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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Motorhome Maintenance - Getting Rid of Ceiling Stains

It's an icky yucky day while I have cold, congestion, fever and all around "ewwww"  or as my sister would say, "I feel ICKA"  So it's a good time to write a blog on a motorhome project.

Did you know many of the goofy dumbfounded nitwitted motorhome manufacturers made their interior ceiling material of CARPETING????  Yes, carpeting!   On our Safari motorcoaches (as well as the Beaver and some other luxury rigs made in that era)  the danged ceilings are carpeting.... CREAMY WHITE carpeting never the less!

Any roof leak, or campfire smoke, or cigarette smoke will discolor the creamy white carpeted surface.  Of course, being overhead, it's very awkward to clean if you did happen to have the energy, tools, supplies and cleaning solution on hand.

Well, there are recipes abound on our vintage Safari groups with items like peroxide, bleach, vinegar, dishwasher soap, etc.  None of them worked for me.  Nor for my friends...

But I did stumble on something that DID work, but alas and alack, it's been discontined as of May 2015.  From the Johnson Wax company, it's their blend of Fantastik with Scrubbing Bubbles and Oxy Power.  It's the blue bottle with the white sprayer.  (not the new stuff out there now)  It looks like this:

The company canned reply to our queries is this:

We’re sorry to tell you that Oxy Power® Scrubbing Bubbles® Grease & Stain Remover with fantastik® was discontinued in May of this year. While the product had some great fans, there just wasn’t enough demand to continue producing it. We’re sorry if that’s disappointing news.

Perhaps looking in small mom and pop hardware stores, grocery shops or places where the inventory doesn't turn over too fast, you might still find some.  Let me know if you do!  

Last week I helped someone with a project-----

I have some friends who needed their entire motorhome ceiling scrubbed, and due to a long-ago back/neck injury, she was unable to do it herself.  After too many years of looking at those stains, and nicotine smoke discoloration, we decided to tackle it and use up 2 bottles of the precious cleaner. 

Here are some of the "before" pics of the stains
(this is an old stain, the leak has been fixed long ago)

Cold air coming out of the sheet metal lined chute on the roof air
leaves awful black streaks on the carpeted ceiling near the outlet vents.

Gathering our supplies, we went to work on a cold fall day. 

We covered all the furniture, dash, and woodwork with drop cloths....   plastic or old sheets work well. 

We used fresh white terry cloth rags and a spray bottle of hot water.  First we spritzed the Fantastik onto the ceiling in small sections, about 2ft x 2 ft.  I held a rag horizontally underneath with one hand as I spray to keep the mist from falling down to the floor below.  Using that same now-damp rag, I scrub a little bit to work in the cleaning solution into the nap of the carpeting.  

This is the hard part.... letting it SIT!    
Seriously, leave it alone a while. 
Let it work itself. 
Take a break, 10-15 minutes.  

Suddenly it's getting lighter!  Now take a bottle of hot water, spritz onto the ceiling and it magically dissolves the bad stains!  Using a stiff bristle brush, I would scrub back and forth a few times and you can see IMMEDIATE progress!  It's like night and day as each section that is completed. 

It sure gives a sense of satisfaction as you get each part done.  We would have one part soaking while spritzing water and brushing the previous section.  

We did take a break for some lunch, but it really only took us about 3 hours... amidst our giggling, laughing, goofing off. We also had to chase off the captain of the ship who kept coming out to inspect our progress!!!

This is that bad stain next to the light fixture from that first picture

Yup, this was the worst spot right over the driver's seat.

We were kinda proud of the job we did...
because the entire ceiling needed to be scrubbed.
(looking from back to the front)

We had a nice breezy wind so we were able to open the windows up and let the
air help to dry the carpeting... and give us fresh air to work with.

This is from the front to the rear, yes, all the stains are pretty much gone....

Why do manufacturers discontinue something when it's a good working product? I have tried their new green bottle stuff, and white bottle stuff, from Fantastik, but it does not work the same.  Sigh. 

Well, time to douse myself with some night time cold medicine and see if I can kick this thing that has me down. I wanted to get up to my dad's today, but no sense being sick and bringing my germs to a very ill man.  Tomorrow is a Packer Game so I plan to stay right on this couch and soak up some chicken veggie soup and watch the Packers win.... 


  1. Wow, looks great! I can imagine the effort that took. I remember doing our ceiling when we first got our motorhome, with the remains of mushed fly gusts that were properly wiped away and more and it has a vinyl ceiling but has a texture to it so you have use a small scrub brush and work a section at a time. As soon as I did a few sections I suddenly realized just how dirty it was. After doing that I can't even think of the work involved on a carpeted ceiling. As you said "What were they thinking?"


  2. I carpet shampooed our entire motorhome ceiling and while it looked good when I first did it, the stains came back--I am going to keep my eyes open for some of that stuff!!!

  3. I agree, it is frustrating to find a projduct you like and it gets discontinued. Can you mix up some of your own based on the listed ingredients? We think of you often. There is a Safari much like yours on the Lot next to Judy Bell at Jojoba.

  4. We had several rug stains that I tried to remove with many different products with limited results.
    Just recently while shopping Klem's, Spencer, MA (a real, "One-of-A-Kind" store) I found a product which works!
    Check out:: BLUEMAGIC Carpet Stain & Spot Lifter. Website: http://www.bluemagicusa.com/
    This stuff works great on new and old stains.

  5. I've got a 2000 Winnebago Brave with a carpeted roof that has water-damage stains running the length of the driver's side to the rear of the 34' Moho. The bathroom skylight area is terrible, too. I'm going to hunt down this product so maybe I can finally get the stains out...yes, the leak has been repaired. No more carpeted roof. Ever. I font care how much I like an Rv. Never again. Thanks for posting this with photos.

    Sorry your sick. Hope you get well soon.

    1. Perhaps looking in small mom and pop hardware stores, grocery shops or places where the inventory doesn't turn over too fast, you might still find some. Let me know if you do!

  6. I hate it when a good product is discontinued. Most stuff out there work as good as they say it will, so why drop something that does work. I'll never understand the mentality of business practices! I can't believe carpeting on the ceiling, even with the acoustic and other benefits. The people who think these things up evidently don't have to clean carpeting ceilings!

  7. Woodsie I am sure that you get "those" phone calls from carpet cleaning companies, You know the 3 rooms for $99.00 people.. Well next time have them come over and show them the roof and say clean it for $99.00.

  8. I just had Stanley Steamer come out to do an estimate on my 26' Flair....they estimated $899 (almost a thousand dollars) just for the carpets and ceiling....and that was the best "deal" they could do....any at-home concoctions to get rid of mildew and light nicotine stains by window?

    1. as far as the carpets, once a year I give them a good steam cleaning with a used carpet cleaner we bought from a dog rescue sale for $20. Worth its weight in gold! for the ceiling fabric I used that fantastic cleaning spray. I've also had good luck with tilex bathroom cleaner, but be careful, it contains bleach. But it may be what you need to remove nicotine stains?


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