Caravan, Caravanning, Caravans, Cleaning, Drainage, Maintenance, OLPRO
I do like things that do more than one job. I like multi tools for example and I especially like things that do more than one job well. I’m also into things that save space and weight in the caravan, and I have been looking round for ‘stuff’ that does both.
You know those days when you have a cup of coffee in one hand, mouse in the other and you are looking out of the office window at the rain wishing you were staring out of the caravan window instead? Thoughts turn to Googling and by one of those tricks that Google has of finding things you never knew you wanted and completely off the subject I was Googling in the first place found me reading about OLPRO.
OLPRO is a company that may not be as well-known to caravanners as it is to tenters for its top notch range of tents – I suspect this is changing rapidly though! It’s a family firm started in 2011 and it design’s and supplies equipment for the outdoor leisure market. Amongst other caravanning equipment in their catalogue they also supply a range of chemical products specifically for caravans and motorhomes.
When we bought our caravan, we received two small complimentary bottles of toilet chemicals courtesy of Thetford. One pink for the top tank and the other blue for the cassette. Not knowing much back then and as they were free, we used them for our first few trips. However I soon discovered the problem with the blue chemical was it contained formaldehyde and you shouldn’t use it on sites that had septic tanks as it could effectively kill the septic tank. So we swapped to a green chemical from another company and in time also swapped to their pink for the top tank. However it always seemed we used these at different rates and just to make sure we never ran out we ended up always carrying a part used one of each plus a full one. It also crossed my mind why do we have two chemicals?
Now back to my Googling! On the OLPRO website I read about Bottom & Top all-in-one toilet additive which as the name indicates is one product for the cassette and top tank. So on a recent trip to Chatsworth CC site we had chance to give it a try.
Although it is formaldehyde free it is blue so just incase the Elsan Police are about you might have to explain it’s OK to use with septic tanks. The smell for me is much improved over the sweet bubble gum smell of the pink solution we were using. This is more of a disinfectant meets air freshener smell and actually not bad at all. Sue thought it smelt ‘fresh’ (what ever that smells like!). As a product it works well and the dilution recommended on the container was easy… 100 ml to the bottom tank (up to 20 litres capacity) and 100 ml to the top tank. That would give us around 40 ‘doses’ out of the 2 litre container, which for the price wasn’t too shabby. Now I don’t have 4 containers of loo chemicals in the front locker. (Note to self… get a 100 ml measuring container to leave in the caravan).
The other product we tried on our Chatsworth weekend was OLPRO’s Fresh and Clear drain and pipe cleaner. As we have been using a lot of super pitches where we can plumb in the drainage, I have wanted to use a drain cleaner to make sure that everything was fresh and would stop any smells coming from the pipe work. On a few shopping trips with Sue I’d mooched along the cleaning section in the supermarkets looking at various drain cleaning products. However I found one big drawback with drain cleaners meant for domestic properties. Nearly all of them stated “do not use with a septic tank”. The couple that didn’t after a bit of research also advised they “might have adverse effects on septic tanks or reed beds”. So based on this I thought I’d give the Fresh and Clear a try. It states on the website that it is fully biodegradable and it can be used for cleaning the water pipes as well as the drains. We didn’t use it for the water pipes as I had already done my Citric Acid (see Citric Acid Trip…) flush through. Using it as a drain cleaner seemed to work well. On the container it states dilute 10 to 1 with fresh water. I did run a 10:1 solution down the sink and bathroom drains when we set up, however I cheated a little and just put a cap full ( about 25 ml) down the kitchen sink drain when we had finished washing up. When we were packing up to leave, We poured some 10:1 solution down all three drains before dismantling the pipe work. It did make cleaning the pipes I use for a serviced pitch a lot easier, in fact I didn’t have to flush them through at all after dismantling! (for info on how we connect up on a serviced pitch see the blog post “Connecting your drainage on serviced pitches…“)
One thing that did occur to me though was I could put some of the 10:1 diluted solution in the waste hog before packing it away for the next trip and store it with some of the solution inside, so that next time we use it it should be clean and fresh. I guess you could also put a drop of the diluted solution in your aquaroll when packing up too to keep that fresh – I think I’d rinse it out before using next time though.
The last product I gave a billy whizz, well they do say everything comes in threes was the Inside and Out. It wasn’t because I didn’t like what I was using it was because of the cost.
I had been using an Autoglym car product for washing the caravan (I had some in the workshop for cleaning the Freelander) and I had been using “OneDryWash” a waterless wash product which I found pretty good for on site cleaning. That was until I realised in 12 months I’d used 4 of them at around £13 a time. Over £50 in twelve months had me searching for something else a bit cheaper to use. That’s what I was Googling for in the first place by the way!
Now then, I normally always have a OneDryWash… and a polish… and some wheel cleaner… and a black streak remover and some other cleaning stuff in a box in the front locker. This product says it can do it all…. as well as replacing some of the products Sue uses inside the van too. Now either this was snake oil or I’d discovered the next best thing to sliced bread.
On the web site for Inside and Out it states….This unique formula replaces the need for 7 different products. Inside & Out cleans every part of any caravan or motorhome. This 2 litre bottle will keep going and going. Use instead of Caravan Cleaner, Black Streak Remover, Glass Cleaner, Wheel Cleaner, Bathroom Cleaner, Hard Surface Cleaner & Fabric Cleaner. Inside & Out is a multi-purpose cleaner suitable for all hard surfaces and soft fabric inside caravans and motorhomes. Will not leave any white residues and does not damage plastic or metal fittings. The original caravan all in one.
That is a HUGE statement to live up to!
Being a bit cautious about cleaning the caravan with anything new (well new to me) so a couple of days before we set off for Chatsworth I tackled the Freelander first. Being all black its worse than my black trousers are at collecting cat hairs for collecting dirt. The directions say as a caravan cleaner dilute 100 ml into 5 litres of water. After hosing off the dust and worst of the grime with the hose pipe I used my normal long-handled soft brush and gave the Freelander a good scrub down using the diluted solution. I can’t say it was better than my normal Autoglym car shampoo, but it wasn’t any worse that’s for sure and it was half the price! One thing I notices is it seems to have some form of ‘wetting’ agent in it as my rinse water (a fine spray on the hose pipe) started to bead almost immediately. This should be good for stopping the watermarks when you wash the car or caravan in warm weather. It did rinse off easier and there was no sign of the white bloom on any of the black plastic trim. What was handy was I didn’t have to go over the glass with my normal glass cleaner. It also seemed to do a pretty good job of cleaning the alloy wheels – not as good as Wonder Wheels, but that is a whole different product.
On the label it states to use as a Bathroom Cleaner dilute 100 ml in 1 litre of water… and the same to use it as a Hard Surface Cleaner… and funnily enough exactly the same dilution as a Fabric Cleaner.
Now I just happen to have (Oh I do hope Sue isn’t reading this!) a few of the empty containers with the spray trigger that I’m constantly being told “it’s not worth saving put it in the recycling bin” spare in the workshop, so I have mixed up a solution and filled one of the containers – I think they now call this ‘repurposing’.
On the Inside and Out label it’s says to use the product undiluted as a black streak remover, but I tried the 100ml to 1 litre mix in my spray container ( I actually had to do 50 ml to 500 ml because of the container size) and it works great. In fact it was easy to remove black streaks off the whole back panel of the caravan with the stuff using just a couple of micro-fibre cloths. While it’s not a true waterless wash product, so don’t use it as such, it was good enough to remove rain marks off the back panel. It’s also pretty good at cleaning UPVC window frames (don’t ask!)
Note: OLPRO do have a waterless wash range of chemicals –link here, but I’m not trying to use Inside and Out as a direct replacement for my current waterless wash product, just as an all round cleaner that’s a bit more cost effective.If you want some micro-fibre cloths and are a COSTCO member, look out for the packs of 30 yellow micro-fibre cloths. I have been using them for about 18 months and when I have used them all I simply do is put them in the washing machine – under Sue’s supervision of course and they are good to go again.
We haven’t used it in ernest for cleaning the outside of the caravan as the weather hasn’t co-operated and we’ve not been able to do the start of season ‘shampoo and set’ on the van. However a quick test on various hard surfaces around the house it seemed to work well enough. Sue no doubt will give it a through work out when we do the full caravan spring clean before our next outing.
I guess the same variety of cleaning can be done by individual products, but for me, the fact one container if this stuff in the caravan can take care of all the general touring and on site cleaning both inside and out ticks my boxes as a useful ‘multitool’ and works for me.
So to sum up… three products that are like a collection of Swiss Army tools, they do lots of things – do they do them all as well? Only time will tell, but on first impressions it would seem so. I’ll report back soon on how we are getting on with them. I do know we have some spare room in the front locker now as I have reduced my container count from 8 to 3. The other plus point is the cost… I recon we will save around £50 to £60 on the cleaning and disposable fluids over 12 months when compared to what we were using… that means we have a ‘free’ weekend away… or we could invest in some of the jazzy melamine place settings OLPRO sell… Hmm decisions decisions!
OLPRO have an on-line retail store and sell through a large network of retail outlets.
PS If you are a Twitter user follow OLPRO (@OLPro1) as they Tweet about offers and discounts available on their Facebook page and website. You can also follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/olproltd
PPS If you are going to the Caravan & Camping Show at the NEC (18 to 23 Feb) OLPRO are on stand 5300. Stop by and say Hi and tell them I sent you!
Caravan Chronicles Shopping...
I have been asked where you can purchase some of the products featured above. Here are the links to the products in the Amazon store. If you click on the links and purchase the items, a few pennies will go to helping the cost of running CaravanChronicles.com
OLPRO Bottom & Top PLUS: OLPRO Bottom & Top PLUS Two in One Toilet Fluid & Rinse for Caravans , Motorhomes and Camping
OLPRO Inside & Out : OLPro OL402 2L Inside and Out Caravan Cleaner
OLPRO Fresh & Clear : OLPRO OL406 Pipe Flush, 2 Liter
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John Aldridge said:
Not sure which model toilet you have, but mine has a measuring cup built into the dump cap, like this one – http://www.thethetfordcentre.co.uk/magento/thetford/tf/c2-c4-dump-cap-with-measuring-cup.html – it’s not actually marked at 100ml, but you could graduate it yourself.
(PS, were you really ‘reticent’ to go to Chatsworth?)
You know, you see something all the time but you don’t notice things! DOh… I never thought of the screw cap on the cassette darn it. Although I don’t think I would like to use that to measure out fluid to put into the top tank.
Second Doh… I must remember to spell check my spell check 🙂
David Whitter said:
Hi Simon I don’t know if your cassette is the same as mine but underneath our tank is a space for 4 Theford 400ml bottles under a cover that the tank slides on. All I do is refill these (2 for the top tank 2 for the bottom tank) before a trip, the bottles have measuring windows on them, makes the job simple on site with everything together in the casette housing.
Keep up the good work Simon, your doing a fantastic job with this blog!
Simon Barlow said:
To be honest I have never looked!
I don’t think there is any space under the floor of the Thetford Cassette as this would be below the floor level of the caravan, but I will check.
OLPRO solved the problem though as the new Bottom & Top bottles have a built in measuring device… squeeze the container to fill the cup and pour into the tank…. http://bit.ly/1ueFAVB
Glad you like the blog :o)