We get so many questions on maintenance for pop up campers, that we put together this little series. A few weeks ago, we talked all about how we spring clean the exterior of our PUP. We tackled exterior maintenance items like canvas care, battery maintenance, and trailer bearings. If you missed that post, you can find it here.
This week, I promised a good look at how we spring clean the interior of our camper. Spring cleaning is usually a pretty big production around here. Although I clean the camper when we return from trips, I only deep clean the camper once a year. I want to make sure everything is thoroughly spotless and ready for the upcoming season, so the cleaning process is a little more in-depth. Come on in, and I will show you what I mean. 😀
Clean the Canvas Interior
We usually do a quick wipe down of the interior of all the canvas once a year. When we first got the camper, we did a major scrub-down with Woolite and water, and the interior stays pretty clean all year. Once a year, though, I like to give it a wipe down with 303 Multi Surface Cleaner just to keep it looking great and prevent dirt from building up. We sometimes get black marks on the canvas from the bed tracks, and the Multi Surface Cleaner does a good job of removing those. I just spray it on, then wipe it off with a damp rag.
Once the canvas is all dry, we treat the exterior-facing window flaps. They will be exposed to the elements, so we make sure they have a good coat of 303 High Tech Fabric Guard to keep the moisture at bay. We cover our mattresses with cheap waterproof covers–I got ours at Walmart–and lay an absorbent towel underneath the window. Then we unzip the flap and lay it across the towel. You can treat the canvas flap just like you treated the exterior. We spray 303 High Tech Fabric Guard on in overlapping bursts. There is really no need to waterproof the interior of the canvas. If you’ve done a good job waterproofing the exterior, you should have nothing to worry about.
Remove and Wash All Bedding, Curtains, and Cushion Covers
When I made my curtains and cushion covers, I knew I wanted them to be removable so I could easily take them off and wash them. Those wrap around zippers on my cushions are the bomb, I tell ya! 😉 Every year I remove the cushion covers, curtains, and valances and give them a wash in my machine on the gentle cycle. I always line dry them so they won’t shrink and the heat won’t damage the black out lining. Sometimes I need a little help getting the wrinkles out, though, and I’ve found that if I set my iron on a cooler setting, it gets them neatly pressed without damaging anything.
Because we often have issues with my kids dropping food on the cushions or spitting toothpaste on the curtains, I treat everything with a stain guard. I have never been disappointed with the 303 Products I have tried. I had recently used this 303 Stain Guard on my newly upholstered dining room chairs with good results, so I decided to give their Stain Guard inside the camper. It is amazing. No more toothpaste stains, and I can wipe things clean easily. I’m sure Scotch Guard or something similar would work well, too.
We wash the bedding after every trip. If we are on a long trip, we will wash it a couple times at camp, too. During spring cleaning, however, I go a little further. I make sure all the bedding is clean (including duvet inserts) and fold it all up to store it in these huge Ziploc flexible totes on the floor of the camper. Each bed gets a bag, and I store sheets, comforters, and pillows for the bed all in one bag. The totes have a zipper closures, which work great for getting things in and out easily. I stuff a few dryer sheets in with the bedding, and when we are ready to use it, everything smells fresh and clean. When they aren’t holding bedding, I can store the empty totes in a corner cabinet of the camper, and they don’t take up much space at all.
Deep Clean the Cassette Toilet
We clean the cassette toilet after every trip, but once a year we really get in there and deep clean everything. We clean out the holding tank well and remove the emptying spout to make sure we clean every corner. Then we clean the exterior and bowl with Thetford Aqua-Clean, which is safe for the seal. ou want to make sure whatever product you use to clean the toilet is safe for the seals and the plastic.
When we first got the camper, the valve blade in our cassette toilet would stick when we tried to open it. After a few treatments of seal conditioner (we like Thetford Toilet Seal), it was working perfectly again. At least once a year, we use Toilet Seal to recondition the seal and make sure everything opens smoothly. If you want to learn more about how we maintain our cassette toilet, you can check out this post we wrote for all the details.
Grease the Bed Tracks and Lift Arms
We lubricate the lift arms and bed tracks while we are spring cleaning. I listed this with our inside process, but the lift arms are actually lubricated from the outside of the camper. We usually place a piece of cardboard behind each post to protect the canvas and spray a little silicone spray or dry grease along the arm. We like silicone or dry lubricating spray because it doesn’t attract dirt, and it dries clear, so it doesn’t leave grease behind on your canvas. This same lubricant is what we use on the inside of the bed tracks, and it helps them glide in and out easier.
Mop Floors, Clean Cabinets, & Wash Area Rugs
Our white cabinets have held up really well over the past few years (you can read all about that here), but they do need to be deep cleaned once a year, and spring cleaning is the perfect time to do it. I can usually just take a damp Magic Eraser to them to wipe them clean. In fact, after a few swipes of the Magic Eraser, they look brand new again.
While I am cleaning the cabinets, I always take this opportunity to run all the dinnerware and utensils through my dishwasher and pack them back in their drawers. We do dishes at camp, but I like to make sure my dishes get run through the dishwasher on a hot cycle every now and again. 😀 If you’d like to see how we organize our camper and what stays in it year-round, check out this post.
Once my cabinets are all clean, I move to the floors. We have inexpensive area rugs scattered throughout the camper, so those hit the washing machine at least once a year–usually much, much more than once a year. 😆 While I am waiting for those to wash, I pull out my Swiffer WetJet and mop the floors. I also try to give the fridge a good scrub-down, too. Then I replace all my rugs and call it good.
Once those interior things are all taken care of, my pop up camper is ready to hit the road. And… by the time we’ve finished all that maintenance, we are ready to hit the road, too. 😉 It does take a little bit of work to get the camper ready for the season, but it is so worth it. Proper maintenance will keep your camper in top shape, and by going through everything thoroughly, you can stave off any potential problems, too.
That wraps up our segment on spring cleaning. What is on your spring cleaning list? See anything we missed? Feel free to comment below or leave us a comment on Facebook.
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