Contributed by Evanne Schmarder, Roadabode Productions
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to cleaning the inside of your “home away from home”. The good news is that RVs are compact – usually no more than a few hundred square feet in all. The bad news is that our RVs are “fun machines” – found in the pine-sappy woods, on the sandy seashore or in the dusty desert. And the fact of the matter is, your RV is made of lightweight, chemical sensitive materials – unlike a stick and mortar home and requires non-toxic, gentle cleaning agents and techniques.
Let’s take a walk through the camper…
The bottoms of our shoes tend to bring the outside in. Consider instituting a house rule – no shoes inside the rig. Provide a rug at the entrance for wiping and a nice spot alongside it to “deposit” shoes. Vacuum carpeting, wood and linoleum often – more so than in a house. Wipe the wood or linoleum down frequently with a damp cloth to remove dirt and food spills. Clean your wood or linoleum with a very weak mixture of Mop’n Glo or something along those lines.
Never use an abrasive cleaner such as Soft Scrub in your RV’s sinks, showers-tubs or toilet. The chemical can damage your tanks and scratch the finish. Instead use a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. You’ll get a surprising swell of bubbles and a clean fresh fixture every time.
Consider using a disinfecting wet wipe to clean the toilet seat, lid and sides. I also use this on the floor around the toilet.
Accordion shower enclosures will also clean up well with the baking soda/vinegar mixture. If you have an actual curtain, consider taking it down and laundering according to directions.
Bleach is another no-no. It can degrade the seals around your tanks – causing an unpleasant and messy problem.
Clean your stove top after each use to remove spills and other food messes. Remove the stove top plate from the appliance at least twice a year and wipe out any crumbs, spills, etc. with a damp, lightly soaped cloth. Rinse well.
Polish the enamel coated metal with regular white toothpaste to shine and remove stains and marks every so often as well. Apply with a soft, damp cloth in a circular motion and wipe residue with a clean damp cloth.
Clean your aluminum mesh filter element above your stove top (in the range hood) frequently to remove grease buildup. Do so by soaking it in warm soapy water, swishing back and forth to dissolve the grease. Don’t scrub the filter as this may damage the screen. Rinse thoroughly under clean water and dry completely before replacing.
Many campers have solid wood cabinet doors and veneer (vinyl-decal-wood) cabinets. A few times a year it’s a good idea to orange oil your solid wood doors. Not only does it restore the luster it smells delightful, too.
Wiping the veneer down with a damp cloth will keep them dust and fingerprint-free. Be sure not to orange oil the veneer – it may cause it to deteriorate and fade (and it doesn’t do anything for it anyway).
Chances are you’ll have your camper’s windows open a lot. Remove dust and dirt by vacuuming the frames and sills often. Use a disinfectant wet wipe to clean any stubborn dirt or budding mold (from condensation).
Clean metal mini-blinds by removing, spraying with a cleaner such as Simple Green, scrubbing gently, rinsing and chamoising to remove water spots. Cloth blinds should be vacuumed frequently to combat dust.
Keep your A/C chilling by frequently removing, washing and drying the foam filter. Not only will in tax the unit less, you’ll have better air quality as well.
Vacuum the louvers on the furnaces return air vent often. Remove the vent cover and vacuum the furnace area to remove dust and dirt – making your furnace safer and more efficient.
Just like your house, give your rig a thorough cleaning every so often and it’ll be a pleasure to travel in.