Cleaning an RV has a huge advantage since you only have a small space to work with in terms of cleaning and organizing. However, cleaning per se, may not be something RVers usually prioritize but when neglected or done the wrong way it can result in the biggest problems. You can keep your RV clean and orderly by making sure you pay attention to both its interiors and exterior. A top to bottom cleaning system is one way to do this efficiently.
1. Knowing Your RV and The Importance of Cleaning An RV
In most cases, we most often overlook the manual that comes along with our newly-bought appliance, gadget, or tool. What we do is simply toss it aside and start using our item immediately with the idea that we’ll figure everything out as we use it. However, for RVs, even when you have previous experience, doing this will not only give you a hard time but maybe even cause some damage to your precious rig. And this doesn’t only concern learning how to operate or drive! It’s the same for cleaning too.
Reading your RV manual will help you know your RV better. It will cover your RV’s materials and even include some cleaning instructions. Do’s and Don’ts can also be found as to what cleaning tools and cleaners to use.
Doing this firsthand, you will have a better understanding of how you will go about cleaning your RV. It may seem overwhelming at first, I know. But knowing not just which parts to clean but also how to clean it properly will do you wonders. It will not only make your RV clean but also make it comfortable and safe enough for you to call it your home.
2. Top-Bottom Cleaning System and the Principle Behind It
A top-bottom system of cleaning means just exactly how it sounds. It starts with cleaning the area on the topmost of the RV, down to the sides and awning, all the way down to the tires and even the undercarriage. Doing this will make the cleaning a lot faster. You wouldn’t want to go scrubbing your RV sides and tires only to find out you’re doing them again just because you started hosing down your roof.
This system doesn’t only apply to cleaning your RV exteriors but also to the interiors. Always working on cleaning the top area first is the way to go. Another thing you can do is try to chunk your cleaning tasks into pieces. Doing this will help you be more efficient in how you do your RV cleaning.
3. Cleaning Your RV Roof: Know What to Do
It is essential to identify your roof type before cleaning it. Also, by reading the manual you will know whether your roof is walkable or not. This should help you know the things you will need to clean like a sturdy ladder. Different materials for different roofs may require different types of cleaners as well. Most RV roofs can either be made of rubber, metal, or fiberglass.
However, before going on using your tool and cleaner, do check your roofs for any debris or loose materials such as twigs or fallen leaves that you can sweep off. Having some unwanted elements might cause streaks or abrasion to your roof when you accidentally wipe it off with some cleanser.
RV roofs that are made of rubber are sensitive to abrasive cleaners like those with acidic elements, so try to stay away from that. There are cleaners you can buy specifically made for RV rubber roofs. After sweeping some dirt off, you can use a hose to water down the entire roof. You can then use a long-handled sponge mop or medium-bristled brush to carefully scrub the roof in small circles. You can rinse with a hose as well. Just be careful because it can be a little slippery.
On the other hand, if your RV roof is made up of fiberglass, it is usually much easier to clean as it will not need any special cleaner. The steps are much similar to having rubber roofs, except you can use a regular RV cleaner that you use for the body. And to maintain your fiberglass roof’s shine, you may use cleaner wax after washing!
4. RV Body: How to Clean It
Like roofs, the RV Body can be made up of different materials which also means having different ways to clean. For sure this can be the most overwhelming since this is probably the biggest part that you will clean, but then again, dividing your cleaning into chunks will make it less overwhelming.
The most common RV body types are metal, painted metal, and fiberglass. All this requires their own way of cleaning and again, it is important to always go back to your manual to find out which type of cleaner will do its job best.
For RVs with a metal body type, it is suggested that you do pre-cleaning or hosing the body down with water. This can get rid of bigger gunks of dirt and grime. You can then use a non-abrasive cleaner along with some soft-bristled brush or sponge.
If you have a painted metal body type for your RV, you can clean it the same way you clean the common cars. A good regular car cleaner will mostly do the job using a soft-bristled brush or sponge as well.
The more recent RV models usually have a fiberglass body because it’s lightweight but still very durable. To clean this kind of body type, you will have to use a wash-and-wax product that cleans and preserves your RV body at the same time!
4. RV Awnings: The Best Way to Keep Them Clean
Your RV awnings might be the easiest to clean. You should clean it with your legs down first to help you clean the top part better. You can simply hose down dirt from the fabric. Try to avoid abrasive scrubbing since this can cause damage to your awning material. For the tougher stains or dirt, you can use a bleach solution using a sprayer and carefully wipe it off using a soft-bristled brush. Make sure you dry your awnings completely before rolling them up again to prevent stains and bacteria build-up that could make them stink.
5. Slides, Gaskets, and Weather Seals
Cleaning the windows may seem easy but it’s the gaskets and weather seals that should make your cleaning thorough. As you clean your windows, please do check for possible tears, damages, or drying of the gaskets and weather seals in and out of your RV. What you can use is a silicone-based cleanser that can greatly help in maintaining them and keeping them from drying out despite the extreme weather conditions and changes.
6. Tires and Wheels: Know the Care Manual
According to Michelin’s tire care manual, vehicle tires usually should last at least 10 years before needing replacement. However, since RV tires are usually parked in open areas, they tend to have less lifespan because they are more exposed to various damaging conditions. That’s why it is important to always take care and pay attention to maintaining your RV’s tires.
What you can do is hose down all the bigger gunks and dirt. You may then use some mild rubber cleaner to soap on your tires and use a brush to scrub it all the way and remove the smaller and tougher grimes. You may rinse it thoroughly using a hose as well and dry it using a towel. You can now apply some tire protection for extra protection from UV rays.
7. Undercarriage: Overlooked Part of an RV
Cleaning your RV’s undercarriage might be too much of a task for you but it is also a very important part of the overall cleaning process. There could be a huge accumulation of mud, dirt, and oil under your rig that might eventually end up causing unwanted odors coming off of your RV. To save you the hassle of cleaning down under, you may bring your RV in a service car washer to have your undercarriage thoroughly cleaned up!
8. Watch Out for Repair Opportunitie
One thing you can do to maintain the cleanliness inside and even outside your RV is to regularly examine for repair opportunities. While doing the general cleaning from your roof all the way down to the undercarriage, you must always keep an eye for the things that need immediate repair or fixing. This will further help you avoid unintended cleaning situations caused by leaks and other fixture-related mess.
Regularly doing performance maintenance of your RV will let you know if there is any part that needs fixing in terms of inner workings that may cause unwanted smoky odors and the like.
9. Having a Condensed Cleaning Kit
I couldn’t possibly emphasize more how you should always have an accessible compact cleaning kit. This will save your clumsy self a thousand times. Moreso, having this kit will make maintaining your RV interior’s cleanliness a lot easier!
10. Invest in a Handheld Vacuum
Having a high-quality handheld vacuum, though pricey, is probably the best cleaning investment you can make. It will not only help you save space because it’s compact and lightweight. It can also help you save on power better than those that require to be plugged in while using.
We all know how RVs can have the smallest and narrowest nooks and crannies that can be the most difficult and frustrating to clean. You might even forget these spaces where dirt and grime start to build up and maybe even make your tiny home stink. Having a compact vacuum that has interchangeable attachments for various uses will help you deal with this!
11. Have a Multipurpose Cleaner on Board
Let’s face it, you don’t have all the time and the space to have different cleaners for different uses. Specifically, an all-natural multipurpose cleaner that can be used for most types of surfaces is all you need.
If you can, choose all-natural because cleaners containing too many chemicals can be difficult to deal with especially in a closed and tiny space like an RV. The scent produced may even cause harmful effects when used frequently.
12. Know the Cleaning Agents in Your Kitchen
Aside from having an all-natural multipurpose cleaner, knowing what’s in your pantry and what they can do will help you more than you can imagine. Here are some usual kitchen items that you might not have thought to be useful cleaning agents.
First is the baking soda Simply sprinkling some baking soda and adding warm water can help you take off even the most stubborn grime in your showers and kitchen! Just leave it on for a couple of minutes and you can use some scrub to wipe them off.
Another tough stain and odor remover is vinegar. Pouring a few cups of vinegar in your washer, toilet bowl, sink, and even water tanks, can help get rid of the unwanted smell and unseen bacteria! Using it with a cloth, you can also wipe the grime out of your windows and door handles.
And of course, lemons! With its natural acids that remove impurities, you can simply cut a lemon in half and use it to wipe surfaces! It cleans and also disinfects at the same time.
13. Use Microfiber Cloths: Can Do Wonders
A couple of microfiber cloths will do you wonders in your cleaning. They are very quick to dry and easy to store! Being always on the road, spills are inevitable. And a microfiber cloth can be used to wipe and dry small to medium spills without being harsh on your surfaces. Having a couple of pieces in your rotation is totally an RV cleaning kit must-have.
14. Cleaning Contractors
If you are a little tight on time and you kind of want an intensive or deep cleaning of your RV. It is not so bad to acquire the service of cleaning contractors. But before doing so, make sure you are familiar with the cleaners or car washers somehow. You make look it up online or get referrals from your fellow RVers.
It is also important that inform them beforehand of the details of your RV in terms of cleaning. You may also ask before their service the types of cleaning they do, the cleaning tools they will use, and the cleaning agents they will use. This is to ensure that your RV will get the treatment it needs.
Remember to always read your manual first to know appropriate cleaning methods. Using the top-bottom cleaning system will also make the cleaning faster and more efficient. Know also the different types of cleaners and tools to be used based on the material your RV is made up of. Maintaining the cleanliness in your RV won’t be too much of a hassle when you always keep a compact cleaning kit and perform a regular maintenance routine. With this quick guide, you might find yourself wanting to get your hands on that manual you sure kept somewhere and start with reviewing your RV’s cleaning instructions. If you want to keep your RV safe from theft, here is an article that I have written for you.