How to Clean an RV Rubber Roof

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  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Sponge mop
Detergent or liquid soap or rubber roof cleaner
Soft bristle brush
Rubber-roof protection
Mineral spirits

RV rubber roofs are generally made of either Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) or Thermal Polyolefin (TPO). EPDM is the preferred choice of most RV manufacturers. Rubber roofs have a life of about 20 years, but they require frequent cleaning and repair. It is suggested that in order for your rubber roof to last long and to retain your warranty, you should clean your RV rubber roof at least once in every three months.

Cleaning the roof regularly is also the easiest way to maintain the roof. An EPDM roof has its own cleaning shortcomings as it has less solvent and oil resistance. Most manufacturers do have a warning that harsh, abrasive cleaners should not be used on EPDM roofs.

Step 1 – Assessing the RV Roof

Always ensure the ladder is secure. Start by inspecting the roof thoroughly and check if there is mold or mildew. At the same time, check if tree sap residue is present; in such case, a stronger cleaning agent is required.

Step 2 – Cleaning the RV Roof

Sweep the roof to remove loose dust and debris. Hose the recreational vehicle (RV) and make sure to get rid of the loose dirt off the surface. Rinse the vehicle and ensure that no caulk or grime is sticking to the sides.

Step 3 – Mopping the RV Roof

Check the package instructions of the cleaning agent and add the appropriate amount in a pail of water. Mopping the roof ensures that you don’t have to hose the RV again. Check with the manufacturer for the kind of detergent or liquid soap that can be used. Never use any petroleum-based solvents, abrasive harsh detergents or citrus solvents as this can damage the EPDM membrane. Always start from the front of the RV moving towards the back.

Step 4 – Cleaning Stubborn Grime

If the dirt/grime is stubborn, use the soft bristled brush to scrub the dirt off. Change the water once or twice if needed.

woman cleaning RV roof with a rag

Step 5 – Getting Rid of Tree Sap

To get rid of tree sap, pour mineral spirit on a piece of rag and then rub it on the required spot. Never pour mineral spirits directly onto the roof.

Step 6 – Remove Mold and Mildew

If there is mold or mildew treat with diluted bleach and scrub the region.

Step 7 – Application of UV Protection

Allow the roof to dry. Once the roof is dry, use another mop to apply roof protection or UV protection on the roof. Again work your way from the front of the roof towards the back.

Step 8 – Check Caulk and Seams

Last, but not least, before climbing down, check the roof seam and around the vents to ensure caulking is intact. Also, ensure there are no leaks or puncture marks on the roof.

Note of Caution:

Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations while choosing a cleaner or protection. Carry a copy of Material Safety Data Sheet while shopping for these products; this is to avoid voiding the warranty.