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10 Food & Drinks You Can Use To Clean Your RV

The problem with most cleaning products is that they’re made with toxic chemicals. But you can actually clean most things in your RV without using these substances, or having to breathe in all of their strong fumes.

Instead, stock up on these food and drinks that have sanitizing properties.  They’re more kid and pet-friendly and you can easily find them at any grocery store.

1. Lemons

Lemons will leave your RV smelling fresh. Photo: Pxhere

When life gives you lemons, use them to clean your RV.  These citrus fruits have low PH levels and antibacterial properties and will leave your rig smelling nice and clean.

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How to use them in your RV (and at the campground):

  • Rub a halved lemon in circular motions on glass surfaces like your RV’s windows, windshield, and mirrors. Wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth and then another cloth to dry.
  • Dilute lemon juice in a spray bottle mixed with equal parts water.  This solution can be used as an all-purpose cleaner for countertops, wooden cutting boards and more.
  • Use a halved lemon and a damp cloth to clean out your microwave.
  • Scrub food off dishes with a lemon half and salt.
  • Stick a halved lemon on a barbecue fork, and use it to scrub a grill.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile natural cleaner. Photo: evitaochel on Pixabay

Distilled white vinegar has been a cleaning staple for ages.  It’s versatile, environmentally-friendly, and very inexpensive.

How to use it in your RV:

  • Add equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  Use the solution to clean windows, or wipe out the inside of your fridge.
  • Spray vinegar directly on mold to kill it.  To dilute the strong vinegar smell, add some water to the spray bottle.  Wipe the surface with a wet cloth.
  • Use vinegar and a brush to clean your RV’s shower.  Run the shower briefly to rinse.
  • Clean your microwave by heating up a bowl of hot water and vinegar for 10 minutes.  As the mixture heats up, the microwave fills with steam, making it easier to wipe the inside clean.
  • Spritz a vinegar/water solution to deodorize fabrics, cushions, and seats.
  • Deodorize your kitchen drain by pouring vinegar down the sink, followed by hot water.
  • Pour a cup (or two) of vinegar in your toilet or black tank to eliminate odors.
  • Spray your windshield with a vinegar/water solution at night to prevent frost.

3. Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds have many uses. Photo: Estormiz on Wikipedia
Estormiz 06:57, 10 September 2006 (UTC), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Brewed coffee grounds have two useful cleaning properties: a grittiness for scrubbing, and a strong scent for deodorizing.

How to use coffee grounds in your RV:

  • Put a cup of brewed grounds in your fridge to get rid of odors.
  • To clean your kitchen drain, boil a cup of coffee grounds in a pot of water and pour the hot mixture down the sink.
  • Coffee grounds can be helpful in scrubbing pots, pans, and stovetops.

4. Tea

Tea bags absorb odors and more. Photo: Selma90 on Wikipedia
Selma90, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t throw your used tea bags away —they can also clean your RV’s interior.  Black tea has tannic acid that cleans wood surfaces and gives it a natural shine.

How to use it in your RV:

  • Re-brew a couple of black tea bags and spray the tea onto your RV’s windows and mirrors to clean dirt, grime, fingerprints, and other gunk.  Wipe the surface clean with a dry towel. 
  • Dip a cloth in cooled brewed tea and use it to wipe down wooden surfaces and furniture.
  • Place some tea bags in your fridge to absorb odors.

5. Baking soda

Baking soda: not just for cookies. Photo: Like_the_grand_canyon on Flickr

Baking soda not only makes cookies, it’s a versatile natural cleaner.  It’s especially useful for two things: getting rid of smells and stains.

How to use it in your RV:

  • Mix baking soda with warm water and use it as an all-purpose cleaner for your RV’s counters, dining table, etc.
  • Leave an open box of baking soda in your fridge to absorb odors.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on carpet/rugs to deodorize before vacuuming.
  • Put baking soda on a wet brush and use it to scrub BBQ grills.
  • Lightly sprinkle baking soda over a dirty hamper to minimize odors until laundry day.
  • Pour ¼ cup of baking soda in your toilet and use a brush to scrub the bowl clean.
  • Unclog your kitchen drain: simply pour ½ cup of baking soda down the sink, followed by ½ cup of vinegar.  The two ingredients interact and start foaming, breaking the drain’s blockage while also deodorizing.  Allow it to sit for an hour, then pour boiling hot water down the drain to flush away the residue.  If it’s still not emptying properly, you may need to shove a pipe snake down the drain.

6. Olive oil

Opt for the cheap stuff.  Photo: Mdd on Wikipedia
Badagnani (talk)

Olive oil has many uses apart from cooking.  If you’re not using it for the nutritional value, save money and opt for the cheaper brands.

How to use it in your RV:

  • Mix olive oil and lemon juice, dip a cloth in the mixture, and use it to polish wood surfaces.
  • Shine stainless steel.
  • Use it to season and clean your cast iron pans.
  • Get rid of sticky residue from price tags or stickers.
  • Lubricate the valves in your waste tanks (and save money on commercial valve lube with coconut oil).  To do this, empty your black tank, pour a gallon of cheap olive oil down the toilet, let it sit for 20 minutes, then pull the handle to drain.

7. Club soda

Club Soda from Sam’s Club. Photo: Diclements on Wikipedia
Diclements, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s not only for drinking—club soda also has amazing stain-removing powers.  The carbonated water has ingredients like potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate that make it an effective cleaner.

How to use it in your RV:

  • Use it as an all-purpose cleaner for your counters, table, sinks, etc.
  • Clean glass surfaces, like your windshield, windows, and mirrors.  Just add some to a spray bottle and wipe clean.
  • Mix salt and club soda, and use the solution to clean out your RV’s fridge & freezer.
  • Get rid of carpet and grease stains.  For carpet stains, spray the club soda on the affected area, blot, and repeat.  To remove grease stains, spray club soda on the stain and scrub.

8. Onions

Onions are good for more than sauteing. Photo: Jenny Addison on Flickr

The acid in onions that makes us cry is also great for cleaning.  The vegetable has antiseptic properties and can even keep bugs like mosquitoes and spiders at bay.

How to use onions in your RV (and at the campground):

  • Cut an onion in half and rub it in circles on your windows, windshield, and mirrors.  If the onion gets dirty, cut off a portion and continue.  Wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth, and then another cloth to dry.
  • Heat a BBQ grill, spear a halved onion with a fork, and slide it over the grates to get rid of grease and charred food.
  • Use onions to repel insects.  You can rub a cut onion on your skin as a natural mosquito repellent, or make the vegetable into a non-toxic solution by mixing a mashed onion with water, straining, and spraying it in areas like your RV doorway and around the bed.
  • If you’re doing DIY renovations with paint, leave some cut onions around the space to get rid of the paint smell.

9. Beer

When you’re done with the beer, here are some ways to upcycle your beer cans. Photo: Valerie Hinojosa on Flickr
stocked by Val H is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Beer may not be the first thing that comes to mind as an eco-friendly cleaner.  However many brews are somewhat acidic, and work great for cleaning wood surfaces and copper cookware.

How to use it in your RV:

  • Simply pour some old leftover beer onto a cloth and wipe down wooden surfaces like tables, chairs, etc.  Dry the area with another clean rag to give the surface a good shine.
  • It’s also been shown to remove coffee stains.  Pour some room temperature beer on the stain and gently rub it into the clothing/rug/carpet.  You may need to repeat the process if the stain is being stubborn.
  • Clean your copper pots and pans by pouring beer in them.  Allow them to soak for a few hours before rinsing.

10. Vodka

Aristocrat Vodka is a good choice. Photo via Google

You don’t want the good stuff for this, just bottom shelf vodka.  Because of its alcohol content, the liquor can sterilize areas like countertops, get rid of smells, and kill mold and mildew.

How to use it in your RV:

  • Pour some in a spray bottle and spritz your furniture and seats.
  • Spray vodka on mold or mildew to kill it, and wipe the surface clean with a wet cloth.
  • A spray of vodka/water solution can get the campfire smell out of your hair and clothes.
  • Half-and-half vodka/water can be used as a multi-purpose solution to clean countertops, sinks, your dining table, etc.
  • Mix vodka with essential oils for a DIY linen and fabric spray.
  • Pour a few ounces into a spray bottle and spritz your bed to disinfect your RV mattress.
  • Spray cheap vodka directly on glass and windows.  Wipe with a clean cloth for a streak-free shine.

See also: Save Money On Cleaning Products With These 5 Natural DIY Recipes

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