How do you clean the roof of a motorhome


Screenshot 2023 08 15 193025

Why is Cleaning the Roof Important?

Regular cleaning of the roof of your motorhome is a key aspect of vehicle maintenance that should not be overlooked. It offers a number of benefits that can help to keep your motorhome in optimal condition, while also preventing potential issues from developing. But why is it so important to clean the roof of a motorhome? Here are some reasons why cleaning the roof is essential:

  1. Prevents Damage: Over time, the build-up of dirt, debris, leaves, and other materials can cause wear and tear to your roof’s surface. Regular cleaning helps to prevent this build-up and reduces the risk of damage. Additionally, bird droppings or tree sap can be corrosive and might cause damage if left unchecked.
  2. Extends Lifespan: Proper care of the roof extends the lifespan of your motorhome. Regular cleaning and maintenance prevent degradation of the materials and prolongs their longevity.
  3. Prevents Mould Growth: Moisture, combined with organic materials like leaves and dirt, can create an ideal environment for mould and mildew. Cleaning the roof removes these elements and prevents the growth of mould, which can cause health problems and damage to the roof material.
  4. Maintains Resale Value: A clean and well-maintained motorhome is more attractive to potential buyers and can command a higher resale value. Regularly cleaning the roof helps in keeping the motorhome in excellent condition, which is a selling point for potential buyers.
  5. Improves Energy Efficiency: A clean roof reflects sunlight more efficiently and helps in maintaining the interior temperature of the motorhome. This can reduce the load on your air conditioning system and improve energy efficiency.
  6. Enhances Appearance: A clean roof is visually appealing and adds to the overall appearance of the motorhome. It can make your motorhome look well-cared-for and newer.
  7. Prevents Leaks: Accumulated dirt and debris can lead to blocked drains and water pooling on the roof. Over time, this can cause leaks that can damage the interior of your motorhome. Cleaning the roof helps in preventing blockages and subsequent leaks.
  8. Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to maintain your motorhome, including cleaning the roof, gives you peace of mind that your vehicle is in good shape and ready for your next adventure.

Steps to Clean the Roof of a Motorhome

Cleaning the roof of your motorhome is a crucial aspect of its maintenance. A clean roof not only looks better, but it also extends the life of your vehicle. Follow these steps to ensure a thorough cleaning:

  1. Safety First: Before you begin, ensure that you have a sturdy ladder and non-slip shoes. Always work with a buddy if possible. Avoid working on the roof during rainy or windy conditions.
  2. Gather Necessary Supplies: Get a soft-bristled brush, a bucket, mild detergent or a specialized motorhome roof cleaner, a hose with an adjustable nozzle, and soft cloths or sponges.
  3. Remove Loose Debris: Using a soft broom, sweep away any loose debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt from the roof. This prevents any scratches or abrasions during the washing process.
  4. Pre-rinse: With a hose, give the roof a gentle rinse to wet the surface and remove any loose dirt.
  5. Apply Cleaner: In a bucket, mix water with your chosen detergent or roof cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the solution generously on the roof using a cloth or sponge.
  6. Scrubbing: Using the soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the roof in sections. Apply slight pressure to remove stubborn stains, but be cautious not to damage the roof material.
  7. Rinse Thoroughly: After scrubbing each section, rinse the roof with clean water. Ensure that no soap residue remains as it can damage the roof over time.
  8. Check Seals and Caulking: While cleaning, inspect the seals and caulking around vents, skylights, and other fixtures. If you notice any cracks or wear, it’s a good indication that they may need replacing or resealing.
  9. Dry the Roof: Using soft towels or cloths, pat the roof dry. This prevents water spots and allows you to check your cleaning handiwork. Alternatively, you can let the roof air dry, though ensure it’s completely dry before storing the motorhome.
  10. Roof Protection (Optional): After cleaning, consider applying a UV protectant or a roof treatment solution specially designed for motorhomes. This can offer additional protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays and extend the life of your roof.
  11. Clean Gutters: If your motorhome has gutters, make sure to clean them out. Blocked gutters can cause water to pool on the roof, leading to potential leaks.
  12. Regular Inspection: Even if you’re not cleaning the roof, regularly inspect it for signs of damage, wear, or potential issues. Early detection can prevent bigger problems down the road.
clean the roof of a motorhome

Choosing the Right Cleaning Products

Selecting the appropriate cleaning products is essential to maintaining your motorhome’s roof. The wrong products can damage the roof’s material, while the right products can extend its lifespan and protect it from the elements. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Know Your Roof Material: The first step is to identify your roof material. Motorhome roofs are typically made of rubber (EPDM or TPO), fiberglass, or aluminium. Each material has specific cleaning needs, so check your owner’s manual or consult your manufacturer for recommendations.
  2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals such as bleach, petroleum solvents, or citrus ingredients. These can damage the roof’s material, degrade the seals and caulking, or strip the roof of its protective coatings.
  3. Use Mild Detergents: A mild detergent, like dish soap, is often sufficient for regular cleaning. It can effectively remove dirt, grime, and mildew without damaging the roof material.
  4. Consider Specialised Roof Cleaners: There are cleaning products specifically designed for motorhome roofs. These products are formulated to be gentle on the roof material while effectively removing stains, algae, and mould. They can also provide UV protection and prolong the life of the roof.
  5. Check for Eco-friendliness: If environmental concerns are important to you, look for eco-friendly products. These are biodegradable, non-toxic, and won’t harm the environment.
  6. Read Reviews and Recommendations: Consult online forums, blogs, or other motorhome enthusiasts for product recommendations. Reviews can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness and safety of different products.
  7. Test a Small Area: Before applying any new cleaning product, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the roof. Check for any adverse reactions, such as discoloration or material degradation.
  8. UV Protection: After cleaning, consider using a UV protectant specifically designed for your roof material. UV rays can damage and degrade the roof over time. A protectant adds an extra layer of defense against the sun’s harmful rays.
  9. Read Labels Carefully: Always read the labels and instructions on any cleaning product. Follow the recommended application and safety precautions to ensure effective and safe cleaning.
  10. Consult Your Manufacturer: If you’re unsure which products to use, consult your motorhome manufacturer. They can provide recommendations tailored to your specific roof material.

How Often Should You Clean the Roof?

How frequently you should clean your motorhome’s roof depends on several factors, such as the climate, how often you use your motorhome, and where you park it. In general, it’s recommended to clean the roof at least two to four times a year. However, if your motorhome is parked under trees, or if you’re in a location with heavy pollution or a lot of bird activity, you might need to clean it more often. Regularly inspect your roof for signs of dirt, debris, and damage, and clean it as necessary.

What to Avoid When Cleaning

When cleaning your motorhome’s roof, there are a few things to avoid:

  1. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: As mentioned before, steer clear of cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals like bleach, petroleum solvents, or citrus ingredients. These can damage the roof material and seals.
  2. Avoid High Pressure: Don’t use high-pressure washers on your motorhome roof. The force of the water can damage the material, remove protective coatings, or cause leaks.
  3. Avoid Stepping on Fixtures: When you’re on the roof, avoid stepping on fixtures like vents and skylights. These areas are more fragile and can be damaged under your weight.
  4. Avoid Ignoring Damage: If you see any signs of damage during cleaning, such as cracks, holes, or worn seals, don’t ignore them. Address these issues immediately to prevent further damage and potential leaks.

Additional Maintenance Tips

Here are some extra tips for maintaining your motorhome roof:

  1. Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your roof for signs of wear, damage, or leaks. Catching issues early can prevent more extensive repairs down the road.
  2. Reseal as Needed: Over time, the seals and caulking around vents, skylights, and other fixtures can deteriorate. Reseal these areas as needed to prevent water from entering your motorhome.
  3. Cover When Not in Use: If your motorhome is parked for extended periods, consider using a cover specifically designed for motorhomes. This can protect your vehicle from the elements and reduce the need for cleaning.
  4. Remove Snow and Ice: In the winter, snow and ice can accumulate on your motorhome roof. Gently remove it to prevent damage and leaks.
  5. Consult a Professional: If you’re unsure about how to maintain your motorhome roof, or if you encounter any problems, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. It’s better to seek expert advice than to risk damaging your vehicle.


Proper cleaning and maintenance of your motorhome’s roof are essential for protecting the vehicle and maintaining its value. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure your motorhome remains in top condition for years to come.


Can I use household cleaners for my motorhome’s roof?

t’s best to use cleaners specifically designed for motorhomes, as household cleaners may contain harsh chemicals that can damage the roof material.

Is it safe to walk on the roof of my motorhome?

Consult your motorhome’s manual to determine whether it’s safe to walk on the roof. If it’s not recommended, you can use a ladder and long-handled brush to clean the roof.

How do I remove tree sap from the roof?

You can use a commercial tree sap remover or rubbing alcohol to remove tree sap. Apply the remover, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub gently with a soft cloth.

Can I use a pressure washer to clean the roof?

Be cautious when using a pressure washer, as high pressure can damage the roof material. If you do use one, keep the pressure low and maintain a safe distance from the roof.

Do I need to clean the roof if my motorhome is stored indoors?

Even if your motorhome is stored indoors, it’s still important to clean the roof regularly to remove any accumulated dust or debris.

Keep up with our full-time van life travels over on our YouTube channel! If you enjoy our videos, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel – Three As A Bird – Vanlife Travel – YouTube

You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice

If you’d like to follow more of our adventures or keep up to date with our travel hints and tips, please join our Facebook group, we’d love to connect with you all! –

Also, if you have Pinterest, please give us a follow for your van life travel inspiration! –

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.