As the weather turns autumnal, some of us start thinking about how to protect our caravans for the winter. The luckiest of us may have enough space in a garage to keep the caravan dry and safe whatever the weather. But most caravans will be left outside.

If yours is going to be sitting on the driveway for a few months, you may wondering if you need to do anything to help it stay in good shape until spring. Perhaps you’ve treated your caravan to a waterproof cover to protect it from the ravages of wind, rain, ice and snow? Whether or not you have invested in such a cover, you may be surprised to learn that it is essential to deep-clean your caravan’s exterior before you leave it alone for its winter hibernation!

The reason is that algae needs very little encouragement to cling to the surface of your van. Even a barely visible mark or scuff could be enough to encourage a whole new population of green algae and mould to start setting up camp. Seeing your pristine white caravan slowly turn green is bad enough, but it’s worse than that if the algae manages to creep behind seals and cause damage. 

It can be a good idea to put a cover over your caravan – but only if you’ve cleaned the exterior thoroughly first. Any cover is likely to blow against the caravan in the wind, whereupon any dust or dirt will simply end up acting as a scourer, causing scratches on the caravan’s panels.

We’d recommend that you protect your caravan with a layer of wax polish or winterproofer after you’ve given it a good wash. That way there’s a chance that any dirt, algae or mould will just go sliding straight off.

To find out the best caravan cleaners on the market in 2015 we tested the MudBuster Caravan & Motorhome Exterior & Interior Wash & Wax at £8.99 per litre, which makes 70 litres of diluted cleaner. Then we tested the Care-avan Hi-Tec Shampoo, at £7.50 per litre (which makes 500 litres of solution). Next up was Blue Diamond Perfection Caravan Cleaner, which at first looks as if it’s half the price of rivals, at £8.49 for a two-litre bottle – but it only makes 133 litres of diluted cleaning solution. We also tried Silky Cream Cleaner, another bargain at £3.99 for the tub. You can check out more caravan cleaning product reviews here.

During our tests we gave marks for caravan cleaners that smelt good, because the scent tends to linger. We also gave points if the cleaner was versatile and could be used at different levels of dilution to tackle tough stains or just give a light wash. Some of the products tested were able to clean carpets and sofas inside the caravan as well as leaving the outside gleaming. We also gave extra marks if we found the caravan cleaners easy to use. Trigger sprays certainly fitted into the ‘easy to use’ category. We didn’t just look at the size of the bottle that you get for the money, but worked out the relative price once diluted to the right solution for cleaning. Another bonus that earned our respect was that some of the cleaners can be used in a power washer as well as just with the usual long-handled soft mops and cloths.

In this review we’ll shine the spotlight on Fenwick’s Caravan Cleaner Concentrate, priced at £8.99.

While this product doesn’t boast commendations from caravan manufacturers, few of us will worry about using the stuff on our tourers simply because of its well-earned reputation. 

Many people view Fenwick’s cleaning product as the best for caravans, and it is an incredibly good all-rounder. It even smells pleasant, thanks to that distinctive citrus/ginger tang. 

Value-wise, there are better options available; the one-litre bottle dilutes down to just 167 litres of cleaner at the correct mix, but it’s certainly not outrageously expensive. That assertion is especially backed-up by Fenwick’s performance. It is leagues ahead of most caravan cleaners on all types of marks, grime and stains. Should you come up against really stubborn marking, it’s unlikely to survive long against Fenwick’s recommended 1:10 intense mix.