At Caravan Helper, we know only too well, that with ownership of a caravan comes many issues that you have to deal with. Many of these are not that serious and do not require a lot of money, effort or work. However, the problem of dampness in your caravan is a very serious matter. It is one that if you don’t take the appropriate action to get rid of it could not only cause unsightly damage to your caravan and reduce its comfort value, but also poses serious health risks, especially if it is left untreated and encourages the growth of mould.
Dampness can eventually cause irreparable damage to your caravan, if you give it the chance. So, if you want to avoid the health risks and the expensive costs of fixing your caravan (if it can actually be fixed) when mould settles in, you need to know how to deal with dampness quickly and effectively.
That is exactly what we are going to discuss in the following post.
How to deal with damp in the caravan
Stopping Damp from Becoming a Problem
By far the most effective way of dealing with dampness in your vehicle is by stopping it from becoming a problem. The treatment is almost always more expensive and labour-intensive than the preventative measures you can start taking now.
Giving Your Caravan Chance to Air
There are normally periods of time throughout the year, unless you are currently completely an ongoing tour in the vehicle, that your caravan will be left unused. In these situations, we appreciate that the last thing you’re thinking of, particularly if it is not kept on your property, is that you better go and air out the caravan.
However, if you are looking to avoid dampness, this an essential part of caravan maintenance. By opening all the windows, or at least a few of them, you are allowing fresh air to circulate around the home away from home, which helps in the fight against dampness.
This is probably fairly self-explanatory, but if you are intending on putting your tourer into storage or won’t be using it for a long stretch of time, you need to clean the whole place from top to bottom. You should make a point of doing this anyway, but it’s vital if it is going to sit unused. Use antibacterial solutions and other safe detergents to kill off any germs and bacteria that might be festering and hoover throughout. Wash and wipe everything and remember to dry all surfaces when you’ve finished to avoid leaving any residue or excess water.
Avoid Drying Things Inside Your Caravan
Although it would be nice and ideal if it is possible, you are unlikely to be able to avoid generating some washing or wet clothes and other items. Whether they are clean and needing to dry or they’ve got damp in that beautiful British weather, it’s important that you avoid drying things inside your vehicle, as all that water and moist air can encourage dampness and then mould.
Open Windows and Let Air In
It may be the last thing you want to do, especially if it’s a particularly cold time of year, but if you are either taking a shower or cooking in your caravan, it is a good idea to keep some of the windows open. The reason being that appliances like your shower and the cooker generate a lot of moisture in the air, that can eventually lead to dampness and then mould. So, when you open the windows, even just for a short amount of time while using those appliances, you allow any access moisture in the air to flow outside.
Wipe Away Any Condensation on the Windows
On the subject of the windows, you need to also be aware of condensation and take appropriate action. You will find that condensation appears most often when the shower or the cooker is being used. When you spot it on the windows, use a clean dry cloth to wipe it away. Simple as that, but incredibly effective.
How to Spot Signs of Dampness
If none of the above have helped or you failed to implement those tips and think you might have a damp problem in your vehicle, you will obviously want to get rid of it before a bad situation turns into a worse one. You need to know though what you are actually looking for and how to stop it before you can actually treat it.
One way to be absolutely sure if you have a damp problem or not is by using a damp meter. Inexpensive and available from hardware stores and online retailers, these are discussed on Caravan Helper in a separate post. However, there are many visible tell-tale signs of dampness, such as:
- There are unexplained black markings around the frames of the windows
- There is an unpleasant and musty kind of smell
- The caravan walls are soft to touch
- There are what appear to be damp patches on the walls and interior of the vehicle, even if they are not wet to touch
- The caravan walls and interiors are stained
Getting Rid of Dampness with Dehumidifiers and Moisture Traps
If you know for sure that you have a problem with dampness in your touring vehicle, you need to deal with it as quickly as you possibly can. This can actually seem like a more difficult task than it actually is, especially if you have caught the dampness early. In the first instance, if it is a relatively small problem, you could invest in a dehumidifier or moisture traps.
Dehumidifiers and moisture traps are simple devices that come in a variety of styles and forms that absorb excess moisture in your caravan. There are small dehumidifiers that can be hung up in wardrobes and larger devices that sit on the floor or on worktops. Moisture traps on the other hand are just simple devices that can be placed in cupboards or on window sills. You may need to exercise some patience when using these methods as it can take some time to clear the dampness. But it should get rid of the dampness.
We want to point out that, in case it wasn’t clear, that the above methods for preventing dampness should still be implemented even while you are currently dealing with dampness. So regularly air the place out and keep it clean.
If your dampness problem is more serious, however, and there are definite signs of mould growing, moisture traps and dehumidifiers will not be enough. This means that you are really only left with two options of getting rid of it. You can either hire a professional to treat and remove the mould for you or you can try tackling the problem by yourself.
At Caravan Helper, we would advise you, especially if you are not confident about dealing with the mould on your own, that you invest in the services of a professional. They have all the training, skills and experience necessary.
However, we appreciate that not everyone has limitless budgets and if you are trying to save some money, you will probably be looking to deal with the problem of mould yourself. To give you a hand, we’ve provided a simple guide below.
It’s crucial before you start doing anything with mould that you get yourself some protective clothing, like a mask, gloves and an old apron to prevent your skin from coming into contact with the mould, as it can be incredibly toxic.
You are now ready to make a cleaning solution. Combine either warm water with washing-up liquid or with a cleaning solution that has one-part vinegar to one-part water. Never use bleach. Now, take a scrubbing brush and clean all affected areas.
Once everywhere has been cleaned, dry it thoroughly, because the last thing you want is more dampness. It’s all well and good getting rid of the mould, but you probably want to help prevent it from coming back. Prevention is better than treatment, after all. An effective way to do this is by using a special solution that is a mixture of one-litre of water with ¼ of clove oil. Once spread this solution around your caravan, you need to dry it thoroughly, after giving the oil 20 minutes to work its magic.