Look at any selection of caravans or motor caravans and you’ll find a mixture of sheet GRP (glass re-inforced) panels, aluminum panels, GRP moldings, acrylic-capped moldings, glass windows, acrylic windows, rubber surrounds, cast metal side skirts, alloy awning rails, vinyls decals, tires and so on.
Unfortunately, apart from good old soap and water and elbow grease there just isn’t one ‘magic bullet’ cleaner that can handle all those combinations.
That means most owners understand they’ll have to buy several different cleaners for the job in hand – especially as some types of cleaner react badly with certain body components.
Read the manual
To ensure that owners aren’t faced with unexpected damage, several caravan manufacturers are now advising owners about recommended care procedures and cleaning products. If an owner’s manual lacks detailed guidance, don’t hesitate to seek advice by calling a customer helpline before using unfamiliar products. You’ve got to establish what cleaners to use.
Methylated spirits is a great glass window cleaner – brilliant on splattered insects and birds’ you-know-what. But never use methylated spirits on a caravan’s plastic windows. Meths can create a fantastic finish, but a while later you will experience ‘crazing’ – loads of small cracks all over the surface. And there’s no cure.
Molded body parts
The reason these shine so much on new caravans and motor caravans is that they’re usually coated with acrylic. So any cleaner you use to maintain the shine MUST be suitable for acrylic surfaces. Kitchen and bathroom cleaners usually detail this fact quite clearly on packaging.
Tools for the job
My dad swears a bucket, water, soap, a sponge and a garden hose is good enough for his Bailey Ranger 500/5. With a chamois leather thrown in for good measure! But having watched the professionals in action you might want to invest in some specialist equipment like:
• A high pressure hose – fantastic for stripping away heavy grime, but can damage a caravan, blast away sealant and break fittings.
• A soft bristle brush on a pole – often sold at caravan shows.
• Purpose-made wheel brush – stiff plastic fiber bristles are best.
• Open weave cotton cloth – gaps in the mesh capture minute particles.
• Microfiber cleaning cloth – really great all-round cloth, but can be expensive.
With most older caravans, a bit of hard graft is the only way to keep them in tip top shape. But new caravan owners are often presented with a bit of an advantage by way of a ‘body panel sealant’. Read the rest of this entry »