While it is always important to keep your RV clean and tidy, sometimes extra precautions need to be taken to help ensure not only the cleanliness of your unit but the safety of your passengers. In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak—commonly known as the Coronavirus—TOGO RV wants to help fellow RVers and travelers feel safe and prepared. Using the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, we’ve put together a quick resource on how to properly disinfect your RV in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
First Things First
In order to stem the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the infection curve, the CDC is asking every American to follow some basic containment protocols. That means isolating yourself if you’re experiencing Coronavirus symptoms, limiting social gatherings, and disinfecting your hands and living space frequently.
If you’re currently in an RV and you or a passenger show any symptoms (sore throat, cough, fever, joint pains, difficulty breathing), try to stay as isolated as possible. Avoid moving throughout the RV and keep to one room or a small section of the unit. Wear a mask or cover your face with a piece of clothing if you need to come into contact with someone else. If you’re lucky enough to have two bathrooms in your RV, then keep one bathroom reserved for the ill person. If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
If you have a dog or cat traveling in the RV with you, it’s recommended that any ill person restrict contact with pets. Although there have been no reports of animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that those who show symptoms of the virus limit contact with animals until more information is known.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread by close contact with an infected person or any particles created by a cough or sneeze. If these droplets land on a surface, and a healthy person touches that surface, they may get infected.
According to a recent study, the virus can live up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces and up to 24 hours on cardboard. Hard and flat surfaces are more hospitable to the Coronavirus, so RV owners should focus on these when first starting the disinfecting process. This includes all tables, countertops, open shelves, even the dashboard and center console. Items that aren’t flat but are prone to a lot of physical contact, such as light switches, door handles, and faucets, should also be prioritized.
There are two steps to making sure your RV is as hygienic as possible: cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning refers to wiping down surfaces and areas to remove visible soils, while disinfecting refers to killing the germs underneath. It’s important to clean before you disinfect, as germs—like the COVID-19 virus—can hide under visible soils and reduce the efficacy of your disinfecting efforts. To learn more on how to clean your RV, watch our video here.
When disinfecting the inside of your unit, start with an all-purpose or multi-purpose cleaner. Then, make sure to follow that with a bleach-based disinfectant or a solution containing 70 percent or more alcohol. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has also released a list of Coronavirus-fighting products.
Be sure to use paper towels or wipes when disinfecting, and try to wear disposable gloves during the entire process. We don’t recommend cleaning with a mop or sponge, as these can actually harbor germs and spread the contamination. When washing dishes and clothing, try using the highest temperature and hottest water possible. This may mean boiling some water on a stove or campfire to get it hot enough.
Staying Safe on the Road
If you’re traveling during the outbreak, you may come into contact with people who are carrying the Coronavirus—even if they exhibit no obvious symptoms. Any time you stop for gas, restock on groceries, or even take a short break at a rest stop, always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before you re-enter the RV. And while it’s convenient to have hand sanitizer around, hot water and soap has actually proven to be more effective at eliminating germs. Be cognizant of when and where you take your shoes off as well, and always wash your hands immediately after removing your shoes.
The federal government has yet to limit travel within the United States, but the CDC does have recommendations for those traveling domestically. If you need to use a grocery store or pharmacy, try to limit your visits and only purchase what you need when you’re there. Take stock of any current prescriptions or necessary medications and make sure you have enough to last two weeks. And when you’re out in public, avoid touching your face. Face-touching has been shown to be one of the easiest ways to contract the virus.
If you or anyone you’re traveling with starts to exhibit Coronavirus symptoms, contact a doctor or hospital right away. Calling a medical professional will not only provide you with helpful information, but this will also give the office advanced notice should you need to come in. Review the CDC’s website for more information on what to do if you think you or a passenger are sick.