I recently wrote a post on how to clean a caravan roof. However, at the time of writing that post, there was something I wanted to discuss but forgot to. Most caravans and motorhomes have at least one roof light fitted, sometimes also referred to as a skylight. Roof lights perform two roles, not only do they let more natural light into the caravan/motorhome they also provide ventilation. To create a comfortable and safe habitation area in a caravan and motorhome ventilation is important. You don’t want the humidity to be too low or too high. Hence, encouraging fresh air to flow through the living space can help to keep humidity within the ideal level of between 30-50%. There are several different makes of roof light fitted to caravans and motorhomes including Heki (Dometic) and Vision Vents (MPK). The problem is the way some of these roof lights are designed means they can get very dirty. But many people are not aware of how to remove and clean their roof light. Therefore, that’s what I’ll discuss in this post.
Heki roof lights are produced by Dometic. Now, you should be familiar with Dometic unless you are a caravan beginner or motorhome beginner. Domestic produce a huge range of items found in caravans and motorhomes. Including fridges, cookers, air conditioning units and of course, Heki roof lights. There is the Heki 2, 3, Plus, Delux, Mini, Micro and Midi. Furthermore, within each of those model categories, there are several models of various sizes. The other common make of roof lights used in caravans and motorhomes if from the German manufacturer MPK. MPK roof lights come in a wide range including the Vision Series which there is an example of in the video below.
So Many Roof Lights!
Now, each manufacturer (Dometic/MPK) produces a huge range of different roof lights. I would encourage you to click the link above to the visit the manufacturers’ website of the particular roof light fitted to your caravan or motorhome. If you’re not sure which make yours is, click on each and browse the skylight model images to work out which one it is. Both Dometic and MPK have lots of PDF documents on fitting and user manual instructions on each of their roof lights. Read the document for your specific roof light to find out how to take it apart and clean it.
This is a typical example of a Dometic Heki Mini roof light fitted to caravans and motorhomes: Image – Amazon
As there is a huge number of roof light models fitted to caravans and motorhomes I can’t possibly cover every example in this post. So below I’ll focus on a roof light I know is fitted to quite a few caravans and motorhomes which people struggle to clean, the MPK Vision Vent M Pro. Now, even if this is not the model of roof light fitted to your caravan or motorhome, the process of removing and taking apart your roof light will probably be similar. Therefore I would encourage you to watch the video below and then find the specific manual for your roof light as discussed above and follow those steps for removal and cleaning.
This is the MPK Vision Vent M Pro roof light fitted to many caravans and motorhomes. Dirt and insects can get trapped inside this roof light: Image – Amazon
How to Remove and Clean a Roof Light
So the first part of the roof light you will probably want to clean is the fly screen. While the fly screen generally does a good job of stopping flys and insects getting into the caravan or motorhome, they often get stuck in the screen. Therefore, you want to get your vacuum cleaner and carefully suck out those flys and insects. Now the easy part is out of the way its time to try and clean the actual roof light. As I discussed at the top of this post, when cleaning the roof of a caravan or motorhome you will be cleaning part of the roof light. From inside the caravan you can clean the interior surface of the roof light. The problem is the bit in the middle on some roof lights.
Some roof lights to provide ventilation are produced from two pieces of plastic/acrylic with an air gap between the two and vents. Hence, air can pass through the roof light vents but rain cannot enter the caravan or motorhome. This venting principle works well. However, the compromise is dirt and insects get stuck in between the two layers of plastic. You can get those insects and dirt out, but you’re going to have to remove the roof light and take it apart.
Keith and Michele of the YouTube channel Carefree Caravanning have actually done a really good video of how to take apart and clean a MPK Vision Vent M Pro roof light. They did include in the title of the video ‘Heki’, but they later realised their mistake as they noted in the video description. Anyway, their video is a really good example of how to remove a caravan roof light and dismantle it to clean inside.
Tools to Remove a Roof Light?
As I discussed above, there is an absolutely huge range of roof lights fitted to caravans and motorhomes from Dometic (Heki) and MPK. In many instances, they don’t use flat, Philips or Pozi screws. They frequently use what’s called Torx head screws. Essentially, instead of a line or cross the screw head appears as a six-pointed star shape. Now, I do quite a bit of DIY and I use Torx head screws for certain projects. While they are generally more expensive you have much better contact between the screwdriver and screw. Hence, you are less likely to slip/strip and damage the screw head.
Now, unless you are into DIY its likely you won’t have a set of Torx screwdrivers lying around to remove your roof vent. There are lots of places online though where you can pick up a set of Torx screwdrivers such as the set below. As noted in the video, its likely you’ll have to use various sizes of Torx screwdrivers. For instance, in the video, Keith first removed the roof light with a Torx 10 and then later had to use a Torx 20 to separate the roof light for cleaning.
This is just one example of the many Torx screwdriver sets you can purchase online. As noted in the video above, you will likely need a range of sizes. They will also need to have long reach tips: Image – Amazon
Now, that’s all I’m really going to discuss when it comes to how to remove a roof light in a caravan or motorhome. The reason being the video itself really provides the information you need. Furthermore, as I reference above really each roof light Heki/MPK has a different design, the number of screws to remove, size of screws etc. So after reading this post, as stated above find and check the manual for your specific roof light. What I do want to discuss now is cleaning the roof light. This is where you want to avoid making a big mistake.
How to Clean a Caravan/Motorhome Roof Light
Right, let’s presume you have been able to remove and separate the roof light and you want to clean it. Remember, your roof light is made from plastic (acrylic). Hence, you shouldn’t just use any cleaning agent. First, just try and use water to remove the dirt. Warm water should also help but don’t use water that is so hot you cannot put your hand it in. Hence, boiling water is a big no-no. Remember, the roof light is plastic, and it will deform under heat, potentially even causing micro-cracks. If parts of the roof light are still dirty you could try a bit of caravan cleaner detergent, something that’s not too abrasive.
If the roof light is greasy and water alone just won’t clean it, a little bit of a low abrasive cleaner such as Fenwicks should be able to clean it up: Image – Amazon
Now, if you have had stubborn greasy marks on glass before you may have used either methylated spirits, isopropanol or acetone. I discuss this topic briefly in how not to clean your caravan but more so in my post on how to remove window scratches. Methylated spirits, isopropanol or acetone can denature acrylic plastic causing microcracks to form. This will reduce the strength of the roof light, but also make it look old and tatty. Hence, by trying to improve the appearance of the roof light by cleaning it you may end up making it look worse. So, in the simplest terms, don’t use methylated spirits, isopropanol or acetone to clean a caravan/motorhome roof light.
Conclusion on How to Remove, Separate and Clean Roof Lights in Caravans and Motorhomes
One of our guests has brought up in the past their frustration with the poor condition of their roof light and how dirty it was but they were unable to clean it. Therefore, I wanted to write this post to emphasis that roof lights can be removed, separated and cleaned. But I appreciate its not the easiest or simplest job to do when cleaning a caravan or motorhome.
I hope you found this post useful and its given you some direction on how to approach cleaning your roof light. I also hope at some point in the future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common. 🙂