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Old 05-03-2004, 05:10 PM   #1
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To all owners of vintage units

When you were in the midst of cleaning your units up after purchasing,how crazy did you get when cleaning your trailer? We have a 1971 23 foot airstream, it is in ok condition after all. We removed the old carpet, the cushions seem to be original. We had used the trailer last fall one weekend after we purchased it, we noticed mouse poop by the back wall under the stove. We took all the cushions out and brought them in for the winter, now we are ready to fix it up, we took the old carpet away and put new underlay down, and glued some lino to it. All we did as far as cleaning goes is vacuum up the floors and areas where the water pipes are under the cupboards. Should we have done more? There was some mouse poop there, it got vacuumed. Anyways the trailer still has a slight smell, is it just because it is old? After your renos do you still have that old smell? Or should I do more? There appears to be a lot of old dust/dirt in the nooks and crannies by the water pipes, wheel wells etc. Should one go crazy and clean all these spaces? Just wondering what other vintage owners have done to get their units "clean" enough for themselves. And one final question to those who have done extensive renos, like change water lines etc. do you find a lot of mice poop down there? Just curious thanks.

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Old 05-03-2004, 05:45 PM   #2
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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I clean every nook and cranny at least once per year. I use disinfectent around the bath and kitchen area, scrub all the walls ceilings etc. I wipe done the the wood (plastic) with 303 protectant to give it a nice sheen. On my 59 when I had wood, I wiped it with Old English. I vaccum all the upholstery too.


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Old 05-03-2004, 05:52 PM   #3
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Our trailer had a "unique" smell that triggered some type of childhood memory response in my wife (her family has owned this trailer since 1959). When I removed the belly pan and cleaned out all the accumulated wasp nests, road dirt and dead critters, the smell went away.
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Old 05-03-2004, 05:54 PM   #4
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try steel wool

When we got our MH I found some of the way I've found to help clean up those mice droppings...seal up those access holes anywhere that are 1/2" or larger with steel wool and slightly expanding foam insulation (not triple expanding) in a can. I caulk any smaller than 1/2". I have not noticed anymore mice droppings in three years we've had our MH. I'd heard mice will not gnaw through steel wool.

As for cleaning up...(well I have to predicate this by saying our family has sent our allergists kids though college and paid for his vacation home in Florida) ...we tore out the old 1979 brown shag carpet, sealed up any exterior water leaks we found, checked subfloor for structure, mold and dampness, washed with all porous wood with bleach solution to kill any mold and dried thoroughly before installing wood parquet flooring for low maintenance quick sweep & Swiffer mop, replaced the window roll down shades with cheapo mini blinds from WalMart (can take out and rinse off when dusty), regularly wipe down all interior surfaces with citrus degreaser solution to get rid of that "stickiness" on the vinyl clad wood grain aluminum interior skins, re-upolstered all interior cushions to get rid of embeded pet dander, replaced the original AC foam filter with a 95% efficient filter, blew compressed air back through all ductwork and vacume cleaner suction tube duct-taped to the other end of the ductwork, and keep a supply of wet-wipes and window wipes on hand just in case...obsessive you might say.
But, the musty old smell is gone.
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Old 05-03-2004, 07:18 PM   #5
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I wanted my trailer to be just like a second home so I did not clean it at all.
"would you rather have a mansion full of money or a trailer full of love?"

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Old 05-03-2004, 07:23 PM   #6
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Since my Globetrotter is almost 40 years old it had a real musty smell to it which I soon found out was rot and mildew. It then sat at my house with most of the floor out for over a year. The inside had a nice gray to it. This past Saturday I spent the day with a gallon of Clorox-Clean Up and lots of fresh clear water. It cleaned up real good and has a great smell to it. Now the inside is very fresh. Almost like new...almost. I still need to sand down the high spots from a previous beige paint job, but it is almost ready for paint. 2/3rds of the insulation is replaced.

When I pulled the shower surround I also found old mouse nests, long ago abandanded.
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Old 05-03-2004, 07:32 PM   #7
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Hey Bobby W., where are you located in the great Republic of Texas?
"would you rather have a mansion full of money or a trailer full of love?"

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Old 05-03-2004, 09:03 PM   #8
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Another source of "The Smell" can be found in your air conditioner coils. You have to remove the shroud and then the cover around the cooling coil. You will be surprised what it looks like, if it has been a while. Using a fragrant cleaner helps.

A toilet that will not hold water will also let black tank smells up through the bowl.
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Old 05-03-2004, 09:34 PM   #9
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Hi Altastars;

Although our A/S was in relatively good shape - it came with a terrible moldy/musty smell. We were also lucky that there was no evidence whatsoever of mice - so we don't have that ammonia type smell that is common to rodent urine.

We have removed everything and cleaned with a bleach ingredient that also has a strong Mildew and Mold killer called Mean Green. I cleaned till my fingers were raw

Removed all the carpet, curtains, cushions - even the spongy folding door.

After cleaning all the wood - we still had that moldy smell - thus we decided to clean again and seal up all the wood - I even varnished all the insides of the foot lockers and the bulkheads - where there was wood it got varnished - and now the A/S has a "new" smell to it.

The floor was scrubbed with mineral spirits then CLR with wire wool - washed four times and waxed. The walls have been cleaned with Mean Green and will be done again before our first trip (and before the new curtains go back in ) - then I will have a go at that "Futurewax" on the ceiling suggestion.

The toilet was removed as we are putting in a new one - but I can smell it on the toilet and not surprised as it is a rubber material that will retain odor.

I have the folding door in the house right now. I cleaned it with MeanGreen 2x and then used a vinyl cleaner and I can still smell "that smell" I think the mold and mildew has got inside into the spongy material - so I think it might not make it back in the A/S.

The seat cushions were professionally cleaned with a wet chem. solution to penetrate the sponge (I had them out drying for 1 week in the fresh air they have then been in the house for the past 8 weeks)- I think this has done the trick there - but if I can still smell it when it comes time to making the seat cushions then I will be replacing the foam too.

It might just be me but a second hand item should have a real thorough clean - for piece of mind and for health reasons.

Happy cleaning - hard work but when all said and done - there's nothing like a brand new vintage A/S
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Old 05-03-2004, 10:04 PM   #10
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I vacumed, scrubbed, swept, and generally cleaned the inside, and did the bleach rinse of the water system (as described elsewhere on the forum) - and all this even though I bought it from a nice couple who had been using it regularly. I just figured I should clean it up so all the dirt I find after that is mine!

Mine also has the funky smell. One of these days we will have to get into the bellypan and find out what's in there - yuk! I have seen no evidence of mice in the living area. Mice did get into the underhood area of one of my cars and stockpiled dog food where I couldn't get it out without removing things that were bolted in the way - that stunk like you wouldn't believe!

Just today I did my annual treatment of the wood - oil and wax. It leaves the interior with a nice lemony smell. It probably just adds a new dimention to that 'airstream funk'.

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Old 05-03-2004, 10:10 PM   #11
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I found severe grime and dirt on the walls behind the stove and the walls under the sink. Cleaned the walls and wheel well area, as well as the floor under the stove and sink. This alone killed a large amount of odor in the kitchen area. The kitchen counter and stove has to be removed to access all the wall areas. Same happened when I re-did the bathroom, good bye questionable odor.
Actually , the trailer now just smells a bit like plastic, and only when it sits in the hot sun. Before it had a definite strange odor, even when it was cool outside.
I do believe that cleaning will diminish odors to a liveable level. Drapes, carpet and upholstery can also trap odors, usually more the stale, musty stink.
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Old 05-04-2004, 12:18 AM   #12
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We literally spet a weekend cleaning filth and grime out of ours. Repairing screens and cleaning upholstery before we would use it.

Over this winter we have tore out the old nasty carpet and put down a tile floor and added new curtains. Up next, new upholstery.
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Old 05-04-2004, 04:02 AM   #13
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Unhappy Deep Cleaning?

Orginally we thought we would be just do a thorough cleaning of ours, replace the nasty carpet clean the drapes, add some new cushions and be on our way....yeah right! Found rot in the front floor so, we have pulled the interior apart back to the galley area, glad now we did, found mildew behind the fridge, and I would suspect the galley area too. At a recent WBCCI Unit gathering someone suggested using the Scruncie(sp) Steamer as a method of deep cleaning in the nooks and crannies, as well as between the joints in the interior aluminum. Anybody try this? or are we going to be the guinea pigs Makes sense to me!

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Old 05-04-2004, 07:44 AM   #14
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Initially we throughly cleaned every inch from top to bottom, washed down all walls, treated all woodwork with orange oil/beeswax, replaced carpet with linoleum, made new drapes & got new upholestry & foam. There was not a single surface that went untouched.

Each spring we wash down all the walls, treat the woodwork and clean all the accumulated dust from storage over winter. In the fall same thing and we cover all the upholstery with sheets and we put foil-bubble insulation in all the windows to protect from sun damage & "looky-loos".


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