Breaking your RV out of storage and getting it ready for your first trip is an exciting feeling. Even if your RV was only stored for the winter, it will still need a little TLC and some preparation to get back on the road. Besides regular maintenance, your RV will need a good cleaning inside and out. Spring is the perfect time to get this done. The weather has warmed up and your driveway or local car wash is the perfect place to start. Grab a sponge and open up those RV windows because it’s time for some spring cleaning!
Starting with the inside of your RV can allow you to start cleaning things up before moving on to get the outside nice and shiny as well. Be sure to remember all the often-forgotten places mentioned below! Don’t forget to de-winterize before beginning cleaning, as this will allow you to have full access to your water sources and power, making the process much easier.
Ceilings, Fans, and Filters
When cleaning any space, it is always most logical to start at the top and work your way down. In an RV, this can also allow you to check for leaks or other potential issues that may have sprung up over the winter or while your RV was in storage. Depending on the texture of your ceiling, you may need to wipe it down or even vacuum it if the ceiling is carpeted. Be sure to clear out the cobwebs in your vents and begin clearing off your fans as well. Depending on how much build-up there is, your fans may need to be unscrewed and hand washed. Lastly, check the filters on your AC units, and be sure to thoroughly clean those off as well.
Windows and Windowsills
Next, it’s time to move on to the windows. If you have curtains, you can remove and wash them before hanging them to dry. Then, you can remove your window screens to wash those as well. Be sure to clean the interior glass of your windows, and then eventually move to the exterior glass as well. This will ensure better and more unobstructed views for future adventures! Be sure to check the window sills as well, since they’re typically pretty deep on an RV and can hold plenty of dust.
Kitchen and Fridge
The kitchen cabinets and drawers will most likely need to be wiped inside and outside. If you need to replace any clasps or latches, this is a great time to do so, since your drawers are likely still empty. Be sure to clean the nooks and crannies of the oven and microwave, as well. Likewise, please be sure to turn off your fridge before cleaning it. Most RV fridges can have the drawers and shelves removed for deep cleaning, and anything that is not removable can be cleaned with cleaning spray and rags or paper towels.
Cab Area (if applicable)
If your RV is drivable, don’t forget to deep clean the cab area. Remove and wash any seat covers, and wipe or dust the dashboard area. Don’t forget to clean the big window too, as well as the driver and passenger windows as well. In addition, ne sure to vacuum out the seats and any hard-to-reach areas that your broom may not be able to access.
Thankfully, RV bathrooms can be cleaned in the same way that you clean the ones in your house. Be sure to always use approved cleaners for both the toilet and any cleaners that end up going down the sink in order to avoid corroding your plastic pipes. Give that mirror a good shine too.
Aside from the funky built-in nightstands and other storage spaces, your RV’s bedroom should need similar cleaning to the one in your house. If you stored your RV with the bed made, be sure to strip the bed and wash everything. If not, you may need to give your mattress a quick vacuum depending on how dusty it became. In addition, be sure to clean the nightstands and other storage areas inside and out.
Be sure to unzip any additional fabrics to wash them, such as blankets, pillows, dinette cushion covers, couch cushion covers (if applicable), etc. Any fabrics that are unable to be removed may need to be vacuumed or even steam cleaned in certain cases.
The floor material in your RV will vary, but most come with a laminate floor of sorts, which can be easily swept and mopped. Any areas with carpet will need to be vacuumed. It makes sense to save this step for last since lots of dirt and debris will be falling on the floor while you are cleaning all the other areas of the RV.
Once the inside of the RV is clean, it’s time to move on and get started on the outside.
Check the Roof
After doing an interior inspection of the roof, it’s imperative to visually inspect your roof from the outside as well. Over time, small cracks can occur near seals, while inclement weather can damage the roof in other places. Inspect around your air conditioners and fans to ensure that the seals are still in good shape. Check out this detailed article on roof repair and maintenance if you encounter any issues.
Wash the Exterior
After ensuring there aren’t any holes in your RV’s exterior, it’s time to give her a good wash. If you have enough space in your driveway, you can bathe your RV at home using a long brush, rags, appropriate cleaners, and a hose. However, for many, it can be easier to just take your RV to a car wash that is equipped with tall enough bays. You can always check for local semi-truck car washes to find one that is guaranteed to be tall enough for your RV. They typically have brushes and other materials to hand wash your RV on hand.
Once the RV is all spic and span, it’s time for another couple of checks before you can safely head out on your first trip of the season. Be sure not to skip these last couple important steps!
Check the Tires
Be sure to check the tires, even just before taking your RV out for a quick trip. Flat or improperly inflated tires can easily cause a blowout. Use our handy guide to learn more about your RV’s tires, how to know if they need to be replaced, and how to take care of them.
Perform any other Maintenance
In addition to cleaning, it’s imperative to ensure your RV is in good shape before hitting the road. Be sure to perform any other maintenance to keep your RV in tip top shape and to ensure your vacations are as smooth as possible. Harvest Hosts has a list of yearly maintenance to help steer you in the right direction.
Getting your RV prepped for your first trip of the year can be a lot of work, but it’s always worth it. Be sure to put together a spring cleaning list that works best for your RV and your family. After all, everyone is different and all RVs are different too!
Do you dread cleaning your RV or do you enjoy it? Where are you heading on your first trip? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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