Keep Your RV Clean With These Vinegar Cleaning Tips
Vinegar is not just for pickles anymore. Many RVers have discovered how versatile it is for cleaning. Indeed, vinegar can clean, deodorize, and sanitize. And it does this all without being toxic, being tested on laboratory animals, or harming the environment.
We tested these vinegar cleaning tips and found they actually work really well for safely cleaning and deodorizing many items in the RV. In case you’re wondering, yes, the vinegar smell is strong at first. But it dissipates fast and seems to take any lingering odors with it.
We used white vinegar with 5% acetic acid content. Stronger vinegar works too, but you don’t necessarily need the additional cleaning power of more acetic acid. However, you’ll want stronger (10%) vinegar if you are cleaning mold.
1. Make a DIY multipurpose cleaner
You’ll never want to buy commercial cleaners again after you try making your own with dish soap and vinegar. In a spray bottle, mix two parts of vinegar with one part dish soap. If you like, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
You can spray this mixture on all kitchen surfaces, use it in the RV bathroom including the toilet, or mix it with warm water in a bucket to clean your RV floors. Rinse and buff with a microfiber cloth, and you’ll be amazed how easy and effective this vinegar cleaner is.
In addition, you can use vinegar to clean your RV water heater. This video from Love Your RV shares how to give your water heater a vinegar soak:
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2. Scrub dirty dishes, pots, and pans
Anytime we are using our freshwater tanks, water conservation is a big issue. This vinegar cleaning hack will save you from using up your water supply while doing your dishes.
The same vinegar cleaner you use for cleaning surfaces in your RV can help lift and dissolve stuck-on food in pots and pans. Avoid using this formula on seasoned cast iron, as it can destroy the seasoning on the pan.
Simply wipe any excess food off with a paper towel, and liberally spray dirty dishes with the vinegar cleaner from our first tip. Then wipe again and rinse.
Spray stuck-on food in pots and pans and allow to sit overnight. Even stuck-on food will soften and dissolve. You can use a scrub brush to easily remove any stubborn bits of food that didn’t dissolve. Then wipe again with a paper towel and rinse.
3. Get rid of odors in your RV fridge
RV fridges can get stanky sometimes. However, musty smells and chopped onions are no match for vinegar.
If your RV fridge is smelling gross, wipe down its interior with straight 5% vinegar. Then pour half a cup of vinegar into a cup and simply put it into the fridge when the RV is parked.
Close the fridge door to allow the vinegar to do its magic on odor-causing bacteria and any musty smells overnight. In the morning, your fridge will smell like vinegar, but once the vinegar smell dissipates (in an hour or so), your fridge will smell clean and fresh.
4. Use vinegar to clean RV windows
To clean RV windows with a squeaky shine, use this vinegar cleaning hack. Simply mix one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. Add two or three drops of dish soap. Mix well. Spray this mixture on windows and mirrors. Then wipe off and polish with a microfiber cleaning cloth.
5. Boost your laundry soap’s cleaning power
Who needs fabric softener (or any other laundry additive) when you can just add a cup of vinegar to your washing machine’s rinse cycle to soften, brighten, and freshen your clothes? Vinegar also gets rid of odors that most fabric softeners and detergents only mask.
6. Clean your RV showerhead
A good water filtration system should get rid of a lot of the minerals in your water before it gets to your showerhead. However, if your showerhead is slowing down, it could be because of built-up mineral deposits in it.
The solution is to pour vinegar into a small bucket, then put your showerhead into it and allow it to soak overnight. In the morning, run some water through your showerhead to purge any softened minerals.
7. Descale your coffee maker
Fill your coffee maker’s water reservoir with straight vinegar. Then run it through as many cycles as it takes to empty the reservoir without any coffee in it. The result will be better tasting coffee. You’ll be amazed at the difference!
8. Clean your RV microwave
Fill a cup or small bowl with plain old white vinegar and place it in the center of the microwave. Run the microwave for four minutes on high. After the timer beeps, let it sit for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the cup or bowl of very hot vinegar. Wipe all surfaces inside the microwave with a microfiber cloth. Stand back and admire your work.
9. Shine stainless steel appliances
If you are tired of seeing fingerprints all over your stainless steel appliances, try this: Mix one part vinegar with one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray your stainless steel surface and then wipe off. The stainless steel will be every bit as clean as if you’d used a specialty cleaning product.
10. Get rid of surface mold
Wintertime brings moist air and condensation inside RVs. You may find yourself somewhere between being grossed out and horrified if you find mold hiding in the back of a cabinet or above the shower. Luckily, surface mold disappears for good when you hit it with vinegar.
Strong (10% acetic acid) vinegar works even better than bleach or hydrogen peroxide for getting rid of mold. Simply soak moldy areas with it using a spray bottle. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. Then wipe it clean with a cleaning cloth or sponge.
Track your RV maintenance
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.
Lynne lives, travels, and works full-time in a Forest-River R-Pod 180 with her 2-pointers, Jolene and Annabelle. Lynne has been an enthusiastic RVer for over 35 years. And then one day in 2019, she began full-time RVing as a lifestyle experiment. She quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full-time RV living. Lynne is a professional writer and has been a professional dog trainer since 1995. You can read about her travel adventures on her R-Pod Adventure blog, R-podyssey at: http://www.rpodaventure.com
S. Smith says
Must be a lot of people out there who don’t mind the smell of vinegar. I’m not one of them.
For #9 you mention to use one part vinegar to one part white vinegar…is this correct? Should it be one to one vinegar and water?
Yes Sandy!! 1:1
Eric Wuolle says
Does anyone use vinegar to prep the fiberglass skin on their RV prior to applying calking ? I want to use something to get rid of the road grime and residue from old caulking before laying on more sealant. There are strong cleaning agents like acetone, paint thinner, isopropyl alcohol, etc but I would like to avoid these harsher compounds if possible.