Keeping the inside looking fresh is much less daunting when using the right products and procedures.
Keeping the exterior of any RV nice looking seems to be top of mind among the majority of owners. Presentation is everything. You don’t want to be seen in dirty clothes, so why traipse around the country in an RV that isn’t squeaky clean?
While road debris and weather play roles in spoiling the exterior look, these same factors make it necessary to clean interiors on a frequent basis. Gravel campground roads, dirt sites, dogs and sloppy husbands contribute to the mess inside any RV, and over the years I have assembled a number of techniques and products that streamline the interior cleaning process.
The bathroom seems to get the most abuse and keeping it spotless used to be a chore. Hard water can wreak havoc on glass shower doors, so wiping it down every day is paramount. But that same water, soap and body oils leave unsightly stains on the stall walls. Add dust, hair and other debris, and the shower door tracks and base in particular become unsightly in a hurry.
I’m not a fan of repetitive motion like scrubbing with a sponge and/or cloth. Instead I discovered that Dremel’s Versa Cleaning Tool takes most of the pain out of shower cleaning. It’s a small motor-driven, wireless device that fits in the palm of your hand and spins brush attachments that whisk away stains and dirt. The Dremel Versa is available at home improvement stores or online and it sells for only $50.
Combine the Versa brushes with Voom RV Cleaner, and the surfaces become clean in a hurry. To reach tight crevices like areas inside an aluminum shower door track, a chopstick comes to the rescue. Cover the end of the chopstick with a microfiber towel and the dirt lifts away using Voom sprayed on the targeted surfaces. The chopstick routine also works well for cleaning the overlapping shower wall seams, and for that matter, any hard-to-reach areas.
Cleaning the toilet bowl is certainly one of those less-than-desirable chores, but the use of Thetford’s Aqua Foam Toilet Cleaner makes it fast and easy. Just partially fill the bowl with water and pour in the contents of the package. The foaming action begins immediately and once it stops, the bowl can be swabbed down with a brush. Flush the contents and you’re done. Spray cleaner can be used on the outer surfaces of the toilet. Don some throw-away gloves for this process. Also, Aqua Foam is compatible with all RV holding tank chemicals.
After cleaning the toilet, take the time to grease the seal to ensure water will remain in the bowl after flushing. This helps prevent odors from seeping into the bathroom from the holding tank. Plumber’s grease, like Oatley Plumber Faucet and Valve Grease, works well. And, for continued maintenance, Thetford’s Toilet Seal Lubricant and Conditioner will help prevent the valve seals from drying and leaking.
Keeping the dust off counters, furniture and appliances seems to be a never-ending process. Rags seem to just move the dust from one spot to another. The use of Swiffer Dusters is a perfect way to remove dust from just about everywhere, including window coverings. Buy the kit with the expandable handle, for about $15, and a box of refills.
For getting into tight crevices, like window frame tracks, I use a soft bristle paintbrush. Of course a vacuum cleaner also works, but I usually reserve its use for bigger jobs like the floors, upholstery and roof vents. And don’t forget to clean the air-conditioner filters regularly. We spend most of the winter in the desert and these filters are ready for service in about two weeks.
Stainless steel sinks and appliance facings need constant attention. For this cleaning chore, Weinman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish works like a charm. It lifts dirt (even caked on debris) and fingerprints in seconds while leaving the surface looking new, without streaking. This product is also great for cleaning stainless steel barbecues. It works best with a microfiber towel.
For windows, it’s hard to beat Stoner Invisible Glass. I prefer the pump dispenser rather than the aerosol can because it’s more versatile. This formula leaves no streaks and works great on RV refrigerator door inserts and mirrors in the bathroom. I also use Invisible Glass on vehicle windows and mirrors.
Stubborn stains require a different type of attention. Water staining on ceilings from roof leaks or a bad air-conditioner seal can be treated with InstaGone Multi-Purpose Stain Remover. It’s one of those “As Seen on TV” products that actually works. I’ve seen some pretty miraculous results, but always test in an inconspicuous spot before tackling the entire job, and follow the instructions on the box. It doesn’t seem to be suitable for dark-colored surfaces.
Pet stains respond well to Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover. My wife, Lynne, and I raised a Standard Poodle puppy in our fifth wheel, and this stuff saved our decorative floor rugs and carpet in the bedroom. It’s available at any pet supply store.
A word of caution when using wood conditioning products on cabinetry: These products should only be used on real wood. Most RVs only have real wood cabinet doors. Panels with veneer facing can become damaged if cleaned with products formulated to bring back the luster in wood.
Keeping the inside of your RV looking new isn’t as daunting as it may seem. Having an arsenal of the right cleaning products will keep you smiling, even if the work does cut into happy hour.
Bob Livingston recently retired as the group publisher and senior VP for GS Media and Events, publishers of Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines and their respective websites. Bob has written technical and lifestyle articles and books for 45 years, and penned the popular technical question and answer monthly column, Tech Topics, in Highways magazine, the 1.5-million-member Good Sam Club’s official publication, for more than 20 years.
He created and appeared on the weekly television show, RVtoday, and directed the programming and production during its five-year run on cable TV. Bob was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2014. He keeps his hand in the RV industry as a consultant to a number of companies working on product development and marketing projects. Bob and his wife, Lynne, live full time in their fifth wheel.
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