People say all kinds of interesting things and ask all kinds of interesting questions when they hear we are currently living in an RV full-time while we travel. But the one that made me actually laugh out loud was “Ew, doesn’t your RV smell bad ALL THE TIME?!”
Yes, it smells bad sometimes.
No, it doesn’t smell bad all the time.
She went on to say that if she lived in that small of a space with her boys, she knows it wouldn’t smell pleasant…ever.
Living in such a small space with any number of people means having to deal with smells, both good and not so good. For example, my daughter is currently making her breakfast – scrambled eggs – and the entire place smells like…scrambled eggs.
But it won’t for long because we’ll open the windows and the door, and that good ‘ol Canadian air will come wafting through, taking the smells with it. (*Waving from Canada!*)
So, how do we keep the RV smelling fresh and clean or, maybe I should say, how do we get it back to smelling fresh and clean? Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that help.
How We Keep the RV Smelling Fresh and Clean
Products mentioned in this article:
RV Refrigerator Smells
It didn’t take very long for us to realize that the refrigerator in our travel trailer could start smelling bad very quickly. Things like leftovers, half an onion, and other mysterious things you’re not sure about can make a tiny fridge smell bad in a few seconds flat.
Of course, the positive side of having such a small fridge is we know what’s in there and food rarely goes bad. I remember being so irritated in our house when I would clean out the fridge and find things hiding way back in the back. We waste way less food because of our tiny fridge.
Other than keeping the fridge wiped down and making sure food is wrapped up tightly to help with smells, keeping a container of Arm & Hammer baking soda in the fridge has definitely helped.
I Smell Feet
I think I said ‘I smell feet’ about a hundred times when we first started this full-time travel journey. Dirty, stinky feet is the smell that bothers me the most. We all take off our shoes before we come into the RV to help keep the floor clean, but doing that results in, well you know.
So, how do you get rid of dirty feet smell inside your rig, other than banning the stinky feet from coming inside? Foot powder. Just have them sprinkle a little inside their shoes and on their feet and your RV will smell much more pleasant.
Dirty Laundry Smells
In our RV tour video and post, I mentioned that we keep our dirty laundry in a basket in the tub. This way, it’s not out in the open in the main areas, which also helps with the dirty laundry smell.
Does it smell up the bathroom? Nope. This hasn’t been an issue at all, possibly because we turn on the fan and vent out the bathroom as much as possible. Which leads me to my next point…
Here we go again, talking about bathroom topics. 🙂 If you watched our video on five of our fears when it came to full-time RVing, then you know what I’m talking about.
Without going too much in detail (you’re welcome), if we’re close to a bathroom at an RV park, then we encourage everyone to do their business in those bathrooms and not ours. We have a pretty small rig, the Keystone Passport 2670BH, so the bathroom is right by, well, everything.
Using the RV park bathrooms has helped a bunch with smells no one wants to experience as they’re sitting at the table having a snack, or lunch, or dinner, or trying to relax…you get the point.
Random Tips on Keeping Your RV Smelling Fresh
Here are a few other ways to help keep your RV smelling fresh:
- I turn on our oil diffuser a couple of times a day, which helps fill the space quickly with some great scents. Our favorites have been pine, eucalyptus, and lavender.
- Wiping down our rig once a day and on move days, helps keep it smelling fresh. On move days, I wipe down almost everything, from the tops of the cabinet to the floors.
- Opening the windows and door and airing out the rig helps a ton with keeping things smelling fresh. I love to do this in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler.
- Eventually, I’d like to get some air purifying plants but right now we just don’t have the room for them. RVShare has a good article on plants that can withstand RV life, which you can read here.
For those of you who are avid RVers or are full-time, if you have any other tips to share, please drop them in the comments below!
PIN THIS TO SAVE FOR LATER
Julie Bonner is one-half of the TREKKN team. She specializes in helping you whip up delicious meals in your tiny RV kitchen, as well as RV organization tips and helping fellow RVers make their RV feel like home. Her favorite RVing spot is in Banff National Park in Canada where yes, the water really is that blue and the people really are that nice.
Tuesday 17th of May 2022
Use laundry softener after every use of the toilet and in the grey tank.
Thursday 19th of May 2022
Now that is the first time I have heard that, Melissa! Very interesting, and seems like it would definitely do the trick. So you don't use any of the "tank treatments" in your tanks? Just the fabric softener?
Wednesday 3rd of November 2021
We dump leftover ice down the toilet to knock anything loose that might be in the black water tank. Take an extra trip around the campground before going to the dump station. Helps knock out any lingering smells.
Wednesday 3rd of November 2021
Excellent tips! I had seen something about ice before but have never tried it. Next trip, ice it is (plus some extra sloshing).
Thursday 12th of August 2021
I know this sounds pretty weird but I keep charcoal brickets in a small bowl in my fridge and it soaks up smells like onions etc. I read this in a magazine a long time ago and it really works. The brickets also saved my microwave once when someone at work burned popcorn in my microwave. I almost tossed the microwave but remembered the charcoal brickets. I tried them for a couple of weeks and saved the microwave. They work for other smells in a room if you set them out in a bowl on a counter.
Friday 22nd of October 2021
Charcoal briquettes also works wonders absorbing odors in shoes and boots. Put a couple of them in an old sock and put that in shoe or boot until the next time you wear them.
Saturday 21st of August 2021
That is a great tip, Marilynn! I have not heard of that before so thank you for sharing...and great to hear you saved the microwave. :) Here's to some better smelling travels!
60+ RV Organization Accessories and Solutions for Your RV
Monday 15th of June 2020
[…] This not only kept things clean and tidy, but it helped keep the travel trailer smelling fresh and clean. […]
Cathy & Dan Andrews
Sunday 29th of March 2020
We have had tent trailers, travel trailers with pop-outs, and now a smaller travel trailer and we used Irish Spring bar soap in all because it made the trailer smell good and we never had any rodents like once before!! Just chop a bar up into one inch slices and scatter in cabinets, under beds, crawl thru, etc.
Monday 30th of March 2020
I've heard about this tip but never knew if it truly worked before. This is great to know! We will definitely start camping with Irish Spring from now on.