Inspecting your new caravan after its very first adventure isn’t always a pleasant experience. All those little scratches and stains can really dampen your spirits. If you’re new to the caravanning scene, chances are you’re at least a little confused about how best to go about cleaning your caravan. And more importantly, how to select the right cleaning products for your caravan.
Caravan cleaning is an important part of the experience of owning a caravan. It should, in fact, be taken into consideration before you head out on your first road trip. In this article, we’ll be talking about the most effective chemicals for cleaning your caravan, in a bid to make things slightly easier for you.
But first, what NOT to use:
The right way to go about cleaning your caravan isn’t as much about using a specific product or technique, as it is about avoiding the wrong products and techniques. Topping this list is the pressure washer. Pressure washers can certainly do the job quickly, but they can also just as quickly dislodge or damage delicate parts of your caravan, its window seals for instance. Seasoned caravan owners with a successful track record of using pressure washers tend to use the latter only on certain parts of their caravans, switching to chemicals and washcloths for the remainder of the task. This route may be slow, but you can rest assured that all parts of your caravan are receiving adequate attention, and are also intact at the end of your cleaning session!
And now, the chemicals you CAN use to clean your caravan
We’re grouping these into categories based on the caravan parts they’re most effective for.
Commercially available caravan cleaners, also sold as caravan wash-n-wax or simply caravan waxes, are effective in cleaning your caravan’s exterior. These remove the outermost layer of oxidized paint, leaving the undamaged inner layers intact. These waxes come in various forms and concentrations. If your caravan is brand new and has a powder coated exterior, a non-abrasive sealer or polish will work just fine.
Difficult stains and gunk such as tar and bugs can ask for more heavy duty treatment. Specially formulated bug and tar remover sprays can be effective in such cases.
It is important to check if the caravan wax or cleaner you’re purchasing has silicone in it, especially if your caravan has a fibreglass exterior. Silicone causes fibreglass to turn yellow, and can severely compromise the look of your caravan. Use dedicated fibreglass buffing agents, restorers and waxes instead.
Regular automobile window cleaners are usually effective with your caravan’s windows as well. Try a first iteration with water and a washcloth. If the stains seem particularly difficult, switch to a window cleaning agent. Minor scratches on your caravan’s Perspex windows can be cured with the help of a plastic polish.
Trims and hardware
Rubber trims can be cleaned with the help of trim cleaners or trim restorers. These chemicals can double up as cleaning agents for plastic hardware such as the handles of your caravan’s doors and windows. For trims made of aluminium or other metals, use a dedicated aluminium cleaner, and top it up with a metal sealer or polish.
If your caravan has a chemical toilet, it’ll need regular doses of a few chemicals. One of these breaks down the waste into a uniform liquid that can be disposed of at a dump point. Another type of toilet chemical keeps odours at bay by restricting bacteria growth. You’ll also need tank cleaner for the cassette tank.
Cleaning agents for your caravan’s interior don’t differ much from the cleaning agents you use at home. Just double-check the chemical you’re using to make sure it’s compatible with the surface material you’ll be applying it on.
And lastly, chemicals are NOT always effective
Sometimes they can do more harm than good. Pop-top canvases, for example, are best cleaned with water, a scrubbing brush, and some elbow grease! Make sure that you dry the canvas out thoroughly before using it again.
A clean and sparkling caravan can add a fresh dose of happiness to your holiday. So go ahead, get cleaning, and get ready for your next Outback caravanning adventure!
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.