There can be little doubting that one of life’s greatest pleasures is picking up the keys to your ‘new to you’ caravan; a ‘home from home’ which you can pitch at the sites of your choice to take in the best of what the great British country and seaside has to offer.
An affordable entry point into caravanning, pre-loved models can very easily be spruced up and personalised to your specific requirements, yet there are some areas that you might want to prioritise over others… Namely the beds, which can contain the following host of horrors from previous occupants…
Sweat and bodily fluids: According to the Sleep Council, a mattress that is over seven years old has absorbed two baths of bodily fluids and half-a-stone of dead skin! If your caravan has spent its previous life in typical holiday hot-spots, and especially in the south (a record 38.5C high was reached in Faversham, Kent, in 2003), you can reasonably conclude that around one pint of sweat has soaked into your mattress every night during summer. Deodorising your mattress can afford some peace of mind, but purchasing a new mattress or bed topper is the only way to truly start a fresh.
Dust mites: Let’s hope that the previous owners were vigilant in regularly vacuuming the beds you have inherited, as damp and sweaty mattresses are ideal conditions for dust mites to thrive in. Measuring just a quarter of an inch long, dust mites live off human skin scales and produce around 20 waste droppings a day. Associated with asthma, eczema and perennial allergic rhinitis, allergic symptoms can be caused even after the mite itself has died. Moving forward, a mattress protector and a new set of bedding – which you need to wash regularly – are the best way to combat this menace.
Broken springs: If you’re one of the 40 percent of the population suffering with back pain, the last thing you want to do is sleep on a lumpy, uneven mattress or one with broken springs. The job of a good mattress is to keep your spine naturally aligned, to support your lumbar region, to eliminate painful pressure points and to distribute your weight evenly. If your second-hand mattress causes soreness, exacerbates back pain and leaves you tossing and turning, it’s time to invest in a new mattress that’s made to meet your exact comfort requirements.
Unsightly appearance: The chances are you’re not going to be the only people to enjoy the creature comforts your caravan has to offer. From extended family and friends to work colleagues, ask yourself who has already hinted that they “quite fancy a weekend away?” If you’re asking people to bring their own bedding, the chances are they will see your ageing mattresses in all their unsightly glory. Use upholstery and fabric cleaners to scrub away the worst blemishes, and then cover your mattress with a protector (which will also guard against the problem getting any worse). Alternatively, why not invest in a portable mattress topper, which has the added bonus of offering unrivalled levels of comfort, or even a luxury Duvalay memory foam sleeping bag, which simply rolls out and rolls away?