RV Cleaning Tips: How to Clean AN RV Inside and Out

How To Clean An RV


Importance of Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to keep your RV in top condition. By following a consistent cleaning routine, you can prevent the buildup of dirt, grime, and stains, which can be harder to remove if left unattended. Additionally, maintaining cleanliness helps eliminate odors and creates a more pleasant living environment inside the vehicle. Furthermore, a clean RV is less likely to attract pests, ensuring a comfortable and safe camping experience.

Cleaning the Interior of Your RV

Cleaning the Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most frequently used areas in an RV and requires regular cleaning. Start by wiping down the countertops, sink, and toilet with a damp cloth or microfiber cloth. Use a mild bathroom cleaner or a mixture of water and white vinegar to remove any stains or buildup. Don’t forget to clean the shower area and remove any soap scum or mildew using a soft-bristled brush or sponge. Finally, ensure proper ventilation to prevent moisture-related issues.

Tackling Dirt and Dust

Dirt and dust can accumulate quickly inside an RV due to the constant movement and exposure to outdoor elements. To combat this, establish a regular cleaning routine that includes dusting all surfaces, vacuuming the floors, and wiping down furniture and fixtures. Use a cordless vacuum with various attachments to reach tight corners and crevices. Consider using a microfiber cloth or a soft brush to clean delicate surfaces and electronics.

Cleaning the Kitchen Area

The kitchen area in your RV should be kept clean to ensure food safety and hygiene. Regularly clean countertops, sinks, and stovetops using a mild dish soap or RV-specific cleaner. Wipe down the interior of the refrigerator and freezer, removing any food debris or spills. Clean dishes promptly and avoid leaving dirty dishes overnight to prevent unpleasant odors and pests. Implement proper food storage practices to minimize the risk of attracting insects or rodents.

Maintaining Floors and Surfaces

RV floors and surfaces are subject to heavy foot traffic and exposure to outdoor elements. Sweep or vacuum the floors regularly to remove dirt, sand, and other debris. Use appropriate cleaning products suitable for your flooring material, such as a non-abrasive cleaner for vinyl or laminate floors. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive tools that could damage the surfaces. Consider using rugs or mats in high-traffic areas to protect the flooring.

Dealing with Odors

Unpleasant odors can quickly develop inside an RV, especially in confined spaces. To combat odors, start by identifying and eliminating the source. Regularly empty and clean the black water tank to prevent foul smells. Open windows and vents to allow fresh air circulation. Use odor absorbers or place natural deodorizers, such as baking soda or coffee grounds, in strategic locations throughout the RV. Avoid using strong chemical-based air fresheners, as they may cause respiratory irritations.

Cleaning the Exterior of Your RV

Washing the Exterior

Regularly washing the exterior of your RV not only keeps it looking great but also protects the paint and finish from damage. Start by rinsing the entire exterior using a hose to remove loose dirt and debris. Fill a bucket with water and a mild soap specifically formulated for RVs. Using a soft brush or sponge, gently scrub the surface in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly and dry using a soft cloth or chamois to prevent water spots.

Removing Black Streaks

Black streaks are a common issue on RVs, caused by runoff from the roof or awnings. To remove black streaks, use a black streak remover or a mixture of water and mild soap. Apply the solution to the affected areas and scrub gently with a soft brush or sponge. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue. For stubborn streaks, consider using specialized black streak removal products available in camping stores.

Cleaning the Awning

The awning provides shade and protection from the elements, but it can accumulate dirt, mildew, and stains over time. Start by extending the awning fully and removing any loose debris with a soft brush. Mix a solution of water and awning-safe soap in a spray bottle and apply it to the awning. Use a soft brush or sponge to scrub the surface gently. Rinse thoroughly and allow the awning to dry completely before retracting it.

Taking Care of Wheels and Tires

The wheels and tires of your RV require regular cleaning and maintenance for optimal performance and longevity. Begin by rinsing the wheels with water to remove loose dirt and debris. Use a wheel cleaner suitable for the type of wheels you have, whether aluminum or steel. Scrub the wheels with a soft-bristled brush to remove brake dust and grime. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean cloth. Don’t forget to check tire pressure regularly and inspect for any signs of damage or wear.

Maintaining Water Systems

Cleaning the Water Lines

Clean water lines are essential for safe and hygienic water usage in your RV. Regularly flush the lines by connecting your RV to a clean water source and allowing water to run through the system. If you notice any discoloration or unusual smells, use a mixture of water and white vinegar to flush the lines. Let the vinegar solution sit in the lines for a few minutes before flushing with clean water.

Flushing the Water Tanks

Proper maintenance of your RV’s water tanks is crucial to prevent bacteria growth and ensure the availability of clean water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for flushing and sanitizing your specific tanks. Use RV-specific tank cleaning products or a mixture of bleach with water to thoroughly clean and disinfect the tanks. Rinse the tanks with clean water until all traces of bleach are removed.

Ensuring Clean Drinking Water

When it comes to drinking water in your RV, quality, and safety are paramount. If you’re unsure about the water source at your camping location, consider using a water filtration system or purchasing bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes. Avoid using water from unknown sources or bodies of water, as it may contain harmful bacteria or contaminants.

Essential Cleaning Tools and Products

Vacuum and Cleaning Attachments

A cordless vacuum cleaner with various attachments is a valuable tool for RV cleaning. Opt for a lightweight and compact model that can easily reach tight spaces and corners. Attachments such as crevice tools and brush heads are useful for cleaning upholstery, curtains, and other surfaces.

Cleaning Solutions and Soaps

Choose cleaning solutions and soaps specifically formulated for RV use. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage surfaces or cause discoloration. Opt for mild and biodegradable cleaners whenever possible. White vinegar diluted with water serves as a versatile and effective cleaning solution for various applications inside your RV.

Microfiber Cloths and Soft Brushes

Microfiber cloths are excellent for dusting and cleaning surfaces without scratching or leaving lint behind. Invest in a set of microfiber cloths of different sizes and colors for different cleaning tasks. Soft brushes with natural or synthetic bristles are ideal for cleaning delicate surfaces, such as upholstery, carpets, or electronics.

RV-Safe Cleaning Products

When selecting cleaning products for your RV, look for those specifically labeled as safe for use in RVs. These products are designed to be gentle on surfaces and systems, minimizing the risk of damage. They are typically free from harsh chemicals and abrasive ingredients that could cause discoloration or corrosion.

Additional Cleaning Hacks

Natural Cleaning Recipes

Natural cleaning recipes using common household ingredients can be both effective and eco-friendly. For example, a mixture of baking soda and water forms a powerful paste for removing stains or scrubbing surfaces. Lemon juice can be used as a natural deodorizer or to remove mineral deposits. Explore homemade cleaning recipes to minimize the use of chemical cleaners in your RV.

Vinegar Cleaning Tips

White vinegar is a versatile cleaning agent that can tackle various cleaning tasks in your RV. Use vinegar diluted with water to remove mineral deposits from faucets or showerheads. It also works well for cleaning windows, mirrors, and countertops. However, avoid using vinegar on surfaces that could be damaged by its acidity, such as marble or stone.

Tips for Stubborn Stains

Stubborn stains can be challenging to remove, but with the right approach, you can restore your RV’s surfaces to their original condition. Consider using specialized stain removers designed for specific materials or surfaces. Test any product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility. If all else fails, seek professional help or advice from RV service centers.

Cleaning Windows and Mirrors

Clean windows and mirrors not only enhance the aesthetics of your RV but also improve visibility while driving. Use a streak-free glass cleaner or a vinegar-water solution to clean windows and mirrors. Microfiber cloths are ideal for achieving a lint-free finish. Consider cleaning windows and mirrors on a cloudy day or in the shade to prevent the cleaner from drying too quickly and leaving streaks.

Creating a Cleaning Routine and Checklist

Establishing a cleaning routine and checklist can help you stay organized and ensure that no essential tasks are overlooked. Divide your cleaning into sections, such as interior, exterior, and water systems, and create a schedule that suits your needs. Break down tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal categories to distribute the workload evenly and maintain a consistently clean and well-maintained RV.


Keeping your RV clean inside and out is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience. By following the RV cleaning tips outlined in this article “How To Clean An RV”, you can maintain a sparkling and well-maintained vehicle. Remember to establish a regular cleaning routine, use appropriate tools and cleaning products, and pay attention to the specific needs of your RV’s interior, exterior, and water systems. With proper cleaning and maintenance, you can enjoy your RV adventures to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean the interior of my RV?

It’s recommended to clean the interior of your RV regularly, at least once a week, to prevent the buildup of dirt, dust, and odors. However, high-traffic areas or frequently used items may require more frequent cleaning.

Can I use regular household cleaners in my RV?

While some regular household cleaners can be used in an RV, it’s best to use RV-specific or mild, biodegradable cleaners to minimize the risk of damage to surfaces or systems. Always check the labels and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

How often should I wash the exterior of my RV?

Washing the exterior of your RV should be done regularly, ideally every few weeks or whenever it appears dirty. However, if you’ve been camping in dusty or muddy conditions, it’s a good idea to wash it more frequently.

Are there any special considerations for cleaning RV awnings?

Yes, when cleaning awnings, use awning-safe soap and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive brushes that could damage the fabric. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure the awning is thoroughly dry before retracting it.

How can I remove stubborn black streaks from my RV?

To remove stubborn black streaks, use a specialized black streak remover or a mixture of water and mild soap. Apply the solution to the affected areas and gently scrub with a soft brush or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary.

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