When you are busy exploring or travelling sometimes those cleaning jobs don’t get done as often as they should. So on top of basic daily cleaning, we try and give our van a really thorough clean every couple of months. So here are a few tips for cleaning your caravan that work for us.
Just like a conventional home, your caravan will get dirty! Sometimes, maybe even more so. The residue of dirt roads, muddy roads, sandy campsites, grassy campsites will all eventually end up in or on your van. Even if you are parked up somewhere for awhile, just like a normal house your benches, windows and floors will get dusty. If like us, you live in your van full time you can expect that over time it will show some signs of wear and tear as well.
When it comes to cleaning your caravan, this is my number 1 tip! The surfaces inside a caravan are very different to the inside surfaces of a house. They are made from much lighter materials in order to keep weight down. When you are cleaning these surfaces be gentle. Scrubbing to hard or using harsh cleaners such as bleach may damage the laminate surfaces commonly used in caravan interiors.
I try to only use products that are eco friendly. I use these products because they are generally low in phosphates, low in sodium and contain no ammonia, bleach or chlorine. Most should also be labelled as being Grey Water and Septic Tank safe as well. The two brands I use the most are Green Action from Aldi and Earth Choice which is generally available at either Woolworths or Coles.
If you want to go a step further with your eco friendly cleaning products, check out the amazing Australian made Camp Eco products. They will certainly help you do your bit for the environment when you are caravanning.
Our van floors are definitely the spot that get the dirtiest. Most days, I give the floors a quick sweep with a soft bristle broom. I find this type of broom great for picking up dust and fine sand. As we use a flannelette quilt cover in winter, I find it sheds a bit of fluff so our hand held dust buster is great for cleaning around the bed and also running over our floor mats if I don’t want to take them outside.
When I do take the mats out, I use an old fashioned straw broom head to brush them off.
When it comes to washing the floors I use a normal mop and warm water in a bucket. If I’m cleaning up a spill or a spot I just use a damp micro fibre cloth.
One spot I always find hard to clean is the molding where the floor and wall join together. It seems to catch all the dust but an old toothbrush does a good job of cleaning the groove.
THE BENCH TOPS
When cleaning the bench tops I always use a damp sponge, like these cute biodegradable ones from Adventure Awaits.
I give the benches a quick spray then wipe over with the damp cloth. Then I will generally dry them off with a microfibre cloth, to leave them streak free. I find cleaning our kitchen is a breeze as we do all our cooking outside on our Weber so there is no cooking residue on anything. Plus I love not having to clean an oven!
THE WINDOWS AND BLINDS
Again as the windows are made of perspex I don’t want to risk using anything to harsh on them so I find the Earth Choice Glass Cleaner and paper towel does an excellent job.
For the fly screens the thing that works the absolute best are baby wipes. As they are so soft, they do a great job on the delicate mesh. I have also used them to wipe over the block out part of the blind as well.
The shower in our van is molded fibre glass so again, I don’t like to use anything with harsh chemicals in it. Not to mention the fumes in a small space! Once again I use Earth Choice Bath and Shower Rapid Clean and a textured sponge. The hardest part to clean is the floor as it has raised ‘dots’ on it. If is really grubby I will use vinegar and bi-carb. Sprinkle the floor with bi-carb, then pour about a cup of vinegar over the top. Then let it sit for half an hour before giving it a scrub with a soft dish brush. Rinse off with water and your floor will be sparkly clean.
The added bonus of using vinegar and bi-carb is that it gives the drain and pipes a clean out at the same time.
I must admit, we don’t use our toilet a lot. Even when we are free camped somewhere, we will often find a spot that has a loo. When I am cleaning it I’m mindful of not cleaning it with anything that might damage the seals in the cassette. I give the bowl a spray with multi purpose cleaner, give it a scrub with a soft toilet brush and then a good rinse.
I wipe over the seat and around the edges of the bowl with anti-bacterial wipes.
DON’T FORGET THE AIR CON
When cleaning your caravan, don’t forget the air con filter! Whether you use your air con for heating or cooling it will suck dust in, but it is definitely worse in summer. So every few weeks, I pull the filter down and washing it under running water. If it is really dirty you can give it a gentle scrub with a soft bristle brush. Then leave to dry before replacing it.
Being on the road full time, it can be really hard to find somewhere to wash the van, with water being as precious as it is. So when we find somewhere, it gets washed from top to bottom. Our van has had paint protection applied to it so when it does get washed, we use good quality car wash. We use a soft pad attached to a painters pole to reach up high without needing to use a ladder.
The one spot you will need a ladder to reach, is the solar panels and the hatches over the bathroom. Keeping the solar panels clean helps with efficiency. As for the hatches over the bathroom, these in our van can’t be cleaned from inside as they have a screen over them which isn’t removable. So we use a microfibre cloth and some warm soapy water to clean them from the outside.
Do you have any great tips for cleaning your caravan? What products do you find work best for you?