Van Build: Thorough Clean

Before we start drilling holes and insulating, we need a clean canvas to work with. We got the hose, toothbrushes, scourers, soap and a hammer... of course.

Written By Freedom Strider

On November 16, 2019

Preventative maintenance round 1 - having removed the floor and seen the amount of dirt under there, we decided the first step to make our van feel a bit more like home is to clean the bajebes out of our sticky, dirty, dusty floor.


First sweep

Simple and easy.
Grab a big brush, open the doors and sweep all the dust and dirt out the van.

We used a hoover as well to get into the tight corners.


Unbolt everything

Back door covers, rubber seals, sidestep (we had done this already), floor mats.

If it had a bolt we unbolted it; it is surprising how much stuff gets under these places. The floor Velcro and some strange giant glue blobs, which covered two very rusty holes, also had to go.

Whatever you remove without breaking you might be able to sell, so hammers are not always the best option. 🛠️


Scrub scrub scrub

Get something mildly abrasive like a toothbrush (nothing made of metal) and a yoghurt pot of soapy water and get scrubbing. Some dirt will come off easy – some will not.

We tried to clean everywhere since we’re a little crazy. We know it’s all going to be covered up but once we cover it, we can’t clean it again! 😵


We found the only thing that would remove the sticky glue on the floor was a metal kitchen scorer.

Do not do this! Even though it worked, we scratched the protective paint off and had to use more Hammerite paint later on. Apparently a microfibre cloth and isopropyl alcohol work.


Power hose time!

Okay well not a power hose, since its power would probably take the paint off. A garden hose jet is good enough.

We started from the front and used the vans metal channels to feed the water down and out the van.

Despite the hose head not being that powerful, it will still strip the paint off if you get it too close. We found that out by experience, so now you don’t have to.

On the other hand, letting the jet chip off the paint that is hiding rust is a plus in our opinion. That way, you can easily find which areas would have been problematic in the future and you can seal them now to prevent such problems.


Only reattach the plastic trim pieces and covers that don’t have rust underneath them. If there is rust, treat the rust first before reattaching them. Otherwise you’ll either have to do more work removing them again, or have that seed of doubt in your head that you’ve got rust you haven’t treated. 😶


Dry the van

Leaving puddles of water to sit on nice metalwork and patches of rust is not the best idea, so grab some rags and dry the van as much as you can.

Old t-shirts or towels make for great rags. 👕

quick look

Quick Steps Overview:


  1. Sweep out loose dirt
  2. Unbolt all covers to clean dirt underneath
  3. Use sponges, brushes and dish soap to lift dirt
  4. Spray the whole van down, and repeat steps 4-5 until clean
  5. Dry the van