With summer just around the corner, if you haven’t already started using your caravan already and it’s still under a cover, it will definitely be time to get the most out of your tourer as the glorious weather continues to make its presence felt.
That means of course if you have left it somewhere, unattended for a few months since you last used it, that it is time to give it a clean. Even if this is your first time owning a caravan and it is still relatively new, you need to familiarise yourself with the cleaning process.
Many people assume that cars and caravans are alike and that the jet washer and their trusty car shampoo will be enough to clean it up. However, as the bodywork and paint are different on a caravan to that of a car, you need to invest in a less abrasive, tourer-friendly cleaning product to avoid causing scratches to your travelling pride and joy.
Best Caravan and Motorhome Cleaners
1. Muc Off Caravan and Motor-home Cleaner (5 Litres)
Muc Off’s touring caravan and motor-home cleaner. Although the price tag is quite a significant investment, it is only because this cleaner is very high performance and appears to make very light work of even the toughest stains.
It can be used as a speed detail cleaning solution. Spray some on and wait a couple of minutes before you then rinse and start rubbing it off. According to most customers, Muc Off cannot be faulted when it comes to the actual results of this attractive pink cleaning mixture.
Stains, algae, bugs, rust, moss, car fumes, grease and any other dirt and grime associated with caravanning are made light work of.
For the green people out there, it is worth noting that this particular cleaner is also incredibly eco-friendly as it has an alkaline base and is completely biodegradable It won’t last quite as long as some of the diluted formulas, but its concentration and cleaning power is worth the price tag.
2. Fenwicks Bobby Dazzler 1 litre
Fenwicks are well-known as being the gurus of gleam, the masters of muck removal and kings of caravan cleanliness. This particular cleaner should ideally be diluted with a ratio of 1 part Fenwicks Bobby Dazzler to 10 parts water.
The reviews all suggest that this is a high-performance cleaning solution. However, compared to many others in our list, this is more of a slow burner when it comes to working on tougher stains, dirt and grime and may take a lot more effort. However considering you get a lot of cleaning out of one container (at the very least a few years worths) and the fact that it is considerably cheaper than the above, make this a tempting product to invest in.
Similarly to the above, Fenwicks have stated that it is biodegradable so good if you have a green-focused conscience and although we can’t test it, they have stated that it is much kinder on caravan surfaces than other more potent solutions.
3. Care-avan Caravan Polish
Care-avan products, in particular, this one, are of special note, because they are fully endorsed by Bailey Caravans. In a similar way to others on this list, you do not need any water and it can be used on virtually any caravan surface you like.
As well as this bold claim, the manufacturers also note that when it is used it leaves a very durable shine that will help to resist and repel water for around 3 months. Furthermore, with regular washing it can actually help to keep grime, tar, bugs and any other build-ups on and in your caravan to a bare minimum, making each and every subsequent wash even easier.
4. Dirtbusters Premium Caravan Motor-home Wash and Wax with Carnauba Wax For Professional Cleaning
If you are looking for a truly biodegradable and environmentally-friendly option, look no further than the Dirtbusters product. It does not contain any ammonia, and therefore is kinder than some to the bodywork of your caravan.
Thanks to its use of reportedly high-quality carnauba wax it effectively and safely removes oily deposits, grease, mud and dirt while leaving a nice finish. It is also designed and formulated to aid the rinsing and drying process and will give your caravan a gleaming and streak-free finish. The wax also protects the bodywork long after application and provides a water repellent.
5. King of Sheen Professional Caravan & Motor-home Waterless Wash and Wax Caravan Cleaner
King of Sheen is a popular and reputable brand of cleaning products and their caravan and motor-home wash and wax cleaner is another example of their cleaning product manufacturing process.
It can be used virtually anywhere and is not only good for newer models but will be kind to older caravans and vehicles too. There is also no acids, petroleum, solvents, bleach, phosphates, harmful substances or anything else abrasive and contains high-quality protection for UV screens.
Furthermore, there is no need to worry about smears, scratches or streaks when using this cleaner. Simply spray it on, wipe it off and then buff the area until shining.
6. Fenwicks Black Streak Remover, Transparent
As the name suggests, the second Fenwicks product on our list is the very affordable and high performing black streak remover. This is obviously aimed more at being practical for specifically removing black marks and streaks, so would be best used as a supplement to another cleaner, but is still worth investing in when you are just doing a spot clean.
Fenwicks, as we’ve already highlighted, are one of those names that are synonymous with high-quality cleaning products, particularly in the cleaning market and this is no exception. The company has been in operation since 1995 and always uses its expertise and knowledge to produce the best products possible.
7. Fenwicks Overwintering Cleaner
Another Fenwicks product on our list that we thought was worth highlighting as investing in for your arsenal of cleaning supplies.
This is designed to provide a protective layer over your caravan during the winter months when it is not in use and kept in storage. As well as protecting it during that downtime, when it comes to springtime, it helps to make the spring clean a lot easier before you head out on the road again.
8. Elsan Fresh Water Tank Clean, Grey
The last item on our list is the Elsan Fresh Water Tank Clean which is, as you’ve probably guessed, designed to be used to clean any water containers, tanks or supply systems used by or for your caravan.
The cleaner helps to eliminate the build-up of calcium and other deposits from pipework and tanks and keeps all fresh drinking water containers and systems free from micro-organisms.
Although it can be used at any time, it is recommended for use when you take your caravan out of storage once winter passes and spring and summer come along.
Important Things Not To Do
Before we continue with our guide to cleaning your caravan, we need to address some don’ts.
Don’t Use A Steam Cleaner or High-Pressure Washer
First and foremost, no matter what the labelling or manufacturer suggests, do not use a steam cleaner or high-pressure washer to clean your pride and joy. As well as possibly damaging the paintwork, this could also damage the watertight seals on your caravan, leaving you with a leaky caravan that will be costly to repair.
Don’t Use Ordinary Car Shampoo and Cleaner
As we noted close to the beginning, there are many people out there who think that they can just use car cleaners and shampoos on caravans. However, don’t do this as these are more abrasive than specially-formulated caravan cleaning products and are more likely to scratch the bodywork. As some of them contain chemicals designed to work with the stronger paint used on car bodies, they could cause problems for your motor-home
Now for the fun part.
Top Tips For Cleaning Caravans Like a Professional (or at the very least, very well!)
Work From the Top Down
The best and most methodical way to clean your caravan is from the top to the bottom. So start at the roof and work downwards. As well as ensuring that you don’t miss any sections out, it also helps to prevent dirty water or just dirt spreading onto parts you’ve already cleaned, giving you twice as much work.
Use Specially Formulated Cleaners and Products Designed For Caravans
Above, we have highlighted 8 different products designed to be used in caravan cleaning. There are hundreds more available too, some for general cleaning, with others being aimed at specific areas. If you need any further advice about what is best, speak to your caravan manufacturer or dealership.
Caravans, as we are sure you realise, not only cost a lot of money to buy initially, even at second hand rates; but, also to repair. Therefore, it is wise to invest a little more money in high quality cleaners that won’t do unnecessary damage to your caravan.
Rinse Your Caravan Down
Before you actually start cleaning your caravan, start by rinsing it down with plenty of water. You can do this using buckets of water or a hose. This helps to loosen the dirt and soften any algae, making it easier to remove when you start wiping down surfaces.
Safety Is Paramount When Cleaning Your Caravan’s Roof
While you are cleaning your caravan’s roof, even if you are using the best quality, sturdiest ladder or scaffolding platform; you need to take extra special care because you are using slippery, soapy water. If you don’t want to call out the professionals, get help from someone to hold your ladders steady for you.
Make sure you set the scaffold plate or ladders to the optimum height for reaching over the roof. Now begin to clean your caravan thoroughly with some caravan cleaner or shampoo and a long handled soft brush or sponge. Clean in horizontal strokes across the entire roof and all the sides, applying just enough pressure to remove stains, algae and dirt and then rinse.
Cleaning Caravan Skylights
Undo all the skylights as you clean them and clean under the edges using, if possible, a brush with bristles 2 inches long. Rinse and squeegee the surface off. If you have skylights with double layers, you are going to need to open them up and use a bottle brush long enough to work down the layers. If at all possible, you may find it even easier to simply dismantle the skylight entirely and clean it.
Cleaning The Awning Rails and Sides
You now need to concentrate on cleaning the sides and awning rails. Do this using a soft brush, as the majority of black streaks and markings result from muck that drops down from the awning rail. Clean downwards using a soft brush and then shampoo and sponge each section down, thoroughly working at them and then rinse them off.
You can remove black marks with a polish as a fine cutting compound. If you need to remove mastic build-up around any side lockers, you can use white spirits with a soft cloth, then rinse it off.
Cleaning Caravan Windows
You need to take extra special care when you cleaning your caravan windows, so don’t just grab the first window cleaner you find. Caravan windows are all too easy to scratch or damage with toxic chemicals so be sure to use a cleaning product formulated for acrylic windows and apply using a microfibre cloth, as this will stop the static.
Drying and Polishing
After you have cleaned the entire exterior of your caravan, you have the choice of either drying it off naturally or using a cloth to speed up the process. Large microfibre cloths are best for this, as well as being softer and cheaper than a chamois leather.
After it is completely dry, apply some caravan polish and buff away.
Now To The Interior
Give the upholstery and all the carpets a thorough hoovering and then use an antibacterial spray on all the surfaces in the kitchen. When it comes to the inside of the windows, use the same product you used on the outside.
Microfibre cloths and some caravan polish is perfect for wiping shelving and other units and air freshers will help to give it a nice finishing touch.