How to remove those unsightly RV black streaks Step by Step

There is nothing worse than pulling your RV out for the season and seeing black streaks running down the sides of it. It is almost as bad as a woman’s make-up after a sad movie, love story, or wedding. These unsightly stains are not as easily removed as one might think. We will show you several ways to remove RV black streaks the easy way.

Over time these stains will penetrate your RV exterior layer and become almost impossible to remove. This is one maintenance task you want to stay on top of and we have a few products that can help with just that. some of our solutions are store-bought but we also want to provide a couple of DIY concoctions.

You will need to figure out what stage your black streaks are at. People have used solutions of just soap and water to remove their stains, but once set in it will take a little stronger product to set its beauty free again.

First things first

Before you try to remove the RV black streaks, you want to start with a clean RV. When working on the stain you are not going to use the same products all over your RV.

Once your RV has had a proper bath those black stains should stand out nicely and you can see what you are working with.

If you are lucky, some of those areas you believed to be stains were just layers of dirt.

**TIP** If you or someone else has waxed over your black stains, cleaners will not work as intended. You would first want to remove wax from just the stained areas. Dawn dish soap works great at removing wax and grease buildup.

5 DIY concoctions to remove RV black streaks

A simple mixture of water, bleach, and a dish detergent (try this first)

If you are just noticing the black streaks and you believe they are somewhat fresh, then try this simple cleaner first. This is a basic solution of hot water, powdered dishwashing detergent, and bleach.

**TIP** Make a small batch first to see if this solution is going to be effective at removing the stains.

Step 1: Start by filling a plastic bucket with 1 gallon of hot water. Add 1 cup of the powdered dish detergent and 1/2 cup of bleach. Stir the mixture to assure it is blended thoroughly.

Step 2: Concentrating only on one stained area, apply this fixture using a small sponge or soft rag. Dampen the stained area and let the solution sit for around five minutes before using a little elbow grease to work it in.

Step 3: Once you have worked it in a little, rinse the area you applied the solution and dry it off. If you are achieving the intended results then you can move on to the rest of the stained areas.

**TIP** When trying to remove RV black streaks, concentrate on the stained areas only. There is no need to wash the entire RV since we gave it a bath before we started.

If this method did not achieve the results you were after, here are some alternative methods that may help with tougher stains.

Baking Soda scrub

This method uses a baking soda and water mixture that is scrubbed onto the stains.

Step 1: Combine baking soda and a small amount of water. You are looking for a somewhat pasty consistency to be applied to stains.

Step 2: Gently work the mixture into the stains and allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes before it is removed.

Step 3: Rince and dry the area where the solution was applied and check your results. A second application may be needed for darker set-in stains.

Soft Scrub Cleaner

This is similar to the above method but uses Soft Scrub as your cleaning solution. This is my favorite product for removing these unwanted black stains for my RV.

Step 1: Start with a wet sponge or rag and apply a small amount of Soft Scrub to it. Gently work this mixture into the stain in a circular motion and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

**TIP** Soft Scrub does have a small grit to it so you want to be careful not to apply too much pressure as it may scratch some surfaces.

Step 2: Rince and dry the area where the mixture was applied and any runoff that may have occurred. Check to see if this is giving you the intended results and if a second application is needed.

The old staple white vinegar

Here is a great DIY way to remove RV black streaks using a product that most of us have right in our kitchen.

Step 1: Using a 1:16 ratio of white vinegar and water this is a very effective homemade black streak remover. This mixture can be applied using a spray bottle to simplify the application. Simply spray it on the RV black stains and let it sit for just a few minutes.

Step 2: After a few minutes thoroughly rinse and dry any areas this solution was applied.

**TIP** This solution has been known to fade more than just the black stains when left to sit for extended amounts of time.

WD-40 multi-use product (yes, WD-40)

It is good for more than loosening nuts or bolts and lubricating

WD-40 is a quick and easy way to remove black streaks from your RV. All you need is a few sprays of WD-40 and a cloth or paper towel. Simply spray the WD-40 onto the streaks and wipe them away with a cloth or towel.

Once your RV has been washed and prepped for black streak removal, try applying a layer of WD-40 to the black streaks. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash it off with soap and water. This method has worked for several RVers and it’s a good option to keep in mind.

Commercial black streak/stain removers

Bringing in the big guns

RV black stains can be tough to remove, especially if they have had time to really set in. If you did not achieve the results you were after with the above DIY black stain removers, it may be time to step up your game.

Here are a few commercial products that put a little more muscle into cleaning those annoying stains.

Bio-Kleen M00509 Black Streak Remover

About this item

  • Allows you to remove those black streaks and stains from boats, trailers, and RVs with ease
  • Just spray it on and wipe it off, it’s that simple
  • A multi-purpose cleaner/degreaser designed to remove soils and marks with a minimum effort on a wide variety of hard surfaces
  • Leaves surface streak-free and sparkling clean
  • No rinsing is needed and residue-free
  • Note: Not recommended for use on old surfaces that have not been maintained; paint removal may occur. Use a dedicated brush & bucket for each product used.

**TIP** Remember these commercial products will contain harsh chemicals that may damage your exterior if directions are not followed correctly.

RVTECH Streak-X Instant RV Black Streak Remover

OUR CHOICE – Aero Cosmetics Ceramic Wax Aircraft Grade (see below video for product effectiveness)

Once black stains are set in and penetrate the surface they can be tough to remove completely. If you are one that likes to solve problems before they begin, here are some measures to can take to stop streaks before they start.

Prevention Tips

How to Prevent Black Streaks on your Camper

While getting black streaks off your camper is a fairly simple process, it is still best to prevent them in the first place. You can prevent black streaks from forming by regularly cleaning your RV and keeping it covered when it’s not in use.

Make sure you clean off the roof every time you wash the vehicle because this is where the problem usually starts.

Washing your RV’s exterior frequently will help you keep black streaks in check, but there are a few key areas to focus on to prevent these dark lines.

Wash and wax your RV

Black streaks come from dirt and residue being washed off the roof on the RV and running down the sides. If left unattended it will bake into the surface and form the dreaded black stains we are talking about in this article.

So obviously, if we keep our RV washed and clean then there is no dirt to create them.

Additionally, a layer of waxed forms a protective layer to keep the dirt stains from being able to set in.

Clean RV Roof

The best way to prevent black streaks is to keep your RV with a rubber roof clean. If there is no dirt on the roof, then there won’t be dirt in the rainwater running down your RV.

Like the rest of your RV exterior, your roof can be cleaned with just soap, water, and a soft brush.

RV roofs can be damaged by chemicals and abrasive cleaners. Avoid using any abrasive cleaners, citric cleansers, and products that contain petroleum distillate.

Here are a couple of approved rubber roof cleaners

303 Rubber Roof Cleaner

Dicor RP-RC320S Deep Cleaning Rubber RV Roof Cleaner Spray

You will need to climb up on the roof to be able to clean it properly (always make sure to use safety when on your RV roof).

Apply mixture following product directions with a scrubbing broom. Scrub sections and rinse the roof and sides of the RV as you go to not leave stains running off.

**TIPS** Be careful as you scrub to assure you do not hit and loosen any vents or equipment that could cause a potential leak at a later time.

Clean AC Drain Pipes

Most RVs have small gutters to help keep the condensation from air conditioners from running down the side of your RV. However, some of the air conditioner drips can still splash on the side of your RV.

To keep dirt out of this water and prevent black streaks, regularly clean out these drain pipes. These small gutters can be cleaned with just a microfiber cloth or other rag. If there are stubborn spots, a toothbrush is a great tool for cleaning this small space.

Cleaning out the AC gutters also prevents them from becoming clogged and allowing water to back up and potentially leak inside of your RV.

RV Storage

When your RV is stored during the offseason it is a great time for those black stains to take hold. There are a few things you can do to prevent them from paying you a visit and one is investing in a quality RV cover.

A good cover can keep dirt and water off the roof and sides of your RV. Fonzier 6-layer RV covers can provide the needed protection, along with a number of other RV cover brands. Fonzier has a 4 Air vent system to enhance the airflow along the roof line on both sides of the cover, balancing the air pressure inside and outside the cover on a windy day.


A covered storage area is optimal, but we all do not have that option and other steps need to be taken to prevent the dreading black streak arrival.

If we just take a few preventive measures to stop the stains before they happen it is best, but luckily we now know of a few methods for removing them.

Either using one or more of the homemade solutions provided or one of the stronger commercial products above, we can keep our RV looking like we just rolled off the dealership lot.

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