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How To Degrease And Clean Your RV With WD-40

Keeping your RV’s exterior clean can seem like a losing battle. Recently while towing our fifth wheel through the desert, our truck had a sudden engine oil leak that spewed heavy grime over (it seemed) every inch of our rig. We were far from civilization at the time and didn’t have any heavy duty degreasers with us – or so we thought.

Our RV was covered in engine oil. Now what?

clean your RV with WD-40
Rene Agredano

Later that day, a helpful online RVer friend told us that you can remove grease from your RV with WD-40®.

This inexpensive product will clean your RV.

clean your RV with WD-40

WD-40 is the Only RV Degreaser You Need

The WD-40® Multi-Use Product was invented over 60 years ago. WD-40 – which stands for Water Displacement perfected on the 40th try – was created as a rust-prevention solvent and degreaser for use in the aerospace industry. But it’s not really a degreaser. The company says WD-40 is “a unique, special blend of lubricants. The product’s formulation also contains anti-corrosion agents and ingredients for penetration, water displacement and soil removal.”

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Since its invention, crazy urban legends about WD-40’s many uses have snowballed around the world, such as:

  • WD-40 can help you catch more fish when you spray it on fishing hooks and lures
  • WD-40 can cure arthritis pain

It can’t do any of these things but one thing it can do is remove the trickiest, stickiest, grimiest substances on your RV like:

  • gum
  • bugs
  • road tar
  • tree sap
  • bumper sticker goo
  • spray paint
  • engine oil
  • and anything else that gets onto your rig on purpose or otherwise.

Check out this PDF flyer with 2,000 uses for WD-40.

How to Clean Your RV with WD-40

The RVer assured me that WD-40 would not harm our RV’s gel coat or fiberglass surface. Although the WD-40 website will not tell you what’s in their proprietary product, they will tell you that it does not contain silicone, kerosene, water, graphite, or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Since other RVers say you can clean your RV with WD-40, we took their word for it and gave it a whirl.

To remove grease from your RV with WD-40 you’ll need:

  1. A can of WD-40
  2. At least three clean, soft cloths
  3. Bucket of warm soapy water with RV wash product
  4. A garden hose.

Test WD-40 on a small area first.

clean your RV with WD-40
Rene Agredano

My inner skeptic prevented me from spraying the entire rig with WD-40 before testing it, but in reality I probably could have done that and the RV fiberglass would have been fine. Always use caution however, and test WD-40 on a small area first.

First I sprayed it on one cotton cloth then rubbed in one small area. Right before my eyes, I watched WD-40 literally erase the grease on the plastic molding trim. Impressive! Next I soaped up the area with RV wash, then quickly rinsed the WD-40 from the RV, which was cleaner than before.

On certain fixtures and surfaces WD-40 failed to perform. These areas were made of porous materials that proved impossible to clean with even the best RV degreaser solvents.

Who knew that you could skip those expensive degreaser products and clean your RV with WD-40? It took an unfortunate mechanical failure to teach us this, but I’m glad that now we know what Jim and Tim The Duct Tape Guys believe – all you really need to prepare for road trip emergencies is duct tape and a can of WD-40.

2 thoughts on “How To Degrease And Clean Your RV With WD-40”

  1. SD, great advice about using care near sealants, I neglected to mention that. I will clarify though that we did try Dawn, and a number of other cleaners, including the degreaser at a truck wash, and nothing else worked. 100 degree Utah temperatures while driving down the highway really baked in that oil, it was an awful mess.

  2. Be careful where you spray the WD40. I use it to clean up / remove excess sealants (silicone, caulks, proflex, butyl tape, putty tape, dicor drips, etc) after I am done sealing and trimming. Not as aggressive as Acrysol, but more so than alcohol (rubbing, 91%).

    Personally, I would have waited until I found a carwash with a brush, or washed with a bucket and Dawn dishwashing soap. But, that’s just me.

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