The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the trees are bursting with tiny green leaves. We all know what that means…it’s time for some RV spring cleaning!
Spring is the traditional start to the traveling season for many RVers. While you’re busy planning trips and dreaming of life on the open road, don’t forget to get the RV ready for the season by giving it a good deep cleaning.
And for those of us who live full-time in our RVs, spring is also the perfect opportunity to clean out all that dust and dirt that has been building over the winter.
Throw open the windows, put on some tunes, and let’s get cleaning!
Start by gathering your materials. There’s no need to use harsh chemicals or a different product for every surface. I find that a few simple cleaning supplies are all I need for my RV spring cleaning.
- All-Purpose Cleaner. My favorite brand is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. It comes as a concentrate or pre-mixed in a spray bottle. I use this to clean everything from the vinyl ceiling to the wood floor.
- Seventh Generation Dish Soap. You would be surprised by how many things you can clean with a simple bowl of dish soap and hot water.
- Seventh Generation Powerful Cleaner. This product is perfect for cutting grease and grime in the kitchen. It’s great for cleaning the stove and microwave.
- Vinegar based glass cleaner for streak-free windows. You can make your own, or buy a product such as Seventh Generation Glass & Surface Natural Cleaner.
- Baking soda and water. A simple paste of baking soda and water works wonders when it comes to removing tough stains from your stove, oven, or sink.
- Microfiber cloths, sponges, clean cloth towels, and paper towels – for all your wiping, scrubbing and drying needs.
Okay…we’ve gathered our cleaning helpers, let’s get down to business!
Clean ceiling fans and wipe down ceilings
Ceiling vents and fans collect an amazing amount of dirt! We have two MaxxAir Fans in our RV. One in the bedroom, and one in the living room.
We use these fans nearly every day to move air around and cool us down in the warmer months. All of this use results in a lot of dirt and dust build-up on both the blades and the screens.
Here’s my process for cleaning the ceiling fans. If you have a different brand fan in your RV, or ceiling vents with no fans, you may need to alter this method slightly.
- Remove the screens by lining up the plastic tabs and pulling the screen down.
- Clean the screens in the sink by gently running a sponge over them with warm, soapy water.
- Remove the plastic fan blades. The MaxxAir has a nut in the middle of the blade that holds the blade in place. Simply remove the nut with a wrench and the blade slips off.
- Clean the blades with warm, soapy water.
- Now that the screen and blades are out of the way, you can clean the fan housing using an all-purpose spray and a microfiber cloth.
- Replace the blades and the screen, step back and admire your handiwork.
To clean the ceiling, I use a multi-purpose spray and microfiber cloth. Look for dust and dirt in the corners, above window coverings, and around overhead cabinets.
Wash window sills, screens, panes, curtains, and/or blinds
Next, I like to tackle the windows. Like the ceiling fans, RV windows tend to get a lot of use and collect a lot of dust. Sometimes I feel like I could wash the windows daily and still not keep up with the dirt!
I usually wash my RV windows on a monthly schedule, but every six months or so I like to do a deep cleaning that involves removing all the screens and washing the entire window inside and out. It’s amazing how much brighter it feels inside the RV when the windows and screens are clean.
- Remove the window screens and wash gently with warm soapy water. I find the best place to do this is in the shower. Wipe them dry with a clean towel.
- Clean the inside of the window casing and the window sill with multi-purpose spray.
- Spray and wipe the window panes with a glass cleaner both inside and out.
- Clean the window coverings. If you have cloth curtains, remove and either wash by hand or have them dry cleaned. If you have mini-blinds wipe them with a microfiber cloth or microfiber duster.
Clean fridge and defrost freezer
Now we move onto the kitchen. Even though it’s small, this area of my RV gets a ton of use. I do clean in there on a daily basis, but every once in a while it needs a deep clean.
When you have too many items packed tightly in your RV fridge, it doesn’t run efficiently. It also makes it easy for things to get shoved behind others things and potentially get lost (even in a small RV fridge this happens to me all the time).
I try to keep the clutter to a minimum and wipe down any big spills with a soapy sponge or disinfecting wipes weekly. But for RV spring cleaning I intensify the process by removing everything from the fridge and giving it a thorough cleaning. Pro tip: try not to do this when the fridge is close to empty.
If your RV has been stored for the winter it will already be empty so you can skip the first step, but after months of use, I’m sure it could benefit from a good cleaning.
- Remove all items from the fridge.
- Take out the shelves and drawers and wash them in the sink with warm, soapy water.
- Wash the inside of the fridge with warm, soapy water and a sponge. Dry with a microfiber cloth.
- Don’t forget to clean the door seals. If you live in a humid climate these are susceptible to developing mold and mildew.
- Discard expired or old items. Wipe down any sticky or dirty jars and containers.
- Put everything back in a neat and organized manner.
Now we come to the freezer. Not only do RV freezers need to be cleaned and organized on a regular basis, but they also need to be defrosted. Don’t despair! It might sound intimidating, but defrosting an RV freezer is actually a relatively simple process.
- Turn off the fridge and freezer power. This will speed up the process of cooling the freezer down and melting the ice build-up. It should only take 30 minutes or less and in that time if you keep the fridge door closed it will stay plenty cold.
- Remove all items from the freezer and put into a cooler (I like to use a collapsible soft-sided cooler like this one).
- If you have a blow dryer simply blow the heat on the ice and mop up with a sponge as it melts.
- If you’re like me and don’t travel with a blow dryer, then leave the door open and let the ice melt on its own. Depending on how much ice build-up you have, it should begin to soften in 30 minutes.
- Remove the ice and wipe down the inside of the freezer.
- Discard any expired or old items and replace everything in a neat and organized manner.
Clean and organize cabinets
Other areas of the kitchen that accumulate dirt and dust at an alarming rate are the inside of cabinets, drawers, and the food pantry. They also tend to get messy and disorganized.
The best way to both clean and organize your cabinets is to remove everything, give them a good wipe down, and replace everything in a more organized fashion.
Consider using clear plastic containers to store loose food items like rice, crackers, flour, beans, and cereal.
Self-sticking shelf paper is a great way to spruce up old or dirty cabinets and drawers. It also creates a smoother surface that is easier to clean.
Deep clean the stove
I finish up my kitchen cleaning with the stove. My RV has a propane range with three burners and an oven. It gets a lot of use—most days I use it to make three meals a day.
So it gets dirty and it needs to be cleaned often. Normally I just spray the top with my Seventh Generation Powerful Cleaner, wipe it down, and call it a day. But for my RV spring cleaning, I wanted to go deeper.
- Remove the knobs and soak them in a bowl filled with warm soapy water.
- Remove the grates and wash them with soapy water. Spray with a degreaser if needed.
- Give the stovetop a good scrubbing. Use a powerful cleaner spray and a mixture of baking soda and water for stubborn areas.
- Remember that RV ovens do NOT have a self-cleaning function.
- Clean or sweep up any crumbs from inside the oven.
- Pull out the racks and wash them in hot, soapy water.
- Spray a microfiber cloth with a powerful cleaner and wipe down the inside of the oven.
- For tough stains, make a paste out of baking soda and water and scrub the inside of the oven. Clean off really well with a wet rag.
Clean the floor
The final step of my RV spring cleaning is the floor. I always save this part for last. If you have carpet in your RV, this would be a good time to steam clean it.
- Vacuum the floor and under all furniture.
- Lift up the mattress and vacuum under and around.
- Use the vacuum crevice tool to get in all the small spaces and tight corners.
- If you have tile, wood, or laminate, mop the floor until shiny.
Congratulations! Your RV is now spick and span and ready for adventure. Oh…except you still need to clean the outside. I say save that for another day!