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Camper Storage Tips: Cleaning the Exterior

“steel-RV-storage-building” by SteelMaster Buildings is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Now that fall is here (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), it’s time to start thinking about getting your camper or RV ready for storage.

There’s a lot of steps you need to take to get your RV in storage shape, including cleaning the exterior.

In today’s tutorial, we’ll discuss a few camper storage tips that will help you get the exterior of your camper ready for the long winter.

Camper Storage Tips: Start With the Roof

man cleaning camper roof

Photo by welcomia via iStock

The first order of business to prepare your camper for storage is to clean the roof.

While the rubber roof material that’s on campers and RVs is weatherproof, it’s also very delicate. Leaving it dirty over the winter can lead to premature weathering of the roofing material, which will necessitate repair sooner rather than later.

So, get up on the roof of your camper or RV and gently sweep the dirt and debris off it (or use a leaf blower). Then, use a pressure washer on a low setting to wash the remaining dirt and debris off the roof. Be sure you allow plenty of time for the roof to dry before putting your camper or RV in storage.

Once the roof is clean and dry, give it a good inspection. If you find any knicks or tears in the rubber membrane, now is a great time to repair them with some EternaBond roof seal tape. It’s expensive, but it seals up small knicks and tears and preserves the waterproofness of the roof.

Next Up – Give the Camper a Thorough Wash

man power washing and RV

Photo by welcomia via iStock

Once everything is clean, dry, and repaired on the roof, turn your attention (and your pressure washer) to the front, back, and sides of your camper or RV.

Start at the top of each side and work your way down to the bottom, just like you would your car. Wash with soap first, then rinse with clean water.

If you take your camper or RV to the car wash, use the brush cleaner to get the bugs off the front of the camper. If you’re washing your rig at home, a good car wash mitt and some elbow grease will do the trick for getting the bugs off.

As far as camper storage tips go, here’s another quick tip – wash the wheels, tires, and underbelly of your camper as well.

All the dust that collects in the wheels of your camper can really build up and cause damage to the wheels and brakes. Likewise, you don’t want mud to build up and stay on the underside of the camper all winter long since dirt and mud help usher in rust. That’s why a thorough washing is so critical!

Camper Storage Tips: Clean and Inspect the Windows and Doors

Man washing RV windows

Photo by LifesizeImages via iStock

After washing the exterior of your camper, you’ll likely find that there’s water spots on the windows and doors. I like to use glass cleaner to get rid of water spots and ensure the windows and doors are perfectly clean to maximize the views I’ll have next year while camping.

Cleaning the windows and doors also gives you an opportunity to get an up-close look at the condition of the seams, seals, hinges, and so forth. If any of these elements needs repair, get that taken care of now rather than later. If you’re like me, you might think, “I’ll do that in the spring,” but when spring rolls around, you might forget what needs to be repaired.

Camper Storage Tips Clean and Inspect the Windows and Doors

Photo by Baloncici via iStock

While you’re at it, check the door hinges and the storage compartment door hinges to ensure they all work. Spritzing them with WD40 will lubricate them and help them be in tip-top shape for next year.

Check the Awning, Too

Man cleaning Awing

Photo by welcomia via iStock

I’ve had my camper for six years and have used the awning precisely one time. However, you might use your awning far more frequently, so giving it a good once-over with the hose isn’t a bad plan.

The awning material should be inspected as well. It seems that the awning will be in great shape for years and years, and then boom, it’s torn and shredded. Putting the awning on your camper storage tips list will give you the opportunity to check it out every year and stay ahead of any developing problems. Finding that the awning needs repair or replacement is better done at home in your driveway at the end of the season rather than on your first trip of the following year!

Camper Storage Tips: Cover It If You Can

Covered camper in storage

Photo by Margit Kluthke via iStock

If at all possible, store your camper or RV inside, or at the very least, invest in a cover for it. 

The wind, rain, snow, and especially the sun can wreak havoc on everything from the roof to the stickers on the exterior to the tires. By covering it, you will increase the longevity of your camper or RV, minimize costs of upkeep, and keep costly repairs at bay.

Just like heading out on a camping trip requires lots of hard work and planning, so too does storing your rig for the winter.

Follow these simple camper storage tips, and you should be able to protect your investment and keep it in the best shape for continued enjoyment for years to come.

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