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Old 06-10-2016, 01:41 PM   #1
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1958 22' Flying Cloud
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Where do we begin? Power wash interior and exterior?

The story: We have a 1956 (family members say it's 23'; don't think Airstream made a 23' so must be 22') ~ not sure what model, but looks like a Cloud. Think our family were second owners, purchased in the early 1970's, at that time, it was in "good condition." The family replaced the floor, plumbing in shower, and the hot water heater. Appliances and other interior appointments were working condition. The Airstream was never taken on the road ~ it was parked and used for a long time as sleeping quarters for a field school in a remote part of northern New Mexico. It is still on the parcel of land where it came to rest and has not been touch for about 36 years.
The dream: It's time to bring this baby back to life for comfortable "glamping." There are no plans, yet, to make it road-worthy. The primary goal is to restore the interior and spiff up the exterior for comfortable, functional, overflow lodging. We're not sure we need working appliances or bathroom facilities (we have two outhouses that we are modernizing and planning an outdoor show).
Rodents, 36 years of dust and dirt, other pollutants. Nobody wants to enter the Airstream without goggles and nose/mouth mask.
Where do we begin?
My thought is to begin with a thorough cleaning ~ it's probably not healthy to spend too much time inside in its current condition. Rent a power washer or steam cleaner, a tank of water, two-three powerful dryers (like what is used when you are drying out a house flood). I make my own powerful cleaning products that are safe to people and the environement ~ so, we'll bring plenty of these products too. We have a friend with a carpet cleaning business ~ and may trade his services to help get it cleaned.
Should we try to remove all the appliances to thoroughly clean the interior? We could even rent a big tent to inspect and clean the appliances outside the Airstream. Any appliances that look like they need it, could be shipped off to an appliance restoration company.
Any recommendations? Suggestions to modify this plan?
Need your help! Thanks in advance. ~ Joan, Santa Fe, NM

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Old 06-10-2016, 01:59 PM   #2
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 88
Without pics its hard to know what you have but after sitting for 30 years I can imagine.

There shouldnt be anything harmful inside other than dust. Put on a dust mask, gloves, and some paper overalls an get busy. If using this unit again for human occupants, I would suggest that everything needs to come out. Chances are the appliances are shot and need removal anyway. Chances are its had leaks and you have floor rot. That will need to be replaced. Chances are any wood cabinets etc have water damage and may be shot. Chances are a few mice and the like have made a home in there at one time or another or even between the walls. Bottom line, if it were mine, I would start with the removal of everything inside. Once that is done, then hose it if you like. Depending on your remodel intentions, how you go about all this could vary. Remember there is insulation in the walls.

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Old 06-10-2016, 02:05 PM   #3
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If the floor has been replaced it would be hard to tell what pressure washing will do. If it had the original (asbestos) tile then you could take out all the veneered furniture and presure wash it and squeegee out the water before it soaks into the floor.

But with a new floor it's hard to tell where the cleaning water will end up. If there are floor penetrations the water will run into the belly pan and ferment. If the floor was replaced with OSB it could deteriorate. If the plywood has delaminated then pressure washing will show al the rotten places you need to replace.

About the outside - I pressure washed the outside of my '59 after I has the interior skins off. Found a few seam leaks that way. If you pressure wash the outside you might end up with water between the walls, and that may never dry our.

I guess I would be very careful with the power washer. But it sounds like you know what you're doing.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:00 PM   #4
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1990 34' Excella
Charleston , South Carolina
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"There shouldnt be anything harmful inside other than dust. Put on a dust mask, gloves, and some paper overalls an get busy. ......Chances are a few mice and the like have made a home in there at one time or another or even between the walls."

This is not correct. Breathing in air where rodent feces is can make you very sick. It causes respitory problems. You need to wear a breather & gloves. Check out the CDC site on this. My Mom cleaned an old farm house with rodent droppings & got a very serious lung infection.

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Old 06-10-2016, 08:10 PM   #5
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1963 26' Overlander
Dallas , Texas
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Ha. Looks like I stand corrected. Thanks for the advice Jane.

Ok my revised instructions based on the above information would be to clean the interior with a flame thrower. Be sure to wear a level 5 hazmat suit. This should protect you even from the dreaded Ebola. Heat the interior with flame thrower to a temp of 225 F. Careful here, you dont want to scorch the aluminum, but you should expect light charing to any furniture or cabinetry. Now is a good time to throw a turkey if the oven if you like.

After the unit has been inspected by the CDC for any bio hazards and have cleared the unit of any pathogens you may then and only then haul it to the landfill where the deer mice can occupy it again, but you will be rid of death trap for good.

Now that that is taken care of, go get yourself a new Airstream. You will sleep better at night and I know your guests will.

( The above is meant as tongue and cheek. No offense meant to Jane and her helpful response. )
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Old 06-11-2016, 10:27 AM   #6
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1959 24' Tradewind
Cedar Park , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 6
I have a '59 TradeWind. When I got it, it had a lot of mice droppings and I used my trusty shopvac to suck out all that crap. I wore a good quality breathing mask while doing this. I think you should plan on taking everything out to inspect and clean but would really hesitate to power wash inside or out. I'm guessing all of the window seals and vent seals have dried out and you would have water in all the wrong places! Sounds exciting tho, good luck with your project!
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:49 PM   #7
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1973 31' Sovereign
Middletown , California
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I think I'd skip the power washer unless you are going to open up the walls and floor. There is a possibility of Hunta Virus or something in the mouse poop so maybe use an ozone generator and a bleach spray first. Wear a respirator while doing the mucking out and stirring up dust.
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Old 06-11-2016, 03:16 PM   #8
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2016 28' Flying Cloud
Moneta , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 13
Re pressure washing rodent damage. I would use a 5 to 1 water/ Clorox in a garden pump sprayer, wear a mask. Spray everything and let it dry, repeat until the is little to no odor.
Next use rubber gloves and protectibe clothing and scrub clean. By wetting g with sprayer you will reduce chances of pushing moisture into areas that do not dry easily.
Rodent damage is difficult to clean up, guard your health.
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Old 06-11-2016, 03:58 PM   #9
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1958 22' Flying Cloud
Santa Fe , New Mexico
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Thanks for the great advice ~ think it is unanimous

No power wash at this phase ~ great advice from all ~ thanks so much.

I am now thinking the plan should be start with Phase 1: Thorough inspection. Enter with breather mask, goggles, gloves, and paper suit. Take pictures and audio notes. Make initial inspection of flooring, seams, windows, bathroom. Inspect wood, sleepers, appliances. Carefully remove any debris, nests, trash ~ anything that is not bolted down. Assess the job of removing everything inside and begin Phase II - Planning the renovation. The big decisions will be made during this phase (including option to take let it go).

Again, thanks a bunch. I really appreciate the knowledge and experience that is here in this forum!

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