A pop-up camper is a great, lightweight RV option for those who are new to RVing, or for those who like quaint camping! They’re versatile, fairly easy to set up, and simple to care for! Just like any RV, periodic maintenance and cleaning is essential to keeping your pop-up clean and looking like new! Here are some great tips for cleaning and caring for pop-up campers!
Over time, your canvas could become dirty, develop mildew, and start to lose its waterproof quality. With some great products and a lot of elbow grease, you can make your pop-up’s canvas look like new! First, give your canvas a thorough cleaning with a mixture of about 1/4 cup of mild detergent to five gallons of water. Many recommend Woolite, however it is always best to check your owner’s manual first, and always perform a spot check with any product before applying to the whole area of your camper. If you find black streaks inside or out, which can be caused by grease from moving parts, use an appropriate multipurpose cleaner with a generic white eraser sponge and those streaks should wipe right off! If you find that mildew is present, either purchase a mildew spray made especially for fabrics, or use a mixture of 1/4 cup dish soap and one cup of bleach per one gallon of water, and gently scrub the stain. Never vigorously scrub your canvas or you could ruin it! Rinse your canvas, making sure to completely rinse any residue, and allow it to fully dry. Once it is dry, apply a water-repellent fabric protectant. Sunbrella fabrics, whose fabric comes equipped on some pop-up campers, has a great line by the name of 303 which has numerous fabric cleaning and protecting after-market products. Try out their fabric guard, which will give you a great seal that will last up to a year. Be sure to check your canvas periodically for mildew, and test its water resistance to see if you need to reapply a fabric guard.
The vinyl fabrics on the tenting of your pop-up will require a little bit of care as well to keep them looking like new! Use a vinyl cleaner and protectant spray, which cleans your vinyl and applies a great layer that protects and polishes your vinyl in one easy step! Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application. The windows of pop-ups are typically made of vinyl as well, so you can use this same cleaner to get the grime and buildup off for a crystal clear view!
Before you move on to cleaning your hard sides, allow your canvas to completely dry out for a few days before folding it back down. Folding down a pop-up when it is still wet is a surefire recipe for mildew! Fold down your camper, then use a mixture of dish soap and water to clean your hard sides! Give a little extra attention to tough areas with a brush and extra soap, and try your white eraser sponge on paneling and the roof! Once you have rinsed and given the hard sides time to dry, apply an appropriate wax with UV protection, making sure you get a wax that won’t harm your vinyl decals! Be sure to show the rubber roof seal some TLC as well with a rubber seal protectant!
Cleaning the interior of your pop-up can be a less daunting task than cleaning the exterior! Preventatively, always allow your pop-up to air out after trips, and be sure to vent the camper when cooking or showering. Be sure to wipe up any present condensation immediately. Any moisture that stays in a pop-up will result in mold and mildew! If you do find mold or mildew present, use the mixture previously mentioned and use a stiff scrub brush to get mildew off surfaces and fabrics. You can use household cleaners for general cleaning, just as long as they are appropriate for the materials in the pop-up! Be sure to remove all items possible and take them outside for cleaning to prevent excess moisture from hanging around which promotes mildew growth! Eliminate odors with a fabric refreshing spray and leaving dryer sheets in various areas of the camper. Allow your interior time to dry completely before folding the camper down!
Although it seems intuitive to cover your pop-up with a tarp, it is actually bad for your camper! If you have a covered carport, that will work great for protecting your pop-up from the elements! However, these types of campers should remain uncovered so that they can breathe, which will help lessen the threat of mildew growth! With some hard work and elbow grease, following these cleaning and caring tips for pop-up campers will keep it sparkling inside and out! Do you have any additional tips or suggestions for pop-up cleaning? Comment to let us know!