Let’s face it, RVs can stink. Between the black water tank and the smells that come with adventuring, you need to follow these RV deodorization tips to keep your RV smelling clean…
As a long time RV owner, I have battled all kinds of bad odors that come with RVing. Bad smells are a part of life, but the good news is that they don’t have to be a permanent part of your RV lifestyle.
Yes, the various tanks and the RV fridge that are turned on and off tend to give off a nasty smell. But, it is possible to alleviate and even eliminate these odors completely.
Here are some RV deodorization tips to help prevent and eliminate unwanted odors.
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10 Deodorizing Tips for a Clean Smelling RV
Unsurprisingly, the list of most common RV odors starts with toilet-related odors. So we’ll cover that, but we’ll also cover the less in-your-face and more unexpected smells that come with camping.
1. Use a quality black deposit treatment
Most of your unpleasant odors will come from the black tank in your RV. This is the tank where the liquid and solid waste from your toilet goes.
That is, of course, if you have a traditional toilet rather than a stand-alone toilet. If you can’t find the differences, I recommend reading the 5 most common types of RV toilets.
If you have a traditional RV toilet, you’ll want to use a chemical treatment. Jennifer and I recommend the Happy Camper Holding Tank treatment. A ball of Happy Campers can make you a happy camper!
Recently, we’ve also been impressed by the Thank Tank. When it comes to RV tank treatments, I would start and end your search with these two options.
However, if you want a homemade option, I have written an article about the best homemade RV black holding tank treatment known as the geo method.
2. Use RV toilet paper
Another toilet related tip worth mentioning is the use of RV toilet paper. Not standard toilet paper. This will indirectly improve the smell of your caravan. Let me explain why…
When you don’t use RV toilet paper (ie TP specially designed for RV toilets), it can build up and get stuck in your RV’s holding tank. It will contribute to the dreaded and loathed “Poop Pyramid” which is unfortunately a known problem in the VR world.
So, be sure to read The Stinky Truth About RV Toilet Paper and use the best RV toilet paper.
3. Clean the water system regularly
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Dirty water equals smelly water, and even your fresh water tank can have odor problems. If left untouched for a long time, your fresh water tank will develop an odor of its own.
This is especially true if your water source contains high levels of sulfur, which is not uncommon when camping in isolated areas. This can lead to a rotten egg smell, which you really don’t want mixed with your morning coffee.
In addition to the video above, here are some helpful resources to ensure you have clean water without any unpleasant odors:
4. Keep baking soda in your RV fridge
Another common source of odor in RVs is the refrigerator. This comes with the territory because RV refrigerators often shut down between and sometimes even during road trips.
This inconsistent use results in a lingering odor that can be difficult to remove. The best way to combat this odor is also the easiest (and cheapest!) way. It’s for keeping an open box of baking soda in the fridge.
Baking soda naturally absorbs odors, leaving you with a fresh-smelling fridge.
5. Clean the fridge more often than at home
Baking soda won’t cut it all by itself. Offending food items should also be removed on a very regular basis. The same goes for cleaning the shelves and drawers of the RV fridge.
Since your RV fridge is confined to a small living space, the smallest spill of pickle juice (or whatever) can turn into the biggest bad smell that permeates your entire RV.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you clean out uneaten food after a couple of days and clean the shelves and drawers every week or two.
6. Reduce condensation in your caravan
Most unpleasant odors are caused by moisture, leaving a musty smell in your RV. It’s a good idea to go the extra mile to reduce condensation in your RV. Not only will this help you smell better, but it will keep the air safe to breathe.
To find out how, read How to reduce condensation in your caravan. This article includes a list of the 5 best RV dehumidifiers.
And members of our RV Lifestyle community suggest using a small fan to circulate the air in your RV fridge to keep things cooler.
7. Put dirty clothes in airtight containers
Another common source of odor comes from dirty laundry. After days of hiking and exploring, it’s no wonder this smell can quickly become overpowering.
Therefore, it is a good idea to keep dirty clothes in an airtight container until you can wash them. Simple plastic bins that you can buy at any big box store will do the trick.
(By the way, you might want to check out our Top 10 Camping Laundry Etiquette Tips and Tricks.)
8. Take out the trash daily
Obviously, the same goes for trash as it does for dirty laundry. It quickly piles up in the trash and the smell permeates your entire RV.
I recommend taking out the trash daily or as often as possible if daily is not an option. To support this good habit, I recommend buying a small litter box with a lid. The cap will help keep the smell in, and the small size will force you to remove it sooner rather than later.
9. Use shoe polish
Since we mentioned dirty clothes, it’s no surprise that dirty shoes are a big culprit. Shoes can stink up a small space quickly!
Dr. Odor-X Scholl works great. You can keep it where you store your shoes and put it on before or after you put on your shoes (or both!).
If you prefer a natural option, this talc-free natural foot and shoe odor eliminator is highly rated.
10. Keep air fresheners on hand
The last suggestion may be the most obvious, but it is still effective. You can opt for aerosol air fresheners or plug-in types, such as essential oil diffusers.
Of course, Febreze is a leading brand in this department, but there are many different products to choose from. You can go with any brand and pleasant aroma you prefer.
Planning for next year?
Want to get to Key West, Everglades National Park, and all the other great things the Keys have to offer? Well, we have just the thing for you. Jennifer and I love traveling to the Keys, so we’ve put together a comprehensive 7-Day RV Adventure Guide: Florida Keys. This downloadable guide includes a suggested itinerary and a list of the best RV parks along the way.
We also have a 7-day RV adventure guide to Florida’s Atlantic Coast and Florida’s Gulf Coast. If you’re interested in all three, you should check out our Florida RV Travel Guide Package.