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When Is The Best Time Of Day For Washing An RV?

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

person washing an RV

The Pros & Cons Of Washing An RV At Different Times Of The Day

Keeping your RV clean and well-maintained is a crucial part of the lifestyle. If you let these vehicles get dirty, they can develop rust, black streaks, and a variety of other issues. But washing an RV can be a long and tiring process, especially if you pick the wrong time of day for cleaning. So, whe is the best time of day to get started?

In general, it’s best to clean your RV during the early morning or late afternoon. Washing a vehicle during the middle of the day can be exhausting, plus it can actually lead to more problems down the road. However, you can technically wash an RV whenever it’s most convenient for you. You just need to be aware of the potential consequences.

Below, we’ll delve into the different times of day when you might wash your RV. Although some are better than others, you can make a decision based on the weather and climate in your location. Read on to learn about the ideal times and conditions for washing an RV.

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Early morning

In general, it’s best to clean your RV in the morning if you can. You’ll have enough light to see, it won’t be too hot to work outside, and the rising heat of the day can steadily dry your vehicle once you finish.

However, there are a few potential drawbacks to this time of day too. For instance, it might be pretty humid. If you live in an area where dew forms overnight, the air may be too humid to properly dry your vehicle. In addition, the early morning hours can be pretty chilly throughout the year!

In general, however, the morning is the best time to wash your RV. Anywhere between sunrise and 10 a.m. should be just fine.


On the other hand, you should generally avoid washing an RV in the middle of the day. Maybe you’re used to seeing commercials and TV shows where people clean their vehicles in the afternoon. But once the heat of the day sets in, it creates less-than-ideal cleaning conditions (for you or your vehicle).

If you wash your RV when it’s hot outside, the soap can dry and harden before you have a chance to rinse it off. Spotting is a common problem. In addition, you can ruin your vehicle’s finish if you spray cold water on hot metal. If you apply protective waxes or coatings when you finish, the heat can also mess with this and create an uneven application.

However, there are times when you don’t have an option, and you have to clean your vehicle in the heat of the day. In these cases, be sure to wear sunscreen and a good hat. Use lukewarm water so you don’t damage the finish. Park your RV under a shaded area if possible, then wipe it dry to prevent unwanted spotting.

Late afternoon/early evening

If you missed the window for a morning cleaning and don’t want to work during the middle of the day, you can wait until the sun starts to go down. The late afternoon/early evening is the second-best time of day for washing an RV. You’ll still have a decent amount of light, the temperature cools down, and you still have enough heat to dry the RV before night falls.

It’s important to get the timing right if you opt for this choice, though. If you go too early, you’ll face the same problems that you would in the mid-afternoon. But if you wait too long, your RV won’t have time to dry before the sun sets. It will be wet all night long, which can lead to rusting risks and a greater likelihood of streaking.

To hit the sweet spot, you should aim to clean your RV between 5 p.m. and sundown. Once the UV index becomes safe to work outside, you’ll usually be in the clear. Try to give your RV an hour or two of sunlight so it has time to dry off.


Finally, you could also try washing your RV at night. This is not recommended for a variety of reasons, but it is possible. You’ll need decent lighting (preferably floodlights) as well as lots of towels for drying.

It’s tougher to clean at night because you may not be able to see all the nooks and crannies very clearly. There also tend to be a lot of bugs out at night, and they can get stuck in the soap and wax. Drying is one of the biggest issues though. You won’t have any sunlight to help you out.

In general, nighttime cleaning is more hassle than it’s worth. You’re much better off cleaning during daylight hours. If we had to rank the best times of day for washing an RV, the list would generally be in this order:

  1. Morning
  2. Late afternoon/evening
  3. Midday
  4. Night

Ideal weather conditions for washing an RV

The time of day isn’t the only thing you need to consider when you need to wash your RV. Although it is a major factor, there are plenty of other things that can influence the level of cleanliness you can achieve.

For starters, you should try to avoid cleaning your RV during humid conditions. Sometimes this is unavoidable, especially if you live in an area where it’s always humid! But you can try to choose times or places where it’s a bit more manageable. For instance, don’t clean your RV immediately after a rainstorm or while there’s still morning dew on the ground.

Washing during sunny days can have pros and cons. On one hand, your vehicle will dry much faster if it’s under direct sunlight. But on the other hand, it might dry too fast, leading to soap spots and streaks. Follow the tips above to choose the best time of day for washing an RV. You can also clean your RV during overcast days, as long as it’s still warm and dry enough to dry your vehicle.

You should also try to avoid windy days at all costs. If the wind hits your vehicle while it’s wet, it can smear dirt, pollen, bugs, and other debris onto the surface. Obviously, you can’t control the weather, but you should keep your eye open for the ideal combination of factors. Give yourself a leg up by choosing a day with good cleaning conditions.

At the end of the day, it’s always better to clean your RV rather than put it off forever. It’s great if you can find the perfect day to clean, but it’s not always possible. Once the day arrives, just pick a decent time to start and get to work! Even if it’s not perfect, you can always try again next time. Something is always better than nothing!

Track your RV maintenance

Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents. 

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