The first thing we did when we got back from our 4,500 mile road trip, was give our little PUP a bath… okay, maybe not the first thing, but it was not long after. 😉 After 22 days on the road, she was looking a little haggard, but we knew under all that road grime, she was really very lovely. She just needed to freshen up a bit.
Whenever we are cleaning the camper, we give the canvas a good scrub down first. You can read all about how we clean our pop up camper canvas here. If we’ve had to do some pretty heavy duty scrubbing, we’ll spot check our canvas for water resistance and treat as necessary with 303 High Tech Fabric Guard. We love that stuff and have been using it since we first bought the camper, so when the nice folks at 303 Products contacted me and asked me if I’d like to try a few other 303 Products they thought would be perfect for pop up campers, I was only too happy to oblige.
We’ve had some nasty black marks all over the top of the bunkend tenting ever since we bought the PUP. The top of the bunkend tenting is made of vinyl, not canvas, and no matter how hard we scrubbed, we could not get those marks to come out. 303 Products sent us some of their Multi-Surface Cleaner, so we tried it out on those ugly black marks. I can’t believe how well it worked!
With the bunkends pushed in, we extended the canvas over the ends of the camper. We sprayed a little Multi-Surface Cleaner on the vinyl and wiped it clean with a cheap, white eraser sponge. Be careful to pull the vinyl taut while you are wiping, and use a gentle pressure–you don’t want to rip your tenting–then just rinse it clean.
I was so very impressed with the results! I never thought we’d get those marks off. To make sure our vinyl stays supple and prevent cracking, we apply a conditioner to it after we clean it. 303 Products sent us a sample of their Aerospace Protectant. We’d heard great things about it, so we decided to give that a try. Aerospace Protectant is not made for fabric, so you’ll want to protect your canvas and other surfaces before you begin. We put a drop cloth down on our driveway to protect the cement–just in case. Out of direct sunlight, spray your vinyl with Aerospace Protectant and wipe completely dry.
The more you buff the surface with a clean, dry cloth, the better the product bonds with your vinyl, so make sure you have completely dried the surface. I forgot to snap a picture, but I was very happy with the end result. It looked like my canvas was new again. 🙂 Making sure you properly clean and care for your tenting will ensure that it lasts you a long time–and pop up camper canvas is expensive. By keeping up on routine maintenance, we hope we won’t have to replace ours for quite a few more years.
After we’ve cleaned the tenting, we let it dry completely before we close the camper back up. Folding up the camper before it is completely dry can result in mildew growing on the canvas. Mildew is bad news–so be extra vigilant about making sure that canvas is dry! Once we’ve closed the camper, we start cleaning the exterior of the pop up. We usually use Dawn dish soap and water. I love the way the Dawn gets rid of the grease, and if I have some difficult grease spots, I just rub a bit of Dawn into the spot with my fingers. It breaks down the grease, and it will wipe right off. In a couple spots, we had some nasty road tar that the Dawn couldn’t remove. We used a tar and bug remover and an eraser sponge to tackle that mess.
The eraser sponge works wonders on the panels and roof–especially if you have treated them with Grizzly Grip like we did. The Grizzly Grip we used on our panels is a bit rougher than our roof, so it tends to trap dirt. The sponge and tar remover made light work of all that dirt.
Once the exterior is clean, we dry it with a cotton towel. We have a shiny new paint job, so I want to keep it looking good for as long as possible. For UV protection, we apply a coat of wax after washing the exterior. We like 303 Marine Quick Wax because it is easy to apply and safe for vinyl decals. We don’t have new graphics on the camper yet, but we’re planning on adding them. We wanted something that would keep them looking great. Some waxes are not recommended for vinyl, so you’ll want to be sure to check the wax you are using before applying it to your camper. Apply the wax out of direct sunlight by spraying it onto your clean camper using a uniform misting pattern. Evenly spread the misted product over the camper using a 100% cotton terry or microfiber towel. Allow the Quick Wax to haze, and then buff surface with a separate, clean 100% cotton terry or microfiber towel. You can also use 303 Aerospace Protectant in place of the Marine Quick Wax to protect your paint and vinyl graphics. Just follow the same process you did with your vinyl.
The last thing we do when cleaning the camper is condition our roof seal. When we repaired our ABS roof, we bought a new seal to replace the cracked original. That thing was pricey, so we’ve made it a point to care for it as best we can to prevent it from drying out and cracking. 303 Products just happens to make a product called Rubber Seal Protectant that is perfect for this! If you don’t want to buy another product, you can also use the Aerospace Protectant (it’s versatile stuff!) on your seal, but the Rubber Seal Protectant is really simple to use. It comes in a convenient applicator, so you don’t have to protect the surrounding surfaces.
Just squeeze the bottle and press on the sponge applicator until the product starts to flow. Apply an even coat on all surfaces and allow the product to full dry. That’s it! I’ll say it again… I was pretty impressed with just how well the 303 Products worked for our pop up camper. I’ve always loved my 303 High Tech Fabric Guard, and now I know that there are a few more 303 Products, equally suited for pop up campers. Want a chance to test them out for yourself? 303 Products is giving away a sample pack of some of the same products I tried out here.
You can sample 303 High Tech Fabric Guard, 303 Aerospace Protectant, 303 Multi-Surface Cleaner, and 303 Rubber Seal Protectant just by connecting with 303 Products and The Pop Up Princess on Facebook. Additional entries will be awarded for following 303 Products and The Pop Up Princess on Twitter. To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. The giveaway ends August 31, 2015. The winner will be notified by e-mail, so check your e-mail–and your spam folder, too. Good luck! 😉
Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post, but I did receive a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. Please know that I write my honest opinion on all product reviews, regardless of how the product came to me. The content of my review will always be my true and honest experience with the product. If you see a review here on The Pop Up Princess, you know I like the product enough to give it my stamp of approval. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links. The Pop Up Princess is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means that if you choose to purchase an item from a link in this post, The Pop Up Princess earns a small advertising fee to help pay for future projects and posts… so thank you! 🙂
Thanks for all of your tips and tricks!!!
We used the 303 products when we owned our boat–they are fabulous! We started using them on the pup after we found your Blog–and have stocked up ever since. LOVE the idea of getting the scuff marks off–they drive my OCD nuts. ;( and haven’t ever seen the wax–searching amazon now! Thanks!!!
is the protect-all you’ve mentioned before a good product to use after the 303 all purpose cleaner for re-conditioning the bunk-end vinyl roofs? I’ve followed your lead in Using the protect-all for the rest of our vynil and windows and it’s been awesome! We bought a popup that had been pretty neglected and your blog has been so helpful to us!
You can use the Protect-All for the vinyl, or you can use the 303 Aerospace Protectant. Either product works well, but we’ve found that the Aerospace Protectant is a little more versatile and can be used on the body of the camper too. We definitely prefer to use the Protect-All on the clear vinyl windows, though. 🙂
We purchased 2003 Coleman Santa Fe pop-up. Your step by step cleaning is fantastic. Bought the products you suggested. I do have one question about the king size bed. It feels like it will tip over when you open the flaps for the windows. Is this normal? It is braced up properly. My husband says it is because of the size. The other side is a twin and no problem.
Thanks for any input.
Hmmm… I suppose it may feel a little unstable. We’ve gotten used to the feel of it. Make sure the support poles are braced on the bumper and tongue, and that you have your stabilizers cranked down, and you should be fine. 😀
Thanks for your very informative post, do you know a Canadian distributor for the 303 product?
I don’t, Roy. I actually contacted 303 Products directly for another reader, and unfortunately, they don’t have a Canadian distributor. 🙁
Amazon Canada has the 303 Aerospace protectant in stock right now – July 3017- 32 oz bottle for $34 CAD (cheaper than Canadian Tire option for marine vinyl protectant)
I love reading the blog and Facebook posts. You’re a great inspiration’
Aw, thanks, Denise! 😀
i love your blog! You’ve given me many ideas, thank you!
Thanks, Kate! Glad you like the blog. It’s sure been fun. 🙂
Pop up Princess, Love your blog BTW. We have a 1997 Starcraft PUP and need to waterproof the sides of the bed area tenting. Have you ever waterproofed that area? Do you treat the outside or the inside? Do you unzip the windows and not apply it to the screens? I’ve reached out the manufacturer and other forums with no clear answers. HELP! If anyone could figure this out, its YOU!
Are you talking about the window areas? We unzip the windows and treat the outside of the canvas windows from the inside of the camper. Does that help? 🙂
Hi, what do you treat the windows with?
You can find our post on cleaning your vinyl windows here, Heather. 🙂
We used the Protect-all on our 2003 Starcraft and we are absolutely amazed with the results. They look brand new. Thank you, Larissa!
Love your blog! We have a 2004 Rockwood Freedom pup. Just wanted to let you know of a product I found that removes mold and mildew stains from inside of the cavas. We took a weekend camping trip and I would go inside spray the stains then relax outside for a few minutes before reapplying to the bad stains. Our roof had leaked during the winter. It’s called Instagone Stain Remover -Multi-purpose Stain Remover. I ordered it from Amazon. Works wonders!!
Sounds intriguing, Andrea. Does it have bleach in it?
raul calzadilla says
Wife and I have followed this article to our 2008 Fleetwood/Coleman Victory 3959 pop up purchase. It has worked well and we thank you very much. but one problem persists:
Everything is almost perfectly water proof except when it rains the four outer corners where the pipe bows touch the seems, water drips unto the wood bed base board. Have cleaned and re-applied 303 Fabric Guard for Sumbrella to these chord seams at these low points but still leaks.
This low area of the seams don’t absorb the 303 but does absorb water, it appears.
Do you know of a seam sealer which may work here?
I’ve heard that plain beeswax is best for the seams, Raul. Have you tried that? 🙂
Our Tracker has vinyl all the way around the outside and tents. After I clean it do I need to put a waterproofing product on it too??
Nope, Shannon. It should already be waterproof if it is vinyl. You will want to condition it with Protect-All or 303 Aerospace Protectant, though. 🙂
Hi! Did you use the magic eraser with the 303 Multi Surface on the Vinyl?
We just bought a pop up camper rental business and now own 4 campers. They all need to be cleaned and have been slightly neglected in my opinion. I’m obsessed with your page!
We did! It worked fabulously inside and out! 🙂
Thank you! I just ordered the mildew cleaner from bass pro and all of the 303 product you recommended.
Do you have any advice on tears or zipper repairs on the canvas?
Can you also put a list of all the products you’ve referenced on your page and what you’ve used them for? Kind of like an index? I’ve been on your page nearly every day trying to remember all the tips and tricks!
We just purchased a camper that had some mildew on the underside of the ceiling on the bunk ends. The ceiling is vinyl. The walls are canvas.
I successfully removed the mildew in the ceiling with starbrite mildew cleaner. However I got some of it on the canvas walls and it has stained yellow.
Any suggestions for getting the yellow out of the canvas? I’m guessing it would be similar to a yellow stain due to bleach.
That’s a tough one, Anna. I have heard that some cleaners will react with the minerals in hard water and leave a yellowish hue behind on your canvas. Is your city water known for lots of mineral content?
Sandi K says
Hi! Love all the helpful hints, as although we have camped all our lives, we are new to pups. Just wondering if anyone uses Kilz or a similar product on the wooden bed platforms or the inside storage boxes like out Coleman has, and what the opinions are, or if it would be worth it to help protect and seal?
Christin cline says
I’m about to use the rubber seal protectant but realized I don’t know what to use to clean the rubber first??? Dawn/ or just water? Also we have a 98 jayco, and the long sides of the roof don’t meet the body, so the seal is just hanging out by about an inch in the middle, but meet at the latches on the ends…what should I do? Add latches to force the roof into place in the middle?
Love your blog!
It sounds like your roof has some sag to it, Christin. You might look at bracing it from the inside. Do you have a larger Coleman model with an ABS roof?
Just getting into this, I appreciate your tips – Amazon reviews were helpful. It really got the old grey matter working and thinking about all the things I should do. I’m about to purchase a used PUP and wanted to give it a good top-to-bottom cleaning before using it. This article really helped.
I just got a 2006 Palomino PUP with a vinyl “canvas” the inside is very moldy & stained. I plan to use your suggestions for cleaning & protecting the outer vinyl, but what do I use inside to remove all the stains & mold without damaging the vinyl outside???? Love-Love-Love your blog. It’s what got me to pull the trigger on getting a PUP. Now so just need to make sense of all your wonderful info!!
You are going to have to kill the mold and mildew. Most often that requires something like bleach, although I have heard some people say vinegar works, too. I have heard wonderful things about Bass Pro Shop mildew cleaner. You can check out this post from Campfire Travelers and see how well it worked for them. If you have a vinyl “canvas” just make sure you rinse really well and use a conditioner (like ProtectAll) to keep the vinyl supple.
What kind of glue did you use to replace your rubber roof seal” we have tried so many different adhesives and nothing seems to work. Thanks
Ours had an adhesive strip on it that came with the seal. I have heard this 3M Adhesive is really good, though.
3M Weatherproof Gasket Adhesive
Heidi Dean says
The 3M adhesive on our seal wasn’t quite enough, especially near the corners where there is more strain. I used clear silicon caulk in the seal and then beat it back onto the roof edge with a rubber mallet. I had to do that in 2 places 1 year after we did the grizzly grip and new seal. it has held nicely since.