Proper cleaning and maintenance are the best ways to make sure your caravan lasts as long as possible. Taking care of your camper after a long trip or before you store it away from the winter is essential, especially if you want to maintain or increase resale value.
Cleaning your caravan is a straightforward but time-consuming task. While cleaning the roof and other hard surfaces of a caravan are pretty straightforward, the windows are a different story. Most caravan windows are made of acrylic, which damages and scratches easily. You can’t clean the windows the same way that you clean the rest of the motor home.
To help you make sure every last bit of your caravan is properly cleaned, let’s take a closer look at caravan windows, what makes them different, and how to go about cleaning them.
Two Parts of Window Maintenance
There are two things to consider for caravan window maintenance. The first and more obvious one is keeping them clean. You can’t really enjoy a trip away if you can’t take in the scenery, so you have to take care of smears, mud, and dirt.
The second thing to think about is preventing and getting rid of any scratches. While taking action to prevent scratches is the best approach, some damage is inevitable, especially if you spend a lot of time in the wilderness. You can fix most minor scratches, but improper cleaning can cause damage that’s more difficult to deal with. All the more reason why you need a proper cleaning routine.
If you want to maintain an excellent view of the outdoors, you have to make sure you tackle both parts of this equation.
How to Clean Caravan Windows
The first step to cleaning your caravan windows is to thoroughly hose them down with water. Don’t be tempted to skip this part because rinsing them with water is the best way to ensure that you don’t scratch them while you’re cleaning. Any little pieces of dirt or debris on the surface of the window can cause a lot of damage once you start scrubbing.
Use a mild detergent that’s safe for acrylic or a cleaner made especially for caravan windows, like VuPlex Caravan Acrylic Window Glass Cleaner. You also need a clean, soft cloth to apply it and scrub the windows clean. Never use a bristle brush as it can easily cause a lot of small scratches and ruin the view.
Using the right cleaner is important. If you use something that’s meant to clean glass or plastic, you might get good results at first, but eventually, the acrylic will crack. This effect is called crazing, and though it takes a while to develop, it’s irreversible. Once you see it, it’s too late, so preventing it is key.
Now that you know what you need and what you don’t need to clean your caravan windows, it’s time to gather your materials and get to it. So, after you hose down the windows with water to get rid of any dirt particles, apply a small amount of cleaner to each window. Then use a soft cloth to wipe away any stuck-on debris. Keep wiping until the surface is clean and dry.
How to Get Rid of Scratches
Scratches can be difficult to get rid of, but not always. Small scratches on the very surface of the window are usually repairable. Generally, though, the deeper the scratches are, the more difficult they are to fix.
If the scratches on your caravan window are minor, try a product like Fenwicks Windowize Scratch Remover. To use it, make sure the window is clean and there are no small pieces of dust, sand, or debris present. Then, apply a small amount to the window and use a soft cloth to buff it in.
Some people may recommend an electric polisher, but it’s really easy to scratch or otherwise damage the acrylic with one. There are a lot of things to consider with a polisher, including how much heat it produces. If you do want to try this method, make sure you don’t end up causing any more damage.
Some products work pretty effectively on mild to moderate cracks. If you’re looking at something a little more significant, though, you may need to consider getting the window replaced.
Tip for Cleaning Caravan Windows
Here are some quick tips and tricks to ensure that you get your caravan windows clean and keep them free from damage.
- Always use a cleaner that is formulated for acrylic. Remember, you might get away with using something else once or twice, but over time, the wrong cleaner can damage your windows. Eventually, they may crack, and your only choice will be to replace them.
- Use either a new clean soft cloth or one that you have previously used to clean your windows. This way, you can be sure that you’re not putting any unwanted chemicals on your caravan windows.
- Never use a pressure washer on windows. Pressure washing is too intense to clean an acrylic window, and it will quickly cause irreparable damage.
- Acrylic is really easy to scratch, so make sure you spray off the windows with water and dampen the cloth you’re using before you get started.
- Don’t use a rotary polisher. Not only can it scratch the acrylic, but it also heats up and can stretch or distort the surface.
- Avoid harsh solvents and other chemicals if you’re trying to remove stuck-on things, like tree sap or labels.
The most important thing to remember when cleaning your caravan windows is that it’s much easier to avoid scratches than it is to fix them. So, making sure you have the right type of cleaner and cloth and that you follow the procedure outlined above is essential.
That said, the good news is that most minor scratches are relatively easy to fix, especially with a product like Fenwicks Windowize Scratch Remover. Make sure you read and follow the directions carefully to get the best results.
See more in our Caravan Cleaning Products Checklist.