Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Campervan

Avoid these simple mistakes when cleaning your campervan

We recently went over all the necessary steps to make sure your campervan is in the best shape. While writing that post, several of the more common mistakes continued to come up. Many owners try speeding up the processes by using pressure washers along with other types of "cheats" without being aware of some of the catastrophic effects this could cause to your beloved motorhome.

This is why we felt it was necessary to follow this post up with all the information you would need on some of the largest mistakes many people have made when they clean their motorhomes. Below are seven things you need to completely avoid before you clean your campervan, whether this involves a dedicated storage clean post-winter or a quick 5-minute wash.

- Washing Your Vehicle When It Is Exposed To Direct Sunlight

You might be reading this advice and be thinking this cannot be right. While you might be under the impression that you should be cleaning your motorhome in the brightest and hottest weather, this is the main reason why you shouldn't. Under bright sunlight, the water is going to evaporate quicker than you will be able to wipe it away, which will leave watermarks across the body of the car. The soap or foam may also dry out well before you have rinsed it off and this will also leave behind unsightly spots.

campervan air flowing

The solution is very simple, rather wait until it is cool before you decide to start cleaning your vehicle. Sunset or sunrise are better times, especially in the height of summer when the rays of the sun are extremely harsh and damaging. You should also park your vehicle away from direct sunlight when possible. If you have the provisions to clean your motorhome under a shaded cover, this is even better. Sun is good for your solar panels but not your paint.

- Using A High-Pressure Washer

Over the last few years, pressure washers have become extremely popular. And even though it may seem satisfying to view those videos of this equipment renewing driveways or restoring carpets, you should never use one on your motorhome.

While it is safe to use a pressure washer on a car, campervans have been built very differently. They feature various sealants and seals around the windows and doors. These can withstand a bit of pressure, but not once the motorhome has started to age, this is when these parts become a lot less flexible as well as prone to breaking.

Even though motorhome dealers are known for using a pressure washer, this does not mean you are safe to use one on yours. Here are some of the differences:

They are professionals that use professional-grade equipment

These motorhomes are at this stage, brand new

They are not really interested in long-term care but rather in making sure the vehicles are pristine so that they can sell them as quickly as possible

It is not worth risking it. You should rather be using a telescopic soft brush with a long reach with a secure hose connection. This will ensure a thorough, but gentle cleaning process, and make your cleaning task a lot easier. But keep in mind, that a bigger-than-average bucket will be needed to fit onto the head.

- Avoid Using Sponges

Some of the main reasons to avoid sponges when you wash your car are the grit and other abrasives that get stuck in flat surfaces. When you rub this over the paintwork it can commonly cause those horrible swirl marks that become visible when the sun shines on your vehicle.

soft brush

You should rather invest in a wash-mitt. These products don't have flat surfaces, which means it is kinder on the paintwork of your vehicle.

- Using A Home-Based Detergent Or Kitchen Soap

This might feel convenient or easy, or you may be under the impression that it is perfectly fine to use a detergent or kitchen detergent with warm soapy water. Regardless of the reason, avoid using these products on your vehicle.

One of the most important components of maintaining your vehicle is to use the correct cleaning solution since they are specifically designed for these purposes. Detergent or kitchen soap will strip the car's paint and wax, especially with frequent use. You need to use some sort of car washing detergents for the job

- Using Boiled Water

Some people think that boiling hot water is one of the most effective ways to clean. This is usually why the hottest setting on your dishwasher makes the cutlery and plates sparkle. But this is not true when it comes to motorhomes.

Think about what happened the last time you washed plastic items under this type of heat. Or what would happen after dropping a plastic item into water heated to 100 degrees? A motorhome has many plastic components, which include parts in the motorhome windows.

You can use tepid or warm water when you clean your motorhome, just make sure you can safely immerse your hands in it. This will ensure that the plastic pieces and rubber seals remain in great condition.

- Using Only One Bucket

Ideally, you should use at least two buckets. One that contains warm soapy water, and the other to rinse with. If you are using only one bucket, the wash-mitt will become dirty quickly, and pick up grit. You could also use a bucket with a grid installed in the bottom so that you can rub your wash-mitt across every time to make sure it is free from grit.

- Washing Your Vehicle In The Wrong Order

This is one of the facts that is no secret, yet somehow it is. The order that you are washing your car in really matters. It is just as important as the cleaning equipment and products you are using. So, you may be wondering what the correct order is. Well, you should always clean your tires first and then the bodywork last. This is because the most dirty part would be the tires and if you are washing it last, then the mud and sand will land up on the paintwork that you have just cleaned. To save yourself time and extra effort, always wash your tires first. Follow up with a rinse so the stubborn dirt that has splashed onto the paintwork doesn't leave scratches once you start washing the body.

Once you have finished washing and you are wiping the vehicle down, start with the body and then move on to the tires. Clean from the top to the bottom so that you don't move any dirt from your rims or tires to the body.

- Damaging Your Acrylic Windows

Acrylic windows can easily get scratched, a lot easier than you might have thought. There are various ways to ruin acrylic windows, such as using boiling water or a pressure washer.

Another easy way to scratch acrylic windows is when using a rough sponge. And once they are scratched you won't be able to avoid a visit to your local garage.

We mentioned that it is better to use a cleaning mitt, yet there are still the risks of collecting abrasive grit in the mitt and then unknowingly rubbing this along the windows and the motorhome itself. I personally prefer using a microfibre cloth and using a clean one before I start working on the windows. You can then be sure that you are cleaning your windows with a grit-free microfibre cloth and following the correct cleaning process.

You should also be mindful of the type of products you are using. When it comes to acrylic windows, avoid using products that contain Isopropyl alcohol, acetone, or methylated spirits. Rather choose a natural product or a simple mixture of warm water and vinegar.

campervan wax

- Never Applying Wax

While waxing might seem like an unnecessary step, the effort is well worth it. In addition to giving the paintwork an attractive shine, it also adds a protective layer over the clear coat.

- Applying Too Much Wax

Even though waxing can provide an additional protection layer, this is only true when you do it the right way. Many people use far too much wax on their cars, it is really not necessary. It may even cause issues with your paintwork over the long term.

A thin wax layer will provide more than enough protection to your car. But if you are finding it difficult to find the correct balance, look for a cleaner that has a combination of wax and soap mixed in the correct proportions to achieve a high shine, scratch-free finish.

- Using An Old Shirt Or Towel To Wash Your Vehicle

You should avoid using old towels or shirts to wash or dry your vehicle since these materials might leave the paintwork susceptible to steaks and scratches since it may be too abrasive for your motorhome. Keep in mind that choosing the correct cleaning equipment and products is essential. You should rather be using soft materials with absorbing qualities.

- Leaving Your Car To Dry Naturally

If you leave your car to dry naturally after washing and rinsing it, it could leave behind unsightly watermarks. This is especially the case when washing a vehicle in the sun, something that you should already be avoiding.

- Not Cleaning Under Your Wheel Arches

Cleaning a vehicle involves more than only cleaning the visible parts. This is especially true when it comes to an older car, and it will be worth your while to spend extra time on the under part of the wheel arches. If you leave this part out, mud will start to build up. Mud will then result in moisture which can lead to rust which will damage your motorhome. Be sure to clean brake dust from your camper van wheels too. Brake dust build up will damage your alloys if you don't. A non scratch wheel brush works best here. Be sure it is a soft brush. To give it a bit of extra shine, use some instant tyre dressing.

- Cleaning Bird Poop Without A Lubricant

Bird poop might be frustrating, and many people are tempted to scrape the mess off as soon as they see it. However, the correct way to remove it will involve lubrication. Bird droppings are acidic, and they can damage your paintwork, especially when the poop dries. Rather spray on a lubricant or use a cloth soaked in water and hold it over the stain until it dissolves.

Hoovering At The Wrong Time

You may be tempted to hoover your vehicle before you wash and dry it. But this creates extra work since when you clean any appliance or its surfaces, it usually sends dust and crumbs flying, which means you will probably need to hoover again. Rather clean the interior completely before ending off with a thorough hoover.

hoovering your campervan

- Allowing Someone Else To Wash Your Vehicle

Unfortunately, not everyone has enough free time, which is why many people are attracted to local hand-washing places. However, it is not easy to tell what methods are used, or whether the person conducting the job has enough experience. Of course, if you are willing to spend more it becomes easier to find an establishment that will carry out these tasks correctly, especially the detailing firms. But always remember that your vehicle will be safest with you.

- Forgetting Your Cab

We like calling motorhomes 'a home on wheels' and when thinking about that, you will focus more on the actual living aspects associated with the vehicle. You start thinking about the kitchen, living area, and cosy beds. You stop thinking about the actual vehicle, despite the fact that the main benefit is a campervan hire provides you with the freedom to go anywhere. The same applies to cleaning, we become so focused on all the things in the back of the vehicle, that we sometimes neglect this important area. This is especially true if you hire out your campervan, your cab area makes the first and last impression.

This is where the driver is going to be for the duration of the initial drive. So, when there is clutter lying around and this area is dusty, it will lose its professional touch.

Make sure you spend a bit of your time cleaning out the cab. Hoover the seats, knock any dust from your floor mats and wipe the wheel and dashboard down. Now your job is complete. Keeping your vehicle spotless and shiny shouldn't be a daunting task. All that is needed is the correct washing techniques and the right cleaning products. We hope this information will assist you in avoiding these common mistakes from here on out.