A touring caravan is likely to be one of their biggest investments for many owners, so it’s worth looking after and protecting it.
Algae, moss, wear and tear, scratches and dents can drastically affect the appearance and the value of your caravan.
Cleaning the roof of a caravan seems like an arduous task, one that is often neglected. Heavy rainfall does not wash the roof, especially if you’re camping under trees or by the sea. Moss often leaves dark marks and streaks after it has been cleaned off, and the longer you leave it, the harder it is to clean.
Here are some of our tips to keep your caravan in pristine condition.
Related: Cleaning a Caravan
When To Clean A Caravan Roof
Cloudy, dry days with little or no wind are best for tackling the roof, so it won’t dry out before you finish each step.
How often you tackle the roof is up to you. Owner responses vary from never to four times a year or more.
Many caravan owners wash the roof before winter storage. However, that’s when a build-up of green, brown moss and algae is most likely and difficult to remove come the spring.
In short, the more often you wash it, the less of a challenge the task will be, saving time and effort in the long run.
Position Your Caravan
Park your caravan in a space where you can move all the way around it and place your ladder or tower easily and safely.
With a towing caravan, it’s a good idea to park it nose down or up, so the water just runs off.
Position Your ladder
Make sure your ladder gives you safe access to the centre of the roof from all sides of your caravan.
Can You Stand On A Caravan Roof To Clean It?
While it depends on the construction and make of your tourer whether it can hold your weight without damage to the roof or you, it is generally not advisable to stand on a wet caravan roof due to the risk of falling.
Investing in a work tower or telescopic ladder is a good idea.
Telescopic ladders are adjustable and a better option than fixed ones because you’ll have access to the centre of the roof rather than having to reposition the ladder.
The risk is minimal as you lean forwards or bend to wash the roof. Telescopic ladders are also more compact and lightweight.
Six inches above the height of the caravan is a comfortable height to work from.
One caravanner tip is to wrap old towels around the top of the ladder to avoid scratching and sliding. You should ensure your ladder meets the EN131 certification requirements.
Caravan Cleaning Solutions
A flexi bucket of warm water is the easiest option for wide brushes.
What kind of cleaner you use depends on your personal preference and the state of the caravan roof.
If the area is relatively clean, PH shampoo or a carwash solution are recommended options.
For heavier cleaning, use an ordinary all-purpose household cleaner. Use a product that will kill off any spores without damaging the paintwork,
Dividing the area into four parts, cleaning one section at a time, makes the task more manageable, and after spraying the caravan roof with cleaning solution, you’re ready to brush away the dirt and debris.
The type of brush depends on the caravan and the owner, but bear in mind that stains and dirt in harder to reach areas can be up to 2 metres away from you.
Brushes for Cleaning
There is a wide range of brushes available to suit your budget, with ergonomically designed handles. These brushes draw the soapy water up through a syringe pump and softer bristles to ensure the roof is undamaged.
A telescopic brush that enables you to reach the corners is the preferred option, and caravanners often get creative with adapted long-handled brooms and household steam mops.
Exercise caution if you use a high-pressure washer or steam cleaners because they can damage the seals and end up with a leaky roof.
A long-handled emulsion pad for painting behind the radiators is good for cleaning under the solar panel if you have one. Debris, dirt, and moss accumulate in these hard to reach areas.
A seasoned caravanner tip is to wrap the head of an old telescopic car brush in a piece of old carpet attached with self-tapping screws; it helps remove algae.
Likewise, a small paintbrush is a simple way to clean the less accessible, more fragile areas. It’s a good idea to wrap the metal areas of the brush in tape to avoid scratches.
Cleaning the Caravan Roof
For some, spraying with a pressure washer loosens dirt fast, but be careful to steer clear of the windows to avoid water damage to the seals.
Alternatively, a better option is to use a hosepipe or throw buckets of warm soapy water over the roof area.
Green, brown, and black streaks from moss and algae and clumps of moss accumulated over time are common issues when cleaning your caravan roof.
Firm horizontal strokes with a non-abrasive sponge or long handle soft bristle brush in horizontal strokes usually works. Rub the area to remove any growth and rinse off the debris.
Try sugar soap or soda crystals to clean off tree sap, moss, and algae for more persistent growth.
Rinse your sponges and cloths frequently to minimise abrasion from any contaminants.
Wax and Seal
Polish improves the look of the surfaces, but it will not offer protection. When you’ve finished cleaning, waxing the roof will make the roof shine, protect the paintwork over the winter, and provide a barrier against dirt and debris, making it easier to brush off and wash next time.
Water runs off a waxed surface more readily too. A soft mop wrapped in cleaning cloths makes the job easier, and there is a wide variety of suitable products available, some of which can be sprayed on using a garden sprayer.
Now it’s time to put your feet up for a well-earned rest!