With the summer holidays just around the corner, you may be getting ready to hit the open road in your motorhome. Whether you’re making the most of the UK’s top staycation spots or venturing further afield this year, it’s important to give your beloved home from home the care it needs before you depart. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a series of tips and tricks that will help to bring back that showroom shine.
Make that exterior sparkle
Over time, it’s inevitable that your caravan will start to gather some unwanted mud, streaks, leaves, insects and of course, the dreaded algae – especially if it has been in storage or under wraps throughout the winter.
Unfortunately, the longer dirt and grime remains on your caravan's exterior, the more damage it can cause. Road salt, tar, bugs, bird droppings, tree sap, and sun damage are just some of the things that can be extremely detrimental to the exterior of your motorhome if not washed off, even leading to corrosion, discolouration, and chemical spotting – all things you definitely want to avoid. Therefore, it’s important to always wash your motorhome as soon as possible after it has been exposed to any of these factors.
Like most things, it’s all in the preparation. For example, position your caravan so there’s room to walk around it and try to avoid parking it in direct sunlight while cleaning the outside – this will help reduce streaks appearing, as the products will most likely dry quicker than you can clean!
It’s recommended that you start from the top down, as the roof is where algae and dirt are most likely to gather – and this will help the water run down more easily. Of course, safety is paramount, so use a good, sturdy stepladder and set it up safely.
Start by rinsing down the caravan, some people like to use a power washer for this, others prefer a good old bucket and sponge. If you’re using a pressure washer, make sure you’re at a distance with the water pressure under control so you don’t damage any antenna or window seals.
Next, grab your favourite cleaning solution and give the vehicle a good buff in circular motions with a clean sponge – you’ll need plenty of elbow grease for this – and then wash off with clean water. (Remember to use a different sponge for your body work and your alloys!) The Draper telescopic washing brush is a great product for reaching the roof.
Of course, the only downside of a sparkly clean vehicle is that scratches and scuffs are made more visible. We recommend trying our scratch remover paste for those imperfections that are so easily caused by dogs jumping in and out of the vehicle, bikes being carried on board, or stray twigs and trees when parking up on a forest scene camp site.
Once you’re happy with the body work, grab your glass cleaner and a fresh microfibre cloth and buff the windows, wing mirrors, and windscreen both inside and out. Remember to give the windows a good rinse when you begin to remove any grit so you don’t rub it in to the glass with your window cleaner.
After spending the afternoon cleaning your motorhome, you can either let it dry naturally and have a well-deserved cup of tea, or you could grab an extra-large microfibre cloth and soak all the excess water up.
Meanwhile, if your caravan looks dull and lacks shine, you may want to consider a polish. This dullness is caused by the paintwork oxidising in the sun’s UV rays, but polishing products can correct the oxidisation. This only needs to be done once a year. You may opt for the Draper Storm Force Polisher, or you can pour a small amount of polish onto an applicator and apply a thin layer to the paintwork in overlapping circles, trying to avoid rubber seals and textured plastics/trim. Once applied, the polish needs to be left on for 15-20 minutes, then buffed up with a finishing cloth.
Whatever you choose to do, consider rubbing the whole vehicle in a finishing wax to give it that extra showroom shine. This isn’t the same as polishing – wax is used purely for the protection of paintwork and to act as a barrier to keep the dirt out and the shine in.
Finally, make sure you wrap your beloved motorhome up nicely to prevent it getting dirty before your next road trip. Choose the correct size of caravan cover from our selection here.
Now for the inside…
If the exterior of your caravan is sparkling, it’s time to check that everything inside is looking just as good. To avoid condensation and dampness, open those doors and windows to let the air flow through the vehicle. The Tetrion Moisture Mate helps keep unwanted moisture under control, reducing risk of condensation, damp, mildew and unpleasant smells.
Vacuum your carpets and furniture and use an antibacterial spray and multipurpose mitt to wipe down any kitchen surfaces. The Kärcher handheld cordless vacuum cleaner is ideal to store in your motorhome and is small enough to get in and about those awkward nooks and crannies.
For the carpet and upholstery, we also recommend these CarPlan wipes to help with everyday stains and lingering odours, while the six-litre Carabin is a must for any caravan or motorhome – lightweight and compact, with the ability to be mounted on any wall, worktop, or cupboard door.
Meanwhile, if you fancy doing a deeper clean of your carpets we recommend using a wet and dry vacuum cleaner. The clever cartridge filter and floor tool allows you to tackle dry debris, dust, glass, and even liquids without having to pause your work to change the filter.
Your furry friend may be a regular guest at your caravan or motorhome, and as we’re sure you’re aware, pets in a confined space can cause smells to linger. If that’s something you need help with, the Nilco Pet Fabric Fresh Neutraliser Trigger is excellent at keeping your motorhome smelling fresh for longer.
Keeping everything tidy
It can be tricky to keep a small space super organised and tidy. Our best advice to stay organised is to have stackable items, lots of hooks, collapsible items – and not to overlook ceiling space! A collapsible bucket is a great item to have at the ready. The Streetwize 11L bucket is not only waterproof but collapses to a small handy item to store when not in use, while the Streetwize eco bin is easy to assemble and can fold flat for easy storage.
Cleaning a motor home is a challenging job and getting to those hard-to-reach areas can be problematic (unless you’re 8ft tall of course). However, we have a huge selection of products to enhance your travel and touring experiences here.
With that in mind, let us know how you get on with our handy guide and if you have any tips or tricks to share. And if you’re planning on taking your dog along for the ride? Find some handy tips for travelling with your pet on our recent blog ‘Get your car pet ready’.