The inside of an RV takes a lot of abuse. Just think of all the times you go in and out of your RV and all the everyday activities you do inside of it during a camping trip. Cooking, eating, bathing, sleeping, going to the bathroom, walking around with shoes on, and more. Your whole family (including your pets!) calls your RV home when on the road, so you can imagine how much dirt, sand, grease, and grime build up over time inside of it. Deep cleaning your RV is an important step you can take to keep your RV looking its best and to protect your investment. A good deep cleaning before and after storage is a must, as is before and after a trip or during a long trip. Follow these steps for a spic & span, pass-the-white-glove-test RV interior and you’ll be proud to call it home!
If your RV doesn’t come with a built-in central vacuum system, then you should consider investing in a compact, portable vacuum. Lugging a large, upright vacuum from your house to your RV will get old very fast. A small, handheld vac is easy to store and is ready and waiting whenever you need it, whether you’re in the mountains of Montana or by the lake in Michigan. Regular vacuuming of your RV carpeting will help keep dirt and debris from creating stains. And use the vacuum to suck up crumbs after meals too. Not only will this keep your upholstery clean, but it’ll help keep critters from being attracted to the inside of your rig. Once a year, do a thorough steam cleaning of your carpet to remove stubborn stains or traffic wear patterns if possible. Then apply a protectant such as 303 Fabric Guard or 3M Scotchgard Auto Fabric & Carpet Protector. If you have vinyl floors, wipe up any spills immediately with a wet paper towel to avoid staining or stickiness. A broom with a dustpan is very useful for quick cleaning up of dust, dirt, crumbs, and more. To regularly clean a vinyl floor, choose a no-rinse floor cleaner instead of using a soap-based or abrasive cleaner.
The upholstery in your RV has to be treated a little differently than the rest of your RV. Many fabrics are treated with fire and stain-resistant additives to help protect them (and you!), however these need to be taken into consideration when choosing a cleaner for your upholstery. Some cleaners have ingredients that can damage the additives, so you want to stay away from those. Your best bet for cleaning vinyl is just a mild detergent on a soft, damp cloth. Do not use a solvent. For deep cleaning of your vinyl upholstery, give Tuff Stuff Multi Purpose Foam Cleaner for Deep Cleaning a try. If your RV features Ultra Leather, use soapy water to clean it and then wipe it dry. Or use Leather Nova Leather Cleaner to get a professional look. For the upholstery in your RV that is removable, such as window treatments, pillows, bedding, and more, professional dry cleaning is recommended. Washing these items in a household washing machine can cause fading, shrinkage, and more.
RV bathrooms are typically pretty small, but they can hold big messes! You’ll want to regularly clean your bathroom to keep it free and clear of disease-causing bacteria and mold/mildew. When cleaning your bathroom, do not use bleach or abrasive cleaners. These can damage or compromise a vanity countertop, toilet, or shower. Instead, use a multipurpose cleaner or mild, soapy water. Always wear gloves when cleaning the bathroom and make sure you use a separate sponge for the toilet. A few products we like are Better Life All-Purpose Cleaner, Moldex, and Tub ‘O Towels, a handy tub of wet towels that are versatile, strong, and conditioning to hands (but still wear gloves!). If you have a shower curtain, remove it and wash it according to its instructions when you notice that it’s looking dirty. If your shower has Plexiglass doors, clean them with mild soap in warm water and dry them when done.
Kitchens get messy! Grease, spills, splatters, bacteria, you name it! Keeping your kitchen clean isn’t just for looks, it’s for your health, too. To clean your countertops, a mild cleaner or soapy water works well. The stovetop can be cleaned with a multipurpose cleaner, such as VOOM RV All-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner & Degreaser, or with soapy water. Make sure to use a soft cloth or a mitt (never steel wool!) on the stovetop so that you don’t scratch it. To clean your refrigerator/freezer, remove food and spray the inside with an all-purpose cleaner. Another one we like to recommend is the 98% naturally derived Green Works. Wipe it down with a dry cloth before putting the food back inside of it. Even though your range hood filter is out of sight, don’t neglect it. Remove it from the hood and wash it in soapy water. Dry it off and put it back in.
Cabinets get covered with fingerprints and dirt. They should be washed regularly to keep them in good shape. If your RV’s cabinets are made of wood, choose a cleaner like Murphy Oil Soap to clean, condition, and protect them. Apply it with a cloth and wipe off. If your cabinets are made of solid wood, use a cleaner and polisher such as Old English or Wood Doctor. Apply it on a soft cloth and go with the grain. When removing it, use a clean, soft cloth and go with the grain again.
Once you have the inside of your RV looking clean and smelling fresh, spend a little time cleaning the exterior of your RV so your home away from home is a clean machine inside and out!
Do you have any tried-and-true cleaning methods for your RV that you'd like to share? Let us know in the Comments below!