Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-16-2020, 11:26 PM   #1
Jochen & Christina
1965 24' Tradewind
Longmont , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 33
1965 Tradewind - what products to use on the interior?

Hi friends, we are getting to the part of our new Airstream project when we have to clean the inside... I mean, CLEAN THE INSIDE!! She is in great shape, but has been sitting for the better part of 30 years.

The wood is original and the original vinyl wall paper / wall siding is still up and in good shape but quite dirty. I think in 1965 it was mahogany, and the vinyl stuff was volatone. We really don't want to hurt either one - does anybody have any suggestions for products we can safely use to clean them??

Also, after we have cleaned the wood, do people re-stain or seal it? We're trying to preserve the original look as much as we can.

Thanks so much! J & C

Jochen & Christina
Longmont, CO
1965 Airstream Tradewind 24'
2019 Toyota Tundra
JochenML is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 07:16 AM   #2
3 Rivet Member
docflyboy's Avatar

2005 25' Safari
1968 17' Caravel
Leawood , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 187
Images: 7
Blog Entries: 2
Your walls would be Zolotone most likely. Whether they are the sticky feeling vinyl or Zolotone over aluminum skins, you can't go wrong with hot water and soap. I cleaned my first airstream interior with my wife's clothes steamer and simple green. Worked great but took some time. I've got my skins out currently on my restoration and can't say enough good things about Crud Cutter, followed by a good rinse. Magic Eraser's are safe as well.
You'll have to do a little research on whether you have shellac or lacquer on your wood. I think based on the year it's probably lacquer. Lacquer would be safe to clean with isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. I'm not sure that would be wise on shellac, since I think alcohol is the solvent that dissolves it, but never any "hot" solvent like acetone or MEK or toluene. 6-0 steel wool after just a damp wipe down on your wood might be worth a try. Try whatever you're going to use someplace it doesn't show and see how it goes. BubbaL has had beautiful results with shellac on his restoration. If you've got all the silicone off the wood from products like Pledge, you could try a light scuff with 320 sandpaper and put shellac over old shellac and I think over old lacquer. If you have a woodworker's store in your area, there's always a knowledgeable person that works there that knows a lot about finishes. You might even go with a topcoat of catalyzed tung oil over your clean and lightly scuffed wood parts. I like the products from Sunderland-Wells. You order directly from them, they wipe on, build well, have a slight amber and can go over different bases and are very fixable over time. They are knowledgeable over the phone as well. Good luck.

docflyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 07:38 AM   #3
Rivet Master

1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1,508
J, donít remember what year in the 60s Airstream switched from Zolatone to a wall covering. In our 66, first year for frameless windows, we had the stranded looking vinyl wall covering which I believe was installed on the aluminum prior to being sent to the factory. We did strip all of it off and went with Zolatone for durability and brightness. As far as your woodwork, if itís original, there are ways like docflyboy said to refurbish. I sure would if itís mahogany and original. You have me interested in your wall covering and possibly Zolatone in a 65. Would love to see some interior pictures of what you have questions on. I know they had vinyl covering in the shower covering the wooden bulkheads, but donít remember where else. Also, can you post a picture of the metal ID tag on the outside adjacent to the door? Lastly, I PMd you my phone number to discuss if needed. I find it interesting. Take care
Bubba L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 08:50 AM   #4
Rivet Master
prairieschooner's Avatar
1958 18' "Footer"
Idyllwild , California
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 611
Be careful!!! Simple Green will corrode Aluminum! I use a mild solution of water and dish soap.
1958 California Built 18' #18-4092
prairieschooner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2020, 08:24 AM   #5
3 Rivet Member
docflyboy's Avatar

2005 25' Safari
1968 17' Caravel
Leawood , Kansas
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 187
Images: 7
Blog Entries: 2
I agree on simple green. Joy dish soap is a great soap. When I used simple green I was only on the vinyl clad skins and never let it get sloppy and steamed it right off. If you get it all off with a complete rinse, which might include a final wipe down with isopropyl alcohol, I don't think you'll have a problem. It's when chemicals are left as a residue that things happen.
docflyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2020, 09:11 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Iansk's Avatar
1977 31' Sovereign
Vintage Kin Owner
Vintage Kin Owner
Sunset Valley , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 708
Originally Posted by prairieschooner View Post
Be careful!!! Simple Green will corrode Aluminum! I use a mild solution of water and dish soap.
It is my understanding that we should avoid the regular, green Simple Green but that the HD purple stuff is safe for aluminum. Just read up on this on an aircraft restoration forum after stumbling across a mention of it on a mt bike forum.

I switched to the purple stuff years ago because I just couldnít stand the smell of the green stuff. The nose knows I guess...

Iansk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2020, 10:35 AM   #7
New Member
1965 20' Globetrotter
Cherokee , California
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 2
65 tradewind interior

I have a 65 globetrotter and a 65 overlander.
The globetrotter has the mahogany wood and zolatone walls. The overlander has Walnut wood and the vinyl wallls. We cleaned the vinyl with dawn and water and did a good job of rinsing. The wood on the airstreams at that time was finished with Watco danish oil. This was the heyday of mid century modern and they were doing a low luster look. I believe most of the higher end coaches such as the tradewind has the Walnut and were finished with Watco. 1965 was the first year of trying to make the trailers the same for manufacturing with less special orders. Saying that my globetrotter did have a few special orders.
Our vinyl still looks good after all these years.
Good luck on the finishing.

Sherrymorris is offline   Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is there a list/guide of recommended products and tools to use? Redoing Excella 1988 BjornHolte General Repair Forum 1 03-23-2017 01:03 PM
1965 Airstream Tradewind Interior For Sale Kir Airstream Classifieds 0 05-15-2014 01:28 PM
What to use to clean yellowed interior walls of my '62 Tradewind Mary Burris General Interior Topics 7 10-26-2013 09:58 AM
new products at Dexter john hd Axles 2 12-28-2003 10:33 AM
Sealant Products - Exterior & Interior Cat Leaks - Weatherstrips, Gaskets, Caulks & Sealants 21 02-12-2003 10:00 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:08 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.