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Deep clean your RV before storing it. You’ll be so glad you did

Just so you know, I’m that person. The one who absolutely cannot leave for vacation until our sticks and bricks home is clean enough to pass a hospital inspection. Yes, I’m a clean freak. So, when it comes to storing the RV for the off-season, I get out my checklist. Hubby rolls his eyes (in a loving way) and also rolls up his sleeves. Then, we get busy!

Deep cleaning doesn’t happen overnight!

First, a caveat: If we plan to do a complete, deep clean of our RV, it’s done over the span of several days. I try to keep current with cleaning the interior (vacuum, dust, disinfect sinks/shower surfaces) regularly as we live in the RV. Hubby does the same for the exterior, keeping up to date on RV maintenance throughout the camping season. This means some of the “To Do” items will only require and quick check and very little elbow grease.

The list (it’s a doozy!)

So, here’s our list. (You may want to sit down. Reserve your energy. You’re going to need it.) Remember! You don’t have to tackle the entire list at one time. Keep current on your rig’s upkeep and getting ready for off-season storage will be a snap!

RV exterior

  • Climb up to check the roof. Look for cracks and/or deteriorating caulking, especially around the air conditioner, antenna, and vents. Repair any spots that need it. Be sure the newly applied caulk is dry and then thoroughly wash and condition the roof. (Go inside and check for leaks, or have someone inside, watching for leaks as you wash the roof.)
  • Check around windows, doors, lights, and mirrors. Repair missing or damaged caulking. When the caulk is set, wash the exterior of the RV. Rinse thoroughly. Again, check for leaks inside.
  • Inspect windshield wipers. Plan to replace them, if needed.
  • Check the windshield for pits or cracks as you clean it. (Hubby usually applies Rain-X once the windshield is clean.)
  • Thoroughly clean the tires. Check treads and overall wear. Plan to replace tires, if needed.
  • Lube locks and hinges on storage bay doors.
  • Inspect RV’s entrance steps. Clean and lube, if needed.
  • Crawl under the rig and look for potential entry points for critters like mice and ants. Seal off any holes to keep them out!
  • Clean and organize the basement storage spaces.

RV interior

  • Remove all food and condiments from the fridge. Defrost, if necessary. Wash the interior of the fridge with warm, soapy water. Secure a newly opened box of baking soda inside both the refrigerator and freezer. Brace the fridge open for storage. Wipe down the exterior of the fridge. I use this stainless steel cleaner to polish the fridge and other stainless steel surfaces.
  • Remove all food from the pantry and other storage spaces. Wipe out cupboards.
  • Take all pet food out of the camper. Clean pet bowls.
  • If you plan to store cookware and appliances inside the RV, make sure they are clean and free of crumbs or food bits. Think: toaster (mice will feast on the crumbs that sit in the bottom) and coffee maker (no one wants to find a used coffee filter on your first camping trip next spring).
  • Thoroughly clean the microwave, stovetop, and oven. Leave no crumbs or grease for pests to find.
  • Look through all of the cupboards and drawers. Pull out those things you didn’t use this past camping season. Think: utensils, games, DVDs, and more. Take them out of the camper.
  • Remove all clothing, bedding, towels, and anything that pests might transform into warm, comfy nesting spots. Plan to launder everything. Then pack it away and store it inside your sticks-and-bricks home. Hint: Place scented dryer sheets between layers of fabric to keep them fresh.

Take a break, then continue cleaning (You’re doing great!)

  • Wash the interiors of all windows. Check again for cracks or places that may leak with the changing temperatures of winter. Repair or replace any broken window knobs or screens. Wipe down shades and repair those that need it.
  • Thoroughly check all around entrance doors. Replace cracked seals and fix any broken components. Wipe down both sides of the door and clean the door sill. Lubricate the door hinges, if required.
  • Remove, clean, and reinstall the air conditioner filter(s).
  • Wash vent fan blades and securely close the vents for storage.
  • Clean ceiling fan blades. Dust fan motor cover.
  • Clean light fixtures and wipe down switches.
  • Wipe down leather or leatherette furniture upholstery. Vacuum fabric-covered upholstery. Use a spot remover, if necessary, or steam-clean furniture fabric.
  • Dust all furniture and cabinet doors. (I like to use this on all of the wood in our rig because it cleans and polishes with one swipe.)
  • Vacuum the floors. Steam or spot clean, as needed. (Move as much furniture as possible so you can get behind each piece to clean.)
  • Mop vinyl floors.

Whew! That’s quite a list to clean your RV. But you’ve got quite an investment in that RV, too. It’s worth taking good care of it. And that first trip next spring is going to make it all worthwhile.

Can you add anything to my list?

##RVDT1730

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Ace
25 days ago

I pretty well do your list each time we store our trailer. To keep odors at bay that can attract mice; I use a Free and Clear laundry soap (no fragrance). I use about 1/2 of a packet in a few gallons of hot water and wipe down everything with this mix. Obviously I start with the kitchen items. When the kitchen is finished, I use it on bathroom cabinets and shower. Last is the floor and then the toilet. I can’t promise no mice will get in your unit but it has worked for us. (the mice ate Irish Spring soap that was supposed to repel them).

Paula j
26 days ago

Great list Gail! We also Scotchguard the upholstery, particularly on the dinette chairs.

Gail
25 days ago
Reply to  Paula j

Yes! Great idea!

Linda
26 days ago

My list is close but because we “store” the coach on a pad beside our house (with full hook ups), my fridge, freezer and pantry are usually partially stocked (things like cereal, spaghetti, rice, etc. are in sealed containers) and the clean linens are on the bed and clean towels in the bath and kitchen. We can roll in a very short amount of time when we need to…hurricane season isn’t quite over yet.

Ralph W
26 days ago

We also clean and polish our counter tops, stove exhaust vent filters, and storage bays, amazing how dirty they get.

Zeet
26 days ago

Don’t forget to wash window screens. We have been some places where its been dusty and windy, screens get coated with dust and then moisture turns it to grime. We full time and do all of that but spread thru out the year. Less daunting than “spring cleaning”. But if you have to put in storage it makes sense to do it all at once.

cee
26 days ago

That’s an exhaustive list except for those of us who live up north: winterize with RV antifreeze and put toilet seal lubricant in the toilet bowl.

Jesse Crouse
26 days ago

Quick- delete my email so my wife won’t see it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Billy B
26 days ago

….. and then “The Fight” started!!

Drew
26 days ago
Reply to  Billy B

🙂

Tommy Molnar
26 days ago

I’m good at the “take a break” part. The rest of it – not so much.

Sharon L Boehmer
26 days ago

We are full timers, but stationary 5 months/year (nov-march). I have the luxury of taking my time with this list and adding to it. During our winter stay, we empty every storage nook, under belly, under bed, closet, every drawer and cupboard. We clean, reorganize and replace. This gives us the opportunity to remove those items not used in the 8 months prior. There is usually a trip to the local food bank (sometimes I have to add to it) and a local organization that takes donated clothes, shoes, bedding. Its amazing how much stuff we can accumulate.

Gail
26 days ago

Amen to that!

Tom Herbert
26 days ago

Looks pretty close to the list we use after traveling 6 months of the year.

Bob Palin
26 days ago

That’s beyond ridiculous.

Gloria Sluder
26 days ago

Cleaning stainless steel sinks in kitchen and shower stall, sink and toilet in bathroom. You don’t want mold leave toilet seat up.