Tips for Disinfecting Your RV

You may be itching to get out of the house and hit the open road because the roads today are typically the only thing open with the pandemic that has hit the nation. Hopefully someday soon we can venture out with caution and safety in mind.

One of the cautions from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to not celebrate too soon! In other words, just because the curve has been flattened and the numbers are starting to sound good, does not mean we can just drop all safety measures and go back to business as usual. We need to make sure we are following the recommendations of the WHO and CDC for social distancing and disinfecting!

So, what can you do to keep your RV safe? We are going to walk through some recommendations for disinfecting your RV properly, and tips for staying safe at campgrounds.

CDC Recommending Disinfection Procedure

There is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the removal of dirt, grease, and impurities. It does not kill germs but is important to remove these items before disinfecting. Disinfecting is using chemicals recommended by the CDC, WHO, and EPA to kill germs on surfaces. For example, spraying a disinfectant on a surface that has grease may not clean or sanitize the area.

Hard Surfaces

Wear PPE protective gloves such as a 5-7 mil nitrate glove, most RVers have these to use when dumping the holding tanks. Clean the surface first with a mixture of soap such as Dawn Dish Soap in water, then disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant which could be a spray or towelette. A list of EPA-registered products can be found here.

You can also use a bleach solution by adding 5 tablespoons per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons per quart for a smaller amount. Make sure the surface will not be affected by the bleach (such as discoloration). You can test a small amount on a portion of the surface that might not be visible if you feel comfortable.

Soft Surfaces

Inside your RV you will find several soft surface items such as carpets, fabrics on couches and chairs, bed linens, window treatment and even older woven wood window blinds. If possible, get them laundered with the hottest water possible. If not, treat them with a CDC recommended disinfectant spray as listed previously.

Cell Phones, Computer Screens, TVs, and Other Electronics

These are often overlooked for cleaning and disinfecting; however, they do get touched by the face and fingers and need to be disinfected as well using the same procedure listed above. Especially cell phones!

So what does this mean for the average RVer that is not letting anyone inside their RV and is practicing social distancing? It means you probably don’t need to sanitize or disinfect your entire RV immediately, but you need to be prepared and take precautions when you are out in areas where there are other people!

Wear an Approved Mask and Nitrate Gloves

Most RVers already have some type of these to dump the tanks. A box of 50 nitrate gloves (7mil) is only about $5 at Harbor Freight or online. But don’t think that wearing gloves automatically protects you. You need to still be mindful of what you touch, and you need to remove the properly with proper hygiene. Click here for more information on putting on personal protective gear from the CDC.

Carry Hand Sanitizer

Have this handy and use it before going into a facility and after coming out, even with the gloves!

Don’t Use a Public Bathroom

You are already RVing, so you have your own safe and sanitized bathroom following you around!

Have an Abundant Supply of Disinfectant Wipes

Most locations that are still open have hand sanitizer at the entrance and disinfectant towels. Some places like our local grocery store and Walmart has a person at the entrance that wipes the entire cart down for us! But just in case, have some handy for other locations.

Be Prepared at the Fueling Location

Have your gloves and mask ready, wipe down the handle and touchpads with a disinfectant wipe, and prepay outside.

Cook Your Own Food

You will find it hard to get your truck and trailer and especially big rigs through the majority of drive-thru locations and even curbside! Semi-truck drivers are having a difficult time finding places to get food outside the large truck stops as they cannot drive through, and most will not allow someone to walk through! If you do want to order from your favorite chain there are quite a few that are offering delivery, and several creative RVers have found a way to park in a large parking lot nearby and have the food delivered the short distance.

Many grocery stores are offering delivery as well. Our local Aldi’s delivers as well as HyVee and we just go online and order what we want, pay online, and they deliver. We do pay a tip for the delivery and you don’t get to browse for the best-looking fruit or vegetable, but it is a safer alternative than going to the store with 200 other people. Check out how far your site is in their delivery area.

Finding an Open RV Park

In the next few weeks, it seems there will be more campgrounds and parks that will start to open. Use the internet to verify and also call ahead to see if they are open and what restrictions they might have. If you can find a park, make sure you practice the recommendation of the CDC on washing your hands, disinfecting anything you might come into contact with, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Also, make sure your pets stay away from other pets!

Bottom line, I doubt we will get back to what was normal anytime soon, however, we can get back to doing the things we enjoy with moderation and preparation. Who knew my mother was right all those years ago… “Wash your hands…you have no idea where they have been!”

You might also be interested in:

  • (will not be published)
  • If your questions pertains to a specific component or appliance, please fill out the info below:

16 Responses to “Tips for Disinfecting Your RV”
  1. Yvonne Hayes
    Yvonne Hayes

    RV Make: Rockwood, RV Model: MiniLite21042, RV Year: 2019

    Nitrile (not nitrate) gloves

  2. Michael Hess
    Michael Hess

    RV Make: Dodge, RV Model: Europa, RV Year: 1994

    First ever Motorhome


    RV Make: greywolf, RV Model: 26rr, RV Year: 2018

    polycord is coming out the side of the awning roll, how to push back in?

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      If it is just the plastic cord in the awning rail you can just cut it off. The only time you want to push it back in is if the cord is coming out of the fabric at the other end. The cord just keeps the fabric in the rail and they usually give a lot extra for the install of the fabric. A lot of people don’t cut off the excess from the install. Most of the time you can just cut it off. If it is coming out of the fabric you will have to remove the awing and the fabric from the tube and try to push it back through.


      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

  4. Ronald Hoy
    Ronald Hoy

    RV Make: Ford E-450 Superduty, RV Model: Atlantis SE 36, RV Year: 2013

    What brands are there to give 2 HD Batteries (12V) to remove sulphate from them; like Battery Minder?
    I am in Alberta, Canada.

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Ron!

      There are many brands but one I highly recommend. NOCO is a great brand and I have been using their chargers for years. Not only do their chargers desulfate but keep them in great shape during storage. I will share a link with more information.

      Dan RV Repair Club Technical Expert

  5. Liisa Smart
    Liisa Smart

    RV Make: Jayco, RV Model: Swift, RV Year: 2011

    Ticket 36110 I want to install another 12 volt accessory plug/cigarette lighter in my trailer. Do I need to put in an inline fuse and if so what amp would it take? Thanks for any information.

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Lisa. Even though it is a good idea to install an inline fuse it isn’t required. The circuit itself will have it’s own fuse. The only time you really should install a new fuse is if the wires you are connecting to are larger than the ones on the new outlet. The fuse size is based on the wiring size. If the wires are smaller then you will need to install a smaller fuse. Most of the time they have 10 or 15 amp fuses. 14ga wire size can use 15 amp fuse and 16ga will need a 10 amp fuse. If you are unsure, 10 amp would be fine as not much plugged into that outlet would come close and it would still be protected.
      RV Repair Club

  6. Gloria Postol
    Gloria Postol

    RV Make: Fleet wood , RV Model: Bounder, RV Year: 2018, Brand: Carefree

    Electric awning only comes out 6-8 in and stops No one seems to have an answer have not been able to use for 3 seasons.

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Gloria!

      If the awning stops rolling out, the motor just turns off and nothing runs, then there is most likely a wiring issue or the awning motor windings are bad. If the awning rolls out and then the arms stop but the motor keeps running and the fabric tries to unroll then there could be a bind in the system or the struts are ceased. The electric awnings have a strut on each arm to assist the arms out and to hold the awning up while it is out. If there is an issue with the strut it will have to be replaced. If the strut is ceased it can be hard to extend out for removal but if you can remove the pin that holds the top of the strut in place you could then get it off. These are really the only scenarios I can think of that would cause an awning to do this without being able to see and inspect everything.

      Sincerely, Dan RV Repair Club Technical Expert

  7. Tom

    RV Make: winnebago, RV Model: nation, RV Year: 2019

    How to deodorize the water system after sanitizing?

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Tom,
      If you just need to get rid of the sanitize smell you will want to flush the system. You just need to fill the fresh tank with water and then run it out of the lines and drains until the smell is gone. It shouldn’t take too long for the smell to go away, usually a few minutes of water flow.

      RV Repair Club Expert

  8. Frances Campbell
    Frances Campbell

    RV Make: Concord, RV Model: 300ts, RV Year: 2007, Model Number: 300ts

    Just need information on how to operate the rv system?

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Frances,

      Here’s what the experts had to say about your question:
      If you are looking for all around general knowledge of the RV I would recommend this instructional video collection:

      If you are looking for specific component help I would be glad to assist. Just let me know what you are having trouble with and I will be glad to help the best I can.

      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

  9. rose hough
    rose hough

    RV Make: fleetwood terry, RV Model: 825 y, RV Year: 2000

    how many gallons do our white grey and black tanks hold??

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Rose,

      I will need the make, model, and year of your RV to submit your question to our experts.

      Thank you!