By Kate Doherty
Your RV has been in storage or dormant for a few months. You caught a stale mildew smell upon entering. You’re surprised and follow your nose noting odor in and around the kitchen and bath area. That forgotten dish towel or sink sponge, soiled clothes or moist towels left behind, and the shower or toilet area. Not uncommon, especially if your RV has been in a humid climate, regardless of temperature. Musty, mildewy odor can develop quickly. What comes to mind? A deep clean with chlorine bleach.
Chlorine bleach products run the gambit from industrial strength used for pool and outdoor furniture, to off-the-shelf low-strength floral and citrus fragrant. Most everyone recognizes that sanitary smell of bleach and even more so now in the pandemic. It’s readily available as the popular go-to remedy for deep cleaning and disinfecting against germs, bacteria, mold, mildew, etc. And, of course, for keeping your “tidy whities” super white.
It’s easy to overdo the use of bleach to clean, and that’s not something you want to do in your RV. Here are the dos and don’ts of using bleach to clean your RV…
- DO! Always dilute bleach with water. Dilute low strength bleach at least 3 to 4 parts water to 1 part bleach. Dilute industrial strength with a percentage of 11 or higher, at least 10 parts water to 1 part bleach.
- DON’T! Do not mix with ammonia. That creates chloramine, a toxic gas that most certainly will irritate eyes, nose, throat and lungs. It can cause breathing problems and seriously aggravate anyone with upper respiratory issues.
- DO! Be cognizant of inhaling the off-gassing spray in confined areas when using bleach to clean your RV (behind the toilet, in the shower, etc.). Make sure doors and windows are open!
- DON’T mix with hydrogen peroxide or any acidic substance for cleaning tile grout. These chemicals go together like oil and water… they don’t!
- DO! Wear eye protection and rubber gloves to protect your eyes and skin. Remember tie-dye fashion was only popular in the ’70s, so wear old clothes.
- DON’T use on metal surfaces – there are other cleaners for that! And, don’t pour the excess down your sink or in the toilet!
If you are unsure about the hazards of a cleaning solution or its ingredients, request the product’s material safety data sheet. And always remember to wash your hands after using bleach.