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How to Remove Black Streaks From an RV?

Updated on April 16, 2023



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Everyone wants their RVs to stay clean and shiny, but maintaining it can be challenging. Black streaks on RVs are common, and no RV is safe from them. So you must regularly clean your RV to keep those troublesome streaks in check.

how to remove black streaks from an rv

Fortunately, it is possible to remove these streaks, and you can do it with minimal effort too. Keep reading this article to know how to clean them effectively and everything related.

Why do Black Streaks Appear on RVs?

There are different reasons behind the appearance of these black streaks on campers. Sometimes they are caused by the chalky material that appears after RV roofing material sheds. Black streaks also occur because of the rain that pours down from the roof and brings dirt with it.

No matter how clean an RV is, if it is left unchecked, it will accumulate black streaks. They will get darker and entrenched with time if the RV isn’t cleaned.

How to Remove Black Streaks from your RV?

The black streaks on your RV can be both old and new. Unfortunately, the methods that remove fresh streaks cannot work on the older ones. So, you need to remove them using different materials and techniques.

Removing New Streaks

You can easily remove fresh RV streaks using regular soap and water. Newer streaks come off easily, so you do not have to buy expensive cleaners for them.

You need to get a sponge, soak it in soapy water, and rub it over your RV. Some higher spots might be inaccessible, but you can use an RV brush to reach up there and clean them thoroughly.

Once you have sponged the streaks, rinse the vehicle using a hose to remove any remaining dust and debris. 

Removing Older Streaks

Older streaks are harder to remove and require much more effort from you. The black streaks become semi-permanent due to sun rays, especially if you do not clean your RV for a long time. Soap and water will not do the job anymore, so you will need a quality RV cleanser.

Ensure that the cleanser you buy is non-flammable and non-toxic to avoid any mishaps during cleaning.

Homemade RV Black Streak Removers

You can try some excellent homemade streak removers if your budget is tight. Ensure to give your RV a thorough wash before using these cleaners. If there is dust, debris, and grease on the vehicle, cleaners won’t work properly on them.

The Bleach & Detergent Cleaner

Mixing up hot water, bleach, and detergent can provide an excellent RV cleaner. Prepare a small bucket of the mixture to check its effectiveness. Usually, it works really well on newer and older streaks and cleans your RV thoroughly.

Take one bucket of hot water and let it cool before adding a cup of detergent to it. If you do not have detergent available, you can also use baking soda. Finally, add 4 to 5 tablespoons of bleach to the mixture.

Use a sponge to rub this mixture on black streaks. Start with a small area to check its effectiveness and make more of it if all works well.

White Vinegar

Vinegar is not only an excellent household ingredient but can also be effective in cleaning your RV. When black streaks oxidize after some time, white vinegar is the best weapon to fight them. For every gallon of water, use 3 cups of vinegar.

You can apply it using sponges or RV pressure washers. Let it sit on the surface for a few minutes before washing it off. Then, rinse the whole area thoroughly to have no vinegar left. If you do not remove it completely, vinegar can damage the surface of your RV and fade it too.


Many people have WD-40 in their garages which they can use as an effective homemade RV cleanser. It has excellent degreasing properties to help you get rid of stubborn black streaks.

Wash your RV before applying WD-40 and let it sit there for a few minutes. Then, use soap and water to wash it off completely.

RV Black Streak Cleaners from the Market

Besides homemade RV cleaners, you can also find some amazing options on the market. They will cost you a bit more but are worth it in most cases. Here is a list of some of the best RV cleaners you can buy today:

Bio-Kleen Remover

Bio-Kleen streak remover is among the best cleaners for removing black streaks. It is also non-toxic and biodegradable. You can use it on other things such as tools, slides, etc. Dilute the Bio-Kleen remover properly before using; otherwise it can damage the finishing of your RV.

Protect All Cleaner

The Protect All cleaner and degreaser comes in a concentrated form and works wonders on older and stubborn stains. It is also biodegradable and can be used in pressure washers to clean other things.

Always dilute the Protect All cleaner before using it to avoid damage to the RV finish. Do not dilute it too much, or it won’t have the desired effect. Many people wear masks while applying it because the Protect All cleaner has a strong smell.

RVTECH Spray & Instant Black Streak Remover

The RVTECH cleaner is one of the strongest RV cleaners you can get. It works differently from other cleaners because it comes in the form of a spray.

RVTECH spray can easily remove everything from mildew and tar with just a few sprays. You do not even need to scrub it using a sponge, as the spray itself does the trick. Just spray the cleaner and rinse after a few minutes for a great cleaning experience.

It does not damage the RV finishing like other cleaners, which is a big plus. RVTECH cleanser is a bit expensive for some people.

Camco Pro Strength

Camco Pro Strength is the most widely available cleaner, meaning you will find it easily at major stores. Besides being a great RV cleaner, you can use the Camco Pro Strength for cleaning tools too.

The best thing about Camco is that you do not need to dilute it. Just use it as it is without getting into tricky measurements. It does have a strong smell, so make sure you use it in an area with good ventilation.

Preventing Black Streaks on Your RV

Removing black streaks from your camper isn’t hard, but preventing it in the first place is even better. There are a few things you can do to minimize the appearance of these pesky streaks on your RV.

Keep the Roof Clean

The biggest reason behind black streaks on your RV is the dirty roof. It results in dirty rainwater all over your RV. keep the roof clean using soap and water regularly to avoid the buildup of dust and debris. Do not use any abrasive cleaners because they can damage the roof of your RV.

Use a ladder to climb on top of the roof and clean it thoroughly. When cleaning the roof, make sure you clean the sides to avoid a buildup of dirty streaks. If you cannot do it yourself for some reason, you can always hire someone.

Wax your RV

Not many people try it, but waxing your RV can be a great way to avoid the streak buildup. Waxing provides a layer of protection that keeps dust and rainwater away from the actual RV surface beneath it. 

Clean AC Drain Pipes

The condensation of air conditioners can sometimes spill to the sides of your RV. Most RVs have special gutters to avoid this problem but curbing it completely isn’t possible. The water coming out of the condensation is often dirty and leaves streaks on the RV.

You can clean the gutters with a microfiber cloth. If the gutters have some hardened spots, try removing them using a toothbrush. Cleaning them also helps the water back up and prevents excessive dirt buildup.

Cover your RV

Cover your RV when it is not used to ensure it remains clean. People often park their RVs in storage facilities during winter, where they can get dirty. A cover can keep dirt, debris, and water away from your RV.

How to Find the Best Black Streak Remover for your RV?

There is no shortage of both homemade and commercial cleaners for RVs. You might be happy with any of them, but it is better to follow some criteria for picking up a cleanser that suits you best.

Going Green

If you are environmentally conscious, a biodegradable cleaner is the best choice.

Use of Pressure Washer

Make sure the cleaner you buy is compatible with the pressure washer you are using.

Strong Smell

Many RV cleaners have a strong, pungent smell that might put you off. If you have a problem with strong odors, opt for something mild like the RVTECH spray.

The Budget

Most RV cleaners come at a reasonable cost so that everyone can afford them. Some like RVTECH spray is expensive, so choose a cleaner according to your budget. 

Wrapping it Up

Now that you have all the important information, removing the troublesome black RV streaks shouldn’t be a problem. It is always better to minimize the problem from occurring in the first place by regularly cleaning your RV and covering it.

There might still be a few streaks to deal with despite all the efforts. For those, you only have to grab a quality cleanser and follow the instructions in this article. With some work, you can have your new RV back in no time.
You can learn more about getting rid of the black streaks by watching this YouTube video.

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<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!