7 Mistakes You’re Making When Cleaning Your Motorhome

December 16, 2022 in Tips for Owners and Maintenance & appliances

We recently covered our 30-minute motorhome cleaning routine, outlining all of the steps to get your vehicle in tip-top shape. While writing that article, many of the most common mistakes kept coming up. Many try to quicken the process by turning to pressure washers or other ‘cheats’, not realising the devastating effect this can have on your beautiful motorhome.

That’s why it seemed only right to follow up with an article dedicated to the biggest mistakes people make when cleaning a motorhome. Here are the seven things to absolutely avoid when cleaning your vehicle, whether it’s a 5-minute wash or your dedicated post-winter storage clean. 

Goboony Cleaning Motorhome Mistakes H2 Campervan Clean Errors

1. Using a pressure washer

Pressure washers seem to be growing more and more popular in recent years. And while it may be so satisfying to watch videos of them unearthing long-lost carpets and renewing driveways, they do not belong anywhere near your motorhome.

While pressure washers can be used safely on cars, motorhomes are built differently. They come with various seals and sealants around doors and windows. These are fine under pressure until the motorhome ages, as they become less flexible and break up. 

So even though pressure washers are used by motorhome dealers, this doesn’t mean they're safe for you to use. The difference is:

  • They’re a professional using a professional-grade machine
  • The motorhome is brand new at this point
  • They’re not invested in the long-term care but rather making it pristine for selling under time pressure

It’s really not worth the risk. Instead, use a long-reach telescopic brush with a hose connection. This will clean gently but thoroughly, and make the task much easier. But remember that you’ll need a larger-than-average bucket to fit the head.

2. Using dishwashing liquid

I’ll be honest, I often use dishwashing liquid for cleaning interiors. Whether it’s because I’m out of my usual product or feeling lazy, dishwashing liquid can work perfectly fine. I admit this because you should know that even if you generally use it, dishwashing liquid should never be used for cleaning your motorhome.

What people don't realise is that dishwashing liquid is actually corrosive to metal surfaces. And your motorhome is likely covered in those! While you won’t notice any chance the first few times, eventually, this habit will catch up to you and wreak havoc on your gorgeous motorhome.

What should you use instead of dishwashing liquid? Car washing detergents can also be too abrasive for anything past the motorhome cab, so go for a mild detergent, preferably designed for motorhomes. Or opt for more natural products!

3. Using boiling water

Boiling water is the best option for cleaning…right? That’s why the highest setting does the finest job for dishwashers and makes your plates sparkle. But this is not the case for motorhomes. 

Just think of what happens when you put a plastic item in your dishwasher at that heat. Or if you were to drop a plastic spoon into 100-degree water. Not pleasant. Well, your motorhome has a lot of its own plastic components, such as your windows.

So while you should use warm water for cleaning, you should always be able to dip your hand in it. This keeps your rubber seals and plastic pieces in good condition.

Goboony Cleaning Motorhome Mistakes H2 Campervan Clean Errors

4. Only using one bucket

Especially when cleaning the outside of your motorhome, your bucket of soapy water quickly grows dirty. There’s a very simple solution to this: two buckets!

Have one bucket of warm, soapy water, and another with cold water. After cleaning a dirty patch, submerge your sponge/ mitt/ cloth into the cold water first. Then go for the warm soapy water. This keeps your soapy water clean longer, so you get the job done quickly, rather than constantly refilling your warm water bucket.

5. Ruining your acrylic windows

Acrylic windows scratch easily, far easier than you imagine. There are many ways to ruin your acrylic windows, two of which have already been covered: pressure washers and boiling water.

Another way is using too rough of a sponge. And once it’s scratched, there’s no going back without a trip to the garage. 

A lot of people like using clean mitts, but there is always a risk of picking us some grit and unknowingly rubbing it along your motorhome and windows. So instead, I prefer using a microfibre cloth and grabbing a fresh one for the windows. Then you know that it’s grit-free.

Additionally, be wary of which products you use. For acrylic windows, you want to avoid methylated spirits, acetone or Isopropyl alcohol. Go for natural products or the home remedy of vinegar and water.

6. Hoovering too early

It can be tempting to start with hoovering, but this just creates more work for yourself. Cleaning all the appliances and surfaces is bound to send crumbs and dust flying, which means all your hoovering will be for nothing. Instead, focus on finishing the complete interior first and round it off with a good hoover.

Goboony Cleaning Motorhome Mistakes H2 Campervan Clean Errors

7. Forgetting the cab

We like to call a motorhome a ‘home on wheels’, and when you think of that, you’re focused on the living aspect of it. You think of the cosy bed, the living area, and the kitchen. You don’t think about the cab, even though the real perk of a motorhome is the freedom to drive anywhere. The same happens with cleaning; we get so focused on everything behind the cab that we forget this vital area. 

Especially when hiring out your motorhome, the cab area is their first big impression. This is where they’ll be throughout the first drive. So if it’s dusty with bits and bobs lying around, it loses a bit of the professional touch. 

Be sure to spend five minutes cleaning the cab, as it really doesn’t take longer than that. Knock the floor mats around, take a handheld hoover over the seats, and wipe down the dashboard and wheel. Presto, you’re done!

Seven easy mistakes to make when cleaning your motorhome, but also seven easy mistakes to avoid! Now that you know these common errors, you can wash your motorhome with no problem. Get it shiny for your next booking or your own adventure, and enjoy all of the envious stares as you pass.

Looking to earn from your motorhome when you're not using it? Find out more about how to list your motorhome.