17 Ways to Use Dawn Dish Soap…beyond Cleaning the Dishes

Dawn does the dishes and a lot more

Dawn dish soap isn’t just for washing your dishes. It’s a much more versatile product than you might realize. The uses for Dawn soap span far and wide and will blow your mind. Check them out!

In the last few years we’ve become dedicated Dawn dish soap devotees. We’ve put it to the test time and again and it always comes out on top. Not only does it cut through the grease and clean dishes better than anything else we’ve tried but it turns out this hard-working soap is also good for so much more than washing dishes.

If you have a bottle on hand, you’ve got a versatile cleaning tool you can use throughout the RV. Here are 17 uses for Dawn that proves it’s a cleaning superstar.

Dawn dish soap © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Remove grease stains from clothes

Oily cooking splatters on your clothes—just squirt on a little Dawn, rub it in, and let it sit overnight. Launder as usual and the stains will disappear. It works as a pre-treatment for non-greasy food stains too.

Use Dawn to clean stainless steel appliances © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Clean stainless steel appliances

Stainless steel appliances are both beautiful and durable. However, streaks, fingerprint smudges, grease splatters, and water drips all happen, even to the most durable of kitchen materials and cookware. First wipe the appliance with a wet cloth to determine the direction of the grain of the stainless steel (you’ll see faint lines running top to bottom or side to side). Put a few drops of Dawn on a wet rag, lather up, and wipe along the grain to remove sticky fingerprints and stains (wiping along the grain cleans better and prevents scratch marks). Follow with a clean damp cloth to remove residue and a dry cloth for buffing (microfiber works exceptionally well). 

>> Related article: Why and How to Use Dawn Dish Soap in RV Black Tanks?

Use Dawn to degrease cabinets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Degrease cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are for storing dishes, not grease. Unfortunately, wood cabinets are prone to all sorts of grease, grime, and gunk from simply being in the kitchen. Dawn’s grease-cutting power works just as well on cabinets coated in cooking grease as it does on dishes. Just squirt some on a wet sponge, lather up, and wipe the grime away. Follow with a wet cloth to remove any residue and dry with a clean cloth.

4. Clean the oven

Mix baking soda, water, and a few drops of Dawn to make a paste. Spread the mixture inside the oven and spray with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water. Let sit for a few hours or overnight then spray again and scrub or wipe away the grime.

5. Clean grill grates

You don’t need a fancy grill cleaner. Just mix ½ cup baking soda with enough Dawn to make a thick paste. Scrape the big debris off your grill grates then coat them with the mixture and let sit for 30 minutes. Scrub and rinse and they’ll be good as new.

Use Dawn to clean the sewer system © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Clean outdoor furniture

Mix ¼ cup Dawn with one gallon warm water in a bucket and use it to sponge the grime off any kind of outdoor furniture—wood, metal, or plastic. Rinse off and towel dry.

7. Remove stickers and labels

Removing stickers and labels from a bottle can br quite irritating especially due to its adhesive residue. To easily remove this gummy residue spread an ample amount of Dawn dish soap on the sticker and wait for an hour or so. After that, you can peel it off easily.

Use Dawn to clean windows © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Clean windows

Mix 2 cups water, ½ cup distilled white vinegar, and 3 drops of Dawn in a spray bottle. If cleaning outdoor windows you can double or triple the recipe and mix it in a bucket. Spray or sponge on then wipe or rinse off.

>> Related article: 12 Simple RV Maintenance Tips

9. Clean showers

Dawn will cut through the grease from your body just like it does the grease from food! It also cleans soap scum. Just squirt it all over the shower and use a brush to lather and scrub it away. For really tough jobs and hard water stains, combine equal parts Dawn and distilled white vinegar in a bowl or spray bottle. The vinegar dissolves the minerals and the Dawn cuts the grime. 

Use Dawn to clean drains RV tanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Clear clogged drains

Pour ¼ cup to ½ cup of Dawn into a clogged sink or toilet. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. For sinks, just run the hot water for a few minutes and the water and soap should get the clog moving.

For toilets…

11. Unclog toilets

Clearing out clogged toilets is a cumbersome task. Try using dawn dish soap. First, heat a pot of water until hot but not boiling. Add the hot water to the toilet bowl then pour ½ cup of dawn into the toilet bowl and leave it to sit for 15-20 minutes before flushing. Repeat if necessary.

>> Related article: The Best RV Toilet Paper

Use Dawn to clean your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Carpet stain remover

If you accidentally spill wine, juice, or any other drink on your carpet, dawn dish soap is the remedy that you’re looking for. Mix equal parts of dawn dish soap and warm water and spray it on the area. Use a microfiber cloth or sponge to scrub off the stain and wash the area with lukewarm water. Let it air dry naturally. Don’t scrub the carpet too hard as it can affect the material.

13. Tools cleaner

Tools get dirty—that’s a given! After completing any repair work, clean your dirty tools to prevent them from rusting. For this, make a solution of 1 tsp of dawn dish soap and 2 cups of water into a container. Then, drop your tools in it for 10-15 minutes. After that, scrub them with a brush to remove oil and grime.

Use Dawn to clean your RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. RV wash

Make your home-on-wheels clean and shiny by taking a bucket full of lukewarm water and pour 2-3 tbsp of dawn into it. After stirring it well, clean your RV and tires with this solution using a sponge. Once you’re done, wash it off with water. Works for your toad/tow vehicle too!

15. Clean refrigerator

To clean both interior and exterior of your refrigerator, pour ½ tsp of dawn with ½ cup of lukewarm water into an empty spray bottle. Now, spritz it on the refrigerator surface and scrub it properly with a sponge.

>> Related article: The 10 Essentials Every RV Owner Should Buy Before Their First Road Trip

16. Cleaning the garbage can

Garbage cans harbor numerous germs and bacteria, that’s why it’s essential to clean it often. Pour 3-5 drops of dawn dish soap with ½ cup of lukewarm water into an empty spray bottle. Jiggle it well prior to its every use and then saturate the garbage can with the solution thoroughly. Leave it for 25-30 minutes and rinse it off with water.

Use Dawn to clean the RV holding tanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

17. Clean RV tanks

You can use Dawn dish soap to clean RV tanks. It is a detergent and grease cutter that will not harm your tanks and is eco-friendly soap that is safe and biodegradable. It is not corrosive and will not damage your plumbing. It has no phosphates so is a green product that is considered environmentally friendly. Add 4-5 quarts of fresh water to the tanks to provide a good base for future use. The system needs a certain amount of water to operate so never leave it completely dry. Finally add ¼ to ⅓ cup of Dawn dish soap to your tanks and you’re ready to go.

Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts

Why and How to Use Dawn Dish Soap in RV Black Tanks?

The benefits of using Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks as well as proper tank cleaning procedures and some other cleaners to consider

Keeping up with RV maintenance and cleaning is just part of RV life! One aspect that is necessary but not very glamorous is emptying and cleaning the black and grey water tanks. This can seem like a complex problem but many products and solutions can help make this a lot easier.

Sewer hose connected to dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One common remedy involves the use of Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks. It is a detergent and grease cutter that will not harm your tanks and is eco-friendly and biodegradable. It is not corrosive and will not damage your plumbing. It has no phosphates so is a green product that is considered environmentally friendly.

Whether it’s a store-bought cleaner or a homemade recipe, there are numerous ways to clean your black tanks and keep them functional. Below, I’ll explore some of the uses and benefits of Dawn dish soap as well as proper cleaning tank procedures, and some other effective cleaners to consider.

Sewer hose connected to dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why use Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks?

Dawn dish soap is one of the most popular household cleaners and its uses are nearly limitless. Obviously, it can be used to clean dishes (it’s right in the name) but this soap can also be used as a pest remover, drain cleaner, stain remover, or just as an easy way to make a bubble mixture for kids.

It’s important to properly clean your RV water tanks so you’ll want to make sure that Dawn is a good choice before you start using it. Many people have incorporated it into their maintenance routines and some of the benefits are listed below:

  • Eco-friendly: One of the best parts about using Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks is that it’s an environment-friendly soap. It doesn’t contain phosphates and can be broken down by bacteria. This means that it’s a safe and biodegradable soap to use even if you’re cleaning/dumping your tank in a strict or natural environment.
  • Cheap: Another great bonus is that Dawn dish soap is quite affordable! If you use high-end cleaners that are specifically engineered for tank cleaning, that price can add up fast. On the other hand, Dawn is cheap and it won’t make a dent in your wallet. In addition, you only need to use ¼ to ⅓ cups of Dawn dish soap at a time so the average large bottle will last you for multiple months.
  • Non-corrosive: Dawn is also a gentle and non-corrosive soap. It’s effective at breaking down grease, eliminating odors, and softening blockages but it won’t eat into the material of your tank. Other effective cleaners exist (such as bleach) but they can be harmful to your tank and the surrounding pieces. You can use Dawn with peace of mind and won’t have to worry about the long-term effects it will have on the integrity of your plumbing system.
  • Easy to buy in bulk: Finally, Dawn is widely available in stores and online and easy to buy in large quantities. If you clean out your tank regularly you may just want to get a large container and work your way through it. If this is the case, Dawn is a fantastic option. You can find it at pretty much any grocery store and might even be able to find it in gas stations or small mini-marts along your journey. Loading up in large quantities is easy and affordable.
Approved dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to clean an RV black tank

Now we know that you can use Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks but that knowledge won’t do you any good unless you follow proper tank-cleaning procedures. It’s important to do a deep clean of your tanks at least twice a year but you’ll probably want to do it even more frequently than that if you live in the RV full-time.

Your black and grey water tanks should be dumped frequently so that odors and blockages don’t become a problem. Generally, the rule of thumb is that it’s time to empty them once they are about 2/3 full.

RV connections for dumping and flushing tanks © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many of us just don’t like to think about it until we have to but cleaning out RV tanks is quite simple. Here’s what you need to do:

Use disposable plastic gloves to wear when performing the deed. You’ll eliminate any chance of spreading bacteria if you toss the gloves before going into your RV.

Drain the tanks by connecting the sewer hose and emptying the contents into an approved dumping site. Drain the black tank first. Always! Once drained, close the black tank valve. Then open the gray water valve to empty it. The reason for this is to clean the hose attached to your wastewater tanks. The residue will go into the septic system at the campground.

Clean out buildup by using a tank rinser, flush valve, or macerator. This will help prevent blockages in the future. When finished, close both black and gray waste tank valves.

Add 4-5 quarts of fresh water to the tanks to provide a good base for future use. The system needs a certain amount of water to operate so never leave it completely dry. Finally add ¼ to ⅓ cup of Dawn dish soap to your tanks and you’re ready to go.

Approved dump site © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other cleaners for RV black tanks

Using Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks is certainly an effective method but it’s not your only choice. There are numerous other tank treatments that have been used over the years and some of them might work better for you depending on your preference and the availability of certain products in your area.

While you can always use store-bought water treatments there are a number of homemade tank cleaners you can try as well. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Citric acid: This is a mild, naturally occurring acid that can break down build-ups and improve the smell of your holding tanks. It can be combined with Borax, water, and baking soda to strengthen its cleaning ability.
  • Fabric softener: Fabric softener is another good way to break down buildups in your tank and improve the smell. This is a mild and pleasant cleaner that has proven to be effective.
  • Yeast: Believe it or not, kitchen yeast is a good RV tank cleaner too. Yeast is an active culture that feeds off the bacteria and waste in a tank. It might take a few days to become effective so some people combine it with hydrogen peroxide to make it stronger.
  • Water and more water: Surprisingly enough, some people get by just fine without using any kind of special add-in. As long as you use plenty of water to flush out your tanks, you may not need to add a chemical cleaner. However, if you’re having problems with blockages and smells, one of the previous options can be helpful.

Related articles:

Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts

Keep Mud Out of Your RV with These Tips

Mud season happens every spring because of the melting snow and rain. Here’s what you need to know to keep your RV safe and clean.

The end of winter means things are warming up and in turn RV owners will soon be hitting the great outdoors in droves. With spring, however, comes mud season which for many RV owners means while the fun is about to escalate, so is the mess.

Cleaning the RV the easy way © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV cleaning sucks—there’s really no other way to put it. Cleaning your RV over and over again due to trekked in mud can be a tiring task but there are plenty of precautions you can take to keep the mud on the outside of your vehicle where it belongs. Below I’ve listed some easy common-sense measures that any RV owner can do to help ensure their camping trip is as mud-free as possible.

Parking on concrete cuts down on mud © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are a simple and convenient way to keep unwanted mud and filth out of your RV. Once you’ve set up camp, just unroll one and you and your family and guests will be able to easily wipe your feet on it before entering the RV. Outdoor rugs come in a few varieties: there are some that are specially made for outdoor use while plenty of people get by using an unused indoor rug or cheap investment from a department store.

Parking on asphalt cuts down on the mud © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To store your rug when you’re finished, bring a tarp to roll it in, wash the rug in a stream, or hose it down before leaving for home. Since there is little sense in dragging a mud-soaked rug back into the RV you are trying to keep clean, have an action plan once all the fun is over. 

Related: Tips for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your RV

Yes, it does rain in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shoes Off or No Entrance

Sometimes it’s easiest to get rid of the problem at the source. Even with an outdoor rug, people can easily track mud and dirt into the pristine interior of your RV. While you can’t get rid of the mud outside, instituting a “shoes off” policy will help keep everyone on the same page and let them know you’re serious about keeping things clean.

Parking on gravel helps to cut down on mud © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So, what are you going to do with the shoes? Obviously, no one wants to leave their boots outside all night. What if it rains or a wild animal visits? If your RV doesn’t have storage space under the step, a boot tray can help with this conundrum—just throw your boots inside and store them in the RV—that’ll keep everyone’s footwear fancy-free and keep your RV’s interior looking fresh.

Parking on gravel helps to cut down on mud © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved


That’s right: one rug isn’t enough. A doormat will give your passengers and guests the ability to wipe their shoes not only once, but twice. A doormat serves as the last layer of protection when it comes to keeping dirt and grime out of your RV and can help jog people’s memory that they’re supposed to wipe their shoes before entering.

A good rule of thumb is to have one rubber doormat outside and one regular doormat for once you enter the RV. Combined with a rug outside, this triple layer of protection should almost guarantee your RV floors stay spic and span. 

This may not be the best site following a rain © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep Cleaning Supplies on Hand

Despite your best efforts, eventually someone will unintentionally tread some mud into your RV. While space is always a factor when packing an RV, there should always be some room to pack essential cleaning supplies. An extendable mop and bucket make a good combo or even just some rags and soap. It’s best to be prepared for the worst and expect the best so that you always have what you need in case things go wrong. 

Related: Cleaning Your RV Interior

Parking on gravel helps to cut down on mud © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Park in an Opportune Area

If you’re really camping and not necessarily staying at an RV resort, you can’t really help driving through muddy terrain during the mud season. One thing you can help, however, is where you park. Parking on gravel or a hard dirt surface is a good way to help ensure things stay relatively clean during your hiking or camping excursion.

It’s best to avoid parking on grass © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Parking on grass is best avoided, as multiple people constantly stepping over the same terrain will eventually loosen the ground enough to get mud everywhere. Plus, parking on grass comes with the risk of your RV sinking into the ground. The softer the ground, the more it can sink, which can lead to problems with leaving. If you absolutely must park on grass, put some wooden boards underneath your tires. This will help with traction when you drive off.

Parking on gravel helps to cut down on mud © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rinse, Rinse, Rinse

If you’re staying in a campground with a city water connection, use a hose to wash down your tools, equipment, boots, and the outside of your RV. If it rains overnight, it’s likely that mud will be most everywhere. The more times you clean your RV exterior and everything that’ll be going inside of it, the less mud you’ll need to deal with later.

Related: Cleaning Your RV Exterior

An outdoor shower head is a good investment if one doesn’t come standard on your coach along with a boot scraper.

Parking on gravel helps to cut down on the mud © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As we enter into the mud season, try to incorporate some of these tips if you want things to stay clean during your camping or hiking experience. It can be frustrating to deal with mud, but the better prepared you are the more likely everything will go according to plan. To learn more about maintaining your RV, click here.

Worth Pondering…

An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.

—Gilbert K. Chesterton

The Top 5 Considerations when Trading in or Selling Your RV

Tips on how to get maximum value when upgrading to a newer RV

Whether you own a teardrop camper trailer or a diesel-powered motorhome, RVing provides you the freedom to roam where and when you want before planting your stakes at a rustic campground or scenic resort—not some seedy inn or cookie-cutter hotel located miles from the action of the outdoors.

Every year, thousands of RVers trade up to a new recreational vehicle with more room and newer, more advanced amenities. There comes a time when every RV owner, whether they’ve had their coach for two years or 20, decides it’s time to upgrade.

Moving from the old to the new © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thanks to recent innovations, RVs have become much more user-friendly and advanced than they used to be. Residential-quality kitchen appliances, assisted steering, LED TVs, ultra-maneuverable chassis, and automatic generators all represent available technology that might be missing from your current motorhome, trailer, or fifth wheel. These innovations have dramatically improved engine efficiency, energy usage, in-dashboard navigation, and storage capacity. When you see these advances, you may feel enticed to trade in your RV for an upgraded model, or maybe switch to a different class.

New motorhome at a dealership © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Should you find yourself on the cusp of becoming a “full-timer,” you may discover that your weekender RV isn’t up to the task of acting as your primary residence. Features and comforts you never thought about become necessary to living comfortably on a full-time basis. If this sounds like your situation, a larger, more residential arrangement is the answer.

For you, that time may be now. It can be tough to know where to begin—and how to go about—the RV trade-in process.

Side by side, the old and the new © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whatever your reason for trading up, this guide can assist you in navigating the most important aspects of trading in your current unit. You can save yourself some cash when you apply a generous trade value credit to your new, upgraded purchase. We’ve outlined five things to keep in mind as you prepare your RV for trade-in to ensure you receive the maximum value credit.

A bucket of household cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease can transform your RV’s appearance from “worn down” to “like-new” in less than a day’s time. A coach that sparkles and shines both inside and out can have a significant positive impact on its trade-in or resale value.

Washington the exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exterior Condition

Start by washing your RV’s exterior and addressing any cosmetic damage the best you can. If your paint appears dull, consider waxing it or paying someone to detail it for you. I prefer Meguiar’s product line.

Check the roof for signs of damage, rust, or mold, especially around vents and in and around any awnings or cloth-like materials. The same goes for windows which can collect moisture, mold, and rust from precipitation. Be sure to clean the windows inside and out.

Check the tires, fill them to their recommended pressure and, if necessary, rotate them. Examine them for excessive wear and replace them if necessary. In most cases, RV tires age out before they wear out.

Other items often overlooked? Windshield wipers, side mirrors, and doorsteps are all apt to show signs of wear and tear, mold, or rust.

Prep the interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Interior Condition

Some simple repairs may be in order for the interior of your RV. You’ll want to check to see if any of the cabinet or door hinges are loose and make sure all of the power outlets are functioning. If you’ve experienced issues with any of your appliances, consider having an electrician check the wiring. In some cases, reupholstering can also increase the trade-in value.

All appliances should be clean and in proper operating condition. Gather any owner’s guides or instruction manuals.

Check all systems © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Engine, Batteries & Maintenance

Making sure your travel vehicle is in good working order and sound mechanical condition are the two most important aspects when it comes to receiving maximum value for your trade or sale.

Take the RV in for maintenance and scheduled service and be sure to get an idea of the condition of your engine and battery. Ask the technicians working on your RV to keep an eye out for ways to increase the value of the RV.

Check interior for general impression © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

General Style and Cleanliness

Ensure your RV interior makes a first great impression: vacuum, wipe down surfaces, dust, clean out cabinets, and shampoo upholstery or carpets if necessary. Consider what future buyers’ impression of the cabin will be. Does it have an odd or stale odor or dated or out-of-place styling?

Everything in working order © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gather All Paperwork

Ensure all important documents and paperwork is available, including the deed, transferable warranty, mileage and year, service and maintenance records, purchase receipts (tires, wiper blades, batteries, aftermarket items, etc.), documented changes that you’ve made to the RV over time, and any other documents you’ve accrued during the ownership of the RV.

Other key documents include your RV owner’s manual; paperwork or instruction booklets associated with appliances, electronics, and aftermarket items; and current registration.

Worth Pondering…

Far too late to understand many of the missed goals in life:

Joy, beauty of nature, health, travel, and culture,

Therefore, man is, time-wise!

High time is it! Travel, travel!

—Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)

Get Your Rig Ready for Spring Camping

It’s spring and with the traveling season right around the corner now is the perfect time to clear out the cobwebs and tidy up your RV

Spring is right around the corner and your RV is calling. The beginning of camping season is the perfect time to assess the condition of each distinct part of your motorhome or trailer. So go ahead, break your RV out of storage.

Let the sunshine in © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Let it Breathe

The first step is to open all of the windows and doors and let the fresh air take out any stale smells after being cooped up over the winter. It’s also a great idea to position the RV in a sunny spot and open up all of the blinds to let the sunshine in to help clean the air inside.

Shake it down and air it out © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Shake Things Out

Take all of the pillowcases, cushions, and sofa covers out and give them a good shake outside and either put them through the laundry or leave them in the sun to get rid of the stale smells that may be clinging to them.

Time for a visual inspection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Basic Inspection & Safety Checks

One of the first things to do is make sure your RV is roadworthy is to inspect the major systems: power, propane, and tires. Do this early to allow time to schedule any necessary maintenance before it’s time to embark on your first trip. Check the battery fluid levels, adding distilled water as needed. Check the tires for proper inflation. Conduct a visual inspection of each tire for cracks along the sidewall and tread depth. Take time to inspect your fire safety systems. Make sure the carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarm, LP detector, and fire extinguishers are all in working order. Replace batteries, as required.

A clean exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Exterior Inspection & Wash

Walk around your RV and carefully climb up on the roof to inspect the exterior windows, doors, roof vents, and any other seams. If you find any cracks in the caulking or missing sealant, remove the old sealant and replace it.

Finally, give your RV a thorough washing using a gentle soap solution. Baby shampoo works well. Don’t forget the awnings. They are exposed to all weather conditions and rarely see sunlight on their underside making them prone to mildew especially during a long, damp winter.

Use a lamb’s wool pad or soft brush and the soap solution to clean. Be sure to rinse well and leave them out a few hours to fully dry before retracting.

Dust it down © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Dust, Dust, Dust!

With a damp cloth, dust down every surface in your RV and remember to open up all of the vent covers where possible and remove the dust from inside so you can enjoy clean air when traveling. Give a good dusting behind and around all of your appliances too.

Give the interior a good clean © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Clean the Cabinets, Drawers & Shelves

Give the interior a good thorough cleaning. Drain your dehumidifiers (or replace any disposables). Be sure to check inside the cabinets and under the sinks for any signs of pests or rodents.

With a warm and damp wash cloth, give all of the cabinets, drawers, and shelves a good cleaning to remove any crumbs, dirt, and grime that may have accumulated. If there are any stains, try mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with water to make a thick paste and gently apply to the stained area before wiping off.

With a clean cloth, give your fridge and freezer a thorough cleaning at this stage as well.

Now is a good time to go through all of your supplies and restock the camper with the essentials.

Windows clean again © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Window Time

Systematically go through the RV washing every window, and then do the same washing the outside of each window so that you have the best views when you go out on the next adventure.

Check to ensure all things work © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Check That Things Work

You should ensure that all of your air conditioning filters are clean, and while there check that each aircon vent is working. If it has been a while since the last time the RV was used, then take a few minutes to go through and ensure that each appliance inside still works and give them a good clean while you’re at it.

All clean and ready to travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Vacuum and Mop

With all of the surfaces and appliances clean, move onto the floors and give them a thorough vacuum along with the sofas if necessary. Once everything has been picked up, get the mop out and make the floors sparkle.

With an RV that has been aired out and cleaned top to bottom, you can rest knowing that everything is ready and waiting for the next adventure that lies just around the corner!

Now, hit the road already

10. All Systems Go!

Taking the time to run these checks and performing any necessary maintenance will go a long way towards making your camping season a success. Now all you need to do is pick a location and head out for an epic spring vacation.

Worth Pondering…

Spring has sprung. The grass is riz. Time for RVing and camping bliss!

Getting Your RV Ready for Summer Travel

It’s finally time to pull the RV out from the garage or bring it home from winter storage

With the snow melted and the campgrounds opening, it’s tempting to jump in and head off right away. But prior to setting out, RV owners need to perform some basic and routine maintenance to ensure that their weekend getaway goes smoothly.

RV exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exterior Inspection

The first thing to do is a visual inspection of your RV exterior. Check to see if any damage was sustained over winter, looking especially for evidence of water leaks. In particular, focus on the roof and caulking around windows, vents, air-conditioning unit, and doors. Look for cracks, holes, stains, separations, and leaks. Also, check for nests and evidence of chewing activity.

Roll out the awning and inspect it for tears. Check the fluid levels and top them up as necessary. Inspect hoses for any tears or holes, and valves for leaks.

Ensure your RV and tow vehicle/toad have had all required maintenance.

Wash the exterior in the shade with a mild soap remembering to clean the tires.

Not the way to care for tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tire Check

Check the age of the tires—RV tires usually age out before they wear out.

Check that all tires are properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires means more money for fuel. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency. Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure and blowouts.

Clean the tires and rims and inspect them for evidence of any splits or cracks in the sidewalls or between the treads. Treat these seriously and get them repaired before you head out for your first camping trip. Don’t forget to check that your lug nuts are tightened.

If you have a travel or fifth wheel trailer you may need to pack wheel bearings.

RV exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Battery Check

Check your RVs batteries and top off cells with distilled water. Be sure to replace multiple battery banks together. If your batteries need to be cleaned, make sure they are disconnected and use a hot water and baking soda mixture to clean them. Wear safety glasses and latex gloves.

Connecting to city water © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Propane Tank Check

Check your propane tank, as seals can dry out over the winter. First, make sure you have everything turned off, you aren’t around any smoking flames or sparks, and your propane leak detector is turned on. Open the valves on your tank and smell for leaks. Check the valves and regulators by using a soapy water mix. If you find any leaks, have a professional inspect and repair them.

RV exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Generator Test

Test your generator, if you have one. Use the prime feature until your indicator light turns on for the fuel pump, run it for 20 seconds, and the generator should start more quickly. You will have to crank it until it starts otherwise, as there will likely be a lack of fuel in the lines. Let the starter rest to cool after 15 seconds of cranking. Don’t forget to check the oil and air filter.

RV utilities © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Flushing Water Lines

Remove the antifreeze from your water lines. Make sure the water heater bypass valve is in the normal position and all of your taps are closed. Turn on the cold water tap that’s closest to the water pump, and run water until it’s clear. Do this for each cold water tap, toilet, and shower.

Then repeat for the hot water taps, toilet, and shower. Open up the bypass to allow water to fill the tanks. Use a city water connection and turn on the cold and hot water faucets and run to let air escape until the water flows steadily. Inspect all faucets and pipes for leaks, as well as the water heater, drain plug, and valves. Switch the fresh water pump on; if it comes on 20 to 30 minutes later, this indicates a pressure drop or leak. If it doesn’t come on, you’re good to go.

RV interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Interior Inspection

Clean the interior of the RV and do another visual inspection. Vacuum the carpet, and clean the floors and other surfaces as necessary. Be sure to air it out. Check to ensure your appliances are working.

Test smoke alarms and CO and LP gas detectors, and replace the batteries as necessary. Check fire extinguishers, and refill first aid kit and emergency kits as needed.

RV interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Finally, you can repack your RV and stock up on all your necessities.

Worth Pondering…

A bad day cleaning the RVing—is better than a good day—working.

Get Inspired To Get Back Out There

Sometimes, “great outdoors” is an understatement

Good morning. Every now and again, it’s good to remind ourselves what a bizarre world we are living in. So far, 2020 has been a year like no other! With less than two months left, no one is sure whether it’s flown by or dragged on. One thing is for sure, though—you deserve some recognition for sticking with us through it all! 

RV Exterior cleaning at Las Vegas RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Your impulse to scrub every corner of your home (on-wheels) has benefited household goods companies handsomely. P&G, the consumer goods giant and owner of Tide and Charmin, said organic sales jumped 6 percent higher for the past fiscal year. The company’s fabric and home-care unit (which includes Swiffer, Mr. Clean, and Dawn) grew 14 percent, the biggest-ever bump. 

A clean coach at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why? One word: COVID. People who are suddenly cleaning their doorknobs twice a day tend to buy more cleaning products. An added layer of P&G’s success? We kept buying its products even at premium prices during an economic slowdown—P&G’s wares are generally a bit more costly than competitors. 

A clean coach at Sonoran Desert RV Resort (formerly Gila Bend KOA) in Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Zoom out: Disinfecting like mad has also polished the reputations of other cleaning-focused brands. Clorox reported overall sales increase of 27 percent from a year ago and double-digit increases in eight of its 10 business units. People are using Clorox’s namesake disinfectant products to clean household surfaces, cell phones, and laptops—but the company is also benefiting from people cooking more at home instead of going out. That’s because Clorox also owns the plastic bag brand Glad and the charcoal line Kingsford. Sales for Clorox’s household division, the unit that includes these products, soared 39 percent compared to last year.

In an Axios/Harris poll of U.S. attitudes toward companies, Clorox got the best grades in “Ethics” and “Products & Services” and came in second in “Trust.”

Autumn colors at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s Fall, Y’all

Fall isn’t just a time for pumpkin-spiced everything, cool-weather hikes, and Thanksgiving overindulgence. It’s also when nature shows off the autumnal art display of trees clad in brilliant colors.

Autumn along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As the world grapples with the current reality, the great outdoors have become a welcome respite. Biking is on the rise. RVs became mobile motels for a new generation of traveler. And camping is a now go-to weekend activity for backcountry aficionados and newbies alike. With fall in full swing, there is an unlimited supply of ideal camping destinations coast to coast. 

With wildly diverse wilderness, a massive playground for campers of all walks, whether you’re seeking a trip to one of the country’s most celebrated national parks or one of its most underrated.

Autumn in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National parks might get all the fame and glory, but the United States is dotted with some stunning state parks as well. America is home to more than 10,000 state parks attracting some 739 million annual visitors. As more and more travelers seek the open road and open spaces, those numbers will continue to grow. More and more of these parks are catering to RV travelers with campgrounds, hookups, and other amenities.

Autumn in Brasstown Bald State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t let the cool temperatures of the fall season keep you from getting out and camping. There are great advantages to “cold season” camping including fewer people, fall colors, and seeing areas in different seasons to name just a few. With some preparation you can stay comfortable in cooler temperatures and keep on adventuring.

Driving Fish Lake Scenic Byway, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jaw-dropping vistas can be discovered after a long hike or by simply pulling off the road. Whether you’re looking to flee the big city or stop off for a while in the middle of a cross-country journey there are campsites for all interests. 

Autumn in Whitehall, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today’s post is all about road trips going on RIGHT NOW. I am feeling pent up and could use the expanse of the horizon line to keep me going in these COVID-trying times. Filling my mug with coffee, hiking a local trail, and channeling some of my favorite road dawgs from Jack Kerouac and Paul Theroux to John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie! Put the phone on RV mode and ride off into the sunset. But also, check it every once in a while so you can keep up with the latest RVing with Rex post.

Walking the trails at Bernheim Forest near Louisville, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

All that said, I hope you are safe, and making the best of our challenging times. Be wise. Be careful. Don’t take needless chances. Be kind to others because right now that goes a long way to comforting people who are nervous, scared, or otherwise emotionally hurting over the dramatic upheaval in their lives.

And thank you for reading.

Worth Pondering…

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

—Winston Churchill

Tips for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your RV

If you’re on the road during the COVID-19 outbreak—or even if your RV is waiting patiently in the driveway—now is the time to give extra care to your usual cleaning routine

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

2019 Dutch Star motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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
2019 Dutch Star motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

2019 Dutch Star motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

2019 Dutch Star motorhome exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

2019 Dutch Star motorhome exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Worth Pondering…

Each day I will rise and greet the morning sun, for it is a good day.

Cleaning Your RV Interior

We’re here with some helpful hints on cleaning the inside of your RV

Just like your home, your recreational vehicle requires a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. It’s a fact of life that nothing stays clean for long—and that includes your RV. A newly mopped floor is just waiting for a spill. That’s especially true with a young family.

The need for cleaning never disappears. Fortunately, most cleaning isn’t difficult. Occasionally, though, you run into something that refuses to come clean, or you are convinced that there must be a better way.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Prevent dirt accumulation through the use of indoor and outdoor mats, removing shoes before entering, and practicing tidy habits. This will go a long way toward keeping your RV interior clean and your sanity intact. When dirt and dust from the outdoors find their way inside your RV or spills need to be cleaned up, you want these chores to be quick, easy, and effective.

When cleaning an RV interior start from the top and work your way down. Begin a thorough cleaning by dusting the ceiling, wiping light fixtures, and cleaning ceiling vents.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When cleaning the RV bathroom, start from the top and work your way down. Organic matter may stick to walls and mirrors, and as you work your way down, it may fall to other surfaces or the ground. By starting tall, you avoid spreading the matter around.

NEVER use bleach or abrasive cleaners in the RV kitchen and bathroom sinks, shower-tub, or toilet. These products can damage the surfaces and holding tanks, and degrade the seals around your tanks—causing an unpleasant and messy problem. Use only mild soaps or products specifically made for RVs. Or, use a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Clean the stove top after each use to remove spills and other food messes. Remove the grate at least monthly or as needed and wipe out any crumbs and spills with a damp, lightly soaped cloth. Rinse well.

Clean refrigerator spills as they happen. Remove drawers and clean under them. This is the location with the most potential for trouble as the stains are likely to stay. Store food in covered containers. Open containers easily spill or are pushed to the back and eventually tip over. To keep odors under control, store an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Use a damp cloth to wipe down the shelves, handles, and doors as needed. Clean vinyl fabrics with a soft damp cloth and mild detergent only. Do not use solvents as they may damage the surface of the vinyl.

Clean interior windows and mirrors, vacuum carpets and rugs, and wash vinyl floors.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At the end of each trip invest a little time to perform routine cleaning: sweep, mop, or vacuum the floors. Wipe down the tables and counter tops. Clean the sinks, shower-tub, and toilet. Clean the stove and ovens. Clean up any spilled foods in the cabinets.

Remove the refrigerator contents and clean it remembering to leave the door open once you’ve turned the unit off. This helps to prevent the development of mold and mildew.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Final Tips

Keeping your RV clean and neat inside will make it more enjoyable to use and will help retain resale value. As with many situations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Clutter tends to beget clutter, so don’t let the first stray object get things started. Clutter detracts significantly from the pleasure and convenience of using your RV. Put away items as soon as you’re done using them to create a tidy environment inside your RV.

Cleaning grime as soon as it appears is much easier than allowing it to set in longer. Never use traditional toilet cleansers or bleach inside your RV toilet. Doing so may create toxic fumes when the cleansers mix with your holding tank chemicals inside the black water tank and degrade the tanks and seals.

And the sun sets on another beautiful day while living the RV lifestyle © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Over time you will discover the best way to organize the things you use most so they’re always handy when you need them.

Worth Pondering…

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.

—Phyllis Diller

Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Here are some tips on the best way to clean and care for the exterior of your RV

Nothing stays clean for long including your recreational vehicle. A recently washed RV just begs for a thunderstorm or sand storm to blow through.

Regular RV cleaning is important for the maintenance and longevity of your RV.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Grand Canyon Railway RV Resort in Williams, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Following are a few RV cleaning tips to use the next time you clean and maintain your RV.

Since there are myriad RV cleaning products on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be a challenge.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Distant Drums RV Resort in Camp Verde, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Opt for a high-quality cleaner that will help make the finish on your RV last longer. Look for a multi-purpose RV cleaner as well to save some money.

Some cleaners are created for special purposes such as cleaning awnings or rubber roofs, but others can be used for a variety of cleaning applications inside and outside your coach. The best solution is an RV cleaner with several applications to save your pocketbook.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Blake Ranch RV Park in Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s best to clean the RV from the top down. First, head up on the RV roof. Inspect the sealant around the roof vents, air conditioner, and all roof seams for signs of cracks or deterioration.

The roof is oftentimes an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ part of the RV, but it should actually be the last thing that is ‘out of mind’ because it is so vital to protecting the RV and its contents.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Gila Bend KOA in Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Open awnings and check for frayed or ripped material. Remove stains and mildew with special awning cleaner and allow awning to dry before rolling back up. Check hardware for functionality and replace as needed.

Next clean the RV side walls and back using a standard RV washing soap. Pay special attention to the seams where the wall joints, storage bay doors, marker lights, and appliance outlets are found. Remove dirt, bugs, tar, and other road residue from the surface of your RV.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inspect the side walls and around windows and doors for cracks or voids in the seams and seals. Scrape and reseal any affected areas with the appropriate sealant.

Insects and rodents can make winter homes in the outside compartments. Clear any nests or debris and inspect wiring and hoses for signs of chewing.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Las Vegas RV Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The front of the RV including side mirrors, whether a trailer fiberglass cap or motorhome, demands more specialized cleaning. This is where the bug abuse takes place. Sometimes the carnage can be enormous.

A good defense against super stuck on bug guts is a well waxed front cap.

A super absorbent microfiber sponge is a proven product for lint-, streak- and scratch-free cleaning.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Columbia Sun RV Resort in Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Another method of removing the squashed little buggers is with a dryer sheet. Wet down the area and the dryer sheet prior to tackling the area.

Clean your RV as soon as possible after each trip using high-quality cleaning supplies that won’t scratch or mar the RV surface. Use soft, natural cotton washing cloths and soaps and cleansers made specifically for RVs.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at 12 Tribes Casino RV Resort in Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Just like your home, your RV requires some necessary TLC. Cleaning your recreational vehicle will not only improve its look but will also prevent any unnecessary paint chipping and parasite growth, increasing its lifespan and maintaining its value over time. At the same time, making sure your home away from home is spic and span is also important.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Ambassador RV Resort in Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cleaning your RV will take some time. But taking care of your RV is an investment that can pay off if you choose to resell in the future.

After a general clean with the soap and water it’s time to wax the beast. Waxing the RV is a huge task. Compared to a car it has a massive surface area. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your particular RV.

2019 Newmar Dutch Star at Irwins RV Park in Valemount, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And finally, admire a great job well done.

There, what a beautiful RV.

It is now time to crack open your favorite beverage and sit back and admire your gleaming rig. Best to let it all soak in quick because that next rain, dust storm, or mud covered adventure is on the way.

Worth Pondering…
A bad day cleaning the RVing—is better than a good day—working.