Wax and Cleaning Products

With the popularity of full-body painted RV’s today, the topic of waxing these surfaces is being revisited. Many of the cleaning products that worked well years ago on unpainted gelcoat may not be the right treatment for the full painted skin. Power wheel compound applications buff out oxidization on gelcoat. However, clear coat finishes on many newer coaches will be stripped off in time if abrasive compounds or like products and techniques are used.

Two Schools of Thought

There are two schools of thought here: one believing in the need to wax while the other perhaps not.

In fact, when you look at some of the high-quality multi-layered clear-coat finishes, standard waxing may be the last thing you want to do. Regular washing, a liquid polishing treatment and a good paint sealer might be better. There are many great new products, from wash soaps to protecting paint sealants available today.

On the other hand, there are many that will say the best protection can only be achieved by waxing, adding that it should be done at least twice a year.

Wax vs. Clear Coat

Well, perhaps, if a liquid non-abrasive wax was applied, then this may hold some merit. However, there is no question that continual hard scrubbing will wear away the clear-coat top finish. This does not mean the paint will not look shiny and new. However, it may need continued waxing in the future to maintain that look. Whereas the original clear-coat finish may retain its natural gloss with just a thorough washing and a regular sealant application regime.

So Which Is It?

So, what’s best for your rig? Well, it depends on the surface type: gelcoat, paint, decal or paint with clear coat. And it may also depend on who you ask!

The old phrase “Wax on, wax off!” may not be that simple today. What are your thoughts?

Peter Mercer – To Wax or Not To Wax

Leave a Reply


  1. Peter Mercer

    It sounds like your Jayco is Gelcoat with graphic decals. The sides may be fibreglass without the smooth surface of gelcoat. Voom will generally do a great job in the washing process, however your gelcoat might be oxidized somewhat. For non-painted gelcoat a compound can be used to remove the yellowing. This is either hand rubbed or wheel applied. On the decals and side fibreglass I would recommend using Voom RV wash. I trust the skin of your unit is as I believe. I hope this is some help. Thank you for joining this discussion.

  2. Anonymous

    I don’t know what our surface is exactly. It has decals or designs on the sides but the body is chalky looking to me. When it rains, the roof leaves streaks on the front and side windows. It is a 2003 Jayco. Will the product recommended by Voom work for us?

  3. Peter Mercer

    The change from years ago to less or no waxing of clear coated vehicles seems quite apparent. Perhaps it could be said that “Wax on, clear coat off” may be more applicable with today’s automotive finishes.
    As someone as experienced as you, being an owner operator of a body shop, I appreciate your input on this topic. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  4. Anonymous

    I have 2 year 2010 cars and a Class A 2008 Itasca all painted with basecoat clearcoat from the factory. None of these vehicles have had any wax applied. They all look like new. I only use a car wash and wax when I wash them. I I owned and operated a body shop for 30 years and from experience can tell you that the only thing waxing your car does is to make it easier to wash. If you wash with any kind of soap with detergent you are removing any wax on the vehicle. We did this regularly on every car to begin the process of painting. We washed with Dawn to remove wax and oily substances, then used a commercial wax remover, and finally scuff sanded to make sure the surface was completely clean before painting. Wash your full body painted RV regularly. If it is not painted w/basecoat clearcoat Good Luck!

  5. Peter Mercer

    Sound like you know well how to treat your RV painted surface. Another great wash that dries almost totally spot free is Voom RV Wash I have used it for years on my RV and cars. It is a great product hiding in a strange name “Voom”. The liquid wash and wax products are very popular as they work well. My go-to is the Premium Wash and Wax product. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts with us.

  6. Anonymous

    I use a product from the Chemical Guys called Citrus Wash and Gloss Concentrated Car Wash. It is applied with a special applicator that attaches to your pressure washer. It creates a foam that you apply to the coach. The best feature is that the foam remains on the coach for a long time. There is a lot of liquid wax in the solution. I do sections at a time, foaming down each section, brushing it down with a soft wash brush, then foaming it down again and let it sit and do its thing. After about 5 minutes, just rinse and the cleanliness and the shine are unbelievable. No scrubbing, polishing or messing with the painted finish. It is truly amazing.