If you do come across damp, then don’t panic and work through things logically. The first thing to do is work out where and how water is entering and plug the leak.
If the caravan has been stored, for example over winter, then clearly the water has entered from outside, so give the exterior a good inspection to work out where it is coming from. When you discover the source, either repair it yourself or if you’re not confident, get a professional to do it.
Once you’ve stopped water getting in, you’ll need to dry the interior thoroughly. Again, we’re back to ventilation and if necessary, a dehumidifier. We generally avoid heaters, as they can convert damp into airborne moisture that could hinder the process. A dehumidifier will simply remove any moisture from the surrounding environment and that’s what you want.
When the moisture has been removed, you may need to tackle mould or mildew. But be very careful – mould spores can be given off when it dries and get in the lungs and can affect the breathing, especially for those with problems like asthma. So wear a mask whenever you’re working on mould.
You can use a proprietary mould product but a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water will work as well, to kill the mould. Spray the area then let it dry. Spray again and use the same product to wipe the area clean. The vinegar will kill the mould and prevent it from returning once you have cleaned it away. In our experience, it doesn’t actually leave a smell at all.
If the caravan smells musty, then a good airing, along with any seat cushions, for example, will help freshen it up and a good scrub of the carpets (if fitted) or the flooring will also help.
If you are unlucky enough to find areas of spongy walls or floors or interior finishes that are damaged, then it might be time to call in the professionals, as tackling damaged walls or floors or even framework is a lengthy and complicated process and is not for the faint-hearted.
But as with so many things, prevention is far better than cure, so keep the water out, open the windows when you can and avoid the damp plague.