Cleaning Your Motorhome’s Upholstery

motorhome interiorMotorhomes are to be lived in and enjoyed, and most of them are designed for a certain amount of wear and tear. If you’re camping by the beach or in the forest it’s extremely hard to keep your motorhome sand or mud free – particularly if you’re camping with kids! The result of that is, of course, that your upholstery can get dirty extremely quickly. This isn’t too much of a problem if you know how to keep things clean. Here’s our guide to upholstery cleaning…

Step 1: Loose Dirt

The biggest danger when you’re cleaning your upholstery is that something that was just loose gets rubbed in to your seats. A thorough once-over with a hoover is the best way to ensure everything loose gets picked up before you start cleaning. Often large vacuum cleaners aren’t actually the best for this job and you might be better off with a smaller, handheld cleaner for that very purpose.

Step 2: Leather, Suede or Cloth?

Next you need to determine the type of upholstery you have in your motorhome; are your seats soft leather, rougher suede or traditional cloth seats? Each one needs to be treated differently so before you buy any products, make sure you know what you’re working with as if you make a mistake you may have to claim on your motorhome insurance. Some seats can be a combination of the two which means you’ll just have to treat both areas separately.

Step 3: Go Shopping

Unfortunately upholstery is one of those things that really does need a specialist set of cleaning products and without them you do risk damaging your motorhome. Any DIY store should be able to help you find the right products; you’ll need a few clean cloths, a shampoo appropriate to your interior and some sort of aftercare product, whether it’s a leather balsam or a fabric protector.

Step 4: Get Stuck In

Once you’ve picked up your products, start with a wet clean. Unless otherwise instructed, you should always spray shampoo onto a cloth and then clean rather than apply the product straight to the upholstery. This should protect too much wear of the fabric and will leave you with a more even clean.

Step 5: Leave to Dry

If you’ve got leather upholstery it won’t take too long for it to try, but fabric can take some time. Leave your motorhome in a secure place and get in as much ventilation as you can. Not only do you want your seats to dry before you start to treat them, you also want to rid your motorhome of the fumes of your cleaning products.

Step 6: Time for a Treatment

Once your motorhome is dry again, it’s time to apply a treatment that should protect the integrity of your seats. For leather or suede a specific balsam will keep the material ‘fed’ and moist which should prevent it cracking or drying out. For fabric seats you’ll have a little more choice; water based treatments are extremely effective but need to be applied often or solvent treatments which last a lot longer. The choice is yours!

Step 7: Second Dry

This time it’s even more essential to dry out your motorhome because wet seats might actually increase the risk that stains will stick and permanently damage your upholstery. Equally, you should leave additional time for solvent products to dry properly; the fumes can be very dangerous.

Depending on how much you use your motorhome, this is probably a regime worth repeating every six months or as necessary. Treating your seats after cleaning doesn’t just protect them from dirt in the future; it should actually prolong their life and will mean you can be a little more vigorous with your shampooing next time.

If you’re ever concerned about applying something to your upholstery then a good idea can be to check the online blogs and the forums. Motorhome owners can get extremely creative with what they apply to their seats and, very often, there will be those who have already had the experience and can warn you off of it!

Keeping your upholstery clean is a big job, but it’s well worth it. It will keep your motorhome looking clean and tidy and, hopefully, will preserve its value for if and when you decide to sell it one. Remember to treat leather and fabric differently and don’t be too afraid to invest in some heavy duty cleaning products; no doubt you will use them!

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