Ten Ways to Keep Your RV Clean and Tidy

Make every camping trip more enjoyable by keeping your RV clean and tidy

Almost everything about camping in an RV is great—except for cleaning it. The dreaded chore can put a damper on the fun. Spring cleaning, prepping before your next trip, and cleaning up when you get home are all important and often unpleasant tasks.

Being on the road often, driving, and parking in the dirt and traveling through various weather conditions all put your RV through a lot. The cleaner you keep your RV, the easier it will be to avoid the normal wear and tear from traveling throughout the year. (You should aim to wash the exterior of your RV at least once a quarter, if not more depending on how often you travel and where you go.) 

An RV seems like a lot of work to clean but doing little things frequently will make it seem like less of a daunting task and help you take pride in your ride.  

Here are 10 tips that can help to take the hassle out of cleaning your RV.

1. Read the instruction manual

Your RV’s instruction manual is a treasure-trove of information that can give you tips and tricks for cleaning your RV’s exterior and interior. This includes what type of cleaners you should and shouldn’t use and any specialized care instructions. For further information, try your RV manufacturer’s website for extra tips on cleaning and making your RV sparkle. Failure to read the instruction manual could lead to damage to your RV’s surfaces and finishes. 

2. Ditch the brand-name products

Most RV materials aren’t any different from other vehicle or living material types. It’s easy to want to purchase a brand-name cleaner or solution that’s made exclusively for RVs but the truth is many common and generic household cleaners work perfectly well to keep your RV sparkling, including dish soap, window cleaner, even distilled white vinegar. Those fancy products at the RV superstore are appealing but they’re typically more expensive. 

Dawn Dish Soap © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Spring cleaning

Make sure to have a clean start for your camping season. A deep clean each spring makes your entire summer of camping so much better.

Give the exterior of your RV a thorough cleaning and waxing.

Don’t forget to wash the awning, too. It is easy to forget about this important accessory because it is usually folded in when you are at home doing maintenance and cleaning on your RV.

Clean your RV’s tank sensors to keep them working all season long. Use a cleaning wand to blast the gunk out of your black tank. You can also soak your black and grey water tanks by adding a cup of Dawn dishwashing detergent to a tank that is ½ full of water and then driving around to agitate. There are also commercially available enzymatic tank cleaners that help to remove a dirty tank.

By the way, I have a series of posts on spring cleaning:

4. Clean out the storage area

Your RV’s storage areas can hide nasty messes and smells. It can also host mold, mildew, and other nasty critters. Clean out your RV’s storage areas, including external storage, often to avoid build-up of any dust or the accumulation of dirt and debris. Always check the nooks and crannies of your RV’s storage areas to make sure nothing is left behind that can turn to stink. 

Dump the black and then the gray water tank © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Dump those tanks

Your gray and black water tanks can be the source of many nasty odors and while tanks don’t directly affect your RV’s appearance, a poorly maintained tank will bother you while hanging inside and outside your ride. Dump and flush your tanks as necessary to keep your whole ride refreshed. Keep a supply of disposable vinyl gloves, a hose, a bucket, and other necessary items stored away exclusively for dumping and cleaning your tanks. 

Here are some helpful resources:

Reduce moisture with dehumidifiers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Prevent mold and mildew

Mold and mildew are major enemies of RVs and since they thrive in moisture reduce moisture within your RV. This includes running yo ur air conditioning in humid environments, opening windows and doors when possible, and buying moisture-absorbing packets for closets and storage areas. If you have an item that reeks of mildew, avoid detergent as it can feed the critters. Wash mildew-smelling clothing in a washer with a couple of cups of distilled white vinegar to kill off the bugs and leave your clothes smelling fresh. 

Be sure to read How to Reduce Moisture and Condensation in Your RV.

Take good care of your tires © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Give your tires some shine

Over time, your RV tires start to fade and wear out as they are increasingly exposed to the elements and road debris. Tires withstand a lot of abuse and can sustain scuff marks and small cracks which ages them and frankly makes your vehicle less attractive overall.

Use a product that’s specially designed to spiff up your tires. The best tire shine brands not only clean your tires but also produce a nice, glossy look. When used as a regular part of your maintenance routine, tire shine not only makes your tires look better, it can also protect them from UV rays and other damage. 

There is quite literally more tire dressing products on the market than you can count. Recommended products include Meguiar’s Ultimate Insane Shine Tire Coating, Chemical Guys Galactic Black Wet Look Tire Shine Dressing, and 303 Aerospace Protectant.

Here are some articles to help:

8. Don’t forget the roof

The roof of your RV is one of the most important parts to maintain to avoid interior leaks and other issues. Many modern RV roofs are constructed from membrane roofing, but you still see plenty of metal roofs on the road. If yours is metal, you can wash like you would your RV’s exterior, but if your RV is made of modern membrane roofing, it’s recommended to use specialized cleaner found at RV and camping stores. A twice-yearly cleaning of a membrane roof is usually enough to keep it in good shape. Take this time to inspect the roof for any tears, cracks, rips, or other damage. 

Start with a clean RV

9. Before you head out

Starting out each trip with a clean RV makes the entire trip much more enjoyable.

Clean all of the surfaces of the interior. Use a mild cleaning solution like a mixture of vinegar and water to wipe down every surface, wash walls, and clean all the nooks and crannies.

Clean camping toys in the dishwasher with about a cup and a half of vinegar.

Make sure the sponges in your RV are free of bacteria by microwaving damp sponges for one to two minutes.

10. When you return home

Take a few minutes when you get home to do a quick tidy up so your next trip is that much easier.

Check everywhere for dirty laundry or stray dishes. Move cushions and open cupboards to make sure nothing gets left in the RV between trips.

A quick wet mop on the flooring cleans up all of the dirt that is bound to accumulate during a camping trip.

Clean the toilet with a gentle, natural cleaner so it doesn’t break down the seals around the toilet and cause a leak.

Throw all bedding in your home laundry so it is ready to go when you are.

Keeping your RV clean doesn’t have to be a huge chore. When everyone pitches in, it shouldn’t take too long to get your rig back up to scratch.

Worth Pondering…

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

—Phyllis Diller

Get Ready for Spring Camping! 12 Must-Do Tasks

Camping season is revving up and so are RVers! Here’s what you need to do to get ready for spring camping.

It’s time to dust off the RV sitting in storage (literally and figuratively) and get it ready for spring camping. There is a LOT of camping fun just around the corner but we need to put in some work to prepare.

Here’s my list of must-do tasks to run through every spring. Of course, you’ll need to tweak this list based on your RV, camping style, and whether you store your RV in the off-season.

But overall, this list will get you going (again, literally and figuratively) for spring.

Replace your water filter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Replace your water filter

As you probably know, I recommend using a water filter on your freshwater system and spring is the perfect time to change it. If you camp regularly I recommend changing it at the top of every season.

That way, you have clean, good-tasting water from the start of the season. Some filters may last longer especially if you don’t camp that often.

2. Replace your water hose

Many RVers replace their drinking water hoses every year. Bacteria can accumulate in the old hose over time or while sitting in storage.

You may be able to use it longer if you buy a quality hose, keep it clean, and carefully store it. However, it’s always good to start with a fresh one every spring. Otherwise, it’s just too hard to know what’s growing inside.

3. Lube the wheel bearings

If you have a travel trailer or fifth wheel, add lubing the wheel bearings to your must-do list. It needs to be done at least once a year as well as being inspected.

You can take it to your local tire shop to get them inspected and greased up. Or, you can do it yourself if you know what to look for. Gooping it up isn’t rocket science but you’ll need to know what to look for to make sure the bearings are in good shape before you hit the road.

4. Inspect and seal your roof

You don’t want to start your spring season with a leak during your first camping trip.

If you’re not comfortable getting up on the roof, hire an RV tech service or employ the help of a handy family member or friend. Look for cracks, bubbling, or discoloration. Then use RV caulk and sealants and repair accordingly.

5. Evaluate your internet service provider

Remote programs change constantly. Make sure that whatever Internet system you have does not lock you into excessive rates. Make sure that the amount of data you’re paying for is what you’re actually using and that it’s at the best possible price.

One phone call to your Internet provider to discuss your rates will often result in savings and/or better speeds.

Check your awnings © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Check your awning

Before you head out, check your awning to make sure it extends and retracts properly. Awnings are one of the most common things to break in an RV. So, make sure it’s in working order.

While it’s extended, check for mold or mildew on the material. This often builds up when RVs are in storage during the wetter seasons. If need be, give it a good clean with tips from my RV awning cleaner guide.

While it’s extended, check for mold or mildew on the material. This often builds up when RVs are in storage during the wetter seasons. If need be, give it a good clean with tips from my RV awning cleaner guide.

7. Check all lights on your RV

Check all of the lighting on your RV, especially exterior lights, turn signals, and brake lights. Having to stop at an auto shop mid-trip wastes a lot of time when it’s an easy fix to do at home.

If you don’t have a spotter to help you check the lights, back up to a wall or garage door at night. Then, you should be able to test the lights by looking for the reflection.

If none or most of the lights aren’t working on your travel trailer or fifth wheel, check the electrical harnesses that connect the trailer to your tow vehicle. Make sure there’s no corrosion or build up on the metal pins or prongs on the connectors. Sometimes all you need to do is rub or clean them off and plug them back in.

8. Return everything you removed in the fall

If you removed anything in the fall because of freezing or attracting animals, you’ll need to replace all those now. 

Some items that might have been removed are your running batteries, smaller appliance batteries, and liquids (cleaners, repellents, etc).

And before you put these items back in, you’ll want to check your batteries: clean them if that seems necessary and check their charge.

Tip: If you’re removing things because you don’t want them to freeze, don’t just leave them in the garage where they might freeze.

9. Check your detectors/batteries/extinguishers

Spring is a good time to ensure your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher are all in working order. It is recommended that batteries in detectors are replaced annually and this would be a good time to do that.

You’ll also want to make sure your flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns are still working and being stored in their proper place.

Check water and plumbing systems © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Attend to the water and plumbing

You’ll need to flush water through the lines—especially if you winterized with anti-freeze in the fall.  Even if you didn’t winterize it’s a good idea to flush and clean the lines and make sure the plumbing is still working and there aren’t any leaks anywhere.

11. Check the electrical

It’s always a good idea to check the electrical and make sure all your appliances are still working (fridge, stove, microwave, etc). You might also want to move the slides in and out and check for water damage there and to ensure they’re working smoothly.

This is also the perfect time to hook up your unit. Make sure the lights are in working order, that your trailer brakes are good, and check the condition of your tires.

Fixing an electrical short is much more pleasant when the kids aren’t already packed in the truck ready to hit the road!

12. Inventory your first aid kit and tool box

Do a quick inventory of your first aid box and take a peek into your tool kit to make sure everything that should be there actually is. If something’s missing or past the due date, replace or replenish.

It’s time for spring cleaning © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What about spring cleaning?

Spring is always a great time to give your RV a thorough cleaning. There’s something about spring showers and fresh flowers that inspire us to refresh our living spaces.

When the weather starts turning warmer and thoughts turn to planning epic RV road trips, there are numerous RV maintenance tasks to complete including RV spring cleaning. Here are some articles to help you get started.

RV Spring Cleaning Tips for Every Season

Spring is a great time to give your RV a thorough cleaning. There’s something about spring showers and fresh flowers that inspire us to refresh our living spaces.

But, really, any time is a good time to declutter and spruce up your RV. No matter the season, these RV spring cleaning tips will help you clean, declutter, and organize. So, whether it’s spring or winter, summer or fall, here are the tools, tips, and tricks you’ll need for RV spring cleaning.

Go to the full article…

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.

Go to the full article…

Cleaning Your RV Interior

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.

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.

Go to the full article…

Clean your RV exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cleaning Your RV Exterior

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.

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.

Go to the full article…

A helpful checklist

Of course, there is a LOT of little things you need to do to get ready for spring camping from packing to food prepping. The above covers a lot of the big tasks but here is a helpful checklist:

Worth Pondering…

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

—Phyllis Diller

An Ode to Spring: 20 Quotes to Welcome the Season

Nothing says new beginnings and second chances quite like spring

Ode on the Spring

Lo! where the rosy-bosom’d Hours,

Fair Venus’ train appear,

Disclose the long-expecting flowers,

And wake the purple year!

The Attic warbler pours her throat,

Responsive to the cuckoo’s note,

The untaught harmony of spring:

While whisp’ring pleasure as they fly,

Cool zephyrs thro’ the clear blue sky

Their gather’d fragrance fling.

—Thomas Gray (1716–1771)

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Spring, that season of warmer weather, flowers blooming, birds returning, and longer days (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). The new season brings a revival of the body and spirit and proof that Mother Nature has this four-season routine on lock.

Writers have long waxed poetic about the bountiful nature of spring and how its arrival signals everything from new life (think: baby chicks and bunnies for Easter) to the dutiful purging of our personal belongings (see: spring cleaning). Shakespeare has paid homage to the season, as have Virginia Woolf, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, and others.

Our positive associations with the season might seem obvious—more daylight, a reprieve from the long winter months, an embarrassment of holidays—but humans’ long love affair with spring has roots in several different cultures and belief systems. The English name itself is believed to have replaced the word Lent, an Old English way to describe the season before the 14th century. Lent is derived from lencten or lengthen; the season’s original name referred to how days begin to lengthen with the arrival of spring.

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In Iranian and Chinese cultures, spring marks the real beginning of the New Year according to their respective calendars and is commemorated with a thorough home cleansing to get rid of negativity and lingering spirits. Hence, some believe in the advent of spring cleaning. (Other historians believe spring cleaning is tied to the soot left in 19th-century houses at the end of a winter of kerosene lamps and coal fireplaces.)

In the Jewish tradition, spring marks the annual celebration of Passover, the occasion when persecuted Jews were liberated from slavery in Egypt. It is therefore a time of rebirth and a chance at new ways of being. In the Bible, spring symbolizes a time for growth and renewal; there is an undercurrent of awakening and revival that is tied to Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There’s also the philosophical take on spring as a metaphor for life on a grander scale—spring is when new life emerges from the cold of winter, when new ideas and projects begin to take root when we’re allowed to stretch our limbs and turn our faces toward the sun.

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The seasons have been used to describe the stage of growing older: Summer is a time of youth and movement and languishing in sensual delights; autumn turns folks inward as a symbol of maturity and transition; and winter is of course a time for reflection and dormancy, of preparing for deep sleep.

As a result, then, quotes about spring—as opposed to the other three seasons—are largely upbeat, hopeful, and bursting with the language of possibility and vivacity. Philosophers have heralded the return of spring as proof that there is light at the end of even the darkest tunnel and that there is much to learn from nature’s unwavering adherence to the four seasons.

Here, I’ve rounded up some particularly resonant quotes about spring gathered from a wide range of cultural and generational sources proving that our obsession with clean slates and new beginnings, while universal and deeply felt, is nothing new.

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Earth laughs in flowers.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Hamatreya

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.

—Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Nobody can keep spring out of Harlem. I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face. Sunshine patted me all over the head.

—Langston Hughes, The Early Simple Stories

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

—Anne Bradstreet

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.

—Jim Carrey

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here comes the sun, and I say it’s alright.

—George Harrison, Here Comes the Sun

If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.

—Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.

—Author Harriet Ann Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.

—Poet Pablo Neruda

Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.

—Mary Oliver, Bazougey

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

—Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
—Lao Tzu

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbor: Winter is dead.

—A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where flowers bloom so does hope.

—Lady Lady Bird Johnson

Spring is the time of the year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.

—Charles Dickens, Great Expectations 

What a strange thing! / to be alive / beneath cherry blossoms.

—Kobayashi Issa

April, dressed in all his trim, hath put a spirit of youth in everything.

—William Shakespeare, Sonnet 98

An ode to spring © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When April steps aside for May, like diamonds all the rain-drops glisten; fresh violets open every day; to some new bird each hour we listen.

―Lucy Larcom

I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.

—Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room

8 Rituals and Traditions to Welcome Spring and Say Goodbye to Winter

Goodbye winter, welcome spring!

The first day of spring (March 19 in 2024) for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere is an eagerly anticipated event around the world. Although the Northern and Southern hemispheres celebrate the start of the season at different times of the year, both share in observing the equinox—which comes from the Latin words aequus and nox meaning equal and night—with unique customs.

Spring represents rebirth and rejuvenation and many of the celebrations reflect this: Homes are cleaned, blossoms are admired, and, in some cases, the dark winter months are sent off in dramatic, flaming fashion. Here are some of the most interesting winter-into-spring rituals and traditions.

Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, Vermont © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sugaring season

The tail end of winter isn’t exactly renowned for bountiful harvests—unless, perhaps, the crop is maple syrup. In the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, the weeks before and during early spring are known as sugaring season when syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. The season typically starts around mid-February and lasts through early April; during this time, syrup is made, served, and sold at buildings in the woods known as sugar shacks.

Locals and visitors alike flock to these cozy shacks, eager to pour warm maple syrup on fresh, powdery snow to make a deliciously sweet treat. In New England, the taffy-like candy is known as sugar on snow while French-speaking Canada calls it tire sur la neige (pull on the snow).

Making or eating sugar on snow is a simple and satisfying way to mark the changing of the seasons but making the amber liquid is a much longer labor of love. It begins in the fall when maple trees store starches in their trunks. As early spring temperatures begin to rise, the starches convert to sugars and the above-freezing days and below-freezing nights create the pressure needed for the sweet liquid known as sap to flow from holes drilled in the tree’s trunk. The extracted sap is then boiled to reduce it to its familiar concentrated, syrupy texture. Not every tree is sugaring season material, though—it needs to be about 40 years old to be big enough to tap.

Spring at Hee Hee Illahee RV Park in Salem, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cherry blossoms

One of the best things about spring is all the new flowers it brings. Without a doubt, some of the most breathtaking blooms can be seen on cherry trees. Before the trees produce fruit, their elegant limbs erupt in pillows of white and pastel-pink flowers. Japan’s cherry blossoms—known as sakura—are especially notable producing a spring spectacle known around the world. The blooming season is dependent on weather but generally happens for about two weeks in April when it is celebrated with festivals that draw millions of spectators every year.

The springtime cherry blossoms hold special significance in Japan where people host picnic parties under the trees as part of a centuries-old tradition called hanami—meaning, literally, flower viewing. The custom originated during the Nara period and was popularized as an aristocratic gathering under Emperor Saga in the ninth century complete with sake, poetry, and other refined activities. Today’s hanami celebrations are decidedly less formal but no less festive: They’re enjoyed by people of all backgrounds and often go well into the night with food, drinking, and dancing. Similar cherry blossom festivals take place in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Prep the RV for spring travel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Spring cleaning

If spring’s longer days and warmer breezes have you wanting to throw open the windows and wipe every corner of your house (or RV) clean, you’re not alone. The age-old tradition of spring cleaning isn’t just a feel-good practice—it has roots in some cultural customs and was even once a necessity because of how homes were kept warm in the colder months.

During the 1800s, people primarily heated their homes with wood- or coal-burning fireplaces and used kerosene lamps for light in the long winter months. This often led to traces of soot and grime on just about every surface in the house requiring a deep cleaning come spring when people would take everything outside to literally shake off the dust. Modern conveniences have made these original reasons irrelevant but the tradition of spring cleaning persists anyway.

In some places, the ritual also has cultural or religious significance. In Iran, for example, the practice has its name: It’s called khane tekani (or shaking the house) and it’s tied to the Iranian New Year, Nowruz which coincides with the spring equinox.

Groundhog? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is a full month and a half before the official first day of spring but it has become a familiar marker in the slow transition of the seasons for people in the US and Canada. Each year on February 2, a groundhog is coaxed out of its underground burrow to provide a weather forecast for the coming weeks. If it sees its shadow, the rodent is scared back into its hole for six more weeks of winter. No shadow means warmer spring weather will arrive earlier than expected.

The decidedly unscientific ritual has been taking place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania since 1887 but its origins date back to the fourth-century Christian holiday Candlemas. During Candlemas, clergy members would distribute candles representing how long and cold the winter would be. German Protestants later put their spin on this by introducing a hedgehog as their seasonal prognosticator and when German settlers arrived in America they continued the tradition using a groundhog. Now, the event is not only a major local affair but also a global news story every February.

Eggs, a symbol of new life © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Egg painting, cooking, and eating

Eggs are everywhere in spring, thanks in large part to their association with Easter and resurrection in the Christian faith. But their significance isn’t limited to just one religion or culture: Eggs have symbolized new life and reproduction throughout most of history dating back to Pagan sun-worshipping rituals and are important parts of many spring traditions to this day.

In Bosnia, residents of Zenica celebrate with Cimburijada (the Festival of Scrambled Eggs), a tradition that honors the renewal of life that comes with the season. At dawn on the first day of spring, locals gather to make and share giant dishes of scrambled eggs typically prepared in the open air using hundreds of eggs, butter, and other secret ingredients.

In Iran, during Nowruz, decorated eggs represent fertility for one’s family and are considered among the most important items on the ceremonial haftseen table. And no matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere one of the most well-known spring equinox traditions involves standing an egg on its end. A long-running legend purports that this feat can only be achieved on the first day of spring since the Sun and Moon are equidistant from the Earth, the pull of gravity is equalized and therefore an egg is less likely to fall over.

This is simply not true. There is no gravitational change during the equinox that would help an egg balance.

Fields of spring wildflowers in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Burning effigies

Fire is used as a comforting (and sometimes necessary) heat and light source throughout the winter. So what better way is there to send off the cold months than with raging hot flames? Many cultures around the world incorporate effigies and bonfires into their spring celebrations upholding old rituals that are as lively and fun as they are dramatic.

In Poland and some other Slavic countries, many people commemorate the arrival of spring with a Slavic tradition known as the Drowning of Marzanna (the Slavic goddess of winter). On the first day of spring, Marzanna’s likeness made of straw and dressed in traditional local clothing is set on fire and tossed into the water in an attempt to defeat winter’s icy last gasp and ensure a good harvest in the season to come. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, the sacrificial effigy is a life-sized, cotton-stuffed snowman, the Böögg who is filled with fireworks and lit on fire. The faster the Böögg burns the warmer the upcoming spring and summer will be.

Spring wildflowers in Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Holi

Holika Dahan or the lighting of bonfire takes place on the eve of Holi. The day is also popularly called Chhoti Holi or the Small Holi. The bigger event—play with the color takes place on the next big day. Holika Dahan is an extremely popular tradition and is symbolic of triumph of good over evil. This ancient Hindu celebration also known as the festival of spring or the festival of colors has become one of the most popular and well-known equinox experiences in India and beyond. What started as a religious holiday has turned into a larger cultural celebration of the arrival of spring and the end of winter.

There are numerous legends associated with this ancient tradition and it is difficult to pin-point as to when actually the tradition started.

Holi is typically held every March and is most widely known for its joyous explosions of colorful powder which revelers use to douse each other in vibrant hues. Holi celebrations also include lively public gatherings and a ceremonial bonfire on the night known as Holika Dahan which takes place the day before the main event.

King cake symbolizes Mardi Gras season © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday falls annually on the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. The word Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday in the French language. Celebrations include festivals, parades, dancing, and feasting before the fasting starts on Ash Wednesday.

Mardi Gras is a tradition that dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Worth Pondering…

Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing as it does no matter what not being singular or particular but one of the forever gifts and certainly visible.

—Mary Oliver

RV Spring Cleaning Tips for Every Season

When the weather starts turning warmer and thoughts turn to planning epic RV road trips, there are numerous RV maintenance tasks to complete including 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 who live full-time in their RVs, spring is also the perfect opportunity to clean out all that dust and dirt that has been building over the winter.

Spring is a great time to give your RV a thorough cleaning. There’s something about spring showers and fresh flowers that inspire us to refresh our living spaces.

But, really, any time is a good time to declutter and spruce up your RV. No matter the season, these RV spring cleaning tips will help you clean, declutter, and organize. So, whether it’s spring or winter, summer or fall, here are the tools, tips, and tricks you’ll need for RV spring cleaning.

Cleaning the RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tools needed to get the job done

Just like any project, the right tools make a job easier! So, the best way to begin is to gather your tools and cleaning products for a good spring cleaning.

The following items come in handy:

  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Clorox wipes
  • Swiffer dusters
  • Paper towels
  • Q-tips
  • Favorite interior cleaning solution
  • Favorite exterior cleaning solution
  • Mop or steamer
  • Bucket for warm water
  • Garden hose
  • Vacuum with hose attachment and/or hand vacuum
  • Ladder
  • Power washer (optional)
Dawn dish soap © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make your own cleaner

If you’re concerned about toxic chemicals and would rather not use commercial cleaning solutions, you can make your own.

A damp cloth and hot soapy water go a long way. Or you can add a cup of bleach to a gallon of warm water for bleach-safe surfaces. You can easily google how to use household items like lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda to make DIY cleaning solutions.

Okay…you’ve gathered your cleaning helpers—it’s time to get down to business!

Like any big project, you’ll have better luck with your RV spring cleaning if you go in with a plan. After all, your motorhome (or other type of recreational vehicle) is just that—a home on wheels. There’s a lot to tackle!

The interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV spring cleaning: The interior

It’s a good idea to start with the inside and work your way out. Or, you can divide and conquer with your travel companions.

However you tackle the job you’ll want to thoroughly clean the interior including the furniture, appliances, floors, and walls. That means vacuuming, wiping down surfaces, and removing any built-up dirt and grime.

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 the 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.

You’ll also want to sanitize surfaces to prevent the spread of germs. This includes wiping down counters, sinks, and toiletries and disinfecting high-touch areas like door handles and light switches. (Cue the Clorox wipes)

The kitchen © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kitchen

Wipe down all countertops and cabinets (inside and out). This is a great opportunity to declutter your kitchen cabinets.

Take out all of the items and only put back the ones you’ve actually used on your last three RV trips. You’ll be surprised at how much space you’ve been wasting with unused kitchen appliances, excess pots and pans, etc.

Be sure to clean the nooks and crannies of the oven and microwave, as well.

You will also want to wipe out and sanitize your fridge. RV fridges are known for getting a musty smell over time. To avoid this, take out everything and clean every nook and cranny. And use this opportunity to throw out expired products (Yep, we’re coming for you, mustard!)

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.

Bathroom

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.

Give your RV toilets a good cleaning by scrubbing the bowl and wiping down the outside. Then wipe down the sink countertop and the outside of any cabinets.

Finally, wipe down the shower walls and bathtub or shower floor. This is also a good time to check your shower curtain for rips, tears, and mold.

As you clean, consider how you can better organize your bathroom.

Cab area

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, be sure to vacuum out the seats and any hard-to-reach areas that your broom may not be able to access.

The bedroom © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bedroom

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. 

Smoke alarm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ceiling fans and vents

If your RV has ceiling fans, giving them a quick wipe is a good idea. These are often overlooked and have many dust bunnies hiding in plain sight.

The same goes for vents and screen windows. Use a vacuum, duster, or those nifty Swiffer dusters to remove dust from vent covers. If you have air filters, swap them out.

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.

The interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV floors

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.

Sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors in each room. Notice I said and not or. Granted, you don’t want to mop your carpet. But my point is to clean your floor in multiple stages.

For hard surfaces, sweep any debris out from corners, vacuum everything, and mop for the final touch.

Of course, it’s a good idea to do this last so you can exit the RV while the floors dry. That way, you avoid making them dirty again by walking on them.

You will also avoid having to wait until they dry to clean other spaces in the RV.

The interior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Organize as you go

RV spring cleaning isn’t just about scrubbing. It’s also about decluttering and organizing. This is especially true of storage spaces, kitchen cabinets, and closets.

Here are some helpful resources:

Springtime is a great time to look for great dollar-store finds for your RV including organizers for closets and drawers and dehumidifers.

Dehumifer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV spring cleaning: The exterior

Keeping the RV’s exterior in good condition not only enhances its appearance but also helps protect it from the elements. This may involve washing and waxing the paint and repairing any chips or scratches to maintain its shine.

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

Wash the exterior of your RV to remove any built-up dirt and grime. This may be done by hand or with a pressure washer and may also involve cleaning the wheels and undercarriage.

Dehumidifer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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

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.

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.

Giving your RV a good wax will also help protect it over time from the elements. It will also make it look nice.

Water filter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Here are some helpful resources:

Storage areas

Over time your RV storage space can get crowded. Many people toss items they might need on a trip that never gets used. Some forgotten things take up precious cargo space and unnecessarily add weight to your rig for years.

A storage area is a small space, so thoroughly clean it to make the most of it. Organize the items that you want to leave in there. Take out and discard unused or expired items (like chemicals).

Water system © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Check for damage and perform routine maintenance

While washing the exterior, inspect the RV for any damage that may have occurred over the winter months. This includes checking for cracks, dents, or other damage to the body, roof, and windows.

You will also want to check for any leaky seals on the roof and slides. 

Plumbing system © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plumbing system

This involves checking the pipes, faucets, and toilets for leaks or damage and ensuring that all systems are functioning correctly. It may also include flushing the water tank, cleaning the filters, and checking the water pressure.

This is a great time to clean your holding tanks and sanitize your water system.

Sewer system © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Electrical system

This involves checking the electrical system for any issues, such as loose connections, frayed wires, or damaged components. It’s essential to ensure that all electrical systems are functioning correctly, including the lights, fans, and appliances.

HVAC system

The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system should be checked for proper function including the thermostat, ductwork, and fans. This can help to ensure that the RV is comfortable and energy efficient.

Awning

One part of your RV that’s easy to forget during the RV spring cleaning process is your awning. But trust me—you’ll remember it the first time you go to use it. What RV spring cleaning routine would be complete without these key components getting tidied up at the same time?

As part of your spring cleaning, take care of your awning so that it’s ready to take care of you when the time comes this summer. Keeping it clean is a great way to make sure it’s ready to use and will last for many years to come.

RV tire check © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tire Check

Don’t forget the tires during RV spring cleaning. 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 increased fuel fuel costs. 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.

RV tire check © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Inspect tires 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.

Thoroughly clean the rims and tires and then apply UV protectant to help reduce the effects of exposure to the sun. For this part of our RV spring cleaning, I like to use Aerospace brand products—303 Wheel and Tire Cleaner and 303 Automotive Protectant.

Use latex gloves © 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.

Other important systems

In addition to the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, it’s essential to check other vital systems such as the brakes, suspension, and tires. Regular maintenance can help prevent issues during the camping season, ensuring a smooth and safe trip.

And finally, admire a great job well done.

A cleaning job well done © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.