Years ago, when I was still a newbie in RVing, I didn’t know that cleaning the roof is part of the maintenance. After all, I don’t clean the roof of my house?

But I do clean the roof of my truck, so I don’t know what I was thinking…

I would clean the interior of the RV, I would wash the exterior, and even clean the tires but I almost never did anything about the roof.

When I started joining RV forums, I came across a question from a fellow beginner asking how to best clean RV roofs.

That was the first time I learned that even though we don’t really get to see the roof, it should not be overlooked when we do the cleaning.

I’m glad I was able to come across that post before it’s too late. 

Because the thing is, neglect of the RV roof might cause damage later on. And the biggest risk might be water damage which entails huge costs.

A common roof material for RVs is rubber (if it’s not cared for properly, bubbles may form on your rubber roof) and it comes in two types: EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and TPO RV roof (Thermal Poly Olefin). If you’re like me and you’re wonder if that was even in English, check out these Wikipedia pages: EPDM and TPO.


Each type requires almost the same kind of maintenance. 

There are chemicals or cleaning agents that might now work well with specific roofs. So you have to consult your RV’s manual to ensure you know what your roof type is.

Once you know what type of roof you have, then you can match it with the correct cleaner. 

This is extremely important because getting the wrong cleaner on the wrong kind of roof is the worst.

Imagine using the best fiberglass cleaner on your rubber roof. It can do more damage than good, and I can’t stress that enough.

So, when in doubt, check your manual for cleaner information. Check the information on the cleaner itself to find out which roof types it’s safe on. If you’re still not sure after all that, you can try the cleaner on a small part of the roof to see if causes any damage.


What I can suggest is using an all around cleaner that can work on any type of roof, including rubber, fiberglass, vinyl, and a rare aluminum roof.

FYI, if you have any aftermarket add-ons attached to your roof it’s best to remove them before cleaning if possible. Or at least shift them around a bit. For example, many types of solar panels can be lifted a little bit so you can clean under them.

Homemade RV Roof Cleaner

While looking around for the best homemade RV roof cleaner, I found two: an all-purpose cleaner and an RV roof cleaner that is recommended by many RVers.

All-Purpose Homemade RV Cleaner

This DIY cleaner is something that you can use on most surfaces. This can be used both in the exterior and the interior surfaces of your RV.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 15-30 drops of tea tree oil OR half a lemon
  • Scrub brush or cloth rag

All you need to do is mix all the ingredients together and apply the solution to the dirty areas of your RV using a scrub or a cloth.


Since this is an all-purpose cleaner, you can use this on your steering wheel, dashboard, roof and anything else that needs cleaning.

While the vinegar kills the bacteria and molds, the tea tree oil or lemon juice will give the surfaces a fresh scent that will make your wife happy. That’s a win-win.

RV Rubber Roof Cleaner

Harmful chemicals don’t mix well with rubber roofs. So for something that is homemade, it’s good to stick with mild ingredients.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoons dish soap
  • 2 tablespoons mineral spirit
  • Garden hose
  • Long-handled scrub brush
  • Cloth rag

Combine the dish soap and water in a bucket. 

Before applying anything to the roof, remove all loose debris first to prepare the surface for washing. Do this using a garden hose.


Dip the long-handled scrub brush into the bucket and scrub the roof gently to remove the dirt. Continue scrubbing gently until you remove as much dirt as you can.

Rinse off the soap suds using the garden hose.

If there are stubborn stains, apply one to two tablespoons mineral spirit to a cloth rag and rub the stained areas.

Remember not to directly apply the mineral spirit to the roof to avoid  probable damage.

Cleaning RV Roof With Bleach

If the use of mineral spirits on stubborn stains didn’t work, you may use a cleaning solution with bleach instead. Make sure to rinse the area thoroughly afterward.

Another important thing to note is that you should never use anything abrasive that may cause irreversible damage to your rubber roof.


Top 3 Commercial RV Roof Cleaners

Sometimes we need more than homemade cleaners to do the trick. But with all the rubber roof cleaners in the market, how do we know which is the best for our RVs?

I’ve looked around and considered other RVers’ opinions on this and I made a post dedicated to the top 10 commercial RV roof cleaners here. For convenience, I’ve added the top three for you below.

Thetford Premium Rubber Roof Cleaner

According to different RVers, Thetford Premium Rubber Roof Cleaner is the best overall cleaner. Check the current price on Amazon.

These comments are almost the same across different reviews.

What they like about it:

  • Can be used on any RV roof whether it’s EPDM, TPO, vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass.
  • It gets rid of the buildups around the roof of your RV.
  • It is biodegradable, petroleum-free, and nontoxic
  • It is affordable.
  • It has an active UV blocker that protects the roof from the adverse effects of the sun.
  • It works both as a cleaner and a degreaser at the same time.
  • Its formula helps prevent oxidation.
  • It leaves the roof squeaky clean.

What they don’t like:


  • The surface of the roof becomes slippery after application, so you need to take extra caution when using it.
  • The results are not instant, you have to wait a few minutes.
  • There are a few comments saying they didn’t see much difference from the results in using this formula versus other regular cleaners.

Camco Pro-Tec RV Rubber Roof Care System

Camco is a leading manufacturer of RV accessories and supplies. Its Camco Pro-Tec RV Rubber Roof Care System is quite famous among RVers as the cleaner best for its value. Check the current price on Amazon.

What they like about it:

  • It works both as a cleaner and a protectant at the same time.
  • It has UV protection benefits that protects the roof from sun damage.
  • It works great at removing buildup, tree sap, bird droppings, and grime no matter how long the dirt has been on the roof.
  • It protects the roof from discoloration and oxidation.
  • Inexpensive.
  • It is great at removing streaks and leaves the roof squeaky clean.
  • The formula is long lasting and repels dust and other road grime.
  • It comes with a two gallon pair.

What they don’t like:

  • It is not biodegradable.
  • It is not recommended for TPO RV roofs.
  • It leaves an extremely slippery feel to the surface once dry, so extra care is needed if you stay on the roof after cleaning.
  • You need large amounts so one bottle may run out fast.

Protect All Rubber Roof Cleaner

Protect All Rubber Roof Cleaner is best for all types of EPDM RV roofs. It’s gaining a lot of praise in the RV community because of its remarkable results. Check the current price on Amazon.

What they like about it:

  • The formula is fast-acting.
  • It dies quickly.
  • It is great for cleaning grime, bird droppings, chalk, and dust.
  • It is a no-rinse formula.
  • It does not contain detergents or abrasive components.
  • It is biodegradable.
  • More affordable than other RV roof cleaners.
  • It is simple to apply and leaves the roof squeaky clean.

What they don’t like:

  • The application process takes time.
  • The solution is not formulated to include the sides of the RV, so you have to avoid any runoff when cleaning.

Conclusion

The wrong cleaner on the wrong roof can cause irreversible damage. Therefore, it’s important to do your research before using any product. Know what you need so you won’t end up damaging your RV’s roof. Just in case you missed it, here’s a link to my post on the best 10 RV roof cleaners on the market.