One of the joys (not!) of owning a home on wheels is that you get to be the water and electric department plus the sewer treatment plant. All things taken for granted in a regular house.

So not only do you have to know about these things (thank you Tom!) but you have to make sure everything is maintained and in working order – or disaster can strike. Like a gasket on a toilet that gets ruined and develops a leak.

So the RV industry has lots of stuff you can by to keep all the gaskets that keep smells etc contained in working order. Like these lubricants we’ve purchased (and successfully used!):natural cleaning products

But the best way to keep all the valves and gaskets sealed tight and working properly is to not ruin them in the first place. Which is apparently what I’ve done.

Okay, so when we got rid of everything, there were a LOT of cleaning products that had to go. Like oven cleaner – won’t be needing that anymore. And I know the theory that harsh chemicals are bad on plastic parts – as in an RV. I know. Plus (in theory) I’m all about protecting Mother Earth. But it was just too hard to part with my soft scrub and scrubbing bubbles. More chemical scrubbing equals less elbow grease.

So I reasoned that if i didn’t use too much product, or let it sit too long, it would just be diluted in the holding tanks and washed away.

Well, we developed leaky gasket syndrome – and apparently the scrubbing bubbles are to blame. So I threw out those bad boys and got out the Cleaning Tips brochure (by Janet Trannum of Almost Heaven Products) that I picked up at an Escapade Seminar back in February.

natural cleaning products
Notice how the booklet has been roughed up a bit!

She makes all her own natural cleaning products – that of course do not harm rubber and plastic parts.

Oh sure, I “knew” about vinegar and baking soda as cleaning products from WAY back. But I never made the effort to mix up my own concoctions. Never made the time.  Why, when it was so easy to buy a bottle of this to clean that? Plus no doubt I’d been brainwashed by TV images of Mr. Clean and the clean scent of pine, and yes, those hard working scrubbing bubbles. And I may have had it in my head somewhere (again probably thanks to early TV propaganda) that if it didn’t smell chemical-ly, it wasn’t going to get the bad guys – as in germs and bacteria and ring around the bathtub.

But now that I have more time and less money, but mostly out of desperation and the thought of leaky valve syndrome leaking out unpleasant odors, I’ve decided to try cleaning with home made concoctions. So I read Janet’s tips and made a trip to the store. Here is what I came back with (actually, I already had a couple of items):natural cleaning products

Then I followed her advice and mixed up three spray bottles and got to work.natural cleaning products

And I mean work. We had been dry camping for 3 weeks, and I can’t do deep cleaning without full hookups. Right? So we were overdue. Especially our shower/tub. Navy showers + hiking dirt = really gross residue. So that was first on the list. But none of the sprays made a dent.  I admit, I had not committed to any scrubbing at this point, I just wanted to see if spraying them on would make a few clean streaks – because scrubbing bubbles certainly do! But no. I needed to scrub.

So I mixed up a paste of borax and vinegar – what Janet recommends for cleaning toilet bowls. She didn’t offer a solution for showers or bathtubs. Well, it worked okay. But I have to say, the chemicals would have been easier.

The water and vinegar for the floor I had already used, but spraying our small floor area with the blue bottle before damp mopping was way better than using a bucket or sink.

I mixed the baking soda and lemon juice into a paste to clean the sinks per booklet instruction. Still missed my soft scrub with bleach, but it worked. Nice and white and shiny. If you should try this for the first time, just be aware that lemon juice added to baking soda fizzes up – a LOT! But not the vinegar (as much). If I could remember anything I learned in high school chemistry classes I would probably know why.

Then there’s the windows, glass and mirrors. Before leaving old home, I had already switched to no window cleaner – thanks to these great little cloths that my daughter turned me on to. Just spay on water and wipe off – no streaks at all!natural cleaning products

The purple one is for glass and I use the heck out of it. It’s like magic. The grey micro-fiber not as much, but I think I need to get in the habit of using it because it holds SO much dirt. I found this out when I hand washed them in the sink after window/screen cleaning day. It was unbelievable the amount of dirt I washed out of it. So I definitely recommend these to everyone!

So – that’s my adventure with cleaning with natural products that are good for you and good for the environment. I probably should have switched when I had small children, or severe asthma, or little money. but come one – even Dollar Store sells big bottles of chemicals. Ah well, better late than never I suppose.

So the moral of the story is that cleaning in an RV is WAY different than cleaning a regular home. You have to think about your environment – which really is the best by-product from living in an RV, isn’t it?

So I’m happy to report that our gaskets are sealing and Tom does not have to replace the toilet (as first feared). Although he may have to replace the seals in the bay sooner  rather than later because of my former chemical dependancy.

How about you? Any tips to share on natural cleaning products? Does anyone know if you can buy an RV sized (i.e. small) box of Borax?

I’ll leave you with this quote from Almost Heaven’s Cleaning Tips booklet: “A clean house is a sign of a broken computer.” Thank you Janet Trannum

Happy Travels,
Peace & Love, Joy