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The Best Bleach Alternatives For RV Cleaning

Cleaning with spray bleach alternative, rubber gloves and dish cloth on work surface concept for hygiene - feature image for bleach alternatives in your RV
Use these bleach alternatives in your RV. Photo via Shutterstock

5 Bleach Alternatives You Can Use In Your RV

Chlorine bleach is a favorite household cleaner for many people. And it’s no wonder; bleach is relatively cheap and works great for disinfecting surfaces. However, there are some good reasons not to use bleach to clean surfaces, especially when there are more effective, natural bleach alternatives available. 

Why you shouldn’t use bleach

The reasons you’ll want to ditch the bleach in the RV include:

  • Chlorine bleach causes some plastic surfaces to deteriorate and become brittle (like plastic pipe fittings or holding tanks or your RV shower stall).
  • Bleach is corrosive and can cause severe burns to skin and eyes.
  • People and pets may experience respiratory irritation from chlorine bleach fumes.
  • Bleach should never go in the black tank or gray tank.
  • Chlorine bleach is toxic and presents a hazard to small children and pets who might try to ingest it.
  • You should never use bleach on mold or porous surfaces in the RV. Bleach won’t get rid of mold problems on your RV’s porous surfaces like wood or drywall. Mold originates beneath porous surfaces, and when you use bleach, it will kill the top layer of mold and then dissipate into the air as a gas, leaving behind the moisture that mold loves.   
  • Chlorine bleach produces potentially deadly gases when mixed with other household cleaners like ammonia or even dishwashing soap.

There are many safe natural bleach alternatives that will leave you impressed with their cleaning power. You might be surprised by how much safer and more effective these natural bleach alternatives are. There is a good chance that you already have a few of these bleach alternatives handy in your home or RV. 

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Vinegar is a fantastic cleaner and disinfectant. You can also spray vinegar on dishes to soften dried-on food particles before you wash them. Studies have shown that vinegar is just as effective as bleach for disinfecting any surface. It even kills mold more effectively than bleach.     

Just pour any vinegar that has more than 5% acetic acid into a bottle. When it comes to cleaning power, more acetic acid is better. For best cleaning results, try 5% pickling vinegar or cleaning vinegar.     

Vinegar also be safely mixed with dish soap and water in a spray bottle. This spray can be used to safely clean any surface in your RV. Mix 1 part vinegar to 1 part warm water and add a squirt of dish soap. Spray on any surface and allow to sit for a minute before wiping clean. You’ll be impressed with the cleaning power of vinegar. 

2. Homemade citrus cleaner

This homemade citrus cleaner works just as well as bleach but smells much better. It’s easy to make using any citrus peels you happen to have.  

  1. Save citrus peels in a 1-quart mason jar. With each addition of peels, add enough vinegar to cover them. Cover with a lid.
  2. When the jar is full, allow it to sit in a sunny window for 2 weeks, shaking it each day.
  3. After 2 weeks, strain the citrus-scented vinegar into another jar or bowl.
  4. Put your homemade citrus cleaner into a spray bottle.
  5. Spray and wipe anything you want to clean.  

3. Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a safer, better-smelling alternative to bleach. The reason lemon juice makes an effective cleaner is because its acidity completely breaks down grease and grime. It will even remove streaks from stainless steel. 

Just soak a cleaning cloth with lemon juice and gently scrub your item until it’s sparkling and lemony fresh. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth or microfiber cleaning cloth to remove any leftover residue.

4. Hydrogen peroxide

10% hydrogen peroxide is a safe, odor-free bleach that works just as well as chlorine when it comes to cleaning. It has the same cleaning and disinfecting abilities as bleach, but it doesn’t have any of the downsides.  

5. Soapworks Multipurpose Safe Bleach

This natural bleach alternative gets rave reviews from people who’ve tried it. Soap Works Multi-Purpose Safe Bleach is an environmentally safe, chlorine-free, phosphate-free, odorless, and highly concentrated bleach. It’s non-toxic and safe to use, even if you have a pet. The product is also color-safe and fabric-safe, and it won’t cause whites to yellow when you use it for laundry. 


There are many safe, natural bleach alternatives that can be used in the RV or in laundry to get everything beautifully clean without any of the downsides of household bleach. You probably have some of these items in your cabinets, but if not, the bleach alternatives in this article are all very budget-friendly. 

Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.

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