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Old 08-12-2013, 11:11 AM   #1
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Newbie Cleaning & Regular Maintenance

I am relatively new to the camper world. I have a 2012 Mini Lite 1809S. I need to be better about cleaning and simple maintenance on it, as I purchased it brand new and would like it to last as long as possible.

I was curious what everyone uses to clean their camper/awning and what some are something's you do before/after every trip out to keep it looking new and running great.

Thanks in advance for any help!!
Danielle
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:52 AM   #2
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Hello!

Here's the big secret, keep your roof clean & keeping the rest clean is a cinch.
Black streaks come from a dirty roof.
I hit my roof twice a year with Thetford Rubber Roof Cleaner.
I don't have the name handy of the stuff I use on the sides but it's what my dealer said they use to prep an RV for pick up when sold.
I really only have to wash the sides a couple times a year & they always look great.
I use the same roof cleaner on the awning & slide toppers.

Whatever you do don't use "Black Streak Remover on the sides.
It removes the finish/coating & then the area oxidizes & will always look dirty!
Basically anything that is caustic or a degreaser will ruin the finish.

When traveling & I pass a Blue Beacon I always try to pull in.
They do a fantastic job & with the extra wax & wheels it's only about $50.
Sure beats 2/3s of a day with the hose.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:40 PM   #3
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Good to keep it clean from the start! Consistency is the key as its better to clean regularly than letting it get out of hand. There are a lot of products and methods out there. There's more information in our Library for further reading about recommended cleaners and other items for each type of roof, etc...
Forest River Forums - Downloads - Awnings, Roofs and Exterior

Here is what I do:

Roof:

I like Simple Green. First, its good to ID the type of roof that you have: Rubber roof (AKA “EPDM”) membranes are smooth and will be slippery when wet. TPO roof membranes have a texture like an orange peel.

Basically, the roof needs to be cleaned with a non-petroleum based cleaner. While you are up there, closely inspect the seals for cracks and use Dicor LAP sealant to touch-up (leveling for horizontal surfaces and non-leveling for vertical surfaces).

I have only ever used two types on the roof of our 233S: Murphy's Oil Soap or Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. The Simple Green really did a good job - better than the Murphy's.

My roof is TPO so double check these can be used with EPDM if that is what you have.

Body:
I like Wash Wax ALL Cleaner from Aero Cosmetics. I will use water/soap to get the heavy road grime off where needed but the Wash Wax All does a good job for 95% of the trailer. The key is to take your time even if you need to plan on a couple of days. Spray on in a small enough area where you can immediately wipe dry. Do not let it dry on its own as it will leave streaks. A box of disposable rags is nice to use.

Awning:
I like LA's Totally Awesome. The process I use is to dilute the concentrated Awesome, spray it on the underside (make sure to wear safety goggles and old clothes), climb on top of my camper and spray it on the topside of the awning, roll up and let it sit for 30 minutes. Unroll the awning and wipe off with a mop and water. Rinse top and bottom with a hose when done cleaning. Let dry.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:28 AM   #4
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Thanks for all the ideas! Has anyone used a pressure washer?? I don't want to ruin the finish on the camper.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:48 AM   #5
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I use purple power to wash away black streaks and the roof. I then wash the unit with a car wash/wax and dry it off. The roof, decals and seals then get a coat of aerospace. Comes out so clean you need sunglasses to look at it....lol
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dnm1987 View Post
Thanks for all the ideas! Has anyone used a pressure washer?? I don't want to ruin the finish on the camper.
I've never done it and will not for my trailer (or truck for that matter) - it's too harsh. Good way to take the decals off the camper and I think it could easily force water into seams and seals that you don't want.

Hand wash only.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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I use purple power for streaks and meguiers hold class car soap for the body.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:30 AM   #8
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Well timed thread, I'm due for a roof cleaning and was planning to search the forum for advice!

I am a big fan of Simple Green as my "go to" cleaner for garage related activities, so good to hear this is recommended for roofs too. Thanks Scott!

Also, I would not recommend pressure washers either. They are simply too powerful if you are not VERY careful (will rip off your stickers, and very likely damage caulking and other seal areas if you get too close).
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:54 AM   #9
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I am a big fan of Simple Green as my "go to" cleaner for garage related activities, so good to hear this is recommended for roofs too. Thanks Scott!
You're welcome. I was surprised how well it works.

This is a bit embarrassing but I really let the roof get dirty over the winter and spring. Here's a couple of pictures of my roof from the cleaning in early May. It was the worst it had ever been and the Simple Green really did a good job. I would mop it on, wait a few minutes for it to soak in and do its job, then a little hand-scrubbing with a sturdy brush and rinse well.

Before and After shots ...





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Old 08-14-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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Don't mean to side track the thread but are you cleaning the roof while on the roof or on a ladder. I have been very curious as to the sturdiness of the roof.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #11
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I walk on the roof and always have. I wouldn't dance a jig up there, though
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:20 AM   #12
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Ha thanks! I was figuring about the same. My trailer didn't come with a ladder so it got me wondering and of course one guy at the dealer says no problem and another says no way.
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Old 08-14-2013, 11:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triguy View Post

I've never done it and will not for my trailer (or truck for that matter) - it's too harsh. Good way to take the decals off the camper and I think it could easily force water into seams and seals that you don't want.

Hand wash only.
Thanks!!!! Glad I asked first
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:56 PM   #14
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Well I finally cleaned the camper today! What a huge difference, I'm a little embarrassed I let it get that bad. It looks great, still meted to get a ladder and get the roof and top of awning but I made a good start.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:54 AM   #15
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I clean the roof from a latter next to the RV with a long handled brush. I try not to stand on the roof if I can help it. I will lay on it if I must. I weigh a little over 200 lbs and I don't want to stand on the 3/8 inch plywood. Good luck
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whj77372 View Post
I clean the roof from a latter next to the RV with a long handled brush. I try not to stand on the roof if I can help it. I will lay on it if I must. I weigh a little over 200 lbs and I don't want to stand on the 3/8 inch plywood. Good luck
While I was a little nervous the first time, I'm 175 lbs and I have now walked all over the thing on several occasions, and I don't feel like it bends under my weight at all. I've read on other posts most of these roofs are designed for up to 300lbs.

As for cleaning my roof, DW ended up finding a gall of Purple Power instead of Simple Green, saving a few $'s. I mixed it 5:1, sprayed my roof w/ a garden sprayer, let it set for 10, then brushed it off using a hand brush around the vents and AC, and a car wash brush I picked up at Lowes for the larger areas.

All in all it came out pretty well, although I think a stiffer brush than what I used would have done a little better job.
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