How to wash and wax/polish a Class C motorhome with fiberglass exterior

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plyford

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Jul 20, 2018
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Hi all:  I am a 1st time RV owner.  I have a Class C 2014 Itasca Spirit motorhome.  We bought it used from a dealership in AZ and dove it up to AK.  It had a nice shine to the exterior when we bought it, but when got home and I washed it with a pressure washer, I seemed to have stripped off the shine.  I have since been scrubbing the exterior with a brush, and lightly spraying off the soap with the pressure washer.  I really need help with how to wash it, what products work good for the fiberglass exterior, and whats good to polish it with. Thanks in advance.
 

Tom Hoffman

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Mar 1, 2013
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Home: Eastern Iowa
NO WAX...

NuFinish works great on fiberglass RVs.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nufinish+polish&sprefix=nufins%2Caps%2C262&crid=12P0W6NXB89SK
 

SpencerPJ

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Nov 1, 2017
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Midwest
After you get it waxed, always wash it with a soap especially for cars or rv's.  I like TurtleWax carwash soap. 
https://www.turtlewax.com/our-products/essentials/turtle-wax-high-shine-car-wash?bvstate=pg:2/ct:r
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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No rocket science needed - basically treat it just like your car. Any quality car polish/wax will do a good job, as will any marine polish/wax.  Polishes with "RV" in the label are probably just that - relabeled car  or boat polishes.  If the finish is in good condition, a light duty polish with a built-in "wax" (most are synthetic 'surfectants' these days) does the trick. If grimy or oxidized, you will want a more heavy duty polish (more grit in the polish).  You can apply an extra wax-only coat after polishing if you like, but it's probably not necessary in most cases.  Be cautious bout "polishing" the decals - some of them are porous enough to catch the polish inside and get hazy because they don't polish out. And decals don't polish up anyway.


Use of an automotive-type wash product will avoid stripping off the waxy surfectant that was applied a part of the polish.


I don't recommend ever using a pressure washer on an RV, primarily because it is very likely to push high pressure water into places it doesn't belong, e.g. around slides and into the fridge and water heater access panels (vents).  Further, extreme pressures (some washers are 2000 psi or more) can cut or wear the the softer components, of which there are several.  I would not, however, expect it to damage the fiberglass surface and wonder if the shine on your rig was some heavy wax coat intended to cover up previous surface damage.  A 2014 vintage rig should still have its factory shine, even if never waxed. Regular washing is usually sufficient to keep most fiberglass RVs looking good for several years.
 

Bill and Debbie

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Poulsbo, WA
Personally I have found that if you have a gel coat finish vs full body paint, waxes meant just for cars often do not do an adequate job of giving an even shine. Have tried them all. If there is the slightest oxidation, I would recommend using Maquires Oxidation Removal 49 to restore shine, then probably Nufinish to provide some protection. Gel coat is a royal pain to keep shiny. Wish my coach, which I love, had full body paint.
 

RVRAC

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Jun 11, 2012
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I have used Nu Finish for mine. I am satisfied with the results.
 

99dart

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Wenatchee, WA The hot side of the state
I have been using this Gel-gloss soap since my bro-in-law told me about it. It has been working nicely. It drys with very few water spots. My DW got me this brush a few yrs ago that works pretty good, other than where you attach the hose, it leaks like a sieve. I just use it without the hose.
 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0027M3A1U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/Carrand-93072-Flow-Thru-Aluminum-Extension/dp/B000CQ6C6S/ref=sr_1_11?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1532342351&sr=1-11&keywords=truck+car+wash+brush
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
Elaborating a bit on Bill & Debbie's comment, plain fiberglass (usually filon panels) does indeed get oxidized easily and needs a gritty-type polish to remove it and bring up some shine. The gel-coated front and rear caps, however, usually hold up longer becasue the gel cat is much harder and usually shinier to begin with.  However, many newer RVs that lack full-body-paint will still have a clear coat sealer sprayed over the filon sidewalls, keeping them good-looking somewhat longer and making wash & wax easier. Those don't need gritty, deep polishes, at least not in the first several years..

Back in the day, most car polishes contained a fair amount of polishing grit because the enamel or lacquer paints also oxidized.  As paint technology improved, acrylic enamel paints applied with  the base+ clear coat method proved to be highly resistant to oxidation and road grime and car polishes became much softer (less grit) to make them easier to apply and avoid wearing away the clear coat. Thus, you probably want a polish labeled for "oxidation removal" or "scratch removal" if you have an unpainted surface to clean and shine.
 

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