RVing can be an amazing experience, allowing you to see beautiful sights across the country. However, spills and stains are an inevitable aspect of life on the road. From red wine mishaps to muddy pet paws, RV stains happen! As a new RVer, I used to panic when stains set into my RV’s soft furnishings or flooring. But now I know that with the right techniques and cleaning solutions, even tough stains can be conquered.
In this guide, we will cover do’s and don’ts for stain removal in RVs. You’ll also learn targeted tips for tackling food and drinks, wastewater, mud and outdoor grime, pet accidents, and more. With some handy pantry ingredients and a bit of elbow grease, you can keep your recreational vehicle looking pristine inside and out. Let’s get cleaning!
Do’s and Don’ts While Removing Stains
When it comes to cleaning RV stains, it’s important to follow some basic guidelines:
- ✅Blot liquids immediately with an absorbent white cloth
- ✅Work from the outer edge inwards
- ✅Use small amounts of detergent at a time
- ✅Blot and rinse repeatedly
- ✅Allow plenty of time for stains to lift
- ❌ use hot water, as heat can set in stains permanently. Stick to cool or lukewarm water.
- ❌ scrub aggressively on delicate surfaces like vinyl or leather. Start gently.
- ❌ mix bleach and ammonia cleaners, as this creates toxic fumes!
- ❌Rub or scrub the stain initially
- ❌Use colored cloths or paper towels
- ❌Over-wet the area
- ❌Apply too much detergent at once
- ❌Put stained items straight into the washing machine
Now let’s explore which methods work best for some RV’s most stubborn spills and stains.
Types of Common Stains in RVs and Removal Processes
Grease and Food Stains
Pasta sauce, coffee, – the memories made around RV meals can live on as tough stains if you’re not careful! For greasy kitchen mishaps, sprinkle on baking soda or salt right away to absorb the oil. Dish soap, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon juice also help break up stubborn food residue.
Mold and Mildew
Thanks to humidity and dampness, mold loves growing in RVs. Attack it right away by mixing equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz onto moldy grout or ceiling corners, sit briefly and then scrub clean. Tea tree oil also wields anti–fungal powers.
Leaking gray and black water tanks can create quite a smelly mess! Blot up any liquid, then use a brush and baking soda paste to scrub the area. Straight vinegar or lemon detergent also counteracts wastewater odors. Deodorize the air with baking soda bowls.
RVing means tromping inside with grass-stained shoes, muddy paws, and dirt of all kinds! Regular vacuuming lifts surface debris, but set-in grime requires an ammonia-vinegar-water solution. Dip a sponge into the liquid mix and scrub onto stained vinyl or linoleum.
Shoe Scuff Marks
Rubber soles inevitably leave behind annoying black smudges on floors. Apply non-gel toothpaste to scuffs and use a soft brush or cloth to gently rub in a circular motion. The mild abrasives in toothpaste remove most shoe marks.
Cat pee, tracked in dog poop – it happens! Blot up what you can of the mess. Then pull out white vinegar and baking soda to break down odor molecules and lift staining. Oxyclean or enzymatic pet stain removers also work wonders.
Pet Urine Stains
Dog or cat accidents on carpets or upholstery can leave behind a stubborn odor and stain. First, blot up as much of the urine as possible. Mix a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water and spray it onto the area. Allow it to soak for several minutes. Use paper towels to blot. Sprinkle baking soda over the stain and let sit for a few hours before vacuuming up.
Babies and younger children may occasionally have diaper leaks during RV trips. Remove as much solid waste as possible with paper towels or a plastic bag over your hand. Do not rub, or the stain will set in deeper. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the stain to help absorb odors and liquid. Let sit overnight before vacuuming.
Motion sickness can cause vomiting inside RVs. Remove solids with towels or gloves, then use paper towels to blot up excess moisture. Mix a solution of 2 cups cool water, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon liquid dish detergent, and 1 cup white vinegar. Dip a sponge into the mixture and gently dab the area to lift the stain. Rinse with clean water once the stain is gone.
Clogged black water tanks can cause sewage to back up into RV sinks. This calls for heavy-duty stain removal and disinfecting. Put on gloves and soak up excess sewage with paper towels. Clean the area thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner made for septic systems. Spray with bleach water and allow to sit for 10 minutes before a final rinse.
With the right cleaning routine and stain-busting recipes, RVers can have their rig looking spiffy again in record time. Arm yourself with some microfiber cloths and scraper tools and you’ll be prepared to handle any type of RV stain when disaster strikes. Happy and clean travels!
What is the best RV stain remover product?
Oxyclean Versatile Stain Remover is often rated the best commercial cleaner for tackling pet stains, food grease, wastewater mishaps, and other RV stains due to its peroxide-based formula.
How do you get old stains out of an RV carpet?
To clean stubborn, set-in stains from high-traffic areas of an RV carpet, mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz onto the stain, let sit for 5-10 minutes, and blot up with a clean cloth. The acetic acid will help lift residue.
What removes black marks from RV vinyl floors?
Magic eraser cleaning pads work wonderfully to remove scuffs, shoe marks, grease streaks, and other black marks from RV vinyl floors without harsh chemicals. Simply wet the Melamine foam pad and rub gently over the marks.
What gets rid of soft flooring stains?
For stained spots on soft flooring like RV carpeting or throw rugs, liberally sprinkle baking soda over the area and let sit overnight. The baking soda will continue drawing up the stain over time. Simply vacuum up the next day for fresh, clean floors.
Will lemon juice remove stains from my RV awning?
Yes, lemon juice naturally bleaches and removes stubborn mold, mildew, and dirt stains from RV awnings and outdoor canvas. Mix 1 cup lemon juice with 1 cup salt and brush the solution onto the awning. Rinse clean. The citric acid brightens the material.