One day, I discovered that my once glossy mirror RV finish had turned into a hideous chalky white. I spent a few weeks figuring out how to remove oxidation from RV fiberglass, and I learned a few tricks.
For light oxidation, buffing the area with a towel and polish is good enough. On the other hand, you might need to use an electric buffer or wet sand to remove heavy oxidation from RV fiberglass.
Learn the more detailed steps of each method to remove oxidation below.
Table of Contents
- Method 1: Polish It By Hand
- Method 2: Using A Power Tool
- Method 3: Wet Sanding
Method 1: Polish It By Hand
When I was searching for how to remove oxidation from fiberglass RV, I stumbled upon this method. It is perfect for removing minor oxidation on your fiberglass surface.
What To Prepare
- Car Polish
- Polish Enhancement Additive, preferably one that already comes with a vial and several mixing bottles for convenience.
- 2 pieces of 100% cotton towels
- Sponge or handle brush
Step 1: Wash Thoroughly
The first thing to do is to wash the RV fiberglass thoroughly. You want the surface to be free from any dirt, dust, or any previous coating before polishing. 
- In a bucket, pour in water and dilute an ample amount of laundry detergent.
- Wet a sponge with soapy water and apply to the RV fiberglass with oxidation.
- Use a hard brush for tough stains that didn’t disappear with sponging.
- Hose down to rinse and wash all the soapy residue
Step 2: Make The RV Oxidation Remover Solution
The next step is to mix the polish with the additive to make cure time faster and minimize surface distortion. The polish is a good oxidation remover for RV as it works to remove swirl marks and locks that shine for months, while the additive will help extend the life of the polish.
- In a mixing bottle, mix one ounce of polish and five drops of additive (or follow your product instructions).
- Tighten the cap and shake the solution for about a minute or so.
- Wait for the solution to activate for about half a minute.
- Give the bottle another shake for 10 seconds.
Step 3: Apply The Activated Polish
Now, it’s time to apply the solution to the oxidized parts. Get your 100% cotton cloth ready for light buffing.
- Pour a small amount of activated polish into the cloth.
- Softly rub the wet cloth onto the oxidized parts in circular hand motions. Move your hands front to back for top areas and up and down on the sides.
- Wait for the polish to haze for half an hour.
- After that, get another piece of cotton towel and buff off the surface to remove any residue.
Method 2: Using A Power Tool
When the polish still doesn’t remove the oxidation on the camper, it’s time to use a power tool, wool pad, and a buffing compound. Together, they can remove heavy oxidation on any fiberglass gel coat RV surfaces fast.
What To Prepare
- Electric Buffer – This tool is an effective RV fiberglass oxidation remover with its variable speed control. The best electric buffer for this job is 7-inch in size.
- A buffing compound, preferably a one-step compound to serve as both an RV fiberglass cleaner and polish in one.
- 100% medium-length wool pad
- Cotton towel
- Trim and plastic restorer (optional)
Step 1: Apply The Compound
Your electric buffer might come with free buffing foams or wool pads. What we want you to do is to ditch that and use a 100% wool pad with medium length to provide a better finish.
- Squirt an ample amount of compound into the wool pad. Swirl it around the pad to cover the surface entirely.
- Dab the wool pad onto the oxidized fiberglass gel coat surface areas.
- Turn the electric buffer on and choose the lowest setting, then move it around to spread the compound evenly. Make sure that you avoid the decals and tire tags because they might fade when hit with the compound.
Step 2: Start Buffing
It’s now time to buff. The best part of this method is that you don’t need to exert that much effort because the power tool will do the job for you.
- Turn the electric buffer up, about half speed, and begin buffing the area.
- Increase the speed up to three-quarters until you don’t see any trace of the compound.
- Make sure that you constantly move the buffer because it can damage the finish when you hold the unit still.
Step 3: Wipe To Finish
At this point, you might see some marks of light swirls left from the compound. To remove them, you’ll need to grab your cotton towel.
- Wipe the RV surface with a cotton towel to remove these light swirls.
- The result should be a nice, glossy finish.
- If you see that your rubber trim has gone chalky from the buffing compound, wipe that area with a trim restorer using a towel.
Watch this video on how to remove oxidation with a compound.
Method 3: Wet Sanding
If the oxidation still returns after several weeks, then your RV fiberglass needs a more serious measure. Wet sanding uses water or any form of liquid to sand down the oxidation and restores the shine of your RV.
What To Prepare
- Sandpaper – Prepare three types of sandpaper grits – 800 grit sandpaper, 1500 grit sandpaper, and 2000 grit sandpaper.
- Automotive soap
- Polishing Compound
- Paste Wax
- Damp rags
- Microfiber towels
- Polishing Pads
Step 1: Wet The Sandpaper
To make wet sanding effective, you’ll need to literally wet the sandpaper. This will make the actual sanding less abrasive and produce a smooth finish.
- Get your sandpaper in different grits and soak them in a bucket or bowl of water. Since sandpaper gets torn easily, you might need to soak several pieces of each grit type.
- Add a little amount of automotive soap to the water.
- Leave the sandpaper soaked for 24 hours.
Step 2: Sand Down The Oxidation
Keep in mind that the more you sand, the better your RV fiberglass looks.
- Start sanding the oxidized RV fiberglass with the 800 grit. Rub in circular motions to get all the nasty stuff out.
- When the sandpaper is losing moisture, dip it in a bucket of water and continue sanding.
- Wipe the surface with a damp rag to remove all the dirty water.
- Next, sand the surface with the 1500 grit sandpaper and the 2000 grit sandpaper. Do the same process: sand and wipe with a damp rag.
Step 3: Polish To Shine
Now it’s time to restore that factory shine of your RV.
- Put some polishing compound on a damp polishing pad and rub it on the fiberglass. Follow it with a good wipe from a microfiber towel.
- Using the same technique, get some paste wax on your pad and rub it in.
- Wait for the wax to haze over, then rub it all off with a microfiber towel.
Now that you know how to remove oxidation from RV fiberglass, you can always turn your ride back into its previous shine. You can buff by hand or use a power tool. If the oxidation still persists, go the long route of wet sanding, which can provide the best results, albeit with the most work.
Let us know what you think about this tutorial and tell us your own tricks. Kindly share this article if you like it.
Okay, so I’m Philip Lopez. I join Riverside Trailer as an editor, where I will be doing research for both content and reviews. I contribute to studies aimed at understanding the most typical problems encountered by RVers on the road. I also keep up with the newest RVing gadget innovations so that I can promptly evaluate and recommend the best options.