Green clean your RV Pennsylvania!

When you’re an  avid RVer, it is easy to have a green perspective when it comes to our planet. After all, an RV gets you out into nature, taking you to places where you experience sunshine, fresh air, and beautiful scenery. Your Lerch RV allows you to explore the best of what our great country has to offer from comfortable surroundings. What is better than that?

An easy way to be Eco-conscious when you are experiencing the RV lifestyle is to go green when you clean. Here are five green cleaning tips that you can take on the road or even use at home if you desire to:

  1. Make your own: Cleaning green doesn’t have to cost a lot of green. There are many green products out there on the market but an easier and cheaper approach is to make your own cleaning solutions. All you need is good ole’ water, white vinegar, and baking soda. Between the three you can clean almost anything in your RV.
  2. Reduce and reuse: Think smart when you recycle. Instead of throwing out spray bottles when you’re out of cleaning solution, rinse them out and use them again! Reuse plastic baggies, plastic food containers, water bottles, and aluminum foil. Recycle when you can, but reusing is even greener!
  3. There’s nothing baking soda can’t do: Beyond being made into a cleaning solution, baking soda has tons of other uses around your RV (and your home). Sprinkle a little on your carpet or upholstery before vacuuming for a fresh scent, keep in your RV fridge as a deodorizer, and sprinkle into garbage cans to keep odors at bay. 
  4. Air freshener:  No need to add chemicals to your RV to give it that fresh smell.  In a 16-oz spray bottle, combine: 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of fabric softener (use a natural/organic softener) and 6 to 10 drops of vanilla or almond extract. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water and you’ve got your own, green air freshener.
  5. Stains are out: Stains on vinyl are no match for a little lemon juice and elbow grease.  Use straight lemon juice to rub out any stains on your RV’s vinyl flooring.

It might require a wee bit more time to use some of the above ideas, and it might seem easier just to grab that bottle of cleaner. In the long run you will be doing yourself and the environment a favor.

Safe Travels and Happy RVing!

Cleaning Your RV: The Exterior

Lerch RV, Pennsylvania's largest Sprinter RV DealerLast week I posted some tips on how to best clean the interior of your RV, now we’re here to give you some tips on the best way to clean and care for the exterior of your camper. Taking the time to clean the exterior of your RV on a regular basis will allow you to notice any potential issues, such as leaks or siding damage.  Use the time while making your unit shine to perform some preventative maintenance.  Which will allow you to extend the life of your camper, while possibly easing the burden on your family budget.  RV problems can be expensive to fix, if left go too long.

First, we recommend that you clean it often and thoroughly to keep it looking shiny and new.  The longer dirt and residue sits on the exterior of your RV, the more potential damage it can cause. Some elements that can be highly damaging to your RV’s exterior if not washed off are road salt, road tar, bugs, bird droppings, tree sap, acid rain and UV exposure. These can cause corrosion, staining and chemical spotting. Be sure to always wash your RV soon after it is exposed to any of these elements. An added bonus is if you regularly wax your RV which will help protect the exterior. We don’t recommend taking your RV through automatic car washes, doing it by hand, while time-consuming, is the best way to clean the exterior of your RV. Even if you allow your camper to be parked on a permanent site, regular cleaning will allow you to enjoy your RV for years to come.

To clean the exterior of your RV, we suggest parking it in a place not in direct sunlight. First, spray it with water to remove dust. Next, using an abundant amount of clean water and a car-washing mitt/sponge and an RV washing brush, wash your RV from top to bottom. You can also use a mild car-washing soap. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and wipe dry with a soft cloth. Using extremely hot water and pressure can cause damage to the RV. Be sure to use caution and keep a pressure sprayer nozzle about 16 inches or more away from the RV. Also, use caution if you use a pressure sprayer around all attachments of the RV (doors, windows, appliance vents, etc.) When washing around glass with a pressure sprayer, hold the nozzle at right angles to the glass surface.  A pressure sprayer used in properly can damage  your RV, as well as force water into places where water should not be.

We recommend that you wax your RV at the very least once a year, two times a year would be great. To wax, apply a small amount of wax to a soft cloth and rub gently onto the exterior of your RV. Do not wax your RV in direct sunlight and do it after surfaces have cooled. This will avoid the wax drying out quickly. Do not use waxes that contain high-abrasive compounds. These waxes will remove rust and stains but they are also harmful to the luster of the surface since they may scrape off the coating. Do not use gasoline or paint thinners to remove road tar or other contamination to the painted surface. Use only approved cleaners to remove stubborn stains or marks.

In order to make your job easier when it comes to cleaning your new RV, consider having an exterior protection package, such as the Trident Exterior Protection System, applied to your RV before it even leaves the dealership.  This will prolong the life of that ‘new’ look as well as protect your exterior from many of the items listed above. Best of all most applications, such as Trident, are warranted for several years.  So why not help yourself protect your investment.

There you have it, some tips on keeping the exterior of your RV nice and clean. If you have questions about cleaning the exterior of your RV, be sure to contact your local central Pennsylvania dealer or your manufacturer’s customer service department.

Cleaning your RV, the ‘inside’ scoop.

I have posted about keeping your RV clean before, but usually focus on the outside.  However if you are like me and like to keep a clean house inside, below are some tips for the interior of your travel trailer or fifth wheel.  Keeping your Recreational vehicle or camper clean will help extend the life of your unit, plus a regular cleaning will enable you to become familiar with areas of your RV, and acts a great preventative maintenance visual check. You could discover a small problem before it becomes a major one.

So here with some helpful hints on cleaning the inside of your RV. First, it’s important to use the proper cleaning supplies and techniques to avoid damages that may happen to the interior surfaces of your RV. It’s always important to check with your manufacturer’s information for the recommended cleaning agents.  Clean only as recommended. If you’re ever in doubt about a cleaning product and what it might do to your RV, be sure to first test a small area out of sight. And please, don’t ever use flammable liquids or sprays to clean your RV.

So, now that the basics are out-of-the-way, we’ll break it down into areas of your RV interior.

Furniture Upholstery: if your furniture is covered in fabric or suede and it becomes stained or dirty, it is recommended that the fabric be professionally cleaned. You can refer to the specific manufacturer’s instructions for more care options.  For all vinyl covered furniture, water based cleaners are recommended, but not solvents as they may have an adverse reaction. Blot up the spot rather than rubbing to avoid saturating the area.

Décor items: Occasionally use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to dust things such as window treatments, curtains, blinds and shares. To help prevent mildew or mold on the shower curtain, clean it frequently. Décor glass can be cleaned with a glass cleaner to remove smudges. Be sure to take care around any etching that might exist on the glass.

Hardware & Sink or Shower Fixtures: Use a mild dish soap and water to clean these fixtures. Avoid harsh chemicals or sprays. For hard water spots, a mild solution of vinegar and water works well.

Paneling: Use a mild solution of soap and luke warm water with a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid abrasive cleaners as they could cause damage such as scratching or dullness. All-purpose spray cleaner works well for those stubborn dirt and grease spots. Harsh cleaners and organic solvents are not recommended because they can attack the vinyl.

Cabinetry & Tables: Simply dust with a soft cloth dampened with cleaning polish or mild detergent solution to keep hardwood doors, cabinet fronts and tables looking like new. Ammonia based products or silicone oils may cause damage if used over a long period of time so avoid using those types of products. Promptly wipe up spills to avoid potential problems.

Counter-tops: Avoid harsh chemicals such as drain cleaners, oven cleaners, etc. and do not let cleaners with bleach set on the top. Wipe those off immediately. For laminate counter-tops stubborn stains can be removed with a general-purpose spray cleaner. For solid surface counter tops soapy water, ammonia based cleaners or commercially available solid surface cleaners will remove most dirt and residue from all types of finishes. A damp cloth followed by a dry towel will remove watermarks.

Flooring: For carpet, be sure to vacuum regularly to avoid stains. If you have tough and deep stains, have them professionally steam cleaned. Spot removers can be used for minor spills. Always test the carpet for color fastness in an inconspicuous area before using any product. For vinyl flooring, it is good to periodically vacuum or sweep. Spills are easier to clean if wiped up before they set. Blotting with a paper towel should work. To clean more deeply, use a damp mop with water and a mild cleaner. Do not soak the flooring. Use care to avoid wetting the carpet edges. Also, don’t use cleaners that contain oil based solvents to avoid yellowing linoleum.

There you have it, some basic cleaning guidelines for the inside of your RV. As always, if you have questions, please contact your central Pennsylvania RV Dealer or your trailer’s manufacturer.

Pennsylvania does your RV stink?

Have you ever walked into a stale RV and wondered where the smell is coming from? Or are you trying to remove a smell in your RV after a long winter storage? The various smells and odors that form in RVs can be removed and taken care of. Here are 8 tips to removing bad odors from your RV.

1. Sewer Smell in the Bathroom
There are tons of chemicals that eliminate RV toilet odor on the market, each catering to the different ways your tank is dumped. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t help at all! Good ventilation for the black water tank is a must. The tank is vented out the roof of an RV. When traveling down the road, the wind can push wind down through that ventalation pipe, pushing the smell back into the RV instead of drawing out the odor. So…what do you do? You can install a special sewer vent that is designed to suck the odor out of the black tank with only a small breeze. See your local dealership to find out if they carry these special sewer vents.

2. Kitchen and Bathroom Drain Odors
When your trailer is not in use, water trapped in the P-traps under every sink and the shower can grow bacteria, spreading the smell throughout your RV. To keep the smell from forming, mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water. Pour the mixture down every drain and then dump what’s left into the kitchen sink so the mixture will go into the gray water tank too.

3. Rodent Odors in your RV
Dead rodents can be one of the worst smells in your RV. To remove the odor, find the dead rodent and remove it. Then scrub the area well, making sure to remove the odor and the bacteria/diseases that might have been left.

4. Bad Smelling Potable RV Water
When your water from your fresh water tank starts to smell or taste bad, it’s time to clean out the water system. The only way to get the fresh water tank system clean is to sanitize your RV water system with a diluted mixture of household bleach and water (make sure to rinse out the bleach mixture completely from your fresh water tank before use). If you keep having bad water issues in your fresh water tank system, consider installing a water filtration system.

5. Smelly RV Carpet and Pet Odors
The best way to remove smelly or pet stained carpets in your RV is to tear it out and replace it with laminate flooring. If you can’t afford to replace your carpet, another option is to get your carpet professionally cleaned. Invest in throw rugs to help keep your carpets clean and fresh as long as possible. You can also get your upholstery professionally cleaned, helping to eliminate any odors on your furniture too.

6. RV Refrigerator & Freezer Odors
To avoid a mildew or stale smell in your refrigerator and freezer, wipe down the inside with soap and water after every trip. Then leave the refrigerator and freezer doors left ajar to allow all moisture to evaporate. Leave either a shallow bowl or a box of baking soda in both the fridge and freezer will also help absorb any odors that may develop.

7. Stale RV Smells from Non-Use
If your RV has sat around for a while without regular use, a stale smell will start to appear. It’s usually smells, on top of smells, on top of smells! All in all…your RV needs to breath! Installing vent covers over the existing roof vents allows you to leave the roof vents open slightly, letting the hot stale air escape. Solar powered vents can also help you draw out the air more efficiently too. Removing the entire stale odor from your RV also involves doing steps 1 thru 6 and cleaning every surface in your RV. There are products on the market that claim they deodorized storage and mildew odors, but cleaning with regular household products work just as well.

8. Propane and Ammonia Odors
These two odors can mean big problems! If you start to smell a strong ammonia odor, the source will be the cooling unit of your refrigerator. The ammonia odor will be strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. There is really nothing you can do to fix it on your own. You’ll need to see the Service Department at your local Dealership, and be prepared for it to be expensive.

Propane odor can come from many areas and sources in and around your RV. Like the propane tanks, stove, oven, refrigerator, water heater, furnace, etc and the all lines that connect these appliances to the tanks as well. In order to detect a leak around the fittings, use a small brush and soapy water. Make sure to have adequate ventilation before you go looking for a propane problem. If you’re ever in doubt, call the Service Department at your local Central PA RV Dealership.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Watch “How to Control Moisture and Musty Smells in an RV” from Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor.

 

RV Odors: How to get rid of RV odors by the RV Doctor

**These tips for how to remove odors in your RV came from “RV Odor Problems: How to Remove 10 Different Odors from your RV” written by Curtis in the RV Section on the thefuntimesguide.com website.