Stay at home orders and basic guidelines for social distancing may be a new way of life for a while but that doesn’t mean there’s still not plenty of means to take advantage of your RV. In fact, I will argue that social distancing in your rig is one of the better ways to do it.
Even if you’re minimizing contact with the outside world, there are some best practices you can take for keeping your coach clean and disinfected—and keeping everyone inside healthy and happy.
There’s a difference between simple cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes dirt, germs, and impurities using soap and water. This step doesn’t kill germs—it simply removes them which help lower their numbers and thus the risk of infection. Use soap and water to regularly clean surfaces. Be sure to pay extra attention to high touch surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, faucets, and sinks.
Cleaning Inside Your RV
The inside of your RV likely contains a variety of different surfaces: wood, glass, corian, tile, fabrics, stainless steel—and more. All purpose cleaners are a good, broad option but they may not work as effectively on each surface. There is also no single product that works on all surfaces inside your rig. Before using a product, read the label and then test it on a small and inconspicuous area.
This is ideally a two-step process. First, there’s cleaning which is the removal of germs from surfaces. Second is disinfection which kills any germs left behind after cleaning. Start by using warm water to clean all high-touch surfaces. These include:
- Steering wheel, dash controls, switches
- Door handles, locks, handrails
- Tables, countertops, cabinetry
- Electrical cords, chargers, switch panels
- Faucets, sinks, toilets
- Electronics, tablets, touchpads, touchscreens, remote controls
Soft items can be tossed in the laundry. Check product manufacturer tags for their highest recommended wash and dry temperature settings. If these items can’t be removed to put in a washer, steam cleaners and carpet cleaners are an alternative. These items may include:
- Throw pillows
- Upholstery and drapes
- Carpets and area rugs
- Window treatments
Disinfecting Inside Your RV
After using soap and water to clean, use a disinfectant to kill germs that remain. Use each product according to instructions. Disinfecting wipes are also a good alternative. In any case, allow for proper ventilation when using a disinfectant.
If you don’t have—or can’t find—disinfecting products, you can use a bleach solution. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a solution of 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water, or four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. When using a bleach solution, always use gloves.
We don’t often think about our phones, GPS units, laptops, and tablets when it comes to cleaning, but these high touch items can be especially germy. Often electronics manufacturers will have suggested cleaning methods listed in manuals or online. If you can’t find these to follow, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays that contain at least 70 percent alcohol.
Cleaning the Exterior of Your RV
Part of being in the great outdoors means actually getting outside. Fortunately, it’s easy to disinfect the outside of your coach and stay safe—whether you’re in an RV park or boondocking off the grid.
When you arrive at a new campsite, disinfect any connections or hookups you’ll use. Use vinyl gloves for additional protection. When you’re finished, immediately throw the gloves away.
Then clean and disinfect any items you’ll have outside—things like patio furniture, railings, grill handles, and other high-touch surfaces.
Maintain a safe distance from other campers (most health authorities recommend six feet). And avoid public restrooms, water fountains, and other public areas if at all possible.
With so many products and surface types in your RV, the best way to ensure the products you’re using to disinfect are safe is to check care and maintenance directions provided by each manufacturer. These can be found in your manufacturers’ owner’s guides or online. These guidelines should help you stay safe and healthy while you’re still enjoying your RV.
Each day I will rise and greet the morning sun, for it is a good day.