10 Tips To Clean a Camper Van Interior

Just like with any house, cleaning the interior of your camper van is essential. This prevents bacteria from growing, prevents mold, improves indoor air quality, and preserves your sanity. In our van we take pride in having a clean camper van. It’s something we work towards every single day.

As we say in Japan, “to clean your home is also to clean your soul.”

This post shares our top tips for cleaning a camper van interior. At the end of this post, we also provide preventative tips and recommend some products we use daily.

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1. Sweep Out Floor Dirt

How often? Daily.

Every time you step into your camper, you bring dirt inside. Throughout the day, you’d be surprised how much grit is on the ground. Take a few moments, multiple times each day, to sweep out all the dirt and dust that accumulates on the ground. It only takes a few minutes, instantly making your camper van feel cleaner.

Woman sweeping the floor of her camper van
Sweeping: Our van life morning ritual

Recommendation: A simple mini dustpan is a great and affordable option to remove dust and dirt from the camper van. But a 12V car vacuum works great for hard-to-reach areas and can even remove tiny dust particles that a dustpan cannot get.

2. Clean and Wipe the Sink

How often? Daily.

RV faucet showing off it's high pressure spray feature.
Showing off our high-pressure spray feature

If you cook as much as we do, your sink will get grimy over time. That’s why we recommend washing down and wiping the sink interior daily. All it takes is spraying down the sink interior with the faucet head and wiping the inside walls and bottom with a baby wipe. It takes less than a minute to do each day.

Need a faucet recommendation? Read our camper van faucet review to know which we recommend for van life.

3. De-Dust Bedding

How often? Once a week.

How much dust accumulates on your bedding and rugs would surprise you. Too much dust in a camper van reduces indoor air quality and can agitate your throat and lungs. That’s why it’s essential to regularly de-dust any sheets, blankets, pillow covers, and rugs.

Once a week, we remove all our bedding, one at a time, and shake, giving each a good whack. Just be sure not to inhale the large plumes of dust erupting into the air.

You can also do this for sweaters, throw pillows, rugs, and other large pieces of fabric that can hold dust.

4. Clean Out Fridge (or Ice Cooler)

How often? Once a week.

The bottom of a 12V fridge can get wet and grimy pretty quickly. This is especially true when traveling in warmer and more humid environments. If neglected, a refrigerator can develop gross smells and even mold.

Wiping the inside of a Dometic 12V fridge
Cleaning out the grime at the bottom of our fridge

That’s why cleaning the fridge once a week is essential, and it takes less than 10 minutes. We start by removing all the contents of the refrigerator. Once the fridge is empty, we use a sponge to soak up any liquid accumulating at the bottom. Lastly, we use baby wipes to clean out the fridge’s interior. Once it’s clean, we put the food back in the refrigerator. It’s that simple.

5. Clean Vent Fan

How often? Once a week.

Your vent fan constantly works to remove dust and grease (when cooking). So, if you don’t clean it regularly, dust clogs the mosquito screen, and the grease coats the fan blades. We remove the mosquito screen and fan blade weekly and wipe the whole fan down with baby wipes.

Wiping the inside of a Maxxair ventilation fan
Wiping the inside of our Maxxair vent fan

Due to the grease build-up, we recommend washing the screen and blades in warm soapy water. You can even bring these items into the shower at a campsite.

6. Re-Fold Clothes In Cabinets

How often? Once a week.

Overhead cabinets in a camper van
Keeping clothes folded nicely in our overhead cabinets

When we rush, we tend to shove clothes back into their storage cabinets. And over time, these cabinets get cluttered. As a result, we take out our clothes every week, re-fold them, and place them back into the overhead cabinets. It improves organization and frees up space.

7. Rinse the Grey Water Tank

How often? Once a month.

If you have a removable grey water tank, we recommend filling it up 10% with warm water, adding several drops of dish detergent, and giving it a good shake. Do this at least once a month. It removes the grime that builds up over time and prevents mold from growing inside the tank.

8. Wipe Walls & Cabinet Fronts

How often? Once every three months.

Over time, grit accumulates on your walls and cabinet fronts. If, like us, your walls and cabinets are white, you’ll notice that these areas become less white over time. In our experience, wet wipes don’t work so well. But melamine sponges do a fantastic job of removing all the dirt and grime and returning to the original paint layer. This gets our van interior back to its shining white.

Extra Large Melamine Sponges

These unique sponges cut through grease, soap scum, and "permanent" marks that most ordinary sponges can't remove. A popular cleaning product in Japan, Yuko swears by them.

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9. Rinse and Brush Sink Drain Pipe

How often? Once every three months.

The grey water that exits under the sink can make your pipes grimy over time. Whether you are using a Camco Drain or a traditional P-pipe, it’s a good idea to remove these drains and thoroughly clean them to remove the food particles and slime that have gathered inside.

We like to use a long drain brush to scrub the inside of the pipe and then soak the entire piece in a tub of warm water for a few hours. Like us, if you have a Camco Drain, you can even unscrew the main piece that connects to the sink to reveal even more grime. Yuck!

10. Disinfect Water Tanks and Pipes

How often? Once every three months.

Every three months, we disinfect our fresh and grey water tanks with a mixture of water and bleach. Below are step-by-step instructions for how to clean a water tank.

  1. Prepare a chlorine solution by mixing ΒΌ cup of household, unscented bleach with one gallon of water.
  2. You will need one gallon of this chlorine solution for each 15 gallons of tank capacity.
  3. Never pour pure bleach directly into your water tanks.
  4. Pour the diluted chlorine solution into your water tank and fill the remaining capacity with water.
  5. Turn on the water pump and let the chlorine solution sit in the pipes.
  6. Allow the solution to sit in the water tank and pipes for 3 hours.

After three hours, run the faucet and drain the water and chlorine mix into the grey tank. We then let the mixture sit in the grey water tank for another 3 hours before draining it out.

Tips To Prevent Making a Camper Van Interior Dirty

Two pairs of shoes on a welcome mat at the entrance of a camper van
Entrance mat in our camper van

While regularly cleaning a camper van interior is essential, we recommend several tips to prevent the van from getting dirty in the first place.

  1. Get A Welcome Mat – Keeping a fibrous mat by the entrance helps trap any dirt from shoes before they can enter.
  2. No Shoes Inside – We always leave our shoes on the welcome mat and never wear them inside.
  3. No Food Scraps Down The Sink – Wipe all plates and cookware before washing them in the sink. Removing food scraps keeps pipes and grey water tank cleaner and reduces grime.
  4. Keep The Vent Fan On 24/7 – A vent fan is essential in expelling dust inside the van and improving internal air quality.

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 until 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 your souls.

If you have any questions or other cleaning tips you’d like to share, please send us an email to the address in our footer.

Happy cleaning!

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