Here's how to spring clean your camper.
For the camper owner the arrival of good weather doesn't just mean the start of your outdoor adventures again; it's also the time to thoroughly overhaul your van.
Washing the exterior of your camper
To begin with, we'll wash the outside of your camper, an operation requiring the highest level of care. The best way to do it is by aiming the jets of water (which must never be too strong) from the top down, thereby reducing any seepage to a minimum.
Once the layer of dust has been removed, you might see some small holes or dents, possibly caused by branches; it's absolutely crucial to take extra care to avoid that water seeps inside. While washing the van, you must carefully examine all the exterior walls.
If you notice any cracks or seals missing at some points, the problem can easily be solved. If possible, leave it to dry in the sun and then...let's turn our attention to the inside; we've only just started our journey!
The van interior walls
Let’s check the condition of the camper interior walls and ceiling, and after taking down the curtains and shades (which go in the washing machine), we move onto washing with water and special soap using a damp cloth. This will get rid of any dust and exhaust gas. It's an important job; we live and breathe inside the vehicle, so it must be thoroughly sanitised.
Empty the lockers and brush away any soil, sand and dirt residues which have accumulated over the winter. Use a vacuum cleaner and a damp sponge dipped in a mixture of water and vinegar (one glass) or baking soda. Give them a good airing before closing. If there are any smells, mould or damp, check the walls for any signs of seepage.
Rubber seals (on doors, windows and skylights)
Dust down and remove any dirt from door and window seals, getting rid of stones, pine needles, dust, grease, etc. You just need a damp sponge, and when dried, go over the seals with a soft paintbrush dipped in talc: they'll be good as new. An alternative is to use silicone oil. In this case, just gently wipe out a dampened cloth over the rubber.
Hinges and locks
Hinges can be lubricated with special sprays to prevent squeaks and creaks which are signs of possible oxidisation and seizure. Lubricate the pins, allowing the liquid to filter into the cracks and gently move the door backwards and forwards, just enough to allow the liquid to penetrate. Don't forget the locks, including the one for starting the engine. Graphite powder is ideal for this purpose.
Drawers, cupboards and kitchen accessories
While travelling in a camper, dust and exhaust fumes get inside and collect in drawers and cupboards where we store our cutlery, cooking pans, plates and other accessories. Therefore, after emptying, clean them with a cloth thoroughly soaked in water and detergent and dry them. Next move onto the cleaning of sinks, the cooker and the fridge. Pay particular attention to the fridge; it's not enough to empty it, you have to remove all the shelves and wash and degrease them, rinsing with plenty of hot water. Dry, and remember never to close the fridge completely to avoid the formation of bad smells.
Upholstery, carpets, curtains, floor coverings and front seats
Again, baking soda works very well; it neutralises acid deposits formed by dust and dirt on fibres and it eliminates bad smells. This is what to do: after cleaning and beating the fabrics, dust the surface with bicarbonate powder. Leave it to work for an hour or more, then shake it off and clean everything with a vacuum cleaner. You will see the results for yourself.
Mattresses: beds and lofts
It's essential to air mattresses and cushions often by fully opening the camper windows and skylights, and then vacuuming all the gaps and corners of the bed, above and below the mattresses. This will prevent the collection of stale dust in the places hardest to reach.
If possible, cushions and mattresses should be hung outside and pounded with a carpet beater.
Cleaning your camper requires patience, dedication and a dash of precision. Certainly qualities not lacking in good camper owners.
Are you ready? Have a good trip!