Thursday, October 1, 2009

Washing your RV Front-End - ECO-FRIENDLY


We all need to adjust our lives towards a more Eco-Friendly lifestyle.  As Campers and RVers, we should adopt as many habits, tools, and lifestyle changes as possible to preserve and improve the environment we live in.  To this end, here is a great ECO-FRIENDLY TIP.. Sometimes these are just small steps, but if we all use them we can make a big difference for the Planet.

Washing Your RV Front End:

Boy, probably one of the most intimdating jobs, to me is the task of washing that enormous RV when you arrive at your home, or Campground, and have been driving through all kinds of Weather, Dust, Grime, grease and BUGS.

Let me tell you a story.  

Last year, while I was at a campground in Florida for the Winter, an elderly Canadian couple pulled their RV into the campsite next to me.  Needless to say, it was pretty dirty and the front was covered with bugs.  We met, shook hands, talked, and we became good campsite friends while we were both at that campground.

Well, the next day, in the cool of the morning, I noticed he was cleaning the front of his RV, then to my surprise, he stopped and started again in a section of one of the sides of the RV, then quit again.  He continued this routine daily on a small section of the RV until he had a totally clean RV.

The point is that he had figured out how to pace himself, as well as the use of campground water, and cleaning materials and end up with a very effective way to clean his RV; with less one-time effort, less sore muscles, and the use of less water.

My Methods:

I on the other hand, had spent several hours one day, in the heat continually; wetting, soaping, washing, and rinsing the whole darn RV, and when I had finished, I had wasted a lot more water, cleaning materials, and muscle power than my Canadian friend.

I hurt for days, so a couple of campgrounds later, I jumped on having a local crew come in and wash my RV for several hundred dollars.  The RV looked great, but my wallet was a lot lighter.

I don't know where this commercial cleaning stands on the ECO-Friendly scale, but as I sat there, with my glass of wine in hand, watching the crew spend right at 45-minutes to clean and hand wax and polish my whole RV, I am sure that they were more efficient, thus more ECO-FRIENDLY than my personal work.

My lesson-learned was to follow my friends process the next time I wash my RV myself, and to look closer at the materials I use also.

What I mean is, that I will take a good close look at my RV and use the appropriate materials to clean the different areas of my RV, and the different types of dirt, grime, grease, and stains.

Front of the RV:

The front of an RV will collect, along with the dirt, a lot of dead bugs.  Remember, if they have dried up, they are even harder to remove, but here is a great hint; Take 2 buckets, fill one with clean water, and the other with a dish-washing detergent/water combination.
Use a soft-bristle brush with a long handle, and thoroughly soak the whole front end of the RV (thus the bug bodies) with water, and go away for 10-minutes or so.  This will allow the bug bodies and dirt to soak up the water and soften.
When you come back, wash the windshield and front of the RV with the dish-washing detergent and water combination, and then go away again for about 10-minutes, to let the bug bodies to soak up some of this cleanser.
When you come back, get your ladder out, and using a rag, hand scrub the front of the RV starting at the top with the cleanser, and when finished, rinse the front with a fresh bucket of clean water, and then you should be rid of 98% of the bug bodies, and all of the dirt, with a shiny front on your RV.

The great thing is; you used less water, less caustic chemicals, and you had a couple of nice rest periods during the cleaning process.

By the way, as to that other 2% you could not clean with the dish-washing detergent, well it is highly likely that those expensive, and often caustic cleansers that you did not use, would not remove the remaining bugs any better.

Preventive Medicine for Bugs:

Another hint for you, is to try to minimize the number of bugs that stick to your front end when you are traveling.  I have heard a lot of suggestions, and the best I have found for the body part of the front end, is BABY OIL.

Yes, thats right, Baby Oil!  Just before we pull out on a trip, we soak a couple of paper towels in Baby Oil, and thoroughly rub the front body parts down, including the headlight lens'.  Then when we get to our campsite, we just hose what is left along with most of the bugs off of the front end.  It only takes a little water, and what can be safer and more ECO-FRIENDLY than Baby Oil?

Other RV cleaning suggestions coming in later posts!