Saturday, October 1, 2022


Deep-cleaning your RV for a quick sale makes all the difference

When we listed our Alante Class A motorhome for sale on Craigslist, we had numerous potential buyers look at the RV. I expected that. What I didn’t expect was how many people said, “This RV is so clean! We’ve looked at lots of RVs and none are as clean as this one.” I assumed everyone deep-cleaned their RV before putting it on the market. Some people told me of looking at RVs with rotting onions in the refrigerator, muddy steps and dried food on the countertop. Some mentioned litter boxes that definitely hadn’t been cleaned in weeks!

While some potential buyers can overlook a dirty RV, most people are inclined to have a favorable impression of your RV when it sparkles in like-new condition. It’s easy to believe a clean RV has also been well-maintained mechanically. So if you are planning to sell your RV, here are a few tips to make sure prospective buyers step inside your unit and say, “It looks and smells like new!”

Deep-cleaning your RV to sell

Naturally, you’ll wash off the dust and bug splats from the outside of your RV. Pay attention to your tires as well. Clean, shiny tires enhance a buyer’s first impression. After scrubbing tires, simply finish with a tire shine spray.

Ready to start cleaning inside? Stock up on “magic erasers”. These erasers truly feel like magic as they remove dirt and stains. They even helped me get rid of permanent marker scribbles on my upholstered couch. (That happens when you look away from a toddler for 12 seconds.) I buy generic magic erasers at the Dollar Store or from Amazon at a very reasonable price. They work especially well removing grime from your dashboard and steering wheel.

Remember the rotting onions? Don’t forget to deep clean your refrigerator. Yes, it’s clunky and awkward to pull out the drawers and shelves, but the end result is a sparkling fridge. You want to convey that the person buying your RV can immediately load the refrigerator with food and take off on their first road trip. When our RV was for sale, I had a plastic bowl filled with lemons inside the refrigerator. Helped convey freshness!

Sanitize the entire bathroom. Use a squeegee and mild cleaner to get rid of shower scum. Remove your toothbrush holder and any makeup, brushes and shampoo bottles displayed. I put on my trusty rubber gloves and cleaned the toilet with an old toothbrush. It surprised me how many people looking to buy our RV lifted the toilet seat to get a closer look. It’s always a good idea to flush the black tank and add deodorizer as well.

Wash windows inside and out. With a large rig, you may need to buy (or borrow!) a squeegee with a telescoping pole to reach windows. Most likely, screens could use a little scrubbing as well. This results in a bright and airy atmosphere inside your RV.

Before prospective buyers arrived, I always added a few fresh flowers on the kitchen table and next to the bed. Having a sparkling clean unit can help you quickly realize your goal of selling your RV.

On Silvana’s first RV trip, she was told to “Use the #12 Pull-thru.” She looked and looked, but couldn’t find any hose or cord to “pull-thru.” Since then, she and her husband have been brand ambassadors for several companies, driving branded RVs through 47 states. She frequently presents at RV-related conferences. Check out Silvana’s numerous books on Amazon, including her latest book, Millennials vs. Boomers.




Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

Interesting how buyers love the clean rigs, but don’t seem to choose that option for their own rig. We have sold a 40′ diesel pusher and a fifth wheel over the past 8 years as we followed the downsizing process. Both buyers commented on the cleanliness.

The only time, as buyers, we didn’t follow our own rule was one we were told was a military man suddenly deployed and the rig had been put in storage “as is.” Bottom line, if folks take care of their stuff where you can SEE it, chances are they are also taking care of it where you CAN’T SEE it.

1 month ago

We had a ten-year-old 5th wheel that we bought used and we had it for five years and even lived in it full-time for 9 months. We wanted to trade it in on a new trailer so I scrubbed and sanitized it inside and out. Oiled the cabinets, cleaned the carpets and walls, and basically made it sparkle. It also smelled fresh and clean. When we took it to the dealer to trade in, they offered us what we paid for it five years earlier. The sales manager commented that it was the cleanest trade-in he had ever seen and we must have taken great care of the trailer. A few days of cleaning meant a lot more money in my pocket! 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by Suru
Bill Semion
1 month ago

Vinegar/alcohol 50/50 is a great cleaner

1 month ago

Good article, but I urge caution with magic erasers. They are mildly abrasive, that’s how they work, so don’t use them on stainless steel or anything that will dull or scratch from abrasion.

And buy a pack of those wood-color markers to go over scratches in your laminate surfaces, they can work wonders.

Sign up for the RVtravel Newsletter

Your information will *never* be shared or sold to a 3rd party.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.