Keeping your RV clean is a lot like keeping a house clean, with a few specific things you’ll want to keep in mind. Because it’s a small space with a lot of foot traffic in and out, you may find that your RV gets messy fast. But a little bit of tidying goes a long way, and there’s no better feeling than having a neat inside view to complement whatever’s outside your window.
1: Remove food and clean fridge, freezer and cabinets.
First step: take out everything from your fridge, freezer and cabinets. This is a good time to check expiration or “best before” dates on anything in cans, boxes, or bottles and dispose of anything past its prime.
Then, spray down the inside of your fridge and freezer with your favorite disinfecting cleaner and wipe them out. If you’ve had any leaks or spills, it might be easier to run shelves or drawers through a dishwasher or wash them in the sink.
Spray and wipe down the inside of your cabinets, being sure to clean up crumbs or anything sticky that may attract pests. (Honey bottle, we’re looking at you.)
2: Wipe down all surfaces and fixtures.
Spray and wipe down all surfaces inside the RV. In the kitchen, focus on countertops, tables and exteriors of appliances like your microwave, stove and oven. Don’t forget to wipe down the outside of your cabinets, too.
In living spaces, dust all surfaces and wipe down anything frequently touched with disinfectant spray. For instance, wipe down doors, knobs, tables, remote controls, lamps, and any non-porous seating.
Bathrooms can always use a deeper clean with cleaners specially designed to kill germs. Don’t forget to wipe down faucets, knobs and toilet handles.
3: Clean out air vents and filters.
Over time, heating vents can accumulate both dust and debris, especially if they’re placed on the floor. Although it takes an extra moment, removing the covers will allow you to vacuum and clean the air vents and dispose of old food crumbs, wayward dirt clods and more. Likewise, dust loves to accumulate in air filters, which slows down the circulation of fresh air inside your RV and can trigger allergies. Most air filters can be taken outside and hosed in a matter of seconds, giving you fresh air in a snap.
4: Clean window screens.
It’s your choice whether to suck or blow—both a vacuum attachment and compressed air can help clean your window screens while they’re in place. If you don’t have either, take your screens out and give them a good spray with a hose to dislodge fluff, old bugs and general ickiness from your windows.
5: Sweep and mop the floor.
When you live close to nature, sweeping your RV out becomes a Sisyphean task. The moment you’ve swept, there’s dirt on the floor again. Every so often, give your RV floors a deep clean by sweeping thoroughly and mopping. Be sure to target all the corners and crannies to really get the job done. And if you want to bar anyone from entering your sparkly-clean RV for a few hours, well, we don’t blame you.
6: Water plus vinegar cleans (almost) everything.
In a world where so many specialty products are for sale, it can be easy to forget that one of the best cleaners is nearly free. Just mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for a non-toxic cleaner that cuts through grime and loosens dirt, all thanks to its natural acidity. No fumes or warning labels here, and the only downside to this homemade wonder product is that it may make you crave a really well-dressed salad.
7: Don’t forget the tops of slides.
Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. When was the last time you took a good look at the tops of your slides? That’s why we’re here to remind you. Go ahead and take a broom to the roof, and sweep down any old leaves, twigs and frisbees from the tops of your slide-outs.
8: Treat your awnings with care.
One thing we do recommend a specialty cleaner for is the awnings, for a few reasons. One, most acrylic awnings are treated with a plastic finish to help repel water and discourage the growth of mold, and aggressive scrubbing can damage this finish. Two, because awnings are subjected to road grime, tree sap, mold, dirt and more. So it makes sense to buy a product that’s both gentle enough to preserve your awning’s finish, while effective enough to cut through sticky pine sap without needing to scrub. Use a soft sponge or a rag to wash your awning, and in between washes, give it a good hosing down with plain water regularly.
9: Use a tire cleaner for next-level sparkle.
If you’re going for a full top-to-bottom shine, give your tires a quick clean with a spray-on tire cleaner. Tires can be a real haven for all manners of crud. Your choice: either spend your day scrubbing, or shell out for something specially designed to do the work for you. We should mention, this step is completely optional.
10: Fill and drain the freshwater tank.
Giving your freshwater tank a good flushing can make a big difference in your water, especially if your RV only gets used sporadically. First, open up the valve to let your tank empty onto the ground. Then, run a clean hose to add water into your tank, letting it run out the other side. You’ll help push through any wayward minerals from hard water or debris that has found its way into your tank.