Cleaning. It’s certainly not on the top of our favourite list of things to do however one thing is for sure – it doesn’t matter whether you get away for a few weeks a year, are embarking on your own lap of Australia, or are living full time in your RV like us, looking after and maintaining your vehicle’s interior is key to healthy and happy travels.
You’ve got your standard cleaning routine down pat, but what about those trickier items like window screens, fans and drains? With a few clever hacks up your sleeve not only can you avoid potential issues that may arise, you’ll also save heaps of time and money when cleaning up!
We’re sharing our top 7 cleaning hacks plus some bonus natural cleaning recipes that will have your RV shining like new in no time.
* The following information is a guide only and is not intended to take the place of professional advice. We would recommend you speak with your RV manufacturer for specific maintenance advice relating to your set up and associated products.
There’s no getting around it, grey water is stinky! Your RV drains and pipes can easily be forgotten about… it’s the old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ scenario. However, this is one area of your RV interior we would encourage you to regularly maintain, in fact we do this little routine once a week. Not only will this help keep your drains smelling better, it will also help reduce the build-up of nasties and bacteria in your pipes. Sprinkle some bi-carb soda on your kitchen, bathroom and shower drains followed by a good splash of white vinegar. Let the bi-carb and vinegar bubble and react, then follow with 500ml to 1L of boiling water to flush your pipes.
WINDOW FLY SCREENS AND BLINDS
Window fly screens are probably one of the hardest parts of an RV to keep clean. Not only do they get dusty and dirty from the environments you camp in, they are an easy trap for bugs and insects to get caught in.
We use a hard bristled small head brush to gently clear away any bugs, dust or debris that get caught in the mesh, followed by cleaning wipes or a damp microfibre cloth to wipe over the entire screen and blind. You’ll be amazed at how much dirt and dust comes off your screens, even with regular cleaning!
Our hot tip is to make sure you clean both sides of the fly screens and blinds, inside and out, as regularly as you can to avoid heavy build up that is harder to remove.
We love our Maxxfan for keeping the van ventilated and cool even during raining weather, however it doesn’t take long for the screen to get full of dirt and dust and look atrocious! A great design feature is that the screen can easily be removed by swivelling the small clips, and we find a rinse under running water quickly and easily removes the crud.
A dry microfibre cloth is a great way to clean off excess dust from the fan blades and housing, followed by a damp microfibre cloth or cleaning wipe to bring it up sparkling clean.
We wouldn’t be without our Sirocco fans! The clever gimbal design allows 360% directional airflow that really makes a difference when travelling in hotter climates. While traditional fans can be painful and time consuming to clean, having to navigate the cage, fan blades and housing, the Sirroco’s have small plastic clips on the back side that allow you to completely remove the cage and fan blades for super easy super quick cleaning!
We give the cage and fan blades a quick rinse under running water, followed by a quick wipe over with a dry microfibre cloth. And we wipe down the housing and all other parts again with a dry microfibre cloth, before putting the fan back together. It honestly doesn’t get any easier than that!
AIR CONDITIONER FILTERS
Again, we use a dry or damp microfibre cloth to dust over the entire unit and vents.
We suggest referring to your RV Air-conditioner manual for advice on cleaning the filters as all models seem to differ slightly, however all are usually very easy to clean or replace. Take care when removing your filters as most AC units use small plastic clips and parts that are a pain to replace if broken.
WASHING MACHINE DRUM CLEAN
We have a 2.5L Camec teardrop washing machine in our Zone RV Sojourn and absolutely love it! It’s a great little workhorse and given we do a load of washing most days, it does the job in only 25 minutes, using as little as 14L of water! Great for our off grid lifestyle!
Constant use of your washing machine can mean build-up of grime on the drum, so doing a drum clean every now and then is a great way to keep your machine maintained and working well. Most machines have a drum clean setting or refer to your manual for best advice regarding your make and model… just ensure your washing machine is empty (that means no clothes in the machine during your drum clean cycle!).
Another great way to keep your machine sparkling clean and smelling its best is to do an empty wash using vinegar. White vinegar is a great natural cleaner and deodoriser, is very inexpensive and can be purchased from your local grocery store! Too easy!
No matter whether you have leather or PU leather (AKA pleather) on your upholstery, a great natural way to keep it clean and looking its best is to make up a mix of water and white vinegar and use a damp microfibre cloth to gently wipe over the material. If you find you have greasy stains, a small sprinkling of bi-carb soda left to sit for a little while will help lift any marks, before wiping of.
After you have cleaned, you will need to condition. A natural oil such as lemon oil or flaxseed tend to work best. Just dab a small amount on a dry microfibre cloth and rub into your leather or PU using small circular movements. Wipe off any excess with a clean dry microfibre cloth.
NATURAL CLEANING RECIPES
If chemical-laden cleaners are not your thing, here are some natural cleaning recipes to get shining results without harsh chemicals.
Glass & Mirror Cleaner:
– 1.5 cup white vinegar
– ½ cup water
– 8-10 drops of lemon essential oil
*You can add a small amount of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel which helps the solution evaporate
Soft Scrub/Cream Cleanser:
– ¾ cup baking soda
– ¼ unscented liquid Castile soap
– 1 tbsp water
– 1 tbsp vinegar
– ½ tbsp On Guard Cleaner Concentrate
– 5-10 drops of lemon essential oil
* We recommend using only the highest quality, purest oils available. We choose dōTERRA Essential Oils for this reason.
Check out our full Cleaning Hacks Episode for more tips, tricks and advice!