Detailing your RV

Detailing your RV Detailing your RV
Detailing your RV Detailing your RV
Detailing your RV Detailing your RV

SmartRV’s Patrick Frick provides his tips on detailing your motorhome or caravan

Keeping your caravan or motorhome in pristine condition not only keeps it looking tidy, but will also help protect the vehicle. It’s a good time to check the vitals of your vehicle and make sure there is no damage or loose parts needing attention.

How often should I wash the exterior?

This really depends on how much you use your vehicle, and if you tend to go on gravel roads, etc. Be sure to wash off any dirt first with a hose or water-blaster and then use a soft brush with plenty of soap before rinsing it all off, and of course, work from top to bottom. The soap works as a lubricant and cleaner at the same time. Never try to wipe down dirt with a dry cloth as this will scratch your paint.

What should I wash the exterior with?

In general, anything you would use to wash your car with will be fine. Use a car wash soap and mix it with water as per instructions. This is better than dishwashing soap or similar as it will not harm any rubber or sealants and won’t strip off any layers of protective coating that have been applied previously. You might want to invest in a car detailing brush that is attached to a long stick to reach all the way up the top with ease, but make sure it is a brush for this purpose and keep it clean to avoid scratches.

You can polish the vehicle and use protective coatings for extra protection or have a professional do it for you. Once protective coatings are applied, your vehicle will look pristine, and it will be a lot easier to clean it afterwards.

Do I need to worry about cleaning the roof? Any tips?

It is a good idea to clean the roof at least once a year as it is the hardest part to reach and will get very dirty over time. It is best and safest to do it off scaffolding. If you don’t have any, then be sure to be careful, as you do not want to fall from a ladder or the roof. If you are not confident or just prefer the convenience, get professionals to do it for you.

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There’s a musty smell in my RV. Any tips?

Keep the vehicle ventilated and open the windows regularly. Dampness is often the cause, so check for any leaks and try using a dehumidifier to help dry out the vehicle.

Are there any areas I should focus on particularly?

You should focus on the fresh, waste, and black water tanks and make sure they are all fresh and bacteria-free. There are treatments for all three readily available from various motorhome parts suppliers. The tanks are the main reason for bad smells inside your vehicle, something that could ruin your holiday. There are different options either in liquid or tablet form. Check with your supplier as to what would work best for your vehicle.

What’s the best way to clean my RV upholstery?

You will get the best result with an upholstery cleaning machine as it will clean and suck out dirt and grime from deep within the fabrics. If you haven’t got access to one of these, use a hand steam cleaner to loosen up dirt and disinfect fabric, and a towel to work it out and remove the loose grime.

You can also use a general fabric cleaner as per instructions, but it pays to do a spot test somewhere that can’t be seen first in case it discolours or reacts on the upholstery.

However you choose to clean your fabric, be sure to use only small amounts of water as you do not want to soak the fabric.

Is there anything I should do ‘under the hood’ while I’m cleaning?

You can wipe down the engine bay with a wet cloth to keep the engine bay looking tidy, but of course, only do this with the engine off. I do not recommend using a pressure washer as you might wet the electrics or other parts of the engine and cause damage. It is always a good idea to check the fluid levels while you’re at it.

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Are there any areas I should be careful of, or avoid altogether?

It’s wise to avoid any areas that have electronics such as heaters or the back of the fridges. If you clean the engine bay, do so carefully and avoid getting water on the electric circuits. Do not clean these items while they are in operation and ensure you are not plugged into the mains while washing the vehicle. Take extra care around heater and fridge vents and do not get water in them.

Do you have any tips for repairing minor damage to interior wooden veneers?

Repairing minor damage to the interior cabinetry is an art. You can mix colours with wax sticks that are made for this purpose but it will be very hard to match the colour closely and achieve a satisfactory result without a lot of practice.

The best thing is to see a trusted dealer as they will have the expertise and the material to make it look great again.

Any other tips and advice?

Always try to clean your vehicle fully if you know you are going to park it up for a while. Be sure to empty all the tanks to avoid odours and bacteria build-up on waste and black tanks.

It is best to do the same with the fresh water tank as well—it is not safe to drink water that has been sitting inside the tank for weeks or months—and replenish it just before your next trip.

Leave fridge and freezer doors ajar to ventilate and clean of all the remaining water after defrosting. If you can, store the vehicle under cover to protect it from the weather.

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