Bailey Unicorn on its first trip of the Spring

2nd May 2019

Spring is well and truly upon us, and if you are anything like me, you will love this time of year. The clocks have shifted forward, the days are longer and the landscape is blossoming once again.

Spring is also a great time of year to have a clean in the caravan or motorhome and check that the vehicle is ready for the year ahead. So, in this article I will run down some of my top tips for getting the home from home in top condition once again.


Water works

Because of the time it takes, I recommend the first job to tackle would be sterilising the fresh water system. For caravans this would include the Aqua Roll, pump, hot water tank, pipes and taps.

For motorhomes, this would include the freshwater tank, hot water and all the fixings. It is very simple to do and uses just one product.

PuriClean is designed to clean and sterilise the fresh water system including hot and cold-water tanks. Simply add the powder to the water vessels (such as the fresh water tank on a motorhome or Aqua Roll for a caravan) and dilute as per the instructions.

Run the solution through the kitchen and washroom taps (don’t forget the shower too). You can also fill the hot water tank, but remember not to heat the water. Allow them to sit for a few hours before flushing through with fresh water.

When doing this in a caravan, I run 40 litres of fresh water before a taste test. If you let this run through your waste system too, it will help clean the pipework and grey water tanks as well.


Puriclean sterilising powder

Clean your fresh water system first so you can move on to other jobs while you wait

The Roof

While we are waiting for the water system to soak, we can make a start on cleaning the roof and sides of the exterior.

Products such as Fenwicks caravan cleaner or motorhome cleaner are a great choice. To make a great job of cleaning the roof I recommend investing in the following items

  • A good set of step ladders (high enough to allow you access to the roof)
  • A hose or water pump sprayer
  • An extendable brush
  • A clean bucket
  • A squeegee or mop for drying
  • Some caravan shampoo or cleaner
  • Microfibre cloths

To begin with raise the nose of the caravan, or if you are cleaning a motorhome roof, use levelling ramps to angle the roof in one direction. This will encourage water to drain off the surface. Start by washing the roof down and make sure large debris such as leaves are removed.

Make up a solution of shampoo and water in the bucket and using the long-handled brush, start by cleaning around and on the skylights. Rinse these off, and then make a start on the roof. It’s a good idea to segment the roof into six sections and focus on each segment individually.

It is also worthwhile having extra help to pass the brush, hose and cloths to you and to make sure you are safe whilst on a ladder. Next, rinse off and use the squeegee and microfibre cloths to remove as much water as you can.

Items such as solar panels, TV antennas and vents should be cleaned using a sponge or microfibre cloth and take great care not to damage them. Once the roof is dry, it is time to focus on the sides, front and back.


Cleaning the caravan roof with a long handled brush

Cleaning the caravan roof with a long handled brush


The sides

Although a larger surface, the sides can be cleaned quite quickly. Start by damping the surface down. Don’t use a pressure wash and if you are using a hose stay clear of any vents. Make sure that any loose muck is rinsed off the sides.

Like the roof cleaning equipment, the tools and equipment used are minimal. However, I do recommend a dedicated caravan shampoo to really clean the surface to a deep shine. Divide each side into two sections and focus on each part one at a time.

Dilute some shampoo in a bucket of clean water and start from top to bottom washing the surface. Use a soft bubble car cleaning mitt to minimise any scratches on the vehicle sides. Don’t wash the windows with any brush, mop or sponge, instead apply the shampoo with your finger tips. The idea is you will feel any grit and stop before any scratches take place.

Rinse off the side to remove any shampoo and apply a wax or polish. I like to use Fenwicks Bobby Dazzler to give a wax feel to the vehicle. This will help with run off and reduce the risk of black streaks.

Once clean, dry with some micro fibre cloths and admire your work before moving inside.


Fenwicks caravan cleaner concentrate

 Fenwick's caravan cleaner


The Insides

If the caravan or motorhome has been in storage for the winter open the windows, pop up the skylights to allow fresh air to circulate throughout. Spend some time in cleaning the insides of the cupboards and shelves. Use products such as a diluted detergent in warm water, make the solution weaker than usual and use a damp cloth to wipe down any grime. Don’t be tempted to use harsh chemicals as the insides of most caravans can be cleaned with minimal effort. 

Once all the sides, cupboards and shelves are clean remove the carpets and vacuum the seats, fixed beds and bunks. Start from the top and work down towards the floor. All that is left is to vacuum the floor before giving the sides of bed boxes and the floor a good wipe down too.

In the washroom, sinks and showers use some plant-based bleach. These are generally less damaging to plastics and can be washed down with any grey waste (they also work as a great way to freshen up any waste tank). Before closing the skylights and windows, wipe the rubber surrounds with either some silicon based lubricant or light amounts of olive oil to keep the rubber seals supple.


Tidy drawer in the Phoenix Ridgeway

Clean the insides of drawers and cupboards ready for your Spring trips



This is also a great time to declutter the cupboards and drawers of any item that you may have in the caravan. I’m sure we are not the only ones to carry items that we never use. So, be ruthless. If you haven’t used it, ask yourself do you really need it?

We found information leaflets, postcards and site maps as a typical example of items we removed when cleaning the caravan.

While digging around with paperwork, make sure that all your subscriptions are up to date too. Items such as Tracker/security, Club memberships – The Caravan and Motorhome Club or Camping and Caravanning Club, road recovery and insurance details are all correct.


Inside of Bailey Unicorn after a spring clean

A freshly cleaned and decluttered Bailey Unicorn caravan