Keeping your camper van clean while traveling is a challenge. During van life, you’re often busy and exhausted from all the activities throughout the day. So it’s understandable that keeping your tiny home clean and tidy is one of the last things you want to do.
But maintaining a clean camper is essential to long-term van life and preserving your sanity. As we say in Japan, “to clean your home is to also clean your soul”.
So in this post, we share some of our top tips to to keeping a camper van clean with minimal effort.
Refrain From wearing shoes in Your camper Van
This is the easiest, the most effective solution to keep your camper van clean.
During van life, you’re constantly coming in and going out of your van. And since you’re usually out in nature, your shoes are always bringing in dirt, sand, and even bugs.
Compared to our previously lives when we were simply traveling between our offices and home, our shoes way dirtier now.
So make a habit of taking your shoes off and leaving them at the entrance when you come into your van. This helps to keep all the dirt and grit isolated in one part of the van and keeps the rest of your camper clean.
Bonus: If you can get a thick welcome mat, this helps even more in controlling the spread of dirt in your van.
Make The Bed As Soon As You Wake Up
Beds are for sleeping on.
But all too often, we’ve seen people throw their used clothes, electronics, and even food on their beds because they couldn’t be bothered to store their belongings in their proper places. So in reality, their bed is also used as a temporary storage solution.
Keeping your bed clean and resisting the urge to throw random things on it is an easy way to keep your van clutter-free.
Also, make it a habit to make your bed as soon as you get up. Doing so not only keeps your camper van looking clean, but also makes your day more feel more productive.
For us, this was one of the reasons why we chose a convertible bed setting, instead of having a fixed bed. Being forced to put away our bed every day has helped to keep our work and dining space clean and clutter-free.
Organize Food & Wardrobe Storage Often
Empty space is a luxury that shouldn’t be wasted in a camper van. And keeping your belongings organized is a great way to keep your van clean and to maximize space.
So if you currently have a van, start inspecting all your storage areas now. You might be surprised by just how much stuff what you actually own, even in such a small space.
If you see that you have belongings that are infrequently used, look to get rid of them and downsize your things.
Keep your clothes folded and organized. Nothing takes up additional space more than clothes that have simply been shoved back into their drawers & cabinets.
Check your food storage areas. Are food containers packed away in the most efficient manner? Can some dry foods be combined to clear up space?
Living a minimalist lifestyle is all the rage right now, but difficult to truly attain. Only when we can downsize and keep organized with what remains can we truly help to reduce waste and de-clutter our lives.
Create A Cleaning Schedule
Creating a cleaning schedule is a great motivator in helping you keep a clean and tidy camper van.
In our case, we keep a list of cleaning chores that need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly.
Dust and dirt can pile up within a day! I use a mini broom to sweep the floor multiple times per day.
Baby wipes come in handy for wiping our kitchen counters and dining table.
Shake out the dust from door mat, area rugs, pillows, and throws
Remove food residue from the sink and wipe inside the sink with baby wipes. Never drain food scraps down the sink pipe to prevent foul odors from building up.
Remove dust from the big screen and fan blades by wiping with a dry cloth
Gray water should be disposed every 3-4 days even if it isn’t full. Otherwise it starts to smell especially when traveling in warm climates. It is also good idea to rinse the inside with dish detergent once a week.
With our Dometic 12v Fridge, water quickly builds up on the bottom. Therefore, it’s good to dispose of the water and wipe inside the fridge once a week to prevent food from sitting in pools of water and weird smells from developing.
Rinse the sink drain pipe with dish detergent and a long straw cleaner brush to avoid bad odors from developing under your sink.
Even though only used for storing clean water, it’s good idea to rinse the inside of the clean tank once a month with diluted bleach.
Keep those side mirrors and backup camera clean from debris by giving them a good wipe once a month.
Never drain food scraps into the sink
In order to prevent food scraps from going rotten inside your sink drain pipe and gray water tank, make it a rule to never drain food scraps into the sink. This prevents bad odors from forming and spreading to the rest of your van.
Additionally, from our experience, draining leftover soup or pasta water is also bad idea and bad smells can form as quickly as overnight. Dump those liquids either outside in a hole or in a public toilet, if available.
Maintain Good Air Circulation In Your Camper Van
Good quality air flow plays a huge part in the sanitation of your camper van. Installing a vent fan and windows is highly recommended to encourage better air circulation and expel dirty air and bring in cool, clean air. And if it is possible, open up your sliding door and back doors once a day as well to air everything out.
Learn More : How To Install A Maxxair Fan In A RV And Camper
Baby wipes are your best friend
If you haven’t learned already when reading this post, baby wipes are key to keeping a camper van clean.
Baby wipes are affordable and easily available. For us we use baby wipes for cleaning almost everything. Make sure you always have a pack of wet wipes nearby, just in case.
Useful Clearning Tools
Final Thought About Keeping Your Campervan Clean
Keeping your camper van neat and tidy can be challenging task in van life. But rather than waiting untill your van gets unbearably dirty so that you’re forced to set up a massive cleaning day, having a routine of cleaning and organizing a little bit every day is much healthier for your camper van, and for your souls.