The Perfectly Clean RV
Man, oh, man! Is there such a thing as a perfectly clean RV when you full-time?
While I want to say yes, I’m honestly not sure there is, you guys!
Maybe, just maybe, if you are retired, have no kids or pets, and live completely alone, your RV is what most would consider perfectly clean all the time.
However, that simply isn’t the reality for everyone.
I live with 4 other humans (3 of which are under the age of 20) and 3 pets that shed, drool, and leave their toys out worse than the 10-year-old.
While my tiny home on wheels is fairly picked up and cleaned most of the time, it takes a good amount of effort and dedication to keep it that way!
The Reality of Cleaning an RV
Here it is, you guys! The question I hear most often.
Can you really clean an RV in 20 minutes? The short answer? Yes!
Believe it or not, I can typically clean my entire home in 20-30 minutes each morning — depending on a few important factors, of course.
- How many dishes are currently in the sink? (have we slacked off and let them pile up?)
- Are there extra laundry steps to take care of? (did we skip the folding and putting away?)
- Have we been neglecting other daily chores & need extra time to catch up?
With that said, I keep a pretty tight cleaning schedule and can get my house into tip-top shape within 20 minutes most mornings.
However, I also focus on daily maintenance & simple cleaning tasks in tiny bursts throughout the day which helps to keep the clutter & mess at bay.
These bursts include things like washing the dishes between meals, putting things away after each use, and adding in extra (non-daily) cleaning tasks.
While our RV isn’t perfectly clean all the time, this method works and our home on wheels stays in a fairly clean state all day long.
RV Cleaning Tips
If full-time RV living with kiddos is your reality and you are struggling to keep your home clean, these simple RV cleaning tips can help!
When it comes to cleaning our RV I focus on these 4 areas to get the task done.
Create a Clean Team
When you live in a tiny space with multiple other people, teamwork is everything!
Keeping a clean RV can only be your reality if everyone is on board.
Encourage (or in my case, nag) everyone in your family to carry their own weight by getting in the habit of constantly cleaning up after themselves.
If you can master this task, everything else will fall into place.
With that said, getting everyone on board can be easier said than done.
Just be consistent, ask for help, and gently remind everyone to do their part on a daily basis.
Set Daily Goals
Yes! I am a list-making, planner-filling, goal-oriented person.
I never start a task without a simple plan and a reachable goal.
For example, when it comes to cleaning, my minimal daily goals are as follows.
- Make the bed
- Sweep & vacuum
- Clear all surfaces
- Do a general pick up
- Wash the dishes
- Do laundry (if needed)
Everything else that gets completed throughout the day is just cheddar, you guys!
Set simple daily goals to remind yourself what you need to be doing on a daily basis.
Then, when you’re motivated or have the time, go above and beyond by doing additional much-needed tasks!
Simple things to remember while goal making.
- Take things one step at a time.
- Focus on progress over perfection.
While simple goal-making is important, I also keep a more rigid RV cleaning schedule for the days I have time to accomplish more or need to work on deeper cleaning.
While there will always be daily tasks like making the bed or doing the dishes, there are other mundane tasks that don’t need to be accomplished on a daily basis.
For example, I dust 1-2 times per week and wash all the bedding bi-weekly.
Rotating weekly, biweekly, and monthly chores by utilizing a cleaning schedule can actually help you get more done throughout the week!
Some days I tackle multiple extra tasks, while other days I spend my time focusing on one key project.
Figure out a schedule that works for you by focusing on these 2 areas.
- Utilize your time wisely. If you have more time on the weekend, plan your extra chores for then.
- Delegate. If you have older kiddos, split up the extra chores among them.
Work in Bursts
This right here is my secret weapon, you guys!
Breaking things up into doable chunks is the key to keeping a clean RV (or even a 2,400 sq ft house).
Clean in small bursts throughout your day to keep things simple and less overwhelming.
Not only does this help you stay in cleaning mode all day long, but it also allows you to use your time for other important tasks, such as homeschooling your kiddos or working.
Important things to remember when cleaning in bursts.
- Get your least favorite job out of the way first.
- Split work into small chunks by only focusing on 1-2 tasks per burst.
For example, I pick up the bedroom in the morning (because it’s the easiest one to push off and never get to). Then I work my way to our main living area by the afternoon.
How I Clean My RV in Bursts
My typical day goes something like this…
I start off by taking care of my bedroom first thing every morning.
I make the bed, do a general pick-up, and vacuum the floor.
Then, I take a break from cleaning to check my email, do my bible study, and get ready for the day.
Next, I move to the kitchen and bathroom.
I put away clean dishes from the night before, clear all surfaces, pick up floors, sweep, and vacuum.
Then, I take a second break from cleaning to get my daughter started on her homeschool day.
Next, I move to the living space.
I do a general pick-up, vacuum the floors, and fluff the pillows on the couch
I do this last simply because I work from one side of our RV to the other.
Plus, this is a multi-use space and my teenage boys tend to sleep in a bit later than I do (on days they don’t have to be up for work that is).
Then, I take my final break from cleaning to finish up work tasks for the day.
Last, but not least, I end with a load of laundry (if it’s needed), a speedy after-dinner clean-up, any extra tasks I might have for the day, and a quick pick-up before heading to bed.
I stick to this routine Monday-Friday.
Then, on Saturday, we tackle a much deeper cleaning.
We move furniture to get a more in-depth clean with the vacuum, mop the hard floors, and clean the bathrooms. Sometimes we fit home projects into the weekends as well or work on simple organization tasks.
While starting in the bedroom is what works for me (I used this same method in my sticks-and-bricks home), you may find that starting in your living space works better for you.
With all that said, using this method I can easily clean my entire home in quick 5-minute bursts, getting it fully clean from one end to the other in around 20 minutes total.
This works simply because I stay in maintenance mode 24/7.
Take some time to play around with different bursts & practice staying in maintenance mode to figure out your perfect flow.
Clean RV Cleaners
While technically this is more of a personal preference than an RV cleaning tip, I still want to take the time to share the importance of using green cleaners for your RV.
First, let me spell something out for you…
RVs are smaller than (most) houses.
Shocking, I know.
And since you do the same amount of living, breathing, and consuming in your RV that you would do in a regular house, things simply get dirtier faster.
Including the air we breathe.
When you spray toxic cleansers in your home, it lingers in the air causing your kiddos and pets to breathe it in.
Take it from a mom who used to work in the cleaning industry using harsh chemicals for many years — the harm is serious and can last a lifetime.
Consider switching to Thieves household cleanser or doing some research to find a cleaner fit for your family.
Our family made the switch while we still lived in our sticks-and-bricks and we still use green cleaners in our RV.
A Clean RV for Travelers
While sometimes we are stationary and sticking to our regular burst schedule works just fine, other times we are on the go and have to mix things up a little
Our family recently spent 6 months on the road and I had to come up with a solution for keeping things clutter free and tidy while traveling every 1-2 weeks.
This post (coming soon) outlines our in-depth cleaning schedule for both travel and stationary living for 2022-2023.
Everything Else You Need to Know
While living in an RV may sound simplistic, it can be a real mess if you don’t stay on top of things.
This is everything else you need to know about keeping your RV clean and tidy in a nutshell!
- Get in the habit of picking up constantly
- Only work on 1 project at a time to cut down on mess
- Put things away when not in use
- Do a final walkthrough every night before bed
Happy cleaning, you guys!
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