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In older RVs, it’s normal to have a yellow camper shower. Most RV shower surrounds are made of plastic, which yellows over time. According to the American Chemistry Society, this is from UV light causing a reaction in the plastic walls of the shower.
One solution to preventing yellowing in your camper shower could be to cover the skylight found in most RV showers. No UV light, no yellowing! But as a long-time camper, I love having the extra light in the shower and I know that RV bathrooms need the ventilation.
So how do you fix a yellow camper shower—without replacing it?
Here are a few of the most recommended ways to whiten a yellowing shower.
How to Clean Yellowed Plastic in an RV
Your first temptation for fixing a yellow shower is a good deep cleaning. This can work. You can try to whiten yellowed plastic using these household products:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Baking Soda and Dawn Soap
- Lemon and Sunshine
However, all of these methods recommend soaking plastic in these solutions. These could work on the basin of your camper shower or other yellowed plastics in your RV, but would not be effective on your shower walls.
How do you get old yellow plastic white again?
One RVer took a similar approach to the above, using a hydrogen peroxide-based hair product on his yellow RV plastics.
- 40 Volume Creme Developer (4 ounce) provides a thick, easy handling consistency with strong lightening action and lightening lift without color deposit
As you can see in the video below, he cleaned surfaces before applying the hair creme to the plastic surface. After generously coating the plastic using a 2″ paintbrush, he covered it with Saran Wrap to keep it moist.
Hydrogen peroxide reacts to sunlight—more sunlight than a skylight could provide—so he used a small UV light to activate the product and whiten his plastic. You can follow his process step-by-step and see results in the video below.
- Excellent high power blacklight. 20 watt, premium quality and powerful LED blacklight (50,000 hours of long life, high power efficiency), wavelength: 385-400nm, UVA level.
Be sure to use gloves when handling products like this and read any warning labels on products you may use.
We’ve heard mixed reviews from others who have followed the process in this video. Many noted that it’s more complex than just applying the product and turning on a light. It may take several applications and hours of light to truly change the color back to white.
On severely yellow plastics or taking on a full yellow shower, everyone agrees there’s a better way.
How to Paint Your Yellow Camper Shower
Painting your shower may sound crazy, but there are paints designed exactly for this purpose.
However, one specific type of paint rises to the top as the best paint for painting your RV shower: Rust-Oleum Topside Marine Paint.
Don’t let the words “topside marine” dissuade you. This type of paint can handle water and will give you a glossy, finished look.
Other renovators have had success with Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy and Paint. However, the care and use notes on these products specifically note that they are not to be used on plastics that will be submerged in water. While most of your shower won’t be submerged in water, this does mean it could be less durable than marine paint. Both paints cost roughly the same amount and can be found at your local hardware store.
Painting can be the most effective and budget-friendly way to fix your RV’s yellow shower. Bonus: It’s an easy RV renovation that anyone can do! Just be sure to follow all the correct steps so your paint looks even and smooth.
Step 1: Clean Your Shower.
Clean your RV shower with a heavy-duty degreaser to remove any dirt and film that has accumulated over the years. (We like this unscented one!)
- Professional-strength cleaner and disinfectant to power off tough soils fast.Fit Type: Universal Fit
Step 2: Lightly Sand (optional)
Not all renovators agree this step is essential, but sanding is often an undervalued step in painting an RV.
Renovator Jacki Volden-Russell said she sanded with a medium grit followed by a finer grit before vacuuming and wiping down the shower walls. This ensured there was nothing left on the shower walls to prevent the paint from sticking. This step may take an extra bit of time, but on older RVs, it can make sure your paint job looks better and lasts longer.
Step 3: Paint
Grab your marine paint and start coating your shower! Jacki says to use a “brush to cut in, [and] roller on the rest.”
- Set includes 3 each of 2 inch Angle Pro Grade Home Brushes. Pro-Grade paint brushes are made with the consumer in mind from quality parts to the affordable price compared to other high quality paintbrushes.
Tip: Don’t paint in temps lower than 50º as this will affect how the paint will dry. Wait until spring or tackle this project after camping season for the best results!
We recommend two coats of paint, letting the first coat dry for 24 hours. Let the shower cure for at least a week before using. If you can, leave the shower for 10 days before use.
How to Fix Chips in Your Shower
If you notice any chips in your shower, these are simple to fix with a patch kit.
- FIBERGLASS REPAIR KIT - Repairs chips, scratches, dents, worns and holes . Works on fiberglass, acrylic, ceramic, porcelain, gel-coat, enamelled steel and enamelled cast iron .
Samantha L. in our RV Renovations Facebook group shared this before-and-after:
Everyone agrees that the paint has a strong odor. Open windows and add vans for ventilation before painting.
What about my stained RV sink?
Can you paint your RV sink? Technically you could, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
Since sinks are so much smaller, you can easily clean them to remove stains. Or you can replace the sink yourself! Most RV sinks are small, plastic drop-in sinks. Transform your complete RV bathroom by painting your yellow shower and then replacing the sink!
Painting Your Yellow Camper Shower
Will you tackle this weekend project? Share your before and after photos in the comments!