Caravan exterior cleaning advice

Sammy Faircloth shows you how a little attention to the exterior of your caravan or motorhome goes a long way

Not only will a good exterior clean make your leisure vehicle look great – but it will protect it too. A visit to cleaning specialist Autoglym’s Academy gave me an insight into the products and techniques that can help to make your outfit look as good as new.


Before pulling out the garden hose, check that you have plenty of room to walk around your caravan/motorhome. Once you are happy with its general position, pitch it at a slight angle so water can run off the roof. Now wind down the corner steadies. Ideally, it is best to start at the top and work down. Pay particular attention to the roof, which collects the majority of your touring debris and where algae and mould tend to grow. Don’t be tempted to walk on the roof of your vehicle – use a stepladder and clean it in stages.

Wash, polish and wax

First, the outfit needs to be hosed down with water to shift loose dirt, leaves, grit and moss. Avoid using a pressure washer (unless the pressure can be adjusted) – they can sometimes
be powerful enough to damage window seals.

Using a specialist cleaner, gradually work your way around the caravan/motorhome. As you complete each section, rinse off with water and move on to the next (it’s important not to let the cleaner dry).

The sun’s rays and exposure to the elements can damage your paintwork, leaving it looking dull and unloved. If this is the case, consider giving the exterior a good polish. Pour a small amount of specialist liquid polish onto an applicator and apply a thin layer to the paintwork in overlapping circles, trying to avoid rubber seals and textured plastics/trim. You can sometimes polish out marks or scratches by increasing the pressure. Once applied, it needs to be left for 15-20 minutes, and then buffed with a finishing cloth.

The final stage is waxing – wax forms a protective barrier on your vehicle that keeps the shine in and the dirt and water out. Follow a similar application procedure but it is recommended to leave the product for 30 minutes before buffing. A good way to see if an area has been waxed is to hose a small area - water will form ‘beads’ on a waxed surface.


Windows and skylights

Caravan/motorhome windows can be very delicate and susceptible to scratching, so it is advisable to use a cleaner designed for use on plastic windows and apply it using a microfibre cloth. Autoglym has a product called ‘Fast Glass’ that can be used on the insides of windows as well. If you come across any scratches, I would highly recommend Fenwicks Windowize - it proves effective for removing scratches made by protruding hedges!

Final thoughts

If the weather continues to stay fine (it’s lovely outside at the time of writing), there really is no excuse to not get out the bucket and sponge. After a bit of hard work, your caravan or motorhome will not only look great, but will be protected in readiness for your next adventure.


Top Tips

1. Avoid washing on sunny days as the sun will dry your vehicle too quickly, leaving watermarks.

2. Only use cleaning products specifically designed for caravans or motorhomes. Household cleaners could do more harm than good.

3. Clean regularly, but deep clean once a year.

4. Invest in a telescopic soft brush for cleaning and a blade for removing rinse water. 

5. Use open-weave cotton cloths as the gaps in the mesh capture minute particles (lint in old T-shirt material can be abrasive).

6. Avoid washing over graphics that are peeling or bleeding.

7. Think about what clothing you wear while cleaning as zips and buttons can scratch paintwork.

8. Open all windows and skylights to get to those places the brush can’t reach.

Note: please can we ask you not to fully clean your outfit on site.


All photos used in this article are c/o Sammy Faircloth.

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