We can’t go RVing without getting them dirty. I love using my RV, but I hate cleaning it. This is a good reason to get it cleaned professionally each year.
How much does RV detailing cost on average? The average RV is between 21 feet – 27 feet in length. Getting it washed and waxed will cost between $150 – $200 Having the inside cleaned will cost between $50 – $150. This makes the average cost of having an RV completely detailed between $200 and $350.
However, there is a list of things you need to consider before you take your RV to get detailed. The price will vary according to the size of your RV and you might save a lot of money by doing it yourself.
Here are some number and things for you to consider.
Cost of RV Detailing According to Size
Here is a further look at what it costs to have an RV detailed by size.
- Detailing Small RVs
For purposes of this discussion, we’ll consider anything less than 21 feet a small RV. These can be towable campers or small Class C motorhomes. You’ll find the price for having a small RV detailed to range from $100 – $200.
- Detailing Medium RVs
A medium RV ranges from 21 feet to 27 feet. They can be pull-behind campers as well as Class C motorhomes. These are the RVs that people buy when they want to ensure that they can camp at most state and national parks.
As we mentioned earlier, expect to pay between $200 and $350 to have this size RV detailed.
- Large RVs
A large RV is 28 feet to 39 feet in length. Large Class A motorhomes, and towable campers can all fall within this size range.
You’ll end up paying somewhere between $300 to $400 to have this size RV detailed.
Extra Large RVs
RVs over 40 feet long would be considered extra large. These RVs are typically your big Class A motorhomes and fifth wheel campers.
You’ll pay somewhere between $400 to $600 to have these fully detailed.
What Does RV Detailing Consist Of?
A fully detailed RV will have its exterior washed and waxed and it’s interior cleaned from top to bottom. Wheel wells and tires will be cleaned and the trailer will be scrubbed down as well.
Inside, the appliances will be cleaned, the floors will be scrubbed down, the toilets will be cleaned, and the windows and mirrors will all be sprayed and wiped down.
When you leave a place that has fully detailed the inside and outside of your RV, it will look as close to new as it can get.
Where Can I Get My RV Detailed?
In some areas, you’ll find businesses that specialize in detailing RVs.
This can often be the most economical route to getting someone else to professionally detail your RV. Often-times, an RV detailing company will only provide cleaning services to the outside of the RV. They’ll wash and wax your RV’s exterior, but they will not go inside.
In other areas, you might not be able to find a specialized RV detailer at all. If you live in an area like this, you’ll have to travel, or you’ll have to get creative.
If you’ve decided to get creative, here is what you’ll need to do.
- Find a car detailer that will wash your RV’s exterior.
- Find a cleaning company that will clean your RV’s interior.
A standard auto detailer probably won’t be equipped to wash the larger RVs, but they might agree to clean some of the smaller ones. This is especially true if your RV happens to be a Class C RV.
Just be careful if you have an RV with a classic RV exterior. An auto detailer may not be skilled in cleaning vinyl siding, fiberglass, or aluminum clad exteriors.
An auto detailer probably won’t clean the inside of the RV for you and I’m not sure that you’d want them to.
An apartment cleaner would be much better equipped to clean the inside of an RV. Hire them after you’ve gotten the exterior done and your detailing will be complete.
Advantages of Having An RV Detailed?
- Re-sale Value
- Pride of Ownership
Washing and waxing an RV will help protect the exterior from the weather. It will also allow you to see small dents and scrapes easier. This will allow you to repair the areas before they become bigger problems.
A small hole in the side of a dirty RV might go unnoticed, but you won’t be able to miss it once your RV is clean.
Cleaning the inside will add to the interior’s lifespan as well. Carpet stains left untreated will set and appliances that are left dirty will break down quicker.
A clean RV interior is also healthier. Traveling around the country is great, but it does expose you to a lot of germs you may have otherwise avoided. Now they’re inside your RV. A professional cleaning will help you eliminate these germs before you get sick.
It’s hard to take pride in and respect a dirty RV. If you don’t respect your RV you might not take care of it as well. The enhanced pride of ownership you’ll feel after getting your RV detailed will help you avoid this problem.
Your fully detailed RV will look better. This will raise the resale value and you’ll get more money to put towards your next RV.
How Do I Detail My RV Myself?
Detailing an RV at home is actually pretty simple.
Start off by determining how to go about cleaning the outside of your RV. If you have a Class C or Class A motorhome, you’ll basically just have a really large car to clean.
On the other hand, if you have a camper with unique siding, you may have to do things a little differently.
Vinyl RV Siding
For vinyl, all you’ll need is a mixture of white vinegar and water. It is recommended to wash vinyl siding with a mixture of 70% water to 30% vinegar.
You can mix this in a large bucket and use a mop or a large sponge to apply it to the side of your RV.
Once you’re done, wash the vinegar solution off with your garden hose.
Airstream has actually put out an eight-page report on how to clean the exterior of an airstream. If you want to read it, you can find it here.
The report says not to wash the trailer when the sides are still hot and to avoid abrasive cleaning materials. It also says not to use chlorine-based products and to avoid wiping against the grain.
They recommend waxing with a product called RV super seal, which is made by Walbernize.
We have written a quite extensive article about Airstream campers and here you will also find information about how to do maintenance on your airstream.
A fiberglass camper has a gel coat on the outside and you’ll need to make sure you do not damage this during cleaning.
Wipe any large debris from the outside and use a gentle cleaner. Many people actually use a mixture of water and laundry detergent to clean their fiberglass RVs.
The formula for this mixture is one cup of laundry detergent for each gallon of water. Apply this solution using a soft sponge.
After this, rinse the RV off with your hose and gently dry it off with a rag.
Once the RV is dry, polish it with fiberglass polish. You can easily find this online or at your local marine supply store. The same polish they use on fiberglass boats will work just as well on a fiberglass RV.
The last step you’ll take is to apply a fiberglass wax. Again, you can find this online or at a marine supply store.
Can I Use A Pressure Washer On My RV
You can use a pressure washer to wash some RVs, but I don’t recommend it for older campers or Airstreams. That being said, I do use a pressure washer for my old trailer camper.
Pressure washers can potentially dent your aluminum RV, ruin the gel coat on your fiberglass RV, destroy the paint on your Class C or Class A RV, and rip the vinyl off your vinyl side RV.
If you do decide to use a pressure washer to detail your RV, make sure you use it on a very low setting.
Airstream specifically says not to use a pressure washer that is more than 2,500 PSIG. It also says not to hold the pressure washer closer than 30″ to the RV.
DIY RV Detailing Vs. Professional RV Detailing
Detailing your RV yourself takes time, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of money. It is physically demanding and not for everybody.
This being said, the DIY approach is a lot more cost effective than paying someone else to do it. In some areas, it might be the only option you have.
Getting an RV professionally detailed will save you a lot of back-breaking work, but it can be costly.
The cost of professionally detailing a large RV can sometimes be more than a month’s worth of rent in a campground.
On the plus side, they will probably do a better job than you will. They’ll have specialized cleaning materials and vacuum attachments that get in the hard to reach places that average RVers just can’t reach.
Everyone should get their RV detailed.
The only question is, do you get it done professionally, or do you do it yourself?
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.