Get ready to wash and go… A guide to cleaning your caravan

Published in Caravan Guard News, Caravanning Top Tips on   - 59 Comments

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  1. Terry says:

    If you start at the top the dirty water will soften the dirt on the bottom half as you work down

  2. BaileyStrempel says:

    Hello, I would like to thank you for these usefull tips.Great Information and awareness for people.It was great reading your blog, very nicely executed. You obviously put a lot of effort into it. Keep it up!

  3. Wayne W Walls says:

    There are so many places to clean!

  4. Jason Atwood says:

    Can anyone please shade some light on how to clean the drain? I own a 1999 white caravan

  5. Jacqui says:

    My friend has a 30 foot Hobby Caravan that remains in the same place as his home (as opposed to touring). He insists on having heat from an electric type fire in the lounge as he feels the cold a lot. He is now insisting on putting a further heater in the bedroom section (located at the front of the caravan) due to damp and condensation. Reading another post above I have never found that damp and condensation are rectified in a small space by attempting to overheat. I think a very small dehumidifier would work but, due to his obsession with overheating, I suspect one’s eyes would dry out. Any suggestions at all would be gratefully received.

  6. Dave Whiddett says:

    I purchased a caravan cover and used it every year but this had two nasty consequences: Firstly the cover rubbed against the acrylic windows in strong winds and caused some fine scratching. The following year we wrapped the acrylic with cling film but this created a chemical reaction with the acrylic which caused some crazing. So the following year we covered the acrylic with old bed sheets cut to size and trapped this in the windows.That did the trick.

    Secondly, we had some serious damp causing the front shelf over the window to go soft and needed replacement. Since we are able to get a mains connection to our van we put a very small dehumidifier in the van on a timer.The van stays very dry and smells nice too. A neighbour put a heater in his caravan but this caused more condensation due to the temperature differential. This was a mistake.


    Would it not be a better idea for caravan makers to use ridged pipeline for waste water instead of flexible that can trap debris and water in the ribbs

  8. Andy Culley says:

    Leave a couple of sheets of newspaper inside the fridge when not in use. It absorbs moisture and prevents any mildew/mould.

  9. Richard Randall says:

    Good advice, but my problem is how to clean the caravan cover?
    The caravan is spotless beneath its green breathable fabric cover, but the cover is horrible. Covered in sticky tree sap and bird lime, plus all the dirt stuck to the tree sap. The cover is now in its 6th year and is very sound, but may have to throw away and buy new.
    Any suggestions?

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Richard, Protec recommend cleaning the cover using warm water with a soft brush, a hosepipe may be used but they don’t advise the use of power washers. Don’t use any detergents or chemicals as this will block the pores and affect the hydrophobic properties of the fabric. However, if you have any stubborn stains that will not be removed with just warm water, you can add soap flakes (the type you would use to wash clothing) to the warm water to aid the washing. Hope this helps?

  10. John Foster says:

    A few times a season I fill the water barrel with sterilising solution, which is then run through the system. If you leave the drain cover on this also fills the waste pipes. After leaving it for approx. 1/4 hour it can then be drained into the waste container, after which, rinse out the water barrel fill with fresh and repeat. This cleans and sterilises the whole system in one go. I have been doing this for over 25 years and it works a treat.

  11. Andrew says:

    Not a great idea to use a powered brush on your drains these pipes are usually convoluted and not very strong and the devil to replace, I serialise my tanks both outside and underfloor with Milton or any other like stuff, and plug the drain outlet to hold the fluid in the pipes over night, then wash out with the ringing water from the storage tanks, I’ve never had any smells in the van but I also use zoflora disinfectant whenever I get home

  12. Andrew says:

    You could try a mild cutting compound or better still a whitening toothpaste, apply then use a wet bonnet on a slow cordless drill to polish the scratches out it takes a long time but well worth the effort

  13. Arthur says:

    I always use furniture polish spray to clean my caravan Windows, it’s not abrasive and the rain just runs off a treat !

  14. Paul Reynolds says:

    Any tips please on how to get scratches out of acrylic windows

  15. David Woodburn says:

    Some very useful tips.
    Be thorough it pays off in the end.

  16. Brian Fowler says:

    Surely its o/k to use Auto Glym car shampoo & polish on your van

  17. pauline younger says:

    Can any body help? I have a little mold on my fly net, dose any one know how to solve this problem please.

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Pauline, use a mould spray and place a plastic sheet behind the fly net when being sprayed to stop over spray. Hope this helps?

  18. Geoff Morgan says:

    I always leave moisture absorbers in the caravan when it is not being used – one over the kitchen sink and one in the wash basin just in case of spills (plugs in both to prevent drafts and the dry air being replaced with moist air). They will need the dessicant replacing two or three times through the winter months. it is good to get into a van that is nice and dry and doesn’t smell musty.
    I also leave moth balls in the van to dissuade little beasties (not the grandchildren) from inhabiting it. I quite like the smell though my wife doesn’t – good job it dissipates with a brief airing.

  19. ian says:

    normally at start of season I open all windows and door on the van carefully give rubber seals good rub over with wet cloth th wit til dry. once dry spray some silicone on to a duster and go round the seals find this prevents sticking all season and don’t pull seals off frames
    p.s. spray toilet flap at end of season once you have cleaned toilet

  20. Paul C says:

    In reply to BJB’s feint marks on caravan, try a small dab of Silky (search Silky caravan cleaner). This is a mild paste supplied in a tub and is excellent for stubborn marks. A tub lasts years and you only need a small amount on a damp cloth to apply it. Great on black streaks too.

  21. BJB says:

    Great advice about the bicarbonate for cleaning and refreshing the drains.
    Also the advice from one of the other comments re using Milton steriliser for onboard water tanks and water bowsers.

    Would like to know how to clean of faint mud/cow muck marks off the front of my caravan. Not coming off with caravan shampoo and elbow grease.

  22. pauline younger says:

    Hi I am just cleaning my caravan inside and found a little mold on the fly net how can I clean it please

  23. Graham Waters says:

    I purchased a brand new caravan last Sept and had it treated with a special guard inside and out. What should I use on this to clean it but protect the guard?

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Hi Graham, we asked our cleaning expert and he said products like Autoglym Lifeshine, Diamondbrite, and Superguard are paint protection products. The manufacturer should advise with each product what you need to clean it with. If anything else is used this can take the guard off the caravan or motorhome. Hope this helps?

  24. Cher says:

    Hi we have just got a caravan 1999 so this is all very new can someone tell me how you clean all the drains.


    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      Most drains are the flexible pipe type, our cleaning expert Stephen Page uses a flexible drain cleaning rod 2 metres in length, which is like a long spring that can be attached to a cordless drill. On the end is a brush, you can then rotate brush through the pipe. Rinse with bi-carbonate of soda. Hope this helps Cher?

  25. Paul C says:

    In reply to Malcolm’s query regarding the cleaning of dome skylights, there’s a pictorial specifically on these on my blog-site.

  26. Keith & Moira says:

    Very good article.
    We use Milton steriliser to refreash the water tank, all internal pipework, and to clean all the drains too. We also suggest a very good rinse out of the water tank to avoid taste contamination.
    Have a good season.

  27. MALCOLM LENNIE says:

    how do you clean inside the domes of the rooflights

  28. Lawrie Woodley says:

    Not too sure about the white spirit. I’ve found that this dabbed on my finger is ideal for smoothing out bath sealant so wonder what it does for seal sealant on the ‘van. Good tip about not using ordinary car wash, though.

  29. robert burgess says:

    As usual good sound advice

  30. Gordon Richardson says:

    Excellent advice. I’ll be rolling in two weeks.Have fun every one

  31. Bob Boutwood says:

    I carry a spray bottle filled with a product called Grease Lightning to clean off dust and black streaks during my outings. It also brings the shine back. It’s a bit expensive but well worth it!

  32. pauline younger says:

    That was good information about cleaning drains and the white spirits thank you

  33. Daniel says:

    Really good advice as im new to the caravan world… handy tips like this goes along way I use car shampoo tho when reading this information I will get some caravan shampoo instead and yes goo tip about using white spirit and bicarb. .thank you. .

  34. Pamela Garrett says:

    Thanks for the information – particularly about the white spirit cleaning and also using bicarbonate on the drains. Excellent info – looking forward to the new season.

  35. Steve says:

    Good tip about white spirit for the mastic.

  36. Peter Roberts says:

    I always clean top downwards as for me it leaves the area that has been cleaned clean. Or you would be washing dirty water over a cleaned area..
    I always do sections at a time with regards to the wash and then the same with the polish and Windows.
    That’s only my preference though
    Have a good year out their folks.

  37. Keith Howell says:

    I use renapur which is a leather care product on all my window and door seals. This greatly reduces the black streaks, keeps the seals flexible, avoids door seals sticking and possible damage in extreme cold weather on my motorhome. Ask permission from your wife first!
    Regards Keith

  38. Allan says:

    Fenwick recommend you work bottom to top

  39. John Kelsall says:

    Thanks for the tips – although your article emphasises cleaning from the top down whilst Fenwicks underline you should always go bottom up and explain it in their video. I’m not saying which is right – just thought I’d better point this out!

    • Liz @ Caravan Guard says:

      This is just a guide. Different people will work in different ways so it’s whatever works best for you.

  40. Alan Grant says:

    Thanks for the names of products will give them a try out and thanks for the tips great help we are getting ready for our Easter break with the kids .

  41. Chris T says:

    Some very useful advice I will be using this coming week

  42. alan Hall says:

    Very Good

  43. Vince Parrott says:

    Excellent tips, especially about the drains, could have included cleaning of fresh water vessels and pipes. 5 Stars

  44. Ian Smith says:

    Good information especially with Easter not far away now and we will all be getting ready to get those wheels rolling again.

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