Sure it’s small, but we do have to clean the place, ya know

WARNING

By necessity, the photos in this post are going to show you what’s in my fridge, closet and shower.

Don’t judge.

When you’ve got only about 350 square feet of living space, house cleaning is a breeze! It doesn’t take much time, and also doesn’t take much by way of cleaning chemicals or supplies. A good all-purpose spray, plain white vinegar, microfiber cloths and a vacuum cleaner can handle just about everything here inside The Toad.

I spend 30-40 minutes every Monday morning on eliminating grit, and making the place look good enough for company. We have no kids onboard, and our sweet black lab, Lola, died in May, so without stickymuddy kid messes or dog hair in the mix, a weekly interval is adequate for us .

That said, I’ve adopted a little strategy I call Clean Plus One, meaning that I add at least one deep cleaning item to my list each week. But even then? Less than an hour’s worth of effort. And I am more than okay with that!

This is the house we lived in before we started full-timing in our 5th wheel. At 2900 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 4 humans and a dog, it took the better part of a day to clean. Good riddance!

The Weekly Cleaning List

  • Wipe down kitchen and bathroom countertops and sinks with all-purpose spray cleaner
  • Dampen kitchen sponge and disinfect for 30 seconds in microwave oven on high. The resulting steam loosens any gunk on the walls inside, which is then easily removed with a paper towel.
  • Scrub interior of shower with a squirt of shampoo on a microfiber cloth; rinse
  • Scour toilet bowl with mild soap (harsh chemicals like bleach are not recommended, as they can damage the rubber in that all-important flush ball seal); disinfect seat, rim, and lid with all-purpose spray cleaner on a paper towel
  • Clean all mirrors using paper towels, and vinegar/water mix in a spray bottle
  • Dust surfaces using a damp microfiber cloth
  • Vacuum all floor surfaces
  • Mop linoleum in bathroom and kitchen — by which I mean use one foot to scoot that microfiber cloth across the floors, after you’ve used it to clean everything else and given it a good rinse. No need to take up valuable closet space with a real mop!

The “Plus Ones” (1 per week, working out to about once a month for each)

  • Wipe refrigerator shelves, drawers, and trays with a solution of vinegar and water, which will clean off the  crumbs and spills without leaving toxins behind. Clearly it’s better to do this when you’re low on groceries, especially if you have one of the 8 cubic-foot models like ours. I call it our glorified dorm fridge, and we usually pack it to the limit on grocery shopping day.
  • Wipe out the oven interior with more vinegar and water solution. Since I use mine so rarely, it actually gets dusty in there! Again, you don’t want to use too many toxic chemicals where you store or prepare food; vinegar is a safe alternative.
  • Flush out sink and shower drains to keep water flowing freely. I pour 1/8 cup of baking soda into each drain, followed by about 1/4 cup of plain white vinegar. The bubbling action will help jiggle loose some of the crud build-up inside the pipes. After it quits fizzing, I pour in 1-2 cups of boiling water to help flush everything through. (Caveat: This is the full extent of my knowledge of plumbing issues. If you’ve got something stubborn, consult an expert.)
  • Gently vacuum the blinds and cornice boxes using a brush attachment. Those things get super dusty!
  • Clean all window interiors using vinegar/water spray and a paper towel
  • Pull all the shoes off the closet shelves and floor, and vacuum out the grit that has collected underneath them.

I’m sure others have even more tips for keeping our RV interiors dirt- and dust-free. Wanna share a favorite? I’m all ears, standing here in my French maid get-up, holding a feather duster and rolling my eyes.

I can’t believe I wrote a whole blog post on cleaning.

Sheesus.

(Author’s note: a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)

Today I knelt on the roof and blow-dried the weather stripping. Must be Tuesday.

Pretty sure this was not in the brochure at the RV dealership.

It’s all part of that cascading effect of home repair: fix one thing, find two more that need fixing. We fixed the gutter, and in doing so, discovered that the plastic screw covering stuff was all dry and crackly with multiple holes in it, and was thus doing squat nothing by way of protecting us from the elements.

So we bought some new, shiny and pliant plastic screw covering stuff and got to work. Only it was a little too cold outside to manipulate the edges into the little metal channels — shrinkage, or so I’m told — and that is how I ended up on the roof with a hair dryer.

Actually, how I ended up with a hair dryer at all is part of the hilarity too. I’ve got curly hair. Blow drying is a big, big no-no, or I end up looking like Roseanne Roseannadanna. Our younger son took the household hair dryer with him when he went to college, so I actually had to go buy one at a thrift store, and we’ve used it for a couple of repair projects now. Handy little tool, that! Just… don’t point it at my hair.

Actual name: insert trim.

Actual name: insert trim (not “plastic screw covering stuff”)

Off with the old yucky ineffective...

Old yucky ineffective trim, shown next to a new piece for comparison

... on with the new.

… on with the new.

See? It covers up the screws that hold the gutters on, because they're ugly and let moisture in. Don't be that screw.

See? It covers up the screws that hold the gutters on, because they’re ugly and let moisture in. Don’t be that screw.