As an RV owner, keeping the interior and exterior of your recreational vehicle clean is important. Not only does a clean RV look great and impress guests, it also extends the life of the vehicle and components. However, fully cleaning an RV is quite different than tidying up a house or apartment.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to clean your RV from top to bottom. We’ll go over:
- The best cleaning schedule to prevent major buildup
- Equipment and supplies you’ll need
- Tackling the interior from floors to ceilings
- Washing and protecting the exterior
- Cleaning awning, slide outs, and other specialty areas
- Disinfecting surfaces and deodorizing
- Handling waste tanks and drainage systems
- When it’s best to hire professional detailing services
Follow these complete cleaning tips to keep your RV looking spotless inside and out.
Establish a Regular Cleaning Schedule
Cleaning your RV thoroughly on an occasional basis takes diligence and time. To make the job easier, establish a quick and basic cleaning routine you can follow each week. For example:
Straighten up items and wipe down counters
Sweep floors if needed
Disinfect sink and toilet areas
Take out trash
Sweep and mop floors
Sanitize bathroom and shower
Wipe down cabinets and surfaces
Clean fridge and empty trash
Clean interior windows and mirrors
Disinfect mattresses and upholstery
Inspect caulking and seals
Check roof and outdoor seals
This prevents heavy soiling and allows you to thoroughly clean, protect, and disinfect everything inside about once per quarter.
Supplies You’ll Need for DIY RV Cleaning
Having the proper supplies makes cleaning your RV faster and more effective. Stock up on:
- All-purpose surface cleaners
- Disinfectant sprays or wipes
- Bathroom cleaners
- Glass and window cleaners
- durable microfiber cloths and towels
- Soft scrub brushes and sponges
- Floor cleaners and mops
- Leather and fabric cleaners
- Detail brushes for vents and crevices
- Protectants for surfaces, tires, etc.
- Heavy-duty rubber gloves
- Vacuums including handheld and crevice tools
Look for RV-specific cleaning products when possible. And check that your cleaning agents are safe for the various surfaces in your RV’s interior.
Tackling RV Interior Cleaning
Let’s walk through cleaning everything inside your RV from floor to ceiling.
Clean and Sanitize the Bathroom
Bathrooms harbor lots of dirt and germs, so be sure to fully disinfect:
Toilet: Scrub bowl well including under the rim. Clean entire exterior surface, tank, and base.
Sink: Remove buildup with a non-abrasive cleaner. Disinfect faucet and wipe down surfaces.
Shower: Remove any mildew or soap scum. Scrub walls, floors, doors with a bathroom cleaner.
Storage: Empty cabinets and drawers fully to clean inside.
Check caulking and seals around sinks, showers, windows for any signs of mold/mildew. Re-caulk if needed.
Vacuum and Wash Floors Thoroughly
Vacuum all carpeting, rugs, and any upholstered areas to remove loose dirt and debris. For solid surface floors:
- Sweep away dust and dirt with a broom or vacuum
- For vinyl floors, use a vinyl floor cleaner and mop. For linoleum, use a linoleum-safe cleaner. Tile and wood floors should also be cleaned with specialized products.
- Scrub any stubborn spots and high traffic areas. Be sure to get into corners.
- Let flooring dry completely before walking on it.
Dust and Clean Walls, Ceilings, and Vents
Use microfiber cloths, dusters, and detail brushes to remove dust and grime from:
- Walls, wallpaper, and any wall decorations
- Ceiling vents and ceiling surfaces including ceiling fans
- AC and heating vents
- Door and cabinet trim
Check for any signs of mold or mildew growth and treat as needed.
Wash Interior Windows and Mirrors
Clean inside windows and mirrors using a glass cleaner and lint-free cloths. Some tips:
- If needed, scrape off any stuck-on grime or tape residue using a plastic scraper to avoid scratching.
- For best results, clean glass on overcast days when the sun won’t cause streaks to dry quickly.
- Newspaper or coffee filters work well for streak-free shining and polishing.
- Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners on tinted windows.
Disinfect and Clean Interior Cabinets
Wipe down all cabinets inside and out removing grime that builds up over time:
- Empty out cabinets fully to access all surfaces. Vacuum if very dirty.
- Use a mild all-purpose cleaner on cabinet surfaces, outside and inside.
- For wood cabinets, use a wood furniture polish to condition and protect the wood grain. Wipe down laminate cabinets with a laminate cleaner.
- Disinfect handles and knobs where grease and germs accumulate.
Take everything out of cabinets to fully sanitize the RV’s interior living spaces.
Freshen Up Mattresses and Upholstery
Mattresses and fabrics easily accumulate odors, dirt, and bacteria. To freshen:
- Vacuum cushions, mattresses, and curtains to remove loose debris and dust.
- Use an upholstery attachment to vacuum harder to reach seams and tufts on mattresses.
- Spot clean stains on furniture and curtains with a fabric cleaner.
- For mattresses, sprinkle baking soda over the surface, let sit briefly, then vacuum up to deodorize.
- Upholstery shampoo machines offer deep cleaning for fabrics.
- Consider steam cleaning for upholstery and drapes to disinfect and remove odors.
This will leave seating and sleeping areas cleaner and fresher.
Handling RV Exterior Cleaning
The RV’s exterior also requires thorough yet careful cleaning. Here are the key areas to tackle:
Wash and Wax the RV’s Exterior
Give the RV body a complete wash:
- Hose down the entire exterior to remove loose dirt. Use a bug scrubber for any caked-on residue.
- Hand wash the RV body using an RV wash solution. Use a sponge or car-wash mitt moving from top to bottom.
- For stubborn stains, use a degreasing cleaner. Be careful on decals or painted areas.
- Rinse off completely using a pressure nozzle.
- Dry the RV body with towels or chamois to avoid water spots.
- Apply a coat of automotive or RV wax for protection that also gives a great shine.
Finish by dressing the tires and cleaning windshields.
Clean and Seal the Roof
Use a ladder or step stool to access and clean the RV’s roof:
- Sweep or vacuum to remove debris and dirt. Scrape off stuck-on gunk.
- Hose down then scrub with an RV roof cleaning solution using a long-handled soft brush.
- Rinse away any cleaning product residue completely.
- Allow to dry fully.
- Apply RV roof sealant to any cracks or seams needing resealing.
This prevents leaks while making the roof look fresh.
Clean Slide Outs, Compartments, and Access Doors
Target often-missed areas around the exterior:
- Vacuum out storage compartments, slide outs, and any ceiling vents
- Check and lubricate slide out seals. Clean tracks.
- Lube hinges, latches, and any moving parts on exterior access doors and compartments.
- Fiberglass should be waxed like the main body to protect the finish.
- Clean door and compartment gaskets and apply UV protectant.
Take time when cleaning the RV exterior to hit everything, not just the main surfaces.
Wash and Care for Awning Fabric
Vinyl awnings easily collect dirt and mold if not cleaned occasionally:
- Open awning and hose down top and bottom to soak fabric and loosen debris.
- Mix up sudsy water or use an awning cleaner and scrub with a soft brush.
- Rinse both sides of fabric thoroughly.
- Let dry fully before retracting.
- Apply awning protector product to repel dirt and moisture.
This keeps awnings looking vibrant and extending their usable life.
Disinfecting High-Touch Areas and Deodorizing
RV interiors host a lot of occupants and guests. Be sure to fully sanitize:
- Door handles, light switches, and buttons
- Bathrooms and flooring
- Bedding and upholstery
- Appliance handles and controls
- Steering wheel and controls
- Tables and countertops
Look for cleaners containing quaternary ammonium salts or hydrogen peroxide. Ozone generators also deeply sanitize RV air and surfaces.
For deodorizing, set out dishes of baking soda or activated charcoal. Natural enzymatic cleaners help break down odors rather than masking them.
Maintaining Waste Systems
Properly handling RV waste tanks, plumbing, and drainage prevents unpleasant odor and mess issues:
- Use deodorizing products in the black and gray tanks. Enzyme treatments help break down waste.
- Monitor tank levels and empty promptly when nearing full.
- Flush tanks thoroughly after emptying using a tank rinse product.
- Clean and sanitize dump points after draining.
- Inspect seals around tank openings and piping. Reseal as needed.
- Use strainer baskets in sink and shower drains to catch hair and debris.
- Keep slide out and leveling jack areas clear of dirt buildup.
Taking care of waste systems makes storing and living in your RV much more pleasant.
Why Professional RV Detailing Is Recommended
All these cleaning tasks take considerable time and diligence when tackling them yourself. For many RV owners, hiring professional detailing services makes sense.
Companies like Speed Clean Services offer full-service RV cleaning. Their trained technicians use specialized products and powerful equipment to thoroughly wash, sanitize, and restore your RV.
Speed Clean Services provides multiple package options from basic interior and exterior cleaning to showroom-level detailing. Their work is guaranteed to get your RV looking like new again.
Benefits of professional RV cleaning and detailing include:
- Deep cleaning that removes built-up grime DIY can’t tackle
- Industrial vacuums that pull dirt from crevices
- Steam cleaning for disinfecting without chemicals
- Mold removal and surface protectants
- Compounding and waxing for swirl-free exterior shine
- Faster and more convenient than doing it yourself
- Detailed and glossy cleaning that enhances your RV’s value
Speed Clean Services caters to all types of RVs from small trailers to mammoth motorhomes. They offer their mobile cleaning services throughout the Denver metro region.
Maintain a Pristine RV Interior and Exterior
Caring for an RV takes dedication to prevent the grime that comes from heavy usage. Follow these cleaning guidelines to keep your RV looking its best inside and out. Performing regular surface cleaning along with quarterly deep cleaning routines makes maintaining cleanliness much easier.
For an occasional detailed refresh, trust the RV cleaning experts at Speed Clean Services. Their precision cleaning transforms dingy RVs into spotless, sanitized spaces you can relax in and proudly show off.