“How many of you guys like cleaning the inside of your trailer?” asked Jim Parrett, Airstream National Service Manager, during his Interior Maintenance seminar at Alumapalooza 7. To no one’s surprise, very few hands were raised. “Well, we’ve got a lot of tricks for you,” said Parrett. He didn’t promise you’d suddenly enjoy cleaning, but these factory tips might make the job faster and more effective.
No special products required
“There’s a lot of good cleaners out there on the market that you can use,” said Parrett. “All the things we use in our house, we can use inside our trailers.” Recommended household cleaners that you can find easily at the grocery or drug store include Formula 409®, Dawn®, Glass Plus®, Dow Bathroom Cleaner with Scrubbing Bubbles™, Fantastic®, Windex®, Lestoil®, Lysol® Brand Disinfectant Basin/Tub/Tile Cleaner, Mr. Clean®, TOP JOB®, and Clorox®.
For everyday cleaning, use a damp cloth or sponge and a mild soap or detergent (see products listed above). Stubborn stains such as coffee or tea can be removed using any mild cleaner and baking soda, mixed together to form a paste. With a stiff nylon bristle brush, scrub the affected area about 15 to 20 strokes. Don’t use an abrasive brush or cleaner—that might damage the surface finish.
The wall material in the new Airstream Classic is “pretty easy to care for,” said Parrett—but stains should be attended to as soon as possible. “If you happen to spill something like soda or anything light, the first thing you want to do is clean that spill up,” he said. Immediately blot excess liquid with an absorbent paper or cloth, then rub the fabric gently with a paper towel or a white cloth to absorb any remaining surface liquid or dampness. Parrett recommends baby wipes, or a clean white cloth dampened with plain clean water. Use small circular motions, and don’t soak the fabric—that can cause permanent damage. “You don’t want to saturate it, or make it too wet,” he said. “An effective way of controlling the amount of water is to use a spray bottle,” he suggested.
Though the easy care Impala fabric is dubbed “anti-stain”, some discolorations may require a solution of roughly 95% water and 5% soap (“like Dawn detergent,” said Parrett). Allow the cleaned area to dry completely, then gently brush or vacuum the area using strokes in the direction of the pile of the fabric. “Don’t rub against it, or scrub real hard.”
Tenacious stains (like ballpoint pen or grease) may need a second treatment. After the fabric has dried completely, try cleaning again with a diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol and a white cloth. “Then once you’re done, just vacuum it up”—with a dustbuster or wet-dry vac—“again, following the direction of the fabric.”
Routine care for your Ultra Leather upholstery is easy. Just wipe it down regularly with soap and water, and attend to spills as soon as they occur with Formula 409® or Fantastik®. You may sanitize with a 20% solution of bleach to water. Simply air dry.
Accidents happen, and stains on your furniture from ketchup, coffee, red wine, tea, and (ouch) blood can be cleaned with an alcohol-based product like Formula 409® or a 5:1 water/bleach solution—“that’s one ounce of bleach, five ounces of water,” said Parrett.
Mustard and ballpoint pen ink on the seats are tougher to remove. Wipe with isopropyl alcohol, and rinse with clean water. Wipe dry.
As with many problems, Airstream-related or not, prompt attention is important for a successful outcome. “If the stain has sat there for days, it may not be as easy to remove,” Parrett said.
Microfiber is excellent for dusting and scrubbing because of the static-charged, woven fibers. The combination of polyamide and polyester is strong and soft, and microfiber towels absorb seven times their weight in moisture.
Use Pledge® Orange
—a cleaner that dusts, shines and protects—with your microfiber cloth. “That’s a great combination,” said Parrett. “Pledge Orange is the best thing! It’s multipurpose; you can use it on your cabinets, wood, aluminum…we use it on pretty much all the surfaces. It does a great job, and smells good, too.” Don’t worry about the orange in the product introducing acid onto the clear coat. “It won’t harm it at all,” explained Parrett. “The citrus is just a scent.”
Make sure you wipe with the grain of the aluminum, not across it. “That way, if there happened to be something on the surface or on the towel that might cause a light scratch, it won’t show.”
Small marks can be removed by gently rubbing with a rubber eraser—the very same square-ish “Pink Pearl” kind you used in grade school. Even the eraser at the end of a pencil will work. Make sure it’s clean, and take it easy; the metal on the end of a pencil eraser could scratch the blind. Rubbing alcohol is also an option for tougher stains. Rub gently, and naturally air dry.
Someday your shade may refuse to retract, but it’s possible to adjust the spring tensioner of the blind to alter the recoil effect. Pull the shade down and look to the left side of the top bar; a tension screw hides beneath the end cap. Remove the end cap fixing screw (without removing the plastic molding from the aluminum tube), and rotate it in a clockwise direction until satisfactory tension is achieved. Re-install the screw. Be careful not to “over-tension” and damage the spring.
If a blind gets wet, simply pull it down to expose it entirely and leave it to dry naturally.
If you’d like to replace your older style Safari cloth shades with Oceanair blinds, you can, but “it depends on the mounting holes,” said Parrett. “You just have to order the right sizes. It would have to be a special order.”
Just like in your home, miniblinds are a hassle to clean, and there’s no magic answer; they must be dusted off one at a time. “Look for blind tools that at least do four or five at a time,” suggested Parrett.
Use any of your favorite household cleaners, including Lysol® disinfectant sprays, on your fiberglass shower stall, toilet, and other bathroom surfaces.
Water stains on your Eddie Bauer awning? Don’t use an excessive amount of liquid to clean outdoor textiles; that could cause a stain or discoloration at the “shoreline” of the puddle. (Your awning and outdoor furniture should also be dried after a rain to avoid the same damaging effect.) Hard water can also leave a mineral residue on fabrics. To solve the problem, “you can use a light solution of bleach,” said Parrett. “Don’t use a detergent, as that might leave a film.”