How to Clean an RV Rubber Roof

Just like any other vehicle, your RV is going to need periodic care and maintenance if it is going to provide you with many years of reliable service. One of the parts of your RV which needs to be cleaned from time to time is a part you usually don’t see – the roof. It all likelihood, your RV has a rubber roof to keep the elements at bay. While these rubber roofs are durable and reliable, they do need to be cleaned occasionally. If you would like to provide your roof with the attention it needs, consider the helpful tips below.

Be Careful Above All Else

The roof of your RV might not be as high off the ground as the roof of your home, but it is still sufficiently high to injure you in the case of a fall. Anytime you are working on the roof of your RV, take precautions to keep yourself as safe as possible. Tread lightly on the roof, take your time, and watch for tripping hazards. Also, save this job for a rain-free day, as a wet RV roof can be a slippery place. If you are uncomfortable with heights or are not steady on your feet, it may be better to turn this job over to a professional.

Inspect the Surface

There are a number of seams on the roof of your RV where the rubber meets various items – and all of these seams are potential locations for a leak. As you prepare to clean the roof, check for cuts or breaks along the seams, as well as visually inspecting the rest of the roof for damage. You may not have noticed if a tree branch or other item clipped your roof as you drove along, but such damage could easily lead to a leak.

Repairs Before Cleaning

Should you happen to find any damage on your roof, take the step of repairing those damaged spots before you move on to cleaning. Always be sure to use the right materials when completing roof repairs – you can ask about this at the dealership or consult your owner’s manual if you are unsure.

Nothing Fancy

Most of your RV roof cleaning activity can be completed with a brush and some warm, soapy water. To soap up the water, just use a basic dish detergent. As long as you keep up a routine of washing the roof of your RV on a periodic basis, there shouldn’t be too much grime to cut through – just one or two passes with your brush and the soapy water should do the job.

Get Advice When in Doubt

If you have a serious mess on your hands when you go up to clean the roof of your RV, it is possible that you will need to use stronger cleaners to get the job done. Before you do so, be sure to get advice or to at least carefully read labels. Some of the cleaners you will find on the market are harmful to a rubber roof. Steer clear of using the wrong products and keep up with a maintenance schedule to keep your RV roof in great shape for years to come.



  1. To soap up the water, just use a basic dish detergent.


    You should use shampoo a cheap baby shampoo, car wash and wax shampoo. Key word Shampoo! Won’t harm your finish gel coat or Wax.


    • R Gould: Thanks for that suggestion. I wouldn’t have even thought of that. At my age, I have no business on the roof anyway. We just bought a, new to us, fifth wheel. 2011 Heartland, Big Country, 38 feet. The roof is some 12 feet high. We also just sold our 1998 Road Runner, 28 feet, after 10 years of service to us. I was always on that roof. It gave us good service and has years of service left. When we first got the Road Runner, we got a full cover for it. What a $ 400.00 waist. Didn’t last a year because of the wind. So except for the tire covers, it was uncovered all of those years. Don’t get me wrong, in that, if we lived in an area without high winds, it would be better with a cover. Warranties won’t cover winds, but you just don’t know how high is too high for your cover until you try it. Any way, having said that, I was pleased that the rubber roof on the Road Runner was still in good shape, no cracks or leaks during that time. I would just use plain water to wash the dirt off. All in all, however, this is a good article because we are going full time in our new RV as soon as the house sells. Again thanks for the info.


  2. In my Newmar owners manual it says use dish detergent.Its never affected my full body paint.I will say I don’t use it on my cars.Just saying.

    • I used (Lanco Ultra-Siliconizer Roof Sealer on my 1999 National motorhome. from HomeDepot. Looks like new.

  3. Wait. Repair BEFORE cleaning? I think not. What ever you use to seal up the area may not stick well if you don’t at least spot clean the particular area first.