Keep your caravan in top shape with these care tips.
So, you’ve joined the caravan fraternity and that means you want to look after your ‘home on wheels’.
While there some similarities to cleaning and maintaining a car (or even your house), caravan’s do require some specialised care to ensure they are in great shape year round, whether you park your van for extended periods, or spend long periods on the roads.
Our Caravan Care Tips
- Keep the exterior clean. This might seem like an obvious one but nothing brings the look and value of a caravan down faster than a dull and faded exterior. To keep it clean, especially the roof, invest in a long handled wash brush. Having one of these on hand will help prevent you from having to use a ladder. When selecting a car wash, go for a quality car wash product that will not only shift dirt, but also won’t leave a streaky finish (like the cheap car wash products often do). A car wash brush (which will also help you shift and cobwebs), quality car wash sponge and a chamois are all also worth investing in.
- Once the caravan exterior is dry, polishing with a good quality car polish is a must. Baking under the Australian sun, a polished caravan will give your paint the best sun protection and the smooth finish that it leaves behind will help prevent dirt from sticking, therefore making cleaning easier. Your caravan will look a whole lot better too after a polish!
- Window care. Once again the way to go is with a good quality automotive glass cleaner. While cleaning your caravan windows take the opportunity to check that all catches and hinges are working properly. It’s also a good chance to look over your window seals too and perhaps give them a wipe down with a rag or sponge and some soapy water. You can also apply some silicon grease to the seals to keep them moist.
- Inside Surfaces. Vacuum the carpets and bed/seat cushions and clean any stains with an upholstery cleaner.
- Other areas. Give your caravan kitchen and bathroom areas (if fitted) with ordinary household products – but make sure you use products that are right for the surfaces – don’t use bleach in the toilet, for example. Leave fridge doors open after cleaning to make sure they dry properly.
- Damp and mould. If the carpets and soft furnishings smell damp and there’s mould or mildew around, then there’s probably a leak that needs fixing, but once that’s done you still have to clean off the mould and stains. Mould and mildew can be dangerous to your health so wear gloves and a mask while doing this. Use warm water and washing up liquid, or a solution of one-part vinegar to one-part water, and a scrubbing brush, then dry properly. After that make up a solution with a quarter teaspoon of clove oil (available from chemists) to one litre of water and spray it over the affected area, leave for about a quarter of an hour then dry. If you haven’t used these methods before, make sure you test in a small inconspicuous area first, just in case there’s an adverse reaction. Consider getting a moisture trap to make sure the area dries out completely. Depending on what surfaces the damp affected, you may have to replace items or redecorate but make sure the leak really has been cured before doing that.
- Interior safety checks. While you’re doing all this it makes sense to check everything’s working, of course. Pay attention to the following:
- Gas bottle – check connections and look at hose dates.
- Cooker – check all burners for blue steady flames.
- Water system – flush and clean following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Smoke alarms and detectors – test all and replace batteries where required.
- Batteries – check levels with a voltmeter.
- Exterior safety.
- Lights – make sure they are clean and test to make sure all are working correctly.
- Electrical sockets – clean and check for cracks or other damage.
- Tow-hitch – clean and lubricate the brakes and overrun mechanism following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Wheels and tyres. These can be cleaned in the same way as car wheels and tyres but make sure the wheel nuts or studs are tight. Check tyre pressures and condition thoroughly – carefully jack your caravan up to allow complete rotation. Be careful as old tyres may have loads of tread left but can blowout because of weakened sidewalls. Look for sidewall cracking or carcass deformation and if in any doubt, check their age (it will be stamped on the side) and consider replacing them.