Time for a Spring clean?

By: Bill Savidan

It’s time to wash away the winter grime and get your RV sparkling for spring. Bill Savidan has some handy tips to get you started

NIESMANN + BISCHOFF ARTO 88LF iStock-1129425950.jpg

It may not mean much to most of us, but for New Zealand gardeners September 21 is a day for celebration. It’s the official start of springtime, when sunlight hours start to exceed night-time hours and daylight saving is upon us. So now, with summer just over the horizon, it’s time to clean and check RVs inside and out in readiness for the new season.

If stored uncovered over winter, an RV’s outside surface can accumulate a lot of mould and slime that may need more than soap and water to remove. Products specifically formulated for the job are well worth considering for this first clean of the season. They are more effective than household cleaners but not as harsh and potentially damaging as industrial strength ones.

  1. Let the water or chemical you are using do the work for you. Apply it to the surface then leave it for a few minutes to soften up the dirt and grime before brushing, wiping or hosing it off.
  2. It’s best to do your cleaning in the shade, not in the sun to avoid having the washing solution dry on the bodywork before you have time to rinse it off. Otherwise smears and watermarks may be the result.
  3. Using appropriate sponges, brushes and cloths can make the job easier and produce a better result. Use a brush with an extending handle to reach inaccessible places; it’s safer and easier than working from a ladder. Micro fibre cloths and pads work well to draw dirt into the fabric rather than having it grind away on gel coating or gloss painted surfaces. Rinse them regularly to get rid of accumulated dirt.
  4. RV windows need special care. Light in weight, they are fabricated from acrylic sheeting that is susceptible to scratching and chemicals that can cause them to ‘craze’, resulting in fine surface cracks. Water the windows thoroughly before wiping them down, and make sure when finishing that they are free of chemical residue. Scratch-removal polishes for acrylic windows are also available should you need them.
  5. RV air vents are open through all seasons, keeping the air inside moving to reduce the accumulation of dampness, mildew and mould. However, this brings dust and grit inside and into the carpets and upholstery fabric. This is easily removed using a vacuum cleaner but ingrained dirt will need treatment with an appropriate product. Foaming action cleaners are worth trying; they don’t get the fabric too damp and the dirt comes off when the foam is removed. Household cleaners are satisfactory for cleaning RV cabinets and benches.
  6. Lubricate metal door and locker hinges so they run free and don’t squeak. Silicone spray is useful for this task, but remember to keep it away from the acrylic windows; it can play havoc with them in a short space of time if you don’t. It’s also a good spray to use on the rubber seals in the toilet cassette to keep them supple and effective.
  7. Now is a good time to freshen up your toilet cassette and the grey water tank. One way of doing this is to empty the tanks and then fill them one-third with water dosed with either a proprietary tank cleaner (try Thetford) or enzyme washing machine powder. Two scoops in each tank will be sufficient. After a 15-minute drive, empty the tanks at a dump station. That should do the trick.
  8. Freshening the fresh water tank can seem complicated, especially with so many methods and products to choose from. Camco’s ‘TastePure Water Freshener’ is a reliable option. Simply add to the tank when you refill it. It is available at RV supply stores.

Watch the water!

Water restrictions in Auckland make it very difficult to keep motorhome exteriors clean. Here are a couple of suggestions.

  1. Use a backpack spray unit. Bunnings have a Nylex 12-litre model for $65. Modify the nozzle so the water flow is increased, and away you go. Just remember to use car wash detergent, not dish wash detergent, in with the water and don’t use too much. It won’t pump foam.
  2. Take your RV to a car wash facility that has onsite water recycling.


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