5 Steps To Eliminating Bad Odors in Your RV

Posted by RVCampersUSA on Jun 7th 2022

It's hard to enjoy your travels when the smell of your RV makes you not want to set foot inside. Here are 5 Steps To Eliminating Bad Odors in Your RV

Ever been enjoying your travels, the scenery, the fresh air only to open the door to your RV and wonder where in the heck that horrible smell came from?

It's nearly impossible to enjoy your RV if it has a musky or otherwise unpleasant odor. While you can always mask the odor with air freshener, this is only a temporary solution. Once the air freshener dissipates, the bad odors will return. A more effective approach is to find and fix the underlying cause, which is something that we're going to discuss in today's blog post.

Clean the Kitchen and Bathroom Drains

Of course, one all-too-common source of bad odors in an RV is the kitchen and bathroom drains. Bacteria thrives in drains, especially during periods of non-use. To combat these foul odors, it's recommended that you clean your RV's kitchen and bathroom drains regularly. There are products designed specifically for cleaning drains, or you can simply pour a mixture of baking soda and 1 gallon of water down each drain.

Check the Humidity

What's the humidity level in your RV? Most owners rarely, if ever, check their RV's humidity. As a result, it's not uncommon for excessively high humidity levels to develop. And when the relative humidity (RH) rises above 60%, it creates ideal breeding grounds for mold and mildew – a common source of bad odors. If your RV has a RH above 60%, use a dehumidifier to lower it. As long as the RH stays between 40 and 50%, mold and mildew shouldn't be a problem.

Stagnant Potable Water

Even fresh water can go bad, leading to foul odors in an RV. If your RV's fresh water smells or tastes funky, it's time to sanitize the tank and replace the water. By sanitizing the tank, you'll eliminate odor-causing germs, at which point you can refill the tank with fresh water.


Check the inside of your RV's refrigerator to see if it's the source of the bad odor. Owners should clean the inside of their refrigerator with warm water and soap to prevent odor-causing germs. In addition, look for yellow powdery stuff in the outside frig compartment. If your coolant has leaked out (or you suspect it has leaked out), be sure to monitor the cooling unit temperature (refrigerator outside access door). If no coolant is in the system, it can easily overheat and become a fire hazard. Put a water bottle in the frig and freezer, if they get cold and freeze respectively you know at least the unit is working. If it isn't the cooling agent, buy baking soda, lots of baking soda.

Dirty RV Carpet

Assuming your RV has carpeted floors, this could be the source of its bad odors. Carpet – like all upholstered material – harbors moisture and bad germs. When not cleaned on a regular basis, this can subsequently lead to four odors. There are a few ways to overcome this problem, however. For starters, try protecting your carpet with throw rugs. And if you notice foul odors originating from the carpet, rent a steam cleaner for a thorough and more effective deep clean. You can even sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over your RV's carpet to deodorize it.