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Old 05-02-2021, 10:15 AM   #1
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2021 16' Caravel
Kirkland , Washington
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 118
How to wash your trailer efficiently?

Hi all,
Our 2021 16' just woke up from a long wet winter in PNW and I need to give it a good bath. Although I have car wash kit, this feels like a much harder work, mostly due to its height, and window/body guards. I am wonder if anyone experienced could share some tips, and tools that I could use to make this an easier process?

Thanks in advance!

-Hovr
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:21 AM   #2
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1990 25' Excella
Sisters , Oregon
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For its first wash of the season after being stored for several months I pull into one of those car washing booths with a bunch of quarters. I find that it's a great way to get off the main layer. And, as an extra bonus, I can check for leaks.

Then home to start detailed cleaning and it's semi-annual polishing (Liquid Glass for me). So far so good. It's a 1990 and the clear coat is intact. Well, I haven't seen it yet this year - picking it up for the season later today. Crossing my fingers!


Cheers,
John
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Old 05-02-2021, 10:35 AM   #3
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2021 16' Bambi
Nashville , Tennessee
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Just be careful make sure you have enough clearance. Your AS may "fit" into the bay only to get into a fight (and lose) with the center swivel for the hose. Those hang down a good foot below the entrance height usually.

Also good idea to scope out how you're going to get in and out. You don't want to get stuck and sometimes those bays require you to make a hard turn once you pull out in order to leave.
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:14 PM   #4
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2021 16' Caravel
Kirkland , Washington
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Thank you John, by car washing booths you meant those do it yourself ones right?
This is a great tip, you also get a shaded area which can be pretty hard to find.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John&Vicki View Post
For its first wash of the season after being stored for several months I pull into one of those car washing booths with a bunch of quarters. I find that it's a great way to get off the main layer. And, as an extra bonus, I can check for leaks.

Then home to start detailed cleaning and it's semi-annual polishing (Liquid Glass for me). So far so good. It's a 1990 and the clear coat is intact. Well, I haven't seen it yet this year - picking it up for the season later today. Crossing my fingers!


Cheers,
John
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:37 PM   #5
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2020 25' Globetrotter
San diego , California
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I wash mine in sections to avoid water spots.
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Old 05-02-2021, 02:44 PM   #6
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2018 30' Flying Cloud
Springfield , Ohio
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I wash mine in sections too for the reason listed above. I use a leaf blower the get most of the water off before towelling it dry. The blower is really good to get water out of areas that want to drip for long periods after towelling the surface. Mine is a 30 footer, so it takes a little while to do.
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Old 05-02-2021, 03:31 PM   #7
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2002 19' Bambi
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I pressure wash first and then wipe down.

Tim
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Old 05-02-2021, 04:29 PM   #8
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2019 27' Flying Cloud
Kansas City , Missouri
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I wash with a bucket and a microfiber car wash scrubber on an extender pole.

Hose with garden sprayer to wet and rinse.

One tip is to use your campground water filter on the hose. This helps to eliminate water spots.

We use dawn dish soap, and dry with the blue microfiber towels from Walmart.

Walbernize if you have any energy left after this.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:14 PM   #9
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I do it on a rainy day to help with rinsing and keep soap from drying on the trailer. I use a foam cannon with car wash soap on my pressure washer to soap up the trailer. I brush with a extended rv wash brush.

I wouldn't use Dawn or any other dish soap unless my goal was to strip wax off the finish.
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:47 PM   #10
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2020 25' International
minneapolis , Minnesota
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Careful pressure washing! I fill a mop bucket with automotive wash and use a boars hair brush with handle. I stand on a step ladder to reach the top. To do it right, you definitely need a long Handled brush.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:14 AM   #11
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1964 30' Sovereign
Ione , CA
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First, spray off major dust/dirt using a home hose.

Then I use the truck/RV bay at a do-it-yourself carwash. Bring a stepladder with you to get angle on the roof, AC unit, etc. Take two people...the second with a scrubby sponge on a pole to follow the person with the spray nozzle.

First use high pressure hot soapy water.

Don't bother rinsing off with clear water - go directly to wax/protectant to rinse and put on a light protection.

That works well for us...
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:21 AM   #12
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2020 30' Classic
Blue Ridge , Georgia
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I have a soft brush/extension pole and a bucket with car wash soap. 6' aluminum ladder and a hose which enables me to reach half across the top and easily to the upper sides. Move around the AS with hose stuck on side the ladder and move around the trailer. Takes about an hour to wash it throughly then wipe the sides down with a chamois. You only need to step about half way up the ladder to reach the top. If your only washing the sides the extension with soft brush reaches everything from the ground.

After owning a 40' Class A MH for 3 years I find the AS easy to wash in comparison. Have fun!
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:25 AM   #13
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2001 25' Safari
Ridgefield , Washington
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Your AS has a clear coat finish like your cars. I wash mine in the driveway at home using Meguiarís Gold Class Car Wash soap, a bucket and a long handle brush with soft bristles. This soap doesnít strip the wax finish. But when it needs a new coat of wax, I use Meguairís for that too. Get out a step ladder and start washing from the roof down. Rinse thoroughly. As others have said, dry with a soft clean towel quickly to avoid water spots. My AS turned 20 this year. Iím itís only owner and it still looks like new.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:59 AM   #14
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2017 19' International
Tallahassee , Florida
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I washed ours yesterday, and, alas, can offer no speed tips.

I cleaned the roof with a soft boat brush on a stick, then washed everything else with car wash (the kind that claims to have "wax," too) and a microfiber towel.

Let me say, for a design noted for its curves, the Airstream sure has plenty of edges! Takes a while to clean up all of those ...
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:46 AM   #15
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2002 19' Bambi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s1000pre View Post
Careful pressure washing!
When I first joined Air Forums, I posted that I used a pressure washer on our Airstream and received a reply that I would damage the exterior. Well, I have used a pressure washer since we bought the trailer new in 2002 and exterior damage has been from many things, but not from the pressure washer. Of course, some care is necessary and a commercial grade washer producing super high pressure might be questionable.

There is nothing like a pressure washer for getting the gunk out of the nooks and crannies and removing leaves, tree needles, pollen, and general dirt.

I do wax the trailer several time a year ... after I have gotten it clean with my pressure washer.

Tim
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Old 05-03-2021, 02:18 PM   #16
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2018 22' Sport
Highlands , NC
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I suggest a Little Giant ladder with a platform for washing your Airstreams roof
If you place the ladder as close as you can to the trailer and put the platform on the side of the ladder next to the trailer, you can climb up the outside of the ladder and step over on to the platform. From there you can reach half of the roof. Be careful.
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Old 05-03-2021, 05:20 PM   #17
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INDIAN HARBOUR BEACH , Florida
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Another, more costly approach: Take the trailer to a Semi-Truck Wash. You may find one at a Truck Stop. But, as I said, it will cost a lot more than the "handful of quarters" place. The one near our house is: "Ocean Spray Car Wash"--not sure why, but it seems to communicate that they are washing my car with salt water.
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Old 05-03-2021, 05:58 PM   #18
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Arnprior , Ontario
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I just got my 34 slider home a few days ago. As soon as the rain stops I plan on trying a 'foam cannon' on it. It does a great job on my car and pickup so next is the Airstream. Will rinse off the foam with a soft spray from a hose. Will report back on how it works,
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:03 AM   #19
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2017 23' Flying Cloud
Hampden , Maine
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Everyone has a different situation in storage, which can be a consideration in determining how grimy the AS may get during travel season. In our case (Maine) we store it in a garage out of the weather when not in use. My protocol: wash it thoroughly in late fall after winterizing, with a soap that is recommended for clear coat (Meguiars). I spend a couple days, off and on, making sure every nook and cranny is cleaned, and check all seals for deterioration. In the spring, before dewinterizing, I wax (Walbernize) and polish. Good to go. It's some work, but I play tunes to keep me going, and know that I'm done for our travel season. I rinse off accumulated dust and road grime with a light power wash sometimes between trips.
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Old 05-04-2021, 08:21 AM   #20
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Southwestern Ontario , Ontario Canada
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Secret weapon Deionised Rinse Water

First- never wash an a windy day. Airborne particles will stick to the wet Airstream and never get clean and causes more light scratching. I power wash first keeping the spray 18 inches away to reduce the damage potential. I also power wash the underside to help with corrosion etc. I use a bug remover as needed on the front. Next use a soft car wash brush and pole with a bucket of CAR wash soap and wash with the grain. Dip the brush frequently so as to get lots of soap on the trailer. (Never let the brush touch the ground or on its back as a spec of sand will be enough to cause damage.) Soap acts as a lubricant and will release dirt and reduce scratching. I also use a Grit Guard at the bottom of the bucket so most of the heavier dirt falls to the bottom of the bucket and doesn't stay on the wash water. Rinse with regular tap water for each quarter so it does not dry and also requires less of a final rinse. Last rinse with deionised water. This is the best car wash tool I ever purchased. No need to dry as the deionised water will not leave spots - even in the sun. The deionised water is simply demineralised water. No minerals means no spots after it evaporates. I use the CR Spotless system, but there are other similar devices out there that will work. Once a year I use Boeshield T9 lubricant on the rivets and seams and and inspect for and treat any potential FILIFORM. I also use Fluid Film a type of wool/lanolyn grease on the underside rivets and metal parts to keep corrosion away. Wax once a year too using Meguiars NXT wax. I am anal about keeping my Airstream look new and this works for me.
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