By Chris Dougherty
Certified RV technician
Here are some ideas about caring for your RV’s cabinets, furniture and carpets
Cabinet and furniture care
Hardwood: RV cabinet doors and drawer fronts are often hardwood, while the remaining cabinet parts are particle board covered with a thin lamination. Cabinet parts and dinette chairs that are made of wood (oak, cherry, etc,) and are stained are just like fine furniture and should be cared for the same way, using Liquid Gold, Pledge or other furniture polish. Do the doors and drawer fronts last, after you have cleaned the rest of the cabinet fronts with another cleaner like a general purpose glass and counter cleaner, or whatever the owner’s manual for your coach recommends.
Fabrics: There are many fabrics used in the RV industry for seating, window trim and so on. Most RV manufacturers will include care instructions in the owner’s packet. If a product is identified, such as Ultraleather, care instructions can be found on the company’s website. Most of the fabric manufacturers will indicate care for general cleaning as well as spills and stains.
Countertops: Whatever kind of countertop you have, general cleaning is the same. Most household cleaners will work adequately. Always avoid scouring products in RVs as most materials will show scratches from their use. If you have solid-surface counters like Corian, soapy water, ammonia-based cleaners and solid-surface cleaners work well. Scratches and gouges can be removed by a professional trained to work on these counters. Avoid putting hot objects on the counters or getting paint removers and other caustics on them. Spills on solid-surface counters should be cleaned up and dried. Do not let water stay on the product as a residue will remain.
Dirt that gets tracked into your coach gets into the carpet pretty quickly. Some RVs are coming with higher-grade carpet with Stainmaster — but most aren’t. So, taking care of what you have will make it last the longest.
Carpets should be shampooed at least annually and more frequently if needed. I have found most carpet-cleaning companies are open to doing RVs, and they do a nice job. Rental carpet-cleaning units and even some of the home units will work, but the wand-type units work best because of the tight spaces and weird angles.
I keep spot remover in the coach in case of spillage. Easy carpet cleaners like Woolite are fine for touch-up cleaning, but are ineffective at deep cleaning and getting small particulates out of the carpet.
If you have room in your coach, a good lightweight vacuum cleaner is a must. I bought an Oreck at a state fair many years ago and have been very happy with it. Another great option would be a Shop-Vac portable vacuum. They have small units which are wet-and-dry pickup — very useful in an RV environment. Get the most powerful one you can get and have room for in your RV. RV central vacuum systems are a great addition if you have room and a power source for the main unit.