Ancient nomads had it right: chasing the sun and following good weather is just common sense. Some Midwestern residents cherish the badges of honor they’ve earned for surviving long, cold winters, but I’ll take the wimpy way out and enjoy a life of never-ending springtime.
The only problem? Full-timers don’t have seasonal rituals to remind us about important annual events like spring cleaning.
So in the spirit of the season, and as a reminder for me to break out my cleaning rags, here are my own great spring cleaning tips for RVers.
Declutter. Now’s the time to get rid of things you don’t use anymore like books, winter clothing that went unused, and home goods that you upgraded over the holidays.
Check for mildew. RVs are condensation machines, and mildew can creep up before you realize it. For instance, one spring we were horrified to discover mildew had been growing underneath our memory foam mattress during winter. Now’s the time to look under your mattress and other dark, hidden places where moisture may have accumulated over winter.
Clean ceiling fan screens. Do you ever look up at your bathroom or bedroom ceiling fan screens? Even in winter they get dusty, especially if you snowbird in the southwest like I do. Knock the dirt out by placing an old towel underneath the screens, turning on the fan, and using a brush to obliterate dirt.
Evict rodents. The springtime alarm has sounded for critters. Right now they’re emerging from their winter slumbers with hungry bellies and marching right toward your rig. Start combing your rig inside and out for locations where mice and other small animals can get in. Block any possible openings with common household items mice hate, like steel wool and aluminum foil. Set traps for those crafty critters who learn how to break through your barricades.
Defrost your freezer and degrease your oven. These two jobs are unpleasant, but doing them at least twice yearly will minimize your work later on if you decide to sell your RV. When we sold ours, the kitchen took more time than any other part of the RV to clean up.
Maintaining your water heater. You’ll be astounded at how fast hard water buildup happens on your water heater anode. Go remove your water heater anode, grab a water heater flush nozzle to clean the gunk out, then replace the anode.
Look for weak seals. Each time you drive down the highway your RV is essentially being put in the middle of a tornado. Things will come loose, so carefully inspect the exterior body of your rig for places where seals may have been weakened. While you’re inspecting the roof, gently clean it with rubber roof mildew remover and condition. Be sure to lift your antenna, solar panels, satellite dish, etc. to eliminate trapped grime.
These great spring cleaning tips for RVers also extend to miscellaneous maintenance tasks. Remember, it’s the small chores that are often among the most important things you can do to ensure your safety, such as:
- Observing running lights to check for bad bulbs
- Checking engine and generator fluids
- Inspecting house batteries for corrosion, loose connection, and fluids
- Observing tire wear patterns for signs of axle misalignment and other damage
When you’re just about ready to check these chores off your list, don’t forget to put the finishing touches on with RV wash and wax products that give your rig the spit shine it deserves.
Obviously, you won’t get all of these tips done in one day, but you’re a full-timer—what’s your rush? Tackle these RV spring cleaning chores in small increments and your rig will look great and stay roadworthy in just a couple of weekends.
For more spring cleaning tips, see:
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.