RV Wash Hack
While traveling across the country, we learned that the luxury of washing our RV at home was not so easily achieved in most parts of the country. Most campgrounds wouldn’t allow us to wash our trailer in an effort to save valuable water resources. We were often torn between keeping our investment in good condition and paying the high cost of a company to come out and wash the rig for us. So we created this “RV Wash Hack” that helped us work with minimal water usage. We have often successfully washed our whole 42ft RV with only a little more than a half of a gallon of water.
The secret tool we use is a common microfiber mop system with an integrated spray bottle attachment. We use the Rubbermaid Reveal mop system for this demo. With the clean mop placed upon the side of the RV and the reservoir pointed downward, spray several soaking sprays from the attached reservoir. Soaking as needed, mop the side of the RV with the solution. Once a section is complete and soaked with soap solution, use a common janitorial foam floor squeegee to clean all the soapy water off the RV.
Last step is to wipe the seams and edges with a microfiber towel. When water is limited, that’s all you need to do. If you have the option to use water, you can hose down the RV before you squeegee but I feel that is optional in drier climates. I know that mopping your walls sounds a little unconventional, but I can often clean our RV in about 45 minutes and with only using 2 reservoirs of water/soap solution. (approx. a half gallon) Since most surfaces of the RV are flat, these flat tools all seem to work very well for me. (The only word of caution I have is to make sure you have a clean mop surface (check often) and don’t catch any small pebbles under the mopping surface). Try it out and let us know it works for you!
Water Heater Tank Anode Rod Replacement
Part of any routine maintenance schedule should include changing your anode rod within your hot water heater tank, if so equipped. Anode rods are designed to attract corrosive elements in the hot water, thus minimizing corrosion in the steel liner of the tank. You can do this maintenance in about 10 minutes with a cooled down water tank. The first step is to shut off the water supply feeding the water tank.
Turn the off power switch on the tank. Being cautious that the tank has cooled, lift the pressure relief valve on the top of the tank to let out any excessive buildup of water and air. Using a ratchet and socket with an extension, begin loosening the anode rod.
(I happen to be using an electric impact driver here) As it begins to back itself out, water will start pouring out. I let it drain out into a bucket on the ground. It catches some of it only due to the fact it comes out sloppy. Another thing you could do is use a flexible cutting board and roll it up underneath to catch the water and direct it towards the bucket. Take the rod all the way out and let the tank drain.
If there is any buildup of corrosion inside the hole, try to chip away at it before all the water drains from the tank, so the flow will push the corrosion out. Once installed, turn the water pump back on. Every minute or so “burp” the tank by pulling the pressure release valve. When no more air comes out of the tank, it should be filled. Lastly turn your tank’s power switch back on and enjoy that hot water!
Caulk Repair and Seal
This pretty simple maintenance step can save you SO much money on damage to your RV. Water IS the worst enemy to all RV’s. Inspecting the caulked seams of your RV will save you many headaches down the road.
If you see a crack in the caulk, chances are the walls or seams have settled a little during transit/aging and that seam is now compromised. With each rain, more and more water enters those cracks and causes deep rooted problems of rot, swelling, and mold. So for the price of a simple tube of caulk (and caulking gun), you can save thousands.
First step to re-caulking is to remove the cracked or missing caulk. Use a plastic scraper and get out as much of the offending caulk that you can. You can use a metal putty knife but take extra caution not to scratch your camper.
The cleaner the surface the better the new caulk will fill the seam. Find an exterior all weather caulk (can be silicone or sealant) that is waterproof and in the color of the other caulk. Mine is Almond color. You will need to learn what can be used on your RV’s roof because not all roofs are compatible with silicone. Making sure you have the correct caulk is critical. With your caulking gun, squeeze a small bead along the crack and beyond on both sides.
Then with your finger or caulk spreader, smooth out the bead and fill the seam. If you get any excess on the RV you can use a wet rag or towel to clean.
Sterilize Water Tank
Clean water is not something to take for granted. We fill our water storage tank with an inline filter every time we fill, but occasionally we sterilize the tank as well to keep bacteria and odors from forming. All that you need to sterilize the tank successfully is some household bleach and water.
First step is to know the maximum holding capacity of your water tank and do a little math. With a ratio of ¼ cup of bleach to every 15 gallons of water, you can begin the process of calculating how much you need. We use 1 ½ cups of bleach in our tank.
Pouring the bleach into the tank with a funnel at your recommended ratio can be done straight or mixed with a gallon of water. I pour it in straight, then use the hose to fill the tank with fresh water.
Once filled, head inside the RV (under water pump supply pressure) and open up all the faucets until you can smell bleach coming out of the faucets.
That ensures the sterilized water makes it way through all the water lines. I like to let the water sit overnight and recommend that if you have the time. Then find the water line drain (usually lowest part of the RV) and drain out all the bleach water.
Once the water is drained, close the drain and refill the water tank with clean fresh water. Repeat the bleeding of the lines inside the RV by opening all the faucets until the water no longer has a bleach smell. One last time, empty out the remaining fresh water in your tank. At this point, your tank should be clean! Fill as needed and get out and camp! Do this flushing of the system in conjunction with washing your RV to reuse the rinse water to wash your RV!