What’s the Indoor Air Quality of an RV? (Hint: You’re Not Enjoying “Fresh Air Outdoors”!)

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Do you have lungs?

Would you like to keep them?

Good. (You and me both!)

Air is the one thing you can’t live without, and airborne pollutants are the ones you usually can’t see.

So let’s chat about the indoor air quality of your camper.

I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that RV indoor air quality is usually mediocre, there are no enforced codes or universal testing standards, very little OEM innovation, and DIY solutions are time-consuming.

The good news is I saved 15% or more on my car insurance.

Table of Contents

Is the Air Inside an RV Safe to Breathe?

Let me sell it to you straight.

There is no industry requirement for measuring indoor air quality in an RV.

RV manufacturers who are part of RVIA, the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, abide by several standards, such as NFPA 1192, Standard on Recreational Vehicles.

However, there is no air quality requirement in NFPA 1192 (2021 edition).

So if you ask an RV manufacturer, “What’s the air quality of your RV interior?” most won’t have the faintest clue.

And if two manufacturers do share ratings with you, there’s no guarantee you can compare the two. They may have different test bases!

What About Certified Green RVs and Campers?

There’s a new kid on the block called TRA. They have emerged as the leading independent certification body for “green” eco-friendly RVs.

Now, let me state for the record that I love this idea! And I highly recommend you take advantage of their awesome website here!

Unfortunately, TRA is still so new that many otherwise worthy manufacturers just aren’t participating yet.

Also, TRA looks at Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency & Indoor Air Quality.

You can check out their RV green certification rating checklist here.

I like a lot of what I’m seeing:

  • Mandatory Carb II compliance for all wood products
  • Low-VOC furniture and carpet
  • Non-emitting insulation
SOURCE: TRA
SOURCE: TRA

However, the standards for excellence are fairly low. A company can achieve “Bronze” TRA Certification just by eliminating carpet, installing direct-vent ACs, choosing block foam insulation and installing extra roof vents – and that does not a chemical-safe RV make!

So it’s a step in the right direction. But as of now, green RV certification is in its infancy.

Of course, you may be wondering why people care about RV safe air quality in the first place?

Let’s hop in our wayback machine and return to the far, faraway land of 2008.

Short-Term Housing = Long-Term Problems

In 2008, hurricane Katrina dealt the U.S. a blow it wouldn’t soon forget.

Waves from the Gulf of Mexico up to 55 feet tall deluged the Deep South beaches.

New Orleans, the region’s urban crown jewel, was drowned in the surge. More than 1 million people were displaced.

FEMA supplied thousands of travel trailers, park models and mobile homes for these lost victims. For the first time since the disaster, they could finally breathe easy.

But for many, that didn’t last. Thousands complained of health issues like severe headaches, congestion, and trouble breathing. Some, particularly the young and elderly, wound up in the ER.

The Sierra Club gathered anecdotal evidence. The EPA waded in. Litigation began. What was happening to these people?

What they discovered was that almost nine out of 10 trailers had significant levels of formaldehyde, an airborne toxin and known carcinogen common in manufactured wood products. In many cases, the ppm concentrations were far in excess of the legal limit!

FEMA recommended, “Families who live in travel trailers and mobile homes should spend as much time outdoors in fresh air as possible. This is especially important for families with children, elderly people, or those with chronic diseases such as asthma.”

That’s some scary stuff! To be told you shouldn’t breathe the air in your own home.

The FEMA formaldehyde scare left a stain on the legacy of the RV industry.

And it begs the question: Are modern RVs any safer?

How Clean Is the Air Inside an RV?

Let’s define indoor air quality (IAQ).

No, we’re not talking about odor.

We’re talking about the impact of the air you breathe on your long-term health.

Indoor air quality is the conditioning and cleanliness of your air.

  • Condition refers to temperature, humidity, oxygenation, etc.
  • Cleanliness refers to chemical concentration, dust, allergens, mold, etc.

In this article, we’ll focus on the cleanliness (purity) of our air.

Mugshots: Meet the Enemies of Clean Air

Now, we all want clean, pure, fresh air in our RVs and campers! Unfortunately, we wage war against three enemies:

  • Allergens & Dust
  • Airborne Chemicals
  • Mold & Mildew

We’ll talk more about these in greater depth in the rest of the article.

Click on a picture to skip to that section.

Allergens and Dust

What Are Common Allergens in Campers?

(Don’t eat lunch while reading this article. Because this next fact is super gross.)

After two years, about ⅓ the weight of your pillow is dust mite poop and dead skin.

Here is a dust mite selfie:

Yup, those are the little critters that skitter around your skin at night, feeding on your dead skin.

Most people with asthma are allergic to dust mites and their fecal matter.

And dust mites are just the tip of the iceberg.

Common house allergens include pollen, dirt, pet dander, dead skin, even arm, legs, heads and other body parts from dead flies that you slaughtered with a flyswatter and never picked up.

Anywhere humans go, these allergens follow. That includes your RV.

How to Get Rid of Allergens in Your RV

Do Away with Carpet

1 My number one recommendation is simple: Get rid of your carpet. The fibers harbor allergens. The longer the pile, the worse the carpet.

There’s a host of other reasons to replace the carpet in your RV as well. It hides water absorption, traps mud and grime, and wears out quickly.

“But Ross,” you say, “I’m leaving for Yellowstone in four days! I don’t have time to replace my carpet!”

I understand. If you’re unable to do major renovation, keep reading for some earlier, easier, quicker solutions.

Wash & Dry Your Bedding

2 Dust mites thrive in warm, humid, dark, dusty spaces (which is basically every bedroom ever).

You should wash and dry your bedding at high heat weekly. Mites and other microscopic creatures will drown in water and die at high heat (at least 140 degrees).

If you’re a full-timer and don’t have immediate access to an electric dryer, then place your bedding in direct sunlight for at least three hours.

Oh, and choose bedding with a thread count of at least 300.

Dust Away!

3 Did you know original feather dusters were made of ostrich down feathers? These natural miracles do actually attract dust due to static electricity!

Your $10 synthetic feather duster, on the other hand, does not. It just stirs up the dust into the air and irritates your sinuses.

So throw away that $10 duster and use your vacuum’s handheld attachment instead. Or ostrich feathers. Your choice.

Open a Window

4 Out with the bad, in with the good!

The simplest, cheapest method to improve your RV air quality is to air it out. Even in a regular house, outdoor air 2-5x cleaner than indoor air.

Open two windows, preferably on opposite sides of the camper, and let Mother Nature and physics work their magic.

If the RV is inside an enclosed space, turn on a ceiling or exhaust fan to assist in air circulation.

Give Fido a Bath

5 All your hard work cleaning, scrubbing and vacuuming can be laid waste by a single dirty dog.

So before you embark on your next adventure, bathe your pets.

  • Use an anti-dander shampoo.
  • Air dry the dog’s coat
  • Brush after bathing and use a pet hair vacuum.

Pot a Plant

6 Did you know Gerbera daisies aren’t just beautiful wedding flowers? They also filter benzene, a known carcinogenic chemical, out of the air!

Now, I’m not suggesting you plant an ivy plant and wait for your RV to turn into Jumanji.

Instead, Bill Wolverton, a former NASA scientist, recommends the easy-to-grow golden pothos.

Invest In an Air Purifier

7 Air purifiers are magical. I love them!

A decent air purifier will have a HEPA filter. These filters are rated to trap at least 99.7% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other particles with a size of 0.3 microns.

(That’s tiny. A human hair is about 70 microns wide. So imagine splitting a hair into 240 individual hairs!)

Now, please remember that air purifiers are only useful if your doors and windows are closed! Ventilation will just remove all that clean air your purifier worked so hard to produce.

Indoor air filtration is an exciting science! Companies are introducing new chemical, biochemical and mechanical methods. For instance, the PECO filter uses a chemical catalyst that transforms pollutants into nothing more than carbon dioxide and water vapor!

Volatile Organic Compounds

What Is a VOC?

Basically, some materials release airborne chemicals that, in sufficient concentration, can harm our health.

Many of these airborne chemicals are called VOCs: Volatile Organic Chemicals.

I’m a mechanical engineer, not a chemical scientist. So I won’t try to explain the ins and outs of phthalates versus phenols.

VOCs are a family of chemical compounds numbering in the tens of thousands. Many are organic solvents found in everyday materials: flooring, wood finishes, moth repellents, printer ink and permanent markers.

These VOCs are released into the air through off-gassing.

In other words, certain chemicals and compounds become inhalants. You breathe them in, and (hopefully) you breathe them out.

That new car smell in your latest Subaru? Well, it’s actually a vaporous stew of VOCs emitted mostly by your faux leather upholstery, low-pile carpet flooring, nonwoven headliner, soft-touch black dashboard, and hard buttons and switches – which are all plastics!

That’s something worth remembering. Many, maybe even most, sources of VOCs are some type of plastic.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long recognized that many Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can pose a significant threat to indoor air quality. Many are known or suspected carcinogens.

Are All VOCs Dangerous to My Health?

But before we go any further, let’s not get blinded by fear. Tens of thousands of chemicals are technically VOCs, and not all VOCs are evil!

For instance, most fruits produce ethylene gas, which helps ripen (and decay) neighboring fruits and vegetables. That’s why bananas turn brown when left in the grocery bag.

Ever enjoy the scent of sagebrush or wintergreen? Thank a VOC for that!

So don’t freak out every time you see the word “VOC.”

With that said, many VOCs are undeniably harmful and incredibly dangerous. I’ve used my fair share of industrial solvents and cleaners, like MEK and xylene. These solvents can cause permanent brain damage!

But when we’re talking about VOCs in RVs, we’re not usually talking about perfumes or industrial-strength solvents.

We’re talking about low-level VOC emissions from common building materials like vinyl flooring, wallpaper, and wood finishes.

VOCs are all around us. But they tend to pile up in RVs and campers for four reasons.

Why Do RVs Have Poor Indoor Air Quality?

Lots of Stuff, Small Space

1 RV designers pack a lot in a small space! We put a kitchen, shower, dinette and bedroom in what some people would consider a walk-in closet.

There’s not much air to share. So the concentration of VOCs is bound to be higher.

Not Much Air Exchange

2 There’s no air exchange or passive ventilation requirements for an RV camper. In fact, manufacturers generally try to build RVs as airtight as possible for better insulation.

So unless you open a window or turn on a fan, there’s no meaningful airflow within a camper. That means VOCs can accumulate during storage if an RV is not vented.

High Storage Temperature

3 Off-gassing increases with temperature. And whereas the interior temperature of your home may never exceed 80 deg, an RV interior commonly reaches 90, 100 even 120 degrees! It’s like an oven for VOCs!

Choice of Building Materials

4 Let’s take a look at three common categories of building materials used in RV construction.

A) Manufactured Wood Goods

Pop Quiz: What do all these materials have in common?

  • Particleboard
  • Oriented-Strand Board (OSB)
  • Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)
  • Melamine
  • Laminates

Answer: Formaldehyde!

 Types include urea formaldehyde, phenol formaldehyde, and melamine formaldehyde. These sheet goods are used in”

  • Vinyl-wrapped furniture
  • Plywood seat covers
  • Solid OSB subfloors
  • Counter- and table-tops
  • Lauan plywood wall and ceiling panels
  • Plank flooring

If that sounds like almost everywhere … then yes, it is almost everywhere.

Formaldehyde emissions remains a big concern for many new RVs.

Thankfully, regulations have tightened up quite a bit since Hurricane Katrina.  Today, many of the decorative plywood, particleboard and MDF products sold in the US are either no-added formaldehyde (NAF) or ultra low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) products. Whew! Breathe easy!

However, please note that structural panels, like subflooring OSB and exterior-grade plywood, are exempt from these regulations.

Now, some will argue that these panels use low-emitting adhesives anyways, so that’s no biggie. However, in the cramped and unventilated interior of an RV, even small formaldehyde emissions can quickly add up.

B) Engineering Plastics

PVC is a plastic workaholic. It can do anything! Unfortunately, it’s also known as “the poison plastic.” It has been banned in many countries. You might find it in:

  • Drain piping
  • Vinyl upholstery
  • Wallpaper
  • Plank flooring
  • Sheet flooring
  • Countertops and tables

ABS is a common plastic for thermoforming, often found in:

  • Shower pan
  • Shower enclosure
  • Bathroom sinks
  • Plastic storage cubbies
  • Exterior body trim

Some other common plastics include:

  • PP (polypropylene): Carpet backing. It can release 4-PC, which is an eye- and respiratory-irritant.
  • PU (polyurethane): Foam mattresses*, mattress toppers, spray foam
  • PS (polystyrene): Laminated wall block foam, composite panels

*Foam mattresses, along with other upholstery items, can also release brominated flame retardants.

Unfortunately, most plastics are bad for you or the environment in some way, whether in manufacturing, use, or disposal. However, they don’t off-gas formaldehyde, and VOC emissions quickly taper off after production.

C) Solvents and Adhesives

Almost every adhesive, solvent, sealant, paint or coating used inside or outside your RV will release VOCs.

That is by their nature. In order for a liquid caulk to dry, the solvent or carrier must evaporate. And even water-based caulks and sealants usually have toxic solvent components.

It’s a pretty long list. That caulk around your counter? The clear finish on your cabinets? Your sheet vinyl flooring adhesive? Your exterior trim sealant?

Almost all caulks, paints and sealants release VOCs, I’m afraid. If you want to know exactly what’s in your caulk, find the MSDS sheet. You’ll see that many of them won’t allow storage or use in unventilated spaces, and virtually none of them are approved for skin- or eye-contact.

Is There Any Hope for Eliminating VOCs?

At this point, you’re probably looking around your RV and wondering, “Is there ANYTHING in here that isn’t TRYING TO KILL ME?!

I have some good news.

1) Skin Deep Is All That Matters!

When it comes to off-gassing, we mostly only care about what’s skin deep.

For instance, your RV walls are probably a sandwich of gel-coated fiberglass, Azdel, expanded polystyrene foam, luan plywood and wallpaper.

We care mostly about the plywood and wallpaper. Everything else is buried and will have less impact on interior air quality.

2) VOC Emissions Drop with Time

You might have heard that laminate flooring off-gasses for 10 years. Well, technically, it off-gasses forever. But after 10 years, the amount is negligible.

Even better, the majority of the off-gassing occurs in the first few weeks and months!

It’s impossible to say just how much and how fast a material will off-gas. This varies based on temperature, humidity, and a dozen other factors.

But as a rule, off-gassing follows the rule of exponential decay.

So VOC emissions fall off a cliff with age. They start as a waterfall, but the rate quickly slows to a trickle.

By the time you pick up your RV, all your parts will be at least several weeks and probably months (maybe even years!) old. Most of the work is done!

3) You Can Choose Non-Emitting Products

Yes! There are actually non-emitting products!

You can see a list of non-emitting and low-emitting materials here.

Here are some common zero-VOC materials.

  • Salvaged and reused architectural millwork
  • Stone and masonry
  • Powder-coated metals
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Glass
  • Concrete
  • Untreated solid wood

Most of these materials are heavy and are rarely installed in an RV travel trailer or motorhome. However,  if you’re renovating your RV, do what you want!

How to Get Rid of VOCs in Your RV

Air It Out

1

Isn’t it wonderful when the best solution is also the cheapest? Simply open a window, turn on the fans, and let Mother Nature work her magic.
This is the simplest, easiest, cheapest and best way to improve your RV air quality.

Don’t forget to open up the cabinets as well! You want all the air to get flushed out!

Or Cook It Out

2 VOC emissions increase with heat. So if you crank up the heat in your RV, more VOCs will be released into the air!

  1. Park your RV in direct sunlight and close all the windows, fans and doors.
  2. Or close all windows and doors and turn your furnace on high.
  3. Let the interior reach at least 90 degrees, and let it side for 12-24 hours.
  4. Obviously, please don’t use the camper during this time!
  5. Open up all the windows and doors and turn on the fan! ‘Cause boy, it’ll stink! Let it air out for at least 3-4 hours.
  6. Repeat this process as necessary.
  7. Do NOT use the camper unless you’ve vented it out for at least 3-4 hours AND allowed it to sit overnight!

P.S. There is another version of “cook it out” that involves high heat and evaporation of liquid ammonia. I do NOT recommend this method for most people. Ammonia is highly corrosive and in sufficient concentrations can cause immediate burning of the eyes and lung damage.

Or Seal It In!

3 Whereas cooking it out tries to eliminate all residual formaldehyde, this method seals it all in! Since VOCs are released with exposure to air, this solution is to cover the offending material with an air-tight barrier.

Some people try to use aluminized foil or some other sheet product, but this is impractical for larger campers and RVs. A liquid-applied coating is much easier.

Many people swear by shellac. This incredible wood finish is one of the oldest natural finishes in the world. It’s made from the secretions of the India lac bug. Shellac makes anything shine! It’s almost darn-near vapor-proof. Two solid coats of shellac will seal most vapors from the substrate.

Zinsser is by far the biggest importer of shellac in the U.S. You can purchase their shellac products by the gallon.*

*Fair warning: In liquid form, the shellac is dissolved in alcohol, which does emit VOCs of its own. So find a friend to help you out, and wear a mask.

A shellac alternative is AFM SafeCoat Hardseal, a clear ultra-low VOC sealer. AFM SafeCoat Hardseal is more durable than shellac, but it cannot be applied over particleboard. Meanwhile, as the saying goes, “Shellac sticks to everything, and everything sticks to shellac.”

Neither of these two finishes are rated for heavy-traffic surfaces like floors, countertops, etc. For that, you’ll need to move on to the next idea!

Personally, I have found that Green Building Supply is an excellent source for these and many similar materials.

Renovate Your Camper Interior

4 What you can’t seal in or cook out, you can replace. Obviously, you can’t replace all offending materials – but remember, it’s what’s skin-deep that matters most.

Public Enemy No. 1 is probably your carpet or vinyl flooring. If you can’t cover it up, rip it out. Replace it with genuine linoleum sheet flooring or unfinished wood, like Douglas Fir, Teak or Oak. Take a look at the earlier list of non-emitting materials, too.

If you own a motorhome, you might be able to get away with porcelain tile flooring. Everyone else, stay away! – it’ll crack!

Public Enemy No. 2 might be your mattress and furniture. The polyurethane foam used in most cheap mattresses is a veritable greenhouse for VOCs. You can do better!

If you do choose a foam mattress or mattress topper, purchase one that is GreenGuard Gold certified or CertiPUR-Us certified. Look into green alternatives. There are plentiful options!

  • Natural latex mattresses
  • All-cotton shikibutons
  • Wool- or plant fiber-stuffed spring steel mattresses

Research RV Brand Build Quality

5 Which is the RV with best indoor air quality?

Now, let me set something straight. RV manufacturers are really best described as “assemblers.” Most components, like refrigerators, furnaces, beds, etc., are all purchased from vendors.

So it’s not like we directly control formaldehyde levels. We use more-or-less the same construction plywood everyone else does.*

And, in case you didn’t already know, most of the RV market is controlled by two companies: Thor Industries and Forest River (owned by Berkshire Hathaway). Forest River produces more than 20 RV brands alone!

The supply chain is similarly monopolized. A handful of companies, such as Dometic and Lippert, own most of the market.

So the bad news is that most RVs are pretty much the same. You’ll need to look at A) smaller, independent manufacturers or B) luxury RVs to find any with low VOC emissions.

If you are more sensitive to formaldehyde, then you may benefit from an aluminum-framed or aluminum-skinned camper.

Of these, the king is arguably Airstream. As of 2021, no wood is used in the construction of the shells.

Smaller boutique manufacturers like InTech may use aluminum-framed structures. ATC builds all-aluminum toy haulers. There are a handful of other all-aluminum campers as well.

Other premium brands, like Little Guy or NuCamp, substitute poplar plywood and hardwood for vinyl-wrapped particle board.

Pay for a Custom RV Build

6 Whew! This is drastic. And expensive. Expect to pay roughly 3x as much for a custom chemical-safe RV compared to a similar model on a dealer lot.

A skilled private builder can design and fabricate a low-VOC, formaldehyde-free, chemically-safe camper.

Rather than using particleboard, the builder might use PureBond plywood, which is made with a formaldehyde-free adhesive.

  • Shell could be aluminum-framed and skinned.
  • Countertops might be oiled and waxed butcher block, solid maple.
  • Paint could be ultra-low VOC acrylic latex.

For every VOC offender, there is normally a low-VOC replacement – but as I said, expect to sell your body for indentured servitude in order to pay for it. You need expensive materials and extremely skilled labor to pull this off.

Purchase a Used Camper

7 Purchasing a used RV is a double-edged sword.

I’m not suggesting your purchase Ol’ Bertha, your neighbor’s 38-ft travel trailer with dry-rotted tires and a blue strap bungee strapped across the roof to keep out the rain.

That’s a recipe for disaster. Many, if not most, older RVs have experienced a leak or two. Many have hidden mold or mildew spots, especially around windows and inside ceilings.

Instead, I’m suggesting you purchase a well-kept unit, one used at least every few months, preferably from the desert Southwest.

You see, purchasing a used RV has three major benefits:

  1. Most of the off-gassing is complete! After 5-10 years, off-gassing from many materials is negligible.
  2. If you purchase a well-kept camper from an arid climate, then there’s a low chance of mold!
  3. Someone else has already debugged the camper. Now, you get to enjoy it.
  4. Bonus: You can snag a great deal!

If you’re shopping used, check out the all-aluminum CampLite or LivinLite trailers.

Mold and Mildew

Samanoo-mold

What Is Mold in a Camper?

Mold and mildew aren’t the same things! Both are fungi. Mold tends to be the more health-hazardous of the two. Mold is darker, fuzzier. Mildew turns into a white, powdery substance.

Mold growth begins with a spore – or more than likely, a few bajillion of them. Mold spores are everywhere. In fact, you’re probably inhaling a few right now.*

That spore needs five ingredients in order to thrive.

  1. Food source.
  2. Warmth.
  3. Darkness.
  4. Oxygen.
  5. Moisture.

Let’s walk through these.

*Thank your nose hairs for keeping your lungs clean!

How Does Mold Get in an RV?

Food Source

1 This can be wood, cardboard, paper, bread, tomatoes, even dust. Most any cellulose-based material can serve as food. In an RV, common mold sources include plywood paneling, paper wallpaper facing, and wooden sheet goods in furniture.

Warmth

2 Mold can’t grow at sub-freezing temperatures. In fact, many molds thrive only between 70 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Many become dormant when the thermometer drops below 40 degrees – hence why your residential fridge is set at 39 degrees

Darkness

3UV light kills fungi spores and other microbes. Mold thrives in dark places like the interior of your cabinets and inside your ceiling structure.

Oxygen

4 They don’t need much, but a little oxygen is essential for growth. Mold won’t grow inside an airtight laminated wall, for instance.

Moisture or Humidity

5 Mold cannot grow in dry, arid conditions. Moisture, either liquid or vapor, drives growth. This is the number one problem when dealing with mold and mildew infestations in an RV or camper!

Do All Campers Have Mold?

If you’re shopping for a used RV, it can seem like almost all older campers have mold or mildew: on the walls, the ceiling, the floor corners, etc.

Simply put, this is for two reasons.

  1. RVs are built with a 10-20 year lifespan. 
  2. RVs are normally stored unventilated.

You can’t do much about build quality. But you can choose to store your RV correctly so mold doesn’t have a chance!

How to Prevent Mold in Your RV

Seal Your Roof

1 Most leaks in a camper originate from the roof. Common failure points are:

  • The roof edge corner joints
  • Pipe penetrations
  • Roof fan and AC mounts

Wall penetrations are other usual suspects. Fridge vents are known to leak in high winds. Windows are the worst offender outside of roof-edge leaks.

I cannot overstate the importance of maintaining your roof sealants! Either check and/or re-seal your roof and wall caulking every 6-12 months, or else upgrade your RV roof with a permanent roll-on coating like RV Armor.

Check Your Plumbing

2 A network of semi-rigid PEX pipes, flexible vinyl hoses, and stiff white PVC pipes carry supply and drain water around your camper.

Common plumbing leak sources include:

  • Loose PEX crimp rings
  • The plastic threads on the backsides of outdoor showers
  • Faulty water pumps
  • Loose slip fittings underneath sinks

Most of these can be easily fixed with DIY tools and a half-hour of your time.

Store In a Dry Place

3 This is so important! There is no better way to prevent mold in your RV than by storing your RV in a dry place!

Preferably, that means an enclosed garage. If not that, then an RV carport. A camper should also be ventilated to reduce interior condensation from diurnal temperature swings. 

Don’t use a tarp. Tarps just trap moisture and make the problem worse.

You need to keep the humidity at 50% or less.

Use Anti-Mold Spray

4 Now, I haven’t used this spray myself, but I’ve heard it works wonders. 

Anti-mold spray contain fungicides that kill mold spores before they can proliferate. They are an excellent solution for mold-proofing cabinet interiors.

However, not all are food-safe. A quick, effective DIY solution is undiluted white vinegar, which kills many mold species.

FYI, most soaps do not kill mold spores!

How to Remove Mold from RV

If your RV already has mold, I have good news and bad news.

Good news: A thorough scrubbing with the above-mentioned sprays and cleaned will eliminate the black mold and mildew from your shower, wallpaper, ceiling, etc.

Bad news: If the mold has infiltrated your structure, there’s no easy fix. RVs aren’t designed for easy DIY renovation. Just to remove an infected ceiling panel might require removing three cabinets and an air conditioner shroud!

This is one of those situations where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

By maintaining a low level of humidity, however, you can pause the mold growth. You won’t likely kill the spores, but you can make them dormant. That will reduce the musty smell and may alleviate asthma and allergic reactions.

 

Ross

RV engineer by day, intrepid blogger by night (and occasionally weekends). This website is all about how RVs work, and sometimes why they don't. Bookmark pages that you find helpful, and join my email list for exclusive monthly awesomeness.