With ultimate comfort and hassle-free traveling, a caravan is the ultimate holiday home for travel enthusiasts all around Australia.
But let’s face it. Having residues, muds and cowpats splattered all over your camper every time you’re out on a fun expedition with your favorite bunch is nothing less than a nightmare. While the caravan exterior gets most of your attention, washing only the caravan exterior and leaving the inner parts damp and grimy may eventually cause mildew growths and major caravan malfunctions before you even realise it.
We understand that keeping a caravan clean and well maintained inside and out is quite a tedious task.
In this article will try to make your caravan-cleaning job a bit easier for you with eight pro cleaning tips applicable for static caravans and fifth-wheelers to get you all set for the upcoming camping season.
Tips To Clean Your Caravan
1. Get the right cleaning equipment
Start on the right foot by choosing the cleaning tools specifically designed for cleaning trailers and caravans. To reach the top of the caravan roof, corners and edges, you will need a ladder with a platform and stable footing, a long-handled mop, a scaffold plate and a garden hose with water pressure adjustable nozzles.
Unless you plan on hand cleaning the entire caravan, you will also need soft-bristled brushes and water-fed hose pipe brushes with long handles. These brushes will give you access to safely reach the whole surface of the roof while you are on the top of the ladder. Don’t forget to wear masks and sponge or microfiber noodle gloves before you start the whole rinsing process.
2. Avoid chemicals on canvas
Due to improper drying or rain, you might find mould and mildew forming on the annexes, awnings or pop up roofs of your caravan. Ensure to remove it with the suitable mould removal solution with a scrubbing brush available in caravan shops without damaging the fabric. Most importantly, make sure the canvas is completely dried off before you fold the awnings back up.
3. Say a big no to pressure washing
The high water force of a pressure washer might make the whole cleaning process quicker. Then again, it can severely damage different parts and exterior seals. The water might get inside hard to reach areas and cause dampness, mould-mildew growth as well. Garden hose with adjustable nozzles can be a safe and easy option to rinse off the outside of your van. After washing off, let the canvas dry naturally.
4. Always use specialist caravan cleaning solutions
Household cleaners like detergents, soaps or bleaches might leave swirling marks on the caravan surface and cause damages. Now you might think you can at least use car washing formulas for your caravan. Sadly, that’s not the case either. Caravans have entirely different paints, bodyworks and frames, typically made of sheet aluminium cladding or fibreglass with polystyrene foam, PVC or VInyl foam coated plywood working as an inner cladding and insulation purposes.
Consider using caravan cleaning supplies with less abrasive products like waterless caravan washing liquids, wax and polishes, widely available in the caravan market.
5. Sterilise the water system
The water system installed within your canvas can turn into a health hazard if not cleaned on a regular basis. To start the sterilisation process, close all the valves and taps. Add water cleaning solution to the empty water tank and turn one of the taps to fill the tank back on. To sterilise your vehicle’s water pipes, turn on the valves located furthest away from the tank and let the cleaning solution run through the taps. Once the liquid solution is inside the lines, turn off the valves and leave for 10-12 hours to sterilise. Once it’s done, turn on the valves again to let the solution get flushed through the system completely.
As an extension of the water system sterilisation process, consider cleaning the drains with a similar function. If you start to get a nasty odour off your caravan sink or have slower flushing drains, you know it’s about time.
6. Don’t skip on the tow hitch
Over time, you may notice your caravan tow hitch starting to rust and attract grit due to the lack of lubrication. Start gently cleaning your caravan trailer hitch by removing any flaking or loose rust with a wire brush and wiping the surface with wet-and-dry paper. After primarily cleaning the tow hitch and the tow ball, applying an industry-standard rust treatment formula allows it to sit no longer than the time instructed, typically 15 minutes.
After the rust wears off, give the tow hitch a thorough rinsing and drying time. Once it’s dry, you can either apply two coats of trailer wax or consider repainting it- depending on the given situation.
7. Don’t overlook the hard-to-reach areas
With heaps of secret nooks, compartments and crannies, cleaning a caravan is a tricky process, and there’s no straightforward solution to this. But what you can do is to divide the hard-to-reach area into discrete sections. The kitchen area gets cluttered with many storages, drawers, furniture pieces, cupboards and more. The first thing you need to do is streamline your internal storage spaces and declutter the area. Once you’re done temporarily relocating all the items, use small soft-bristle brushes, soft microfibre towels, and chamois cloths to clean out the dirt, twigs gently, and other debris.
Van’s upholstery like leather or vinyl is susceptible to colour fading, dampness and unobtrusive patches. Ensure you clean and adequately dry off the upholstery items to prevent moisture growth, discoloration, and condensations.
8. Finish off with polishing and waxing
As you already got yourself into the lengthy cleaning process, don’t skip these two essential steps. After washing, rinsing and drying off your van’s surface, get yourself a fresh microfibre polishing cloth and gently use a mildly abrasive one-step polish/sealer, according to the polish manufacturer instructions, humidity and weather conditions. Generally, you have to apply a thin coat of polish to avoid smearing or swirling marks. Change your polishing cloths in between polishing each of the walls or surfaces.
The last and final step of the process is waxing, giving your caravan paint a deeper lustre and sealer. Waxing your caravan’s paintwork could take a bit of effort if it is your first time. You can hire professionals to do both caravan polishing and waxing jobs for you.