Cleaning and maintaining
Use a good quality cleaning product and cotton cloths (or even better, disposable cotton towelling mitts) as these are most likely to produce the best results.
If your windows are very dirty wash them with detergent and water first but take care, as our members have had mixed success cleaning windows with car wash brushes. Even those with the softest bristles run the risk of scratching the windows.
It is also important to take your time when cleaning as inadvertently dragging small bits of grit across the windows when you wash them is a sure way of scratching the surface.
Ensure your cloth is clean before you start and if you are using a car wash sponge and you drop it on the floor, never use it on windows without thoroughly rinsing it first, as any small amount of grit will undo all of your hard work.
Removing small scratches
Caravan windows are either made from polycarbonate or acrylic plastic. Both materials are lightweight, resistant to UV light, optically clear and have good thermal properties. Although polycarbonate is used to make safety glass both of these can scratch easily and these scratches can be especially visible in direct sunlight. However, the good news is, it is possible to remove small surface scratches with a mildly abrasive polish.
For this you can buy specialist acrylic polish which has a very fine cutting compound added (to use, simply follow the instructions). Some caravan owners report good results by using toothpaste or Brasso for the same job, both of which contain fine (or very fine) cutting compounds, however, any non-solvent based liquid that’s lightly abrasive and contains particles softer than the acrylic of the window should help you remove small scratches.
Whatever product you use, take a moment to test it first on a small area of the window and afterwards remove all traces of it by washing thoroughly with clean water. You also have the option of polishing the window with an electric polishing tool but never use a polishing mop on an electric drill as even on the slowest setting, the drill will rotate too fast and overheat the plastic.
Bird-lime on the windows should be removed with copious amounts of clean water, as soon as it is spotted, and never by scrubbing. If it has dried on, then place a wet sponge over the area for a few minutes to soak it well, before trying to wash off.
Try to avoid the scratches in the first place!
Unfortunately, caravans are quite wide and country lanes are quite narrow, so most scratches occur in transit. Always check your caravan when you stop for any signs of damage and if you attach any temporary cover to your windows for transit, ensure these are fully secure and will not come off during the journey.
It is also an idea to have or to add temporary covers when you set up your caravan on a site near trees or foliage. This is one of the most common causes of scratched windows, yet can easily be avoided by taking a little care.
Finally keeping the windows as clean as possible, not only minimises the effect of any surface dust, but also allows you to enjoy that holiday view you have paid for!