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Campervan cleaning tips and resources for healthy vanlife


We’re not medical professionals and we do not attempt to provide medical advise. We’ve attempted to provide links to the most up to date, accurate information available on this topic.

Please follow those links, and consult medical professionals to stay informed about all medical issues.

Quick reference table for campervan cleaning & personal protection

CDC:: When and How to Wash Your Hands
CDC: When and how to use hand sanitizer
Healthline: Make your own hand sanitizer
CDC: What to clean and how
CDC: When and how to wear a mask
WA State DOH: Dangers of combining cleaning chemicals


Keeping the van clean and safe for yourself and your travel partners

While some people are putting vanlife plans on hold temporarily, others are embracing it as an effective method of social distancing.

Here at Vansage.com, we love a clean, well organized van, so it’s not a huge leap for us to disinfect and keep the van extra tidy.

No matter where you’re riding out this uneasy time, here are some useful tips for keeping yourself and others safe.

Become mindful of what you touch

One of the best ways to keep any pathogen from spreading, including viruses and harmful bacteria, is to wash your hands.

I used to be a first grade teacher so my vigorous hand washing and sanitizing habits came with me when I hit the road, but for many people that’s not the case.

Hand washing

Please read this page on the CDC website that details exactly how to wash your hands.

As van dwellers, we rarely have access to unlimited water.

Consider carrying extra water just for hand washing so that it can remain a top priority.

While washing, be sure to scrub all surfaces of your hands (don’t forget fingernails and the backs of your hands) for at least 20 seconds.

hand washing vansage Campervan health and cleaning

Hand washing how-to’s

  • Singing “Happy Birthday” all the way through twice while scrubbing also works well
  • Hand sanitizer is your (second) best friend. Just make sure it contains at least 60 percent alcohol
  • If you can’t find any to buy, you may be able to make your own hand sanitizer
  • Otherwise you’ll have to stick with regular hand washing for now
  • Avoid high traffic public wash rooms like truck stops and busy campgrounds
  • If you find yourself in a clean, well-maintained facility where you can wash your hands, take advantage of it
  • Use paper towels to turn off faucets and open doors as to not re-contaminate your hands after washing

Pro Tip: Imagine you’ve been chopping jalapeños and now you need to put your contacts in your eyes

The Campervan wipe down low down

Keeping surfaces clean is just as important right now as keeping your hands clean.

While even the experts still have a lot to learn about how long the virus can live on various surfaces, there are guidelines in place from the CDC.

Think about the things you touch on a regular basis.

Become more mindful about the spots you touch the most.when entering, exiting and moving around your van.

Here is a partial list of areas to consider:

  • Door handles, latches and wherever you grab the door to pull/push
  • Also consider wherever you may put your other hand to brace for opening/closing doors
  • Seat bottoms, backs, edges, adjuster knobs and buttons (both mechanical and electronic)
  • Steering wheel, turn signal, gear shift, temperature controls, radio, play head screen and controls
  • Tables
  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Counters
  • Cabinet doors
  • Faucets, spigots, handles
  • Food containers
  • Toilet and surrounding surfaces and areas
  • Any parts or gear you buy i.e.; wiring, plumbing parts, new spark plugs or anything else
  • Laptop, keyboards
  • Tablet, TV, Phone

What should and should not be brought into the van?

Before you bring anything into the van, ask yourself if it really needs to come inside

For Amazon or other deliveries, items from stores, or anything that’s been handled by other people, unbox it outside, wipe down the contents, and dispose of all unnecessary packaging.

Store your shoes outside if possible since they can track in all kinds of nasty stuff.

They can also be kept in a plastic bag or other designated container.

For grocery shopping, spray with disinfectant or wash your reusable grocery bags after each visit.

You can also bag your groceries yourself, or opt for grocery pickup for now.

Campervan cleaning van dash wipe vansage

Don’t combine chemicals for campervan cleaning

Many of us are struggling to find cleaning products in the stores, but this isn’t the time to become a mad scientist.

Many chemicals can become deadly when mixed.

Also keep in mind that you’re cleaning a small space, so ensure that you have proper ventilation and protect your lungs when using spray cleaners.

Here’s an article from the Washington State Department of Health that details dangerous cleaning chemical mixing.

This page shows a list of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.

Tools and materials for cleaning

Although many of us are limited to whatever we can find right now due to stores being picked over, here is a list of some of the best things for cleaning.

• Hand sanitizer
• Wipes
• Bleach
• Rubbing alcohol
• Paper towels
• Soap

If you aren’t able to pick up your normal cleaning products, don’t fear. Soap and water are still a good option for cleaning surfaces.

Stay Home

While the news and information about best health practices are changing rapidly, the biggest takeaway right now is the importance of social distancing.

Whether that means staying in a family member’s home or finding a place to park your van for a while, do whatever you can to limit the number of people you come in contact with.

The better we can be about staying home, the faster we can return to our normal lives.

Take this time to catch up on your at-home “to do” list, learn a new skill, or call or video chat with others who are stuck inside. .

Let’s all do our part by keeping our selves and our vans clean and staying home for now, wherever that may be.


From Vansage.com writer Jenny Leveille

Jenny has been traveling on the road full-time with her dog, Dakota, since September 2018.

She lives in her self-converted 2006 Dodge Sprinter and spends her days hiking, camping, mountain biking, and writing about her adventures.

She’s attempting to visit all 50 states and see all the National Parks.

You can read about her adventures on her site, here.

Check out Jenny’s Instagram, and her Facebook page about her travels.

Vansage.com author Jenny Leveille


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