View Full Version : Cleaning the EPDM Rubber Roof

04-03-2006, 11:27 AM
Hi all,

I saw some posts over at rv.net discussing cleaning of trailer roofs. Some of the discussion suggested using Murphy's Oil Soap on the roofs. Do not use this for your EPDM Rubber roof on your Heartland trailer.

From what I have read elsewhere, Murphy's Oil Soap can be used on TPO roofs (don't quote me though - do your own research if you own a TPO roof).

I spoke to Scott at the factory and confirmed with him that the EPDM rubber used on Heartland trailers is made by Alpha Systems, Inc. (http://www.alphasystemsinc.com/royalepdm.htm) in Elkhart, IN.

EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Dien Monomer.

At the bottom of this post is more information on EPDM but first, here's what Alpha has to say about maintenance of EPDM roofs:

Cleaning and Maintenance of Alpha Systems Royal Roof EPDM Rubber Sheet

Proper care and maintenance of the recreational vehicle, including the Royal Roof, is important for trouble-free performance. Normal maintenance is simple, easy and requires no special materials.

Periodic cleaning three or four times a year is the primary maintenance required. Alpha Systems suggests using a household cleaner such as Top Job®, Spic-N-Span®, or Ajax® Cleanser. Granulated cleaning products perform better for cleaning EPDM. Since the surface is not smooth like fiberglass, a medium bristle scrub brush should be used instead of a sponge. The rubber membrane requires scrubbing much like a white-wall tire does. For tougher stains, like those from oak leaves or pine sap, use kitchen cleanser with bleach. ** Extra precautions need to be taken to control runoff onto sidewalls when using products containing bleach.

After cleaning, rinse the roof and sidewalls of the RV completely to remove any soap residue and to prevent streaking.

Quarterly inspection of the roof is highly recommended. Check the membrane for possible damage and check the caulk/lap sealant used in all termination areas and around all accessories and fasteners.

Alpha Systems Royal Roof EPDM is quite inert and will dependably resist weathering. It can, however, be cut or punctured by sharp objects. If damage does occur, the Royal Roof membrane can be easily patched. Use caution when placing any articles on the roof and exercise extreme care and caution when working on top of your vehicle. The Royal Roof may become slippery when wet, so remember to exercise extreme caution when cleaning the rubber membrane.

EPDM rubber does not require periodic application of any product to protect it from UV light or ozone. Such products can often damage the EPDM membrane. Protect-All® Roof Treatment for EPDM rubber roofs, 303® Protectant for EPDM rubber roofs, or other products compatible with EPDM rubber roofing may be safely used. If you have any questions about these products, please call Alpha Systems Customer Service at (phone number) for assistance.


Royal RoofTM Solves the Problems of Metal Roofing

Alpha Systems introduced ethylene propylene dien monomer (EPDM) roofing to the RV industry in 1987. It soon became the first choice by manufacturers as an attractive, lightweight, rust-free, leak-eliminating alternative to traditional metal roofing. Today, Royal Roof from Alpha Systems is the only brand you need to know - it's the undisputed leader in dependable roof systems.
Royal Roof EPDM rubber sheet gives you:

* Excellent UV protection
* Pliable, long-lasting performance
* Easy cleaning with ordinary household products
* Easy maintenance and repair, if ever necessary

Alpha Systems also manufactures the roofing adhesives and sealants to fit your specific production and manufacturing requirements.

04-03-2006, 11:31 AM

Good info

04-16-2006, 05:57 PM
Took me 3 hours but I got the roof of my Mt. Rushmore scrubbed using Spin-N-Span. It is now very white. It was actually pretty dirty, now exactly 1 year from date of manufacture.

I also cleaned the top of the awning toppers with some cleaner from Thetford.

Followed by cleaning the black streaks on the 4 corners from the dripping from the drip spouts (or whatever they're called).

Followed by about 90 minutes of scrubbing all the gelcoat. Looks pretty good. This coming weekend, I'll go around the trailer spot cleaning bugs, tar and anything else that remains. Then time for a coat of wax on the front cap. Sure wish I had the time and energy to wax the whole rig!


Tom of Ypsi
04-18-2006, 01:46 PM
Jim and others, Try using Gel Gloss Rv Wash and Wax, got mine from Camping World but I think Walmart also has it. I have used it and am very satisfied. It comes in gel form, just pour some in a bucket put water in, spray down the coach and with a soft brissel brush begin washing and waxing at the same time. It is not McQuires or other high end waxes but it cleans the black marks easily and leaves a nice shine.

05-29-2006, 12:22 PM
JIm, was the Spic 'n Span granular or liquid? I had heard to use it in the past and was looking for powder, but all I could find was liquid.

Tom of Ypsi
05-29-2006, 07:09 PM
Chuck, I will butt in here since I also used the Spic and Span in powder form. I read somewhere the powder is the preferred cleaner, why I do not know off hand, but it sure cleans up good. I looked all over and finally found some at the Dollar General Store. If you can not find any let me know and I can bring some to the rally for you or stop and get a box for you, let me know. I went one step further and put the conditioner on after the cleaning, sure has a shine to the roof.

Ken Washington
05-29-2006, 07:30 PM
I used the liquid and it worked just fine. I thought I had it clean until I used the Spic and Span! Thanks Jim for the tip!

05-29-2006, 08:52 PM
Hi Chuck,

I used the powder but sounds like the liquid works well too.


05-30-2006, 07:31 AM
Thanks, all. I'm sure I can find it as we have a few Dollar General stores around here. Thanks for the offer, though Tom. What conditioner did you use?

Tom of Ypsi
05-30-2006, 01:13 PM
The conditioner is Rubber Roof Treatment by Protect All. I got this a Camping World but I have seen it at RV dealers also.

09-23-2006, 11:05 AM
Just finished cleaning my roof. I came clean, looks alot better,but it still needs something. I could not get all the black off. I used powdered detergent,but not spic and span. Guess I need to get some and redo it. There was one place on the roof that looked good as new. The area beside the refrigerator vent was almost as white as the day we bought it. I know that sitting out in the weather all the time is not good for the roof either. I need to buy or build a garage to park it in.

09-23-2006, 02:31 PM
Hi Terry:
Since we live in ours, a garage or cover is not an option. I use a pressure washer and mostly car wash and a scrub brush about every three months and it does a great job. When we park under a cedar tree and those little blue berries get on it, they are a pain, but the sun has bleached those stains out, so far. Spic and Span powder does great on tough stains. Simple Green works pretty well too. Chopper Bill came up with something several months ago and I don't remember what it was.

Hey CB, refresh my memory.

Good luck,


09-23-2006, 02:35 PM
Terry, another thing that I found is that Westleys White Wall cleaner does a good job on the white slide seals. On the real tough stains, I use one of the scotch bright sponges. I had been using a brass bristle brush but the scotch bright works better and is easier on the seal and easier to use.