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How to Keep Your RV Smelling Fresh and Clean

How to Keep Your RV Smelling Fresh and Clean

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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…

Bathroom Smells

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.

What the inside looks like on move day.

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!


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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.

7 Easy to Follow Tips for Staying Healthy While RVing

Wednesday 25th of March 2020

[…] your life is on wheels, it isn’t easy to keep everything clean. I thought cleaning a house was difficult, but I find myself cleaning the trailer pretty frequently […]


Monday 24th of February 2020

I’ve put a few drops of essential on mini pads. Stuck them in unnoticed spots for always fresh scent☺️


Tuesday 25th of February 2020

Hey, I say don't knock it till you tried it! Sounds like it worked great for you. :)

Thanks for the tip, Betty!

Sharon upole

Monday 13th of January 2020

Thanks for the excellent RV information! It really helps a lot! Keep on RV ing!🙂


Tuesday 14th of January 2020

Thank you so much for letting us know this info is helping you, Sharon! We appreciate the feedback more than you know.

Our future RV plans are still coming together, but hopefully we will be out on the open road again before too long!