How to Clean Airstream Trailers

How to Clean Airstream Trailers

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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.

Items you will need

  • Water hose

  • Car wash soap

  • Vinegar

  • Sponge

  • Long-handled brush

  • Clean towel

  • Car wax

  • Buffing cloth

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.


  • 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.
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