If you spend much time around RVs, I am sure you heard of, or experienced firsthand the notorious black streaks that get on the front, back and sides of the RV. Black streaks are one maintenance issue every RV owner is confronted with, and they are difficult to deal with.
Let’s start by looking into what causes these streaks to form on the sides of the RV. There are a couple of things that contribute to black streaks on RVs:
- The surface of some RV roofing material slowly sheds. When this happens, a chalky material starts forming and contributes to black streaks.
- Dirt naturally collects on the RV roof, and when it rains the dirt runs down the RV sidewalls leaving black streaks.
If you are like me, and you wash your RV frequently, you can keep black streaks in check. On the other hand, if you don’t wash the RV often, or if the RV sits exposed to the elements, black streaks will get on the RVs surface. Black streaks are extremely difficult to remove, especially on corrugated metal exterior siding.
With that said, I want to discuss the best way I have found to deal with black streaks on your RV. I have tried using numerous cleaning products, and trust me, there is no miracle or easy way to remove black streaks. But I do have a few tips that make the job a little easier.
There are numerous products on the market designed to remove black streaks, and I have tried lots of them. Some products work better than others but the bottom line is, if you let the RV sit too long you may never get all the black streaks off of the surface. If black streaks are not dealt with in a timely manner, they can literally bake into the surface, making it nearly impossible to remove.
So, the first step in dealing with black streaks is to remove them as soon as possible. When you use any black streak remover it’s important that you read and follow the manufacturer instructions. If you don’t use the product the way it is intended you won’t get the best results.
I am not affiliated with any product, but I want to tell you what I personally use to deal with black streaks on RVs, and as a general cleaning product. It’s called “Reliable One” and it works really well. It’s concentrated so you can dilute it for most cleaning jobs, but for difficult black streaks I use it full strength.
RV 101 caution: Be careful using it on or around graphics and it’s always a good idea to test any cleaning product in an inconspicuous area prior to using it on the RV. Always follow the manufacturer instructions when using cleaning products.
If you are cleaning black streaks you can use the product full strength. You can spray it directly on the area you are cleaning, or you can apply it to a clean cloth and then use it. I like to work in small areas at a time. Spray it on the black streaks, wait a minute and then wash or wipe the area clean. Reapply the product as needed for stubborn stains. If you use “Reliable One” for general washing or cleaning you can add 8 ounces of the product for every gallon of water. I have found that it works well on almost any surface for general cleaning.
If black streaks get really bad, there aren’t many products I know of that will completely remove them. If you wash the RV regularly and follow the directions for the black streak remover you can keep the RVs exterior looking new for years to come. If your RV is stored outside, exposed to the elements it’s a good idea to keep it covered too. If you want to try the Reliable One product you can usually find a vendor at RV shows, or it can be purchased online.
Mark J. Polk