, looking good after a Road Trip from Florida

Pretty good, huh? And this is even before waxing….just a good wash! And a very good rinse. Gives our rig a whole new look In My Opinion.

Washed the RIg

Washed RIg, looks good after Road Trip from Florida







Slide view….Note the replaced garage “window.” When a stray pebble from a line trimmer cracked our glass, I replaced it with dual custom cut plastic sheets from TAP Plastics.

Three Tips for Washing Your Rig:

      • Use a mix of Simple Green® and Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish in with a 5 gallon wash bucket of warm water for washing. This combo really takes the crud off and leaves things shiny and clean. The mild abrasives inside the Bar Keepers Friend® really work well on filon, fiberglass, rubber roofs and glass to de-grime.
      • Always important to have a Werner Telescoping Ladder for a number of reasons while full timing in an RV.
      • Try to keep your washing in the shade as much as possible. Where we were parked for instance, we had shade on the slide side in the AM and shade on the entry side in the PM. Always try to wash in the shade, away from direct sun light. The reason for this is:
        • The Sun dries the soap and the scum too quickly before you can wash it off
        • You probably will get hot in the sun too!

We usually wash the rig twice a year to keep it looking good but also as a maintenance issue. This means getting on the roof and washing from the roof down to the tires. We typically put 303 Protectant on the tires to protect the tires from Ultraviolet Light.

How often do you wash your rig, from top to bottom? Let us know in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Washing Rig After Cross Country Trip

  1. Patti

    We wash our rig every couple of months but that depends on where we have been visiting. DH says it is too big of a job for him so ours goes to a truck wash.

    Hope you enjoyed the CC Shooting Range RV Park. We spent the winter 2016-2017 there and will be returning for the 2017-2018 winter.

  2. Sasha Post author

    Thanks Patti. Clark County SR comes in handy for sure….it seems to be increasing in popularity every year. Cheers, SJ

  3. Carla Capuano

    No rig to wash, but impressed with the job you did. After reading it I know we won’t be traveling in an RV! Too much work. Take me to the Marriott!

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