Health Risks of Mold & Mildew
Mold, mildew, and other fungi serve a vital function within our ecosystem, by breaking down organic materials and aiding in soil enrichment, but they can have noticeable negative health effects when they develop within your RV. Growths can begin to form on damp surfaces within 24 hours, producing spores that float through the air. Buildup can result in allergic reactions, watery and itchy eyes, coughing, rashes, and runny noses. Children, elderly, and those with prior respiratory issues are particularly susceptible to the effects.
Beware of the Off-Season
RVs are most vulnerable to mold and mildew formations in the off-season. When not in use, your RV can become an incubator for mildew, so proper storage is crucial to ensuring that you don’t get your RV out for the season only to discover that it has become a breeding ground for mold. Properly store your RV, and if possible use climate-controlled storage, especially in areas of high humidity.
Maintenance & Inspection
A huge component of keeping your RV mold and mildew free is keeping up on maintenance. You’ll want to routinely inspect your unit for mildew buildup, especially your storage compartments, to catch problems before they spread. Make sure your RV is watertight by paying extra attention to caulking, seams, and moldings, which can become damaged by UV rays overtime. Keep a tube of sealant handy for timely repairs. You’ll also want to regularly inspect plumbing valves, pipes, and the toilet as part of your routine maintenance.
Reducing the moisture level in your RV is vital to keeping it mold and mildew free. When humidity in your unit is high, such as when you are showering or boiling water, be sure to turn on extractor fans and wipe up excess moisture with a towel. Using a dehumidifier can also drastically reduce moisture in your unit, and they can be found in relatively compact designs. Line your cupboards and drawers with newspapers to promote a dry environment, and consider placing a small box of baking soda inside your cupboards and storage spaces as well.
Occasionally open the windows and doors of your RV to encourage fresh air circulation. When air from outside mixes with inside air, the moisture content inside your unit will decrease, delaying condensation buildup. Installing air purifiers will not only help to prevent mold buildup, but they can also improve air quality and ease respiratory problems. Adding more ventilation systems or an extra air conditioner will also help to improve ventilation inside your RV.
Cleaning For Mold
If you’ve already noticed visible mildew or mold, don’t wait to take action. To clean your floors and countertops, make a solution of 1 cup bleach and 4 cups water. Then, spray your RV’s surfaces and rinse with water before wiping with a clean towel. If any of your upholsteries are removable, put them in the washing machine with normal detergent, and also a mixture of a 1/2 cup of Borax and 4 cups of hot water, letting the materials soak for about 15 minutes before beginning the cycle. For non-removable upholstery, mix 1 teaspoon of dishwasher detergent, 1 quart water, and 1 teaspoon of Borax, and spray on the material before scrubbing it with a soft-bristle brush.
With a few minor precautions, you can take care of mold and mildew problems in your RV before they happen. Just be aware of humidity levels and regularly inspect your unit to ensure that the air you breathe is clean and mildew-free!