RV air quality has been on our minds since we started RV living fulltime in December 2012. When we first got on the road we had two people, two dogs and two cats in a 27 foot Class C RV.
With a Class C, it is common to put a barrier between the living area and the cab to keep it warm in the winter and cold in the summer. In the wintertime, the cab area has excessive moisture due to the difference in temperature and can get moldy quickly. If it gets too bad, you can look for dehumidifiers for RVs. We’ve done a lot of research on them.
The cabover area also receives a lot of condensation from windows and underneath the mattress which can get moldy as well. Cooking odors add up quickly since we are cooking in a very small space and there is the odor of the septic every so often when full.
All these things add up to air quality that can go from stale, to bad, to worse in a very short amount of time, especially when you add in pet dander.
Here are the things you can do to improve your RV air quality
- Let it breath Opening your windows as much as possible, weather permitting. You can also run your air conditioner(make sure to maintain it too!) to remove any moisture from the air. Most air pollutants are water soluble and running the AC removes them.
- Remove Moisture Hanging DampRid FG83K Hanging Moisture Absorber Fresh Scent to collect the moisture in the different areas. This will remove any moisture buildup before it turns into mold or mildew issues. This is probably one of the biggest issues with RV living, especially in the winter time.
- Keep Condensation Away Many times there will be a difference in temperatures from outside the rig to inside, causing condensation buildup. A DryMesh anti-moisture layer to put under a bed mattress to increase airflow and keep moisture down in that area.
- Cleaning and vacuuming several times a week, depending on how many people and animals live in your rig. We use the compact Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum. It’s bagless, which is great, but also has a hepa filter to keep all the dirt trapped until we are ready to empty.
Sidenote: some people will do a great job vacuuming and then dump the dirt into the trash while inside. To me, this just releases a lot of the dirt back into the rig. Go ahead and dump that outside the rig to keep you clean RV clean.
- Air Purifier several air purifiers are great for homes, but they also tend to be larger than needed for the smaller RVs. The GT50 Air Purifier is small enough for a rig and works great in smaller places. We bought ours at the Tampa SuperShow last year and use it everyday. This has helped reduce Christina?s allergies immensely.
- Spray ADMS Anti-Allergen on your cloth furniture or anywhere the animals frequent to cut down pet dander and dust mites.
- Add Plants to your rig. Any house plant is suitable for your motorhome and improves air quality. Just remember to store them when you hit the road again and don’t forget to bring them out when you’ve made it to your destination. They also add an extra bit of hominess to your home on wheels. You can even add some herbs to double for great cooking aids.
- Refrigerator fan although this is more for the fridge, adding a fan in an RV fridge helps circulate the air in there, keeping your food fresh. Since most RV refrigerators don’t have fans inside, the air doesn’t cool evenly. It takes longer to cool down, and food spoilage increases. Adding RV Fridge Fan helps keep your food fresh and reduces the icky smell.
- Exhaust Fans Using your Fan-Tastic Fan or any of the exhaust fans and setting the direction to out will help remove some of the pollutants in the RV, especially while cooking. You don’t need your rv surge protector setup to use these fans as they run on 12V batteries.
- Bathe and Groom Your Pet If you have a four legged traveler with you, keeping them clean will help reduce the pet dander and extra hair buildup in the RV. They recommend at least once of month if not more often to keep the pet dander down.
- 12V Ionizer We could plug it in the front cigarette lighter when driving and then plug it in our living area 12V plug when we were at our campsite. Also with the 12v we didn’t need shore power for it to work. It greatly helped the stale air and pet dander. Negative ions clear the air of dust, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, odors, cigarette smoke, bacteria and viruses. They do this by attaching to these positively charged particles in large numbers.This causes the pollen, mold, bacteria, etc to become too heavy to stay airborne. We tested by chopping up some garlic cloves and after about an hour with the air ionizer on, you couldn’t smell them anymore.Research has shown that negative ions not only relieve allergies by filtering out dust mites and dander but they help increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.The table shows the count of negative ions in different areas which is why most people feel energized at the beach or after a thunderstorm.Even though you may live in an RV and are able to set up camp next to areas that create natural negative ions you aren’t getting those benefits unless you have the windows open. Unfortunately an air conditioner actually creates positive ions as does most electronics which decreases the amount of negative ions inside a RV.
- Pull the Carpet If you can, remove the carpet as soon as possible. Carpet in homes became popular in the 1950s after World War II and was seen as a luxury people could afford, but the chemicals involved in making the carpets, pads, and adhesives that release into the air do more harm than good for your health. The mold and dust buildup in carpets also contribute to a laundry list of health related issues.
- Remove Fabric Upholstery It’s amazing how much fabric can be found in RVs from the valences to RV furniture. If you can, cut down on fabric and replace with leather, leather like materials or vinyl. This makes it easier to wipe up and dust, mold or allergens from the surfaces.
- Clean and Replace Filters the cleaner your filters are, the better job they’ll do for your RV. Keep a schedule for cleaning them or replacing them or add the filters to your list of things to clean on cleaning day.
- Dump the Air Fresheners If you want to give your RV a fresh, clean smell, ditch the can of fresheners. These cans of air fresheners usually have chemicals in them that are irritants to your breathing. Instead, opt for natural ways to freshen your motorhome. You can either use cinnamon boiling in water. Or a more popular solution is to use a diffuser with use essential oils.
- Remove Your Shoes at the Door Not wearing shoes inside is a great way to cut down on tracking dirt in the RV, but it’s also great at keeping pollutants, dust, and foreign objects from entering. If you can’t remove your shoes, make sure you have a dirt trapping mat at the entrance. Microfiber door mats tend to do better and trapping dirt from your shoes.
And when you’re finished with improving your air quality, take a look at how to improve your water quality in your RV.
Dometic RV air conditioner troubleshooting, you can try to fix your AC on your own!
Over to You
What do you use to help with your air quality? Share in the comments.