Does your once bright and sparkly caravan look dull all of a sudden? Are you worried about the smell in your caravan? Is all this putting you off when you think of caravanning? All it probably needs is a good cleaning to get it back to its glory. As a top manufacturer that builds luxury caravans, we know how important it is to clean your caravan on a regular basis. It is important to clean your caravan, before setting out on an adventure, here are some expert tips on cleaning your caravan.
Don’t use a car shampoo: Most people often don’t realise that using a car shampoo for a caravan is not the right thing to do. The paint on the caravan is different from that used for a car and, so, a less abrasive shampoo should be used. This will make sure that you do not scratch the surface. Another important tip is that water washes are tricky as they could damage the sealant, so wash with care.
Treat it as a maintenance check: Cleaning your caravan will also expose any maintenance issues, if any. So this is a great way of looking harder at your caravan.
Be smart about parking: How clean your caravan is also depends on where you park your van. Parking it under a roof in a caravan park would be ideal, as parking under the trees could invite sap and bird droppings.
The cleaning has to be both inside as well as out, find out the best ways to do it from the top tips provided here, if you want your caravan to be the brightest on the road.
1: Best time and place to clean the caravan: Your caravan should not be cleaned under bright sunlight, so you will have to find a shady spot. If you can’t find one, then wash it during the early morning hours or later in the evening.
You should have access to all sides of the caravan, i.e be able to walk around the caravan. Close all the windows and doors of the caravan, to prevent water from seeping through.
2: Start from the top: This seems like a no-brainer but you can never be too sure. Start cleaning the caravan from the roof and then work your way down. This way, when soapy water trickles down, there is a chance that the grime on the sides get washed off too, making your task easier. Moreover, if you start on the roof after you finish the sides, then the sides would get messy again due to dirty run offs, giving you more work.
3: Use a good shampoo: Wash the caravan with a good shampoo meant for caravans, this will remove all the grime and wax. Stubborn grime like sap or bird’s dropping can be cleaned using a clay bar. 1/5th of the clay bar should be pulled off and flattened, after which soap and water should be used to clean the caravan.
Move the clay bar back and forth, applying very little pressure, till the pain is smooth. To avoid the presence of water spots, wipe dry with a good microfibre cloth.
Do not use high pressure cleaners while cleaning your caravan. The pressure may be too high for the sealants, resulting in water seepage into the caravan through tiny gaps.
4 : Give your caravan a good polish: A mildly abrasive polish or sealer is required for caravans that are powder coated and which have weathered a little. This will help remove the oxidised top layer of paint on the caravan. This step is not necessary for new caravans, all they would need is a non abrasive sealer.
If your caravan paint boasts of swirl marks, then using a multi stage cutting compound would help smoothen the imperfections. After polishing your caravan, remember to remove the excess using a microfibre cloth. Change this cloth periodically, as they wear out pretty fast and could make your task harder.
5: Waxing your caravan: This is the part that is going to help you get the sheen back into your caravan. Once you are done with cleaning and polishing, this step does not take too long.
If you are looking for a good wax to use on your caravan, then carnauba wax is good but it is expensive, though it can be used to apply two coats for a medium sized van.
Cleaning and waxing a caravan may be hard initially, but if you are regular at it, it will not require sufficient effort during the subsequent times.
6: Cleaning the roof of the caravan. The roof of the caravan should also be cleaned, just like you would the sides. A ladder will help reach the top but some people also use a brush on a pole to clean the roof. Be careful while cleaning the roof as the soapy water could make the ladder slippery.
The sealants that are present near joints become discoloured over time and could turn sticky, if they are muddy too. These sealants should be cleaned carefully as you would want to dislodge them and risk creating a gap. You can use a broom to clean the sealant, or even a tooth brush dipped in the shampoo solution.
7: Clean the windows with care. The windows should be cleaned by first washing it with warm water and a little bit of soap to remove dirt or grime. If you have acrylic windows, be careful about using cleaners. There are special cleaners which can be used to clean glass windows, plastics and for furniture. When these cleaners are used to clean acrylic windows, it could lead to the development of craze, and even cracks, eventually necessitating replacement.
Care should be taken while cleaning acrylic windows as they could get scratched easily, so even if there are stubborn stains, do not use an abrasive cleaner. The best way to clean these windows then? Use a glass cleaner and paper to keep them clean and sparkling.
8: Take care of the canvas. An awning has given you that little space to sit out and enjoy a good cup of tea. If you treasure those moments, then it is time to make sure it stays clean and brilliant . If the awning is made of canvas, then be careful about wearing the canvas down by using harsh chemicals. All you need to clean the awning is water and a brush to scrub. To avoid mildew, let the canvas dry before rolling it up again.
Every once in a while, get a specialist to check your awning, it may need reproofing to protect you from the elements.
9: Clean the wheels. It would be really odd if your caravan looked nice and bright but the wheels were unsightly. Clean the wheels well and, for alloy wheels, apply the right polish to make it look good.
10: Clean the interiors: Once you are done with the exterior, it’s time to clean the interiors too. After all, this is where you will be staying during your holidays! If the interior is messy and dirty, then no matter how good the exterior looks, your holiday will be pretty messed up.
Though cleaning the interior may seem daunting initially, it is not so hard when you break it down into little projects. Use a good pipe cleaner to clean blocked pipes. Plastic cleaners may be used to clean all the plastic inside.
Treat the interiors like you would your home, use the same general cleaning products to clean. A vacuum cleaner will help clean the carpets or pick up debris. The hard floors can be cleaned using a broom and a mop. The cupboards and fridge should be cleaned, along with the roof, from the inside this time. Here is a beginners caravan washing guide from Fozzie that will help you too.
If you are doing the cleaning after keeping the caravan closed for a long period, then remember to wipe all the interiors with anti-bacterial solution. It is important to keep any dampness from spoiling the interiors, so keep the bathroom window open after a bath. If there is any spillage of water, clean it immediately. In the event that any of the soft furnishing gets wet, dry it outside immediately or replace them instead of keeping them. It will be very hard to get rid of the musty smell. There are health complications associated with musty smell, which includes allergies, asthma or even lung infections.
Regular washing will help prevent the accumulation of dirt and will reduce the amount of time required to clean the caravan. Maintain a log of when you last cleaned your caravan, as it will remind you to be consistent with your cleaning schedule.
We have a seperate guide that will help with cleaning your roof lighting.
Buying a Luxury Caravan is great for you if you can maintain it well and it all starts with keeping your caravan clean.