Smelly RV or Travel Trailer….10 Tips to Get Rid of the Odor

Nothing is worse than driving down the open road then all of sudden you catch a sniff of something nasty.  You keep on driving thinking that maybe you just passed some roadkill. But the smell stays….and stays. Now it can only be coming from one place, your RV.  Here are a few tips to get rid of that awful smell:

#1: RV Sewer Smell In The Bathroom

This can be a tuffy.  There are oodles of different chemicals for eliminating RV toilet odor. Some are recommended for use when your waste is deposited in a septic system, and others are designed to go down the city sewer. One thing is for sure though, they don’t always do the job!

A lesser-known issue with RV toilets is the lack of adequate ventilation for the black water tank. It is vented out the roof of the RV, but many times while driving, the wind will actually push air back down the vent pipe rather than draw the RV odor out.

The Cyclone Sewer Vent is designed to create a powerful vortex that will suck the odor out of the black tank with only a modest breeze. There are a number of these kind of vents available.  A friendly reminder: Always drain your waste tanks after every RV outing!

#2: RV Kitchen And Bathroom Drain Odors

During periods of non-use, water contained in P-traps under every sink and the shower will have the opportunity to grow bacteria. This smell can travel all through your RV.

To keep them from smelling during periods of storage, mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water. Pour some in every drain then dump what’s left into a sink — so it will go into the gray water tank.

#3: Rodent Odors Onboard RVs

There is nothing worse than the smell of a dead mouse baking in the hot sun. Been there, done that! The only way it will go away is to find the carcass and remove it. Then, follow up with a good scrubbing of the area.

If your RV is going to be stored for a period of time, a good offense is the best defense in order to avoid rodent problems in your RV.

#4: Bad Smelling Potable RV Water

Sooner or later it will happen. You fill up your fresh water tank only to discover the water smells or tastes horrible. It’s so bad you can’t even make coffee with it. Many areas of the country are plagued with water that smells of sulfur. The only way to clean out the smell from your water system is to sanitize your RV water system with a diluted mixture of household bleach and water.  If bad water is a reoccurring problem in your area, consider installing a water filtration system.

#5: Closed Up Stale RV Storage Smell

If you’ve ever gone RV shopping and toured the second row of used motorhomes, you know what I mean. There is nothing fresh about these babies. They have been sitting for years with little or no use — closed up tight so every odor just builds on the next. When you step inside, you just want to get out ASAP so you can breath again!

To avoid this particular RV odor, your recreational vehicle needs to breath.

Installing vent covers over the existing roof vents will enable you to leave the roof vents open slightly, allowing hot stale air to escape. You might consider solar powered vents to draw the air out more efficiently.

Removing this deeply ingrained type of RV odor will require everything listed above plus cleaning every surface in your RV. There are products like Bad Air Sponge or Smelleze RV Deodorizer that claim they can absorb storage and mildew odors.  I’m old school, I believe in the power of Pine Sol.

#6 & #7: Smelly RV Carpet & Pet Odors

The best cure for smelly or pet stained carpet is to tear it all out and install laminated flooring. The RV industry hasn’t done RVers any favors over the years by installing wall to wall carpeting. Just because it was cheaper for the manufacturer, it sure wasn’t the best choice for floor covering.

You can have your carpeting professionally cleaned to take care of much of the odor. When you do, invest in throw rugs to help keep the carpeting as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

Many carpet cleaning companies can also steam clean your upholstery. This will help eliminate pet odors from Fido sleeping on the sofa all day.

#8: RV Refrigerator Odor

To avoid a nasty mildew smell in your RV refrigerator wipe down the inside with soapy water after every outing. Then let the refrigerator and freezer sit with the doors left ajar to allow all moisture to evaporate. I use bungee cords to tie them back so they don’t accidentally close when I move the RV into it’s parking spot. Leaving a shallow bowl of baking soda in both the refrigerator and freezer compartments will absorb any refrigerator odor that may develop.

#9 & #10: Propane & Ammonia Odors In RVs

These 2 odors mean big problems. If you smell a strong ammonia odor, the source will be the cooling unit of your refrigerator. There won’t be any question about the odor, because it will be strong enough to bring tears to your eyes. There is nothing you can do on your own to fix the problem; this requires the specialized knowledge of your RV dealer. Be prepared, it will be expensive.

Propane odor can come from many sources in and around your RV from the propane tanks to the stove, oven, refrigerator, water heater and furnace.

Don’t forget all the gas lines connecting these appliances to the tank as well! A small brush and soapy water can be used to check fittings for leaks. Just be sure you have adequate ventilation before you go inside to look for the problem. If you’re the least bit unsure of what you’re doing, call the professionals.

RV odors are a common, yet annoying, problem. Don’t waste your time with products that do little more than mask the issue or (worse!) introduce a new smell to cover up the bad odor. For the most part, it’s best to invest in some elbow grease and give your RV a good cleaning. [Source: RV Road Trips]

Good luck tracking down and that smell. And if you have another tip on where to look and get rid of a smelly problem, please let us know!


RV Cooking: Dog Treat Recipes

This one is strictly for the dogs!  Since we love our pets so much, why not give them a healthy treat baked up by their favorite person, you!  Here are a few recipes you can bake up that good and easy:

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit with Oatmeal


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use another type of flour if your dog is sensitive to wheat)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth (I used smooth this time)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water

Additional flour for rolling


    1. Preheat oven to 350° F
    2. Mix dry ingredients together.

    1. Mix in the peanut butter and hot water. You may need to add more water if the dough is too sticky.

    1. Knead the dough well.
    2. Roll out the dough into 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes with dog cookie cutters.

Note – This recipe doesn’t call for it, but I put an egg wash (one egg whisked with a fork and then brushed on with a pastry brush) on the treats before I baked them. It gives them a nice sheen once they’re baked. Here’s how they look before baking.

Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let them cool overnight.

If you and your dog can’t wait that long, cool them completely on a wire rack before serving.

After: The cookies get very hard, just the way dogs like them!

Storing: This peanut butter dog biscuit recipe makes biscuits that will last in a sealed air tight container at room temperature for one week. You can store them in the refrigerator for 3 weeks and in the freezer for up to 6 months. [Source: Dog Treat Kitchen]

Canine Carrot Cookies

2 cups carrots — boiled and pureed

2 eggs
2 tablespoons garlic — minced
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (alternative: rice flour or rye flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ

Combine carrots, eggs and garlic. Mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients.
Roll out on heavily floured surface and cut into bars or desired shapes.
Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or to desired crunchiness. The centers
will continue to harden as they cool. Brush with egg white before baking
for a glossy finish. [Source: Hungry Mutt]

Bacon Chicken Layer Cake

This recipe makes a real layer cake! Chicken, bacon and yogurt provide aromas that drive dogs crazy for this cake.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 2 jars strained chicken baby food
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 2 or 3 strips of bacon, fried crisp, then crumbled, or use bacon-flavored jerky strips, cut into bits.

Generously grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans; set aside. Combine flour and baking powder; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat softened margarine until smooth. Add eggs and corn oil; mix well. Add strained chiicken, and shredded carrots and mix until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into the 2 prepared 8″ cake pans. Bake at 325° for 60 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Place one layer on a serving plate and spread yogurt over top. Place second layer on top, then spread yogurt on top and sides of entire cake. Sprinkle crumbled bacon or bits of jerky strips over top. Use “Pupperoni” sticks for candles. [Source: Dog Birthdays and Parties]

I think it would be a great idea to take a RV trip for your dogs birthday and make it a birthday weekend!  And of course invite all of your fellow RVers and travel trailing friends and their pups too!


Be Careful of Where You Park Your RV!

You don’t want to end up like this RV did….skiing down the mountain!

No one was injured when a parked RV slid off an embankment Tuesday at Appalachian Ski Mountain.
The RV passengers were on the slopes when the Fleetwood RV slid at about 11 a.m., leaving a dog trapped inside the vehicle.
Blowing Rock Fire & Rescue and the N.C. Highway Patrol responded to the accident, and rescuers cut through the windshield to free the dog.
Trooper T.B. Hendrix of the N.C. Highway Patrol said it appeared that the vehicle was parked too close to the bank and slid backward, stopping on its side on a pile of trees and debris at the bottom.
A wrecker was able to pull the RV upright from a road at the base of the hill, but that same icy road made it difficult for the wrecker to pull it back to the main parking lot, Hendrix said. [Source: Watauga Democrat]

Now that’s gotta be just a little bit embarrassing and not to mention costly.  And thank goodness that the dog was unharmed!  So fellow RVes and travel trailer-ers, be careful of where park!


Now’s the Best Time for a RV Show!

Are you traveling in your RV and need something to do? Or are you in the market for a RV, fifth wheel or pop-up?  Or if you just like to check out shows, then you should head to the nearest RV show!  January through early April are the best months to catch a RV show and catch up on all of the latest RVs, technology and more.  To find a RV show nearest you check out the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association website by clicking here.

RV Shows are the best opportunity to see tons of RVs all in one convenient place. And you can check out a wide-range of what the traveling/camping world has to offer like travel trailers, motor homes, fifth wheels, pop-ups, hybrid campers, truck campers and more. The possibilities are just about endless.

This is also a great time to compare the different models and manufactures. There are tons of options these days so you can really take your time and see what’s just right for you. And then you can head to your local RV dealer and see what they have in store for you!

RV shows are definitely family friends events so bring everyone!  Tell us what RV show you attend and your favorite part!


Hybrid Campers…They Save on Gas too!

We have all heard of hybrid vehicles which have gained more and more popularity over the last few years with the world movement to be more environmentally conscious.  The whole point of a hybrid vehicle is to use less gas and be more efficient.    The same goes for a hybrid camper.  So what is a hybrid camper?  I would simply explain it as a mix between a traditional travel trailer and a pop-up trailer.    The majority of the camper is like a hard sided travel trailer, but a hybrid also has canvas slide outs similar to a pop-up.  This unique combination has gained popularity over the last several years.

One major reason for the increased popularity is due to the fact that hybrids usually have lighter tow weights than a traditional travel trailer.  This is appealing to those who want the most efficient gas mileage when towing.

Hybrids also have great floor plans.  These hybrids don’t look nearly as big as a traditional travel trailer when folded up, but once the slide outs are pushed out they are quite roomy.

In addition, because hybrid trailers are fairly new, manufacturers are working very hard on building them with the upmost quality which is sure to last.

Hybrid campers have become a great alternative to the traditional travel trailer.  If you are in the market for a new travel trailer, look at both options and of course let us know what concerns or questions you have by leaving us a comment.


Hey Nichols, My RV Can Fit in that Gas Station, Right?!

Knowing how tall your new RV, travel trailer or fifth-wheel is very, very important. I mean you don’t want to pull into a covered gas station and take the air conditioning off! Or worse, you completely damage the covering of the gas station or drive thru!  It seems like common sense, but sometimes it’s just overlooked.  Believe me, I have friends that’s it’s happened to.  You really do need to know exactly what spaces you can and more importantly can’t fit into.

Here’s a funny clip of an interview with Drew Barrymore about her one month RV roadtrip across the US and her experience of not knowing the height of her RV:

Pretty funny, right? Well I guess so if you’re a celebrity with deep pockets. Most of us would most likely think twice about RVing again..or for a while at least.  So make sure you know the height of your RV, travel trailer or fifth-wheel so you don’t make the same mistake.  Feel free to comment with any questions!