RV Living – To Wax, Seal and Protect

by Wendy on August 20, 2013

by Mary Findley of Mary Moppins

If ever there were a smorgasbord of options concerning care of an RV, it certainly surrounds the use of wax and protectants. Let’s solve a few of those mysteries.

What’s the difference between wax, protectants and sealants? Wax, derived from the leaves of a Carnauba tree, penetrates through the clear or gel coat and the paint reaching the fiberglass and seals it. Fiberglass, being porous, must breathe or it suffocates and turns yellow over time. Carnauba is safe for metal surfaces.

Silicone leaves a great shine. Problems crop up when the RV sustains damage and must be repainted or resealed. Silicone cannot be fully removed. Nothing sticks to silicone including paint or gel coats, which bubble and peel after a few short months.

Beware of products that both wash and wax an RV that are usually added to a bucket of water. Generally the wax is silicone. Also take heed if a product states that the contents are proprietary information. It usually contains silicone, information the company does not wish to disclose. Always know the contents of a product before applying it to your RV.

Advantage, specially formulated for Mary Moppins, contains polymers which are called a protectant. Polymers sit on the surface providing UV protection and make the surface slick so dirt and bugs slide right off, including the back of rear view mirrors.

Run your hand over the surface of your RV. Any small bumps are called impurities. Left on the surface, they pit and damage the paint. Look for a protectant like Advantage that has a cream-colored paste at the bottom of the bottle. That is kaolin clay, which removes the impurities. Alternately use a clay bar found at most automotive supply stores.

Most paint companies discourage the use of wax-type products that contain petroleum distillates. Distillates can deteriorate the clear or gel coat, causing the finish to oxidize. Companies are allowed to add a small amount of distillates to a product without stating so on the bottle. Read the MSDS (material safety data sheet) to determine if a wax or protectant contains distillates. Look for these words: aliphatic hydrocarbon, mineral oil, hydrocarbon or petroleum. A warning that states “If this product reaches 150° it turns to sulfur oxide, silicone dioxin and formaldehyde” contains silicone.

Locate the MSDS sheet for any product by typing in “MSDS sheet for XYZ wax or ABC cleaner” into an internet browser. Mary Moppins’ Advantage does not contain distillates.

Test your RV or tow vehicle every six months for oxidization by pouring a bit of your protectant on a soft, white cotton cloth. Rub one spot for several minutes. Any paint or caulking that rubs off onto the cloth indicates oxidization. A sealant must be used to remove the oxidation or face an expensive repaint job. If you are applying a protectant or wax only once perhaps twice a year, then check the content of your protectant and increase the application to two to three times a year.

Sealants, like Mary Moppins RenewzIt, are only necessary if your coach is oxidized, scratched, has water spots or foggy headlights. Look for a 1000-grit polishing compound that states “heavy duty cleaning” or “oxidation remover.” After removing the oxidation, wait 24 hours for the sealant to harden then apply Advantage to help prevent further oxidation.

For best results use 100% soft cotton towels like baby diaper cloths or terry towels. Avoid cloths that contain polyester, including microfiber.

Polish unpainted or unsealed aluminum, stainless steel or brass on boats with a polish specifically made for metal like Mary Moppins’ Metal Polish. Flitz and Met All are also excellent products. Metals oxidize. The oxidation must be removed immediately before serious damage occurs. For best results use a dual-headed buffer with foam pads like the one from Cyclo, online at www.cyclotoolmakers.com.

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