Cleaning The Exterior Of Your Caravan

We’ve written quite a few articles about taking care of your caravan, from parking it up during the off-season to keeping it safe from thieves, as well as protecting the interior from damp. We know as well as you do that your caravan is very nearly a part of your family, and definitely an integral element of short breaks and summer holidays.

Before the winter hits and you park your caravan for the cold season (that is, if you intend to stop holidaying – there’s no reason why you can’t keep on caravanning!), make sure to take the necessary steps to protect it from freezing. Following our guide and carrying out task such as charging the battery, emptying water tanks and the toilet, and waterproofing exposed electrical connections should mean that your caravan is in shipshape condition when the spring comes round once more.

Once the ice clears and the thought of holidaying on a caravan and camping site becomes bearable once more, it won’t take long to get your caravan back to touring standard.

One thing we haven’t written about before, but will definitely make a worth addition to our caravanning advice library, is how to clean the outside of your caravan before starting your next round of holidays.

Cleaning your van is also an excellent way to spot any potential maintenance problems that might have cropped up unnoticed since you last cleaned it.

Here’s our guide to what you need and what you should do to get your caravan ready to hit the road once more.

Equipment required for exterior cleaning

You may not need absolutely everything on this list but, due to the size of caravans and the trickiness of reaching every nook and cranny, we suggest stocking up on the following items before your big spring clean.

  • A hose with decent water pressure, or a pressure washer with suitable attachments. Failing that, you will need to make sure you have plenty of buckets of water to hand – it’s a very large surface to scrub with a sponge!
  • A ladder with a platform, multi-functional construction or a scaffold plate to enable you to reach the top of the caravan walls and the roof
  • The longest-handled mop or scrubbing brush you can get your hands on. An extendable one would be best, as it would be suitable for cleaning both the bits you can reach from the ground and the parts you need to scrub while on top of the ladder.
  • Shampoo, window cleaner and wheel and tyre cleaner
  • A sponge, cloth or microfibre noodle glove
  • Toothbrush or other small brush to reach into those tiny crevices you never knew existed
  • Chamois or microfibre cloth for drying freshly-washed surfaces
  • Wax to provide an excellent finish

Top tips for caravan cleaning

  • Always clean from top to bottom, to prevent drips and splashes from undoing your hard work
  • Check your owner’s handbook before you start, in case any of the cleaning products you intend to use are advised against by the manufacturer
  • Clean your caravan on an overcast day, preferably with as little wind as possible. This may seem like an odd choice, but these conditions are perfect for stopping the surfaces from drying before you’re finished and ready to buff and wax. If you do need to clean on a sunny or windy day, work on one side at a time. Rather than washing the caravan as a whole, wash one side and rinse immediately, before progressing onto the back, opposite side and front. Rinsing as you go will take longer to complete, but will also combat pesky streaks ruining the effect.
  • If using a pressure washer to clean your caravan, make sure you are using the correct attachment and standing a reasonable distance from the vehicle. Failure to do so can result in damage to the paint and bodywork from the force of the water. Stay away from windows, seals and joints to avoid leaks. It cannot be underestimated how much damage a pressure washer can cause.
  • Clean the roof by applying shampoo or cleaning solution to the end of the long-handled brush or mop. Make horizontal strokes, applying enough pressure to remove any mould, algae or stubborn grime that may result in future damage. Take care not to over reach and risk falling – move your ladder around the vehicle instead. Finish by throwing a bucket or two of water across the roof to remove soap residue and any insects or dirt that remain.
  • Washing the exterior walls of the caravan should be done in a similar way to the roof, although the cleaning solution should be allowed to remain on the surfaces for up to ten minutes for maximum effect. Always use plenty of water when rinsing.
  • Never use washing up liquid to clean the exterior of your caravan, as this can lead to corrosion. Any accidental use should swiftly be followed with a protective polish.
  • Use a soft sponge and a small amount of cleaning solution to gently remove dirt from windows. Your usual household glass or window cleaner can be used afterwards to achieve a shine.
  • Microfibre drying cloths are excellent for drying freshly cleaned caravans, and are far cheaper than chamois leathers
  • Don’t overlook the wheels if you want your caravan to look professionally cleaned and maintained. As well as washing, have a look at the range of wheel and tyre sprays designed to remove grime. A purpose-made wheel brush is essential for getting stubborn dirt from between spokes.
  • If you’re wondering why we added a toothbrush to the list, the answer is in the roof lights. Use the small brush to get into all of the tricky crevices, nooks and crannies, followed by a damp cloth to remove residue.
  • Finally, apply some wax to leave your caravan with a freshly-cleaned shine and an unbeatable finish

For the final bit of protection, make sure that you are covered with insurance for your caravan from Lifesure. Call us on 01480 402460 for quote. We think that you'll love our level of cover and our great prices.

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