“How do I find an RV wash near me?” is a question we’ve heard many times over the two decades we’ve been on the road. After all, if there’s one thing we’re known for, it’s keeping our rig clean!
We’ve got a 43′ diesel pusher, so we understand that washing a big rig is a project. But being on the road full-time means we’re likely to want (need?) to wash our rig more frequently than an occasional camper might. It also means that there’s not always an RV wash nearby to accommodate our motorhome.
We also know how important it is to keep the RV washed & waxed to protect the paint and other exterior components of the rig.
So, we thought we’d send out a post with some answers in case you’ve found yourself wondering where you can wash your RV.
- 1) What’s the Best Way to Wash an RV?
- 2) How Do I Find an RV Wash Near Me?
- 3) What Are the Best Options for Washing an RV?
- 4) How Do You Wash Your RV?
- 5) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews, Giveaways & More
What’s the Best Way to Wash an RV?
The best way to wash an RV is by hand. Yeah, we know. It’s labor-intensive and generally requires a ladder and a whole lotta elbow grease. And you do need an acceptable location. As full-timers, we look specifically for RV parks that permit washing when our rig needs a bath.
But it’s good for an RV to keep it clean… and give it a good coat of wax at least once or twice a year, depending on how much you use it and where you drive it.
This is true for cars as well. Running a car through a typical car wash will never clean it as well as you (or someone you hire) can.
Washing and waxing your rig by hand will give you the best results, hands down.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do it yourself. You could also pay a professional to wash & wax your RV for you. But we find that, understandably, nobody loves our RV as much as we do. So the highest level of TLC comes from us doing it ourselves.
PRO TIP: This may seem obvious, but start with the roof, always washing from the top and working your way down. Otherwise, you’ll have nice clean sides, front, and back, UNTIL you start cleaning the roof. At that point, all the dirt from the roof will run down onto your nice clean rig.
It’s also important to use the right cleaning products. Because we’re washing a big rig that’s been on the road full-time for so long, we’ll share with you our favorite RV-washing products.
RV/Car Wash Soap
Our favorite RV and car wash soap is Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash.
We’re partial to Meguiar’s products as a whole because we’ve found them to be high-quality cleaning products that are reasonably priced and readily available.
In our opinion, there’s no better wash to use to keep your RV clean than Meguiar’s Gold Class, but our post on the 5 best RV wash and wax products has more details.
Meguiar’s Gold Class includes a conditioner, so it’s designed to both wash and condition the paint in one step. It’s also biodegradable and is safe to use on all paint types and clear coats.
- 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...
Our absolute favorite wax for our RV and our car is Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax. Not only does this wax provide a nice shine & gloss, but it’s safe and effective on all glossy paints and clear coats.
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax offers a long-lasting protective barrier on paint, and the water beading that results from this wax is worth the effort.
But one of our favorite things about this excellent wax is how easy it is to use. This isn’t your father’s paste wax. There’s no rubbing needed. It glides on easily in a thin, even coat with the included foam applicator. It wipes off just as easily as it goes on with the included microfiber cloth.
Most importantly, it results in very effective and durable protection.
It’s the easiest, most effective car/RV wax we’ve ever used, and we love it.
- 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
Car/RV Wash Brushes & Wash Mitts
For reaching high places, we like this soft fiber car wash brush head by Carrand. It’s a 10″ bi-level brush head with soft bristles that’s safe on most* surfaces.
We like to pair it with an adjustable extension pole by Mr. LongArm to make reaching the height of the RV so much easier.
- 10 inch bi-level brush head
- Use for flow-thru or dip brush
- Fluted fiberglass handle for a comfortable grip in any climate
- Medium duty pole with 1-1/16-Inch composite fiberglass handle
We also really like the Scratch-Free Microfiber Wash Mitt from Chemical Guys.
- GENTLE ON PAINT, TOUGH ON DIRT - The Chenille Car Wash Mitt is made with premium 70/30 blended microfiber for extra-soft scratch-less cleaning and...
- EXTRA PLUSH - The Chenille Car Wash Mitt is made of extra plush microfiber that holds tons of clean water and soap to drench any car in thick foaming...
* NOTE: If you’ve got a late-model RV, newer paint finishes are now softer (to achieve a “wet” look). So you may need to go with 100% pure lambswool as recommended by Newmar and Tiffin for the newer rigs. Follow your manufacturer’s care instructions.
This Mary Moppins 100% lambswool wash mitt should work well.
- 100% Pure Lambswool (recommended by Tiffin and Newmar)
- Protects the finish, yet cleans thoroughly to protect and shine
Between RV Washes
Between washes, we like to remove light coatings of dust or pollen with our California Car Duster.
This is a wax-treated 100% cotton mop that lifts dust and pollen off your rig or car rather than just moving it around.
You can read more about it in our post on the California Duster.
- The Original California Car Duster literally works like magic
- Removes dust quickly, without scratching paint
If you’re wondering how best to clean your windows, check out our post on how to clean RV windows. Of course, we have a favorite window cleaner for both outside and inside:
- RESIDUE FREE: The Invisible Glass CLEAR DRY formula contains no streaky soaps, scents, or dyes leaving absolutely ZERO residue on your glass.
- AMMONIA-FREE: This unique formula contains no ammonia, so it’s perfect for use on tinted and non-tinted glass
- RAIN, SLEET, SNOW: The elements are no match for the tough, dependable performance of the Invisible Glass Clean & Repel rain shield spray glass...
- IMPROVE RESPONSE TIME: Driver reaction time improves by 25% in wet weather when Invisible Glass rain repellent and glass cleaner combines for an...
- Plush, super-soft microfiber cloths, ideal for cleaning tasks in the home, garage, office, and more
- Constructed with 110,000 fibers per square inch, allowing you to clean with or without chemicals or detergents
And if you want a tip on how to clean your RV windows and mirrors super fast without window cleaner, check out our video:
How Do I Find an RV Wash Near Me?
If you’re looking for a place to wash your RV near where you’re currently located, there are a few ways to do this. First, you’ll want to know what type of wash you want. Do you plan to do it yourself, or have it washed for you?
We’ve washed our own RV at more DIY car washes than we could count. A tall or completely open wash bay is needed, which Google Street View is awesome for checking, even if the wash doesn’t have a website (common with DIY locations). As always, be sure to check the reviews.
Google Search for “RV Wash Near Me”
First, of course, you can always check with Google. If you search “RV wash near me” you’ll likely get some suggestions. If your location services aren’t turned on, you may need to tell Google where you are, (i.e. “RV wash near Topeka, Kansas).
If “RV wash” doesn’t turn up any nearby results, and you plan to wash your rig yourself, try searching “car wash near me” instead. You’ll see both. drive-through automatic car washes (which of course can’t handle an RV), and DIY car washes with high-pressure nozzles.
Again, many DIY car washes don’t have websites. So lean on Google Street View to take a look for tall or open wash bays.
Blue Beacon (or other Truck Wash)
Blue Beacon is a popular place to wash an RV, if there’s one located near where you are. The easiest way to find out is to simply go to the Blue Beacon online search page, and scroll down to the state where you’re located.
We’ve been to Blue Beacon many times, with mostly great results. (And fast… as long as the line isn’t too long.) Just be sure that any truck wash location you’re considering specifically says they also wash RVs.
Ask Your RV Park/Campground Host
If you’re staying at an RV park or campground, your campground host is often a great source of information about what’s available in the area for RVers. A way to wash your rig is no exception, so feel free to inquire with your host. They may even allow it in the park (sometimes for a fee).
Contact the Nearest Truck Stop
If you’re near a truck stop, either drop in, call, or check online to see if they have a truck wash, and if they also wash RVs there. Most are willing to wash an RV if they do have the facility, and it may be the easiest way for you to get a basic wash-down while you’re on the road. But again, we recommend using only a truck wash that also caters to RVers.
What Are the Best Options for Washing an RV?
As you’ve already seen, there are a number of ways to get your rig washed. The main thing is to keep it clean, so let’s get a quick run-down of your options.
As avid do-it-yourselfers, this is always our preferred way to wash our rig, and we’re sure to add it to our agenda every spring as part of our annual RV maintenance and spring cleaning routine.
DIY at Home
If you’re able to wash your rig at home, this is often your best bet. You’ll have access to a ladder, hose, nozzle, water, and everything else you need to give your rig a good wash & wax.
But not everyone lives where they’re allowed to wash an RV. If you live in a condo or anywhere with HOA restrictions, or if there are other types of rules that govern the washing of an RV in your location, you’ll need to go with one of the following options.
DIY at a High-Bay Car Wash
If you have a smaller RV, you can go to a do-it-yourself car wash bay, as long as it’s tall enough to accommodate your rig. Before you drive in, you’ll want to confirm that the clearance is enough that you won’t scrape your air conditioner off.
As mentioned, we’ve washed our big rig at lots of these locations, but a very tall, or completely open, bay is needed.
DIY at an RV Park or Campground
Some RV parks and campgrounds have dedicated pads where they allow RV washing. Most charge a small fee to account for the extra water use and may require the use of a nozzle to reduce wasted water.
RV dealerships often have the means to wash RVs right on their premises. Some, like National Indoor RV Centers, provide amazing hand-washing and detailing services for RVs.
We’ve treated ourselves to a full detailing by NIRVC, and loved being able to do other things while others got sore backs and arms! Read more in our post on what to expect with the NIRVC detailing service.
Truck Stop/Truck Wash
Truck stops that have big rig truck washes can be a good option for getting your rig mostly clean. This means you’ll basically be getting a quick wash-down to remove dust and light dirt. However, it’s generally quick and can be surprisingly affordable. We’ve typically had it done for $50-75 (usually including our car and bikes), depending on location.
It’s best to ask about any type of brushes they might use on your rig, as they can be too stiff for RV finishes, especially newer paints.
Mobile Wash Service
There are RV mobile wash services that’ll come to you. They can be a bit pricey, but it’s a super easy way to accomplish this important task.
Wherever you are, though, you’ll need to make sure there are no regulations that prevent you from having a mobile wash service come to you. This would include campgrounds and homes with homeowners’ associations.
As always, we recommend checking reviews on any RV wash service you’re considering.
RV Detailing Facility
There are auto detailing facilities in many places, and some include RV detailing in their services. You can use Google to search for any that might be located where you are and to read reviews of their services.
Some may be associated with RV dealers, while others will be independent services.
You can expect to pay a fairly steep fee for this type of detailing service. Still, you can also expect full exterior and interior detailing, including cleaning carpets, seats, vents, cup holders, etc. It’s all about how much or little work you’d like done.
Many detailers also provide odor-removal services, so some people who buy used RVs will pay for a full detailing of their used but new-to-them rigs.
How Do You Wash Your RV?
We’d love to hear how you generally choose to wash your RV. We’d also like to know if you’ve used a great service while on the road that you’d recommend to others. Drop us a comment below.
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