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California Duster: Will It Scratch Your RV or Clean It?

California Duster: Will It Scratch Your RV or Clean It?

The Original California Car Duster is intended to dust a vehicle between washes to remove a light coating of dust or pollen.

This keeps the car (or RV) shiny and clean between washes and also leaves a nicely waxed surface to protect the paint. (The duster doesn’t apply wax, but keeping your rig waxed is the best way to maximize the benefits of using one.)

We’ve been using the original California Duster on both our RV and our car for as long as we can remember.

But is the mop head of this super duster capable of scratching the surface of your RV or car?

That’s an important question, and we’re here to answer it.

What Is a California Duster?

The California Duster is essentially a mop designed to dust your vehicle or RV to remove dust, pollen, and other light airborne particles.

When the weather’s dry, dust accumulates when you’re parked or driving, especially at the rear of the RV, or when boondocking in dusty areas.

A finger passing through dust on the exterior of the RV

Dust and pollen accumulate on an RV or car, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be washed again.

Using paraffin wax to attract dust particles, the California car duster lets you quickly remove dust from an otherwise clean RV.

The long head allows for the easy cleaning of large areas, and the long plastic or wood handle design makes it easy to reach high places.

The California Duster was originally designed to clean cars, and we use ours on both our car and our RV.

Our shiny Mountain Aire after dusting

Instead of re-washing the rig when it gets dusty, using a California Duster brings back the shine.

Just give it a good shake before and after each use to quickly, easily, and safely remove the dust from your RV or car.

We’ll link to the standard California Duster and the extendable California Duster so you can compare them both:

The Original California Car Duster California Car Duster 62443 Standard Car Duster with Plastic Handle, Red 25 Inch
  • The Original California Car Duster literally works like magic
  • Removes dust quickly, without scratching paint
California Car Cover Co. 96629 California Car Duster Triple Threat Duster with Extension Handle , Red
  • Removes dust quickly, without scratching your paint and household finishes
  • Larger duster is great for use on SUV's, motorhomes and hard to reach areas in the home or garage

How Do You Use a California Duster?

As you’ll notice in the product information pamphlet, before using a new California Duster for the first time, you’ll need to place it on newspaper for about 48 hours.

The head of a new California Duster resting on newspaper

Rest the head of a new California Duster on newspaper for 48 hours prior to using it. This helps to absorb the excess parafin in the duster. That’s our old duster in the top of the photo. When it’s time for a new one every few years, we rotate the old one into “dirty” duty, such as cleaning wheels. They last a LONG time!

This is because the excess paraffin wax needs to be absorbed before your initial use. The newspaper absorbs the excess wax. (Your duster may leave some streaks during the first few uses, but that will stop quickly, once it gets a little dusty.)

You’ll use the California duster just as you would any other type of duster, lightly running it over the surface of your RV and/or car.

This is perfect for cleaning between washes. It uncovers the shine and keeps additional dust from just adding to the first layer. (For more on washing and waxing, see our post on the 5 best RV wash and wax products.)

The duster is also fantastic for cleaning your RV solar panels. (See our post on how to clean RV solar panels for more information.)

When you’re finished dusting, you’ll simply shake out the duster, and store it in the included carrying case until the next use.

Check out our YouTube video for a visual demo:

Can the California Duster Scratch my Car or RV?

When used properly, no, it won’t scratch your car or RV.

It’s so safe for automotive paint that we’ve seen lots of professional detailers who are responsible for cleaning expensive exotic cars at auto shows using a California Duster to keep Lamborghinis and Ferraris clean and looking their best throughout the show.

In fact, one-half of The RVgeeks used to work in the car industry and attended several auto shows as a manufacturer’s rep. The California Duster was THE standard for keeping cars dust-free at car shows… and in showrooms.

Even many of the most exclusive luxury and sports car makers use them on their vehicles, so we know they’re designed to be safe and scratch-free, even on the most expensive finishes.

But here are a couple of quick caveats:

  1. Never set the duster down on sandy/dirty ground where it could pick up hard items that could then scratch the finish of your rig or vehicle.
  2. Never use the duster on a vehicle that’s dirty or muddy. They’re designed for removing dust and pollen between regular washings, not for actually washing a dirty car or RV. Generally, once you’ve driven in wet weather, it’s time for a wash, not just a dusting.

Our general rule of thumb is that we never use the California Duster to clean our car or RV if we’ve driven them in the rain, snow, or mud. We use it only to remove light dust/pollen/film.

How Long Does a California Duster Last?

We used the duster shown on the top of this photo for several years. (Yes, YEARS.)

They actually work better once they get a bit dirty, and they work very well for a long time thereafter.

When it’s finally time to replace ours with a brand-new one, we simply retire our old duster to dirtier jobs, like cleaning wheels, tires, and mud flaps, without using it on painted surfaces anymore.

Using our old duster on the tires of our RV

After years of use, we retired our old duster and bought a new one. The old duster is now used to clean tires, rims, mud flaps, etc.

We’ve been using a California duster for more years than we can count, and we think it’s the best 10-minute spruce-up you can give your RV. That’s especially true for us boondockers, who spend a lot of time traveling in dusty-but-dry areas.

Want to keep your rig clean and shiny between dustings? Here are some of our favorite products for doing just that:

Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash Soap, Ultra-Rich Car Wash Soap and Conditioner for Car Cleaning, Car Wash Soap to Clean and Condition in One Easy Step, 1 Gallon Car Wash Soap
  • ONLY ONE STEP: Meguiar's Gold Class foaming car wash soap simplifies your car cleaning routine by combining cleaning and conditioning into one easy...
  • CLEAN AND PRESERVE: Featuring an advanced formula, this powerful car shampoo and conditioner not only cleans your car, but it’s also gentle enough...
Meguiar's Ultimate Liquid Wax, Durable Protection that Shines - 20 Oz Bottle
  • IMPROVED FORMULA: Improved formula delivers a glossier finish, increased protection and more water beading action in one easy step
  • EASY TO USE WAX: Easy spread on and wipe off application – even in full sun
Meguiar's Ultimate Quik Detailer - 24 Oz Spray Bottle, G201024
  • NEW POLYMER CHEMISTRY: Provides an easier wipe off and slicker finish
  • ACHIEVE A JUST-WASHED LOOK: This quick spray detailer safely and quickly removes dust and surface contaminants between washings

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Monday 29th of May 2023

Great article. We live in California and with the strict water rationing we resorted to this and Wash-Wax-All some 20+ years ago and very seldom use water to wash our car or motorhome. Water is only for when it's muddy.

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