RV Odors: Get Rid Of The Garbage Smell In Your Camper
Nobody likes taking out the trash, but this is an important chore for any household. It’s especially important in a small area like an RV because the garbage is never far away, and the smell can start to take over the space. Once the garbage smell takes hold, it can be difficult to banish it.
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent or get rid of the garbage smell in your RV. This is a common problem faced by homeowners and RVers around the world, so there are lots of possible solutions. Some solutions involve simple habit changes, while others use specific products to reduce odor.
If the smell of your trash can has been growing lately, check out the tips below. They’ll put you on the path to enjoying a sweet-smelling RV in no time!
Regularly take out the trash
This first solution is pretty obvious, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Trash cans don’t smell bad on their own, so it’s the contents you need to worry about. I know I can let the garbage can pile up before I get around to taking it out, so I imagine some of you are the same. If you do this, though, the can has a lot more time to build up that powerful garbage smell.
Cans tend to smell particularly bad if you throw away a lot of organic material such as banana peels, rotten produce, etc. This stuff breaks down inside your RV, creating a pretty rank smell. Cooking grease also tends to lead to strong odors, so try not to let this sit for too long.
In addition, overflowing trash cans can rip the liners and spill into the can itself. If you get sticky residue inside your can, this will continue to stink even after the trash has been removed.
The best way to prevent these problems is to take your trash can out regularly. RV cans tend to be pretty small due to space restrictions, so you might want to take them out everyday! This all depends on how quickly the can fills up. Try to set a specific threshold at which to take out the trash, or just do it if the contents have sat there for too long.
This practice won’t solve every problem, but it’s a great place to start.
Clean around the trash cans
As mentioned above, sometimes the garbage itself isn’t the problem. If trash leaks into the can or spills on the floor, this can leave a stinky residue behind. Check your cans for any spills, and thoroughly clean them out if you find anything.
Once your trash has been removed, and the cans have been cleaned, turn your attention to the surroundings of the can. Look for any spills, streaks, or loose items that may have fallen out.
If you keep your trash in a cabinet, this can smell particularly bad because there’s nowhere for the smell to go. As you investigate, remove everything from the area. Pull your cans to the side and remove any other items that may be covering the floor. Then you should clean thoroughly!
Start with a general sweep and mop of the floor, then focus on specific stains and problem areas. You can tackle them with baking soda and vinegar or just use a general cleaner. Finish up with a disinfectant wipe-down and maybe a deodorizing spray.
Try scented can liners
Sometimes the garbage smell happens no matter what you do. In this case, you might want to cut off the problem at the source and use some scented can liners. There are some types of trash bags that are designed to overpower the garbage smell with their own scent.
These may not be strong enough to handle the huge stinks, but they can help balance out the equation a bit. These 4-gallon bags from CCLINERS have a pleasant lavender smell that counteracts the reek of a trash can. This is not a fix-all solution, but it can help you in your fight against that stubborn garbage smell!
Use essential oils
Another great DIY hack is to enlist essential oils in your fight. These are powerful distilled oils that have a pretty strong scent. Some of them can be used to counteract the smell of a garbage can, so keep this option in mind.
If you have some essential oils on hand, soak a cotton ball with 5-6 drops and put it in the bottom of your trash liner. Some of the best/most pleasant oils to use include lemongrass, orange, lavender, tea tree oil, and sandalwood. These should be able to neutralize or overpower the garbage smell, but you may want to add a second cotton ball in extreme cases.
Spray a deodorizer
There are also lots of air fresheners and deodorizers you can turn to for help. These are just band-aid solutions, so you shouldn’t rely solely on them. Once you do everything you can to remove and minimize the odor, turn to one of these to finish the job.
If you go with this route, there are lots of options to choose between. Arm and Hammer Nursery Fresheners are small plastic pucks with odor-neutralizing abilities. Place these in or near your trash cans and enjoy better-smelling air!
You can also try an air freshener spray like Febreeze, Glade, or this Multi-purpose Odor Eliminator. These products should dispel the garbage smell, plus they will make your RV smell quite nice as long as they’re active. If you use them in conjunction with the methods above, your days of living in a stinky RV will be over.
Clean your sinks and drains
Sometimes the trash can isn’t even the source of the nasty smell. A common culprit in RVs and homes is the sink, drain, and garbage disposal. If you tend to wash food scraps down the drain, these can get caught on the edges of the pipes. Here, they will break down and rot, creating a nasty smell.
This is less common in RVs because many of them don’t have garbage disposals in the sink, but it’s always a possibility. If you’ve tried the options above, but the garbage smell remains, turn your attention to your plumbing. Try putting some baking soda and vinegar down the drains and using physical tools to remove blockages and buildup.
Improve your ventilation
Finally, you can try to improve the ventilation in your RV if you can’t seem to shake that nasty garbage smell. Odors will linger in stagnant air, even if the source of the problem has been addressed.
If you keep your trash can in a cabinet, open it up and let fresh air into the space. You can also run a fan near the opening so you flush out the old air. Follow a similar principle by opening the windows and doors of your RV whenever possible.
Make sure your vents are clean and functional and run your A/C to promote airflow in the vehicle. Everyone has to deal with a bad-smelling trash can at some point in their lives, but you have a lot of options to help you deal with this problem.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
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