How to Clean Airstream Trailers

by Amelia Allonsy
Cleaning Airstream trailers brings out the shine of the metal.

Cleaning Airstream trailers brings out the shine of the metal.

Airstream trailers are renowned for their gleaming aluminum exteriors and vintage look. The first trailer was built by Wally Byam from a Model-T chassis that he covered with a teardrop-shaped shelter. In fact, the basic design of Airstream trailers hasn't changed much since Byam's company began full production in 1932; he ran his company on the philosophy that they shouldn't make changes--only improvements. The difficult part of cleaning Airstream trailers is keeping the metal gleaming.

Prepare a bucket of car wash soap and hot water. If the surface seems discolored or dingy, add 1/2-cup of vinegar or another household acid to the mix.

Spray the Airstream trailer with a water hose to rinse off the dirt.

Dip a sponge into soapy water and wipe down the trailer. The long-handled brush will make it easier to reach the top of the trailer.

Rinse the trailer with the water hose to remove all the soap.

Use a clean towel to dry excess water from the exterior. Leaving the water to dry on its own may leave water stains.

Apply a coat of car wax to the trailer and buff away by hand, or with a soft cloth buffing tool. This step is essential to bringing out the original luster of the metal and protecting it from corrosion.

Items you will need

  • Water hose
  • Car wash soap
  • Vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Long-handled brush
  • Clean towel
  • Car wax
  • Buffing cloth

Tips

  • Window cleaner and paper towels are perfect for spot cleaning of streaks between washes.
  • Commercial aluminum oxide removers and aluminum brighteners may be helpful if your trailer is very dull and dingy, but they usually aren't necessary.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

Photo Credits

  • sponge for cleaning image by Serghei Velusceac from Fotolia.com