HARRELLS, N.C. -- RV Education 101 presents the following tips and advice to help control and eliminate unpleasant odors in RVs.
“Odors in RVs come in many different forms and are caused by many different sources," said Mark Polk, founder of RV Education 101. "Some odors are pleasant, like fresh coffee brewing in the morning, and some are not so pleasant. The not-so-pleasant category includes holding tank odors, pet odors, cooking, smoke, and must and mildew odors, just to name a few. Some of these odors result from normal use of the RV while others stem from the RV sitting in storage."
Here are some tips RVers can use to control odors:
- One of the key factors for controlling odors: ventilation. Ventilation not only helps with odors, but can limit the amount of heat buildup in the RV, too. A quick fix for this odor-related problem is to install aftermarket roof vent covers, like MaxxAir vent covers, over the existing roof vents. The vent covers are easy to install and you can leave the roof vents open, even when it’s raining outside. These ventilation products will keep the air circulating throughout the RV and help prevent odors.
- Odor molecules aren’t just in the air; they get in fabrics, carpets, ceiling, window treatments and other areas of the RV. Smoke, pet odors and musty odors can be difficult to eliminate. Masking an odor won’t eliminate it. People want to kill the odor that causes bacteria to linger in the air. "I experimented with many different odor-control products, but perhaps the best product I found for eliminating difficult odors is Febreze," said Polk. "After RV trips, or before storage, clean the RV thoroughly and spray Febreze throughout. Don’t forget to spray the upholstery, carpet and fabrics, too."
- To help prevent cooking odors from becoming permanent odors in your RV make sure to turn the range exhaust fan on whenever cooking, and it’s a good idea to open a window, too. To maximize the efficiency of the range exhaust fan, keep the filter clean. On some RVs it is necessary to go outside and open the range exhaust fan door so the cooking odors actually vent outside, explained Polk. Check the RV owner’s manual for more details concerning maintenance and operation of your range exhaust fan.
- Another odor problem is associated with RV holding tanks and the use of strong chemicals to help control these holding tank odors. Formaldehyde-based chemicals are dangerous to humans, pets and the septic systems that RVers empty holding tanks into, said Polk. Because little water is used, in comparison to a domestic wastewater system, RV holding tank wastewater is far more concentrated. The organic strength from the mixture in an RV holding tank can be 15 to 20 times stronger than a typical wastewater system. This problem is compounded when an RVer gets some odors from the holding tank and dumps even more chemicals in the holding tank in an attempt to control the odors. "I recommend using a holding tank treatment that is environmentally friendly and safe to use in septic systems," said Polk. "Enzyme-based holding tank treatments can effectively control holding tank odors." Put some holding tank treatment in the gray water holding tanks too. When the gray tank is empty add some water, and the holding tank treatment, to the sink drains to help keep the gray water tank free of odors. "I add some dishwashing liquid to the gray water tank periodically to assist with breaking down and grease and keep the holding tank clean," he added.
- When it’s time to put the RV in storage there are several steps RVers can take to assist with controlling and eliminating common household odors. First, thoroughly clean the interior of the RV. Remove all perishable food and leave cabinet doors and drawers open so air can circulate. Defrost the freezer and thoroughly clean the refrigerator. Leave the refrigerator and freezer doors cracked open. "I put a small tin of charcoal in the refrigerator compartment to help absorb any odors. Baking soda works well, too," said Polk.