RV smell Dead Scent

How to Deal With Bad Smells in Your RV

Where is that smell coming from?

If you own a camper, you’ve most likely said this before. Small spaces are terrible for trapping and mingling weird smells, and RVs have their own set of smelly problems.

Here are some potential culprits for that smell you keep smelling and some ways you can combat mystery smells in your RV.



Moisture and humidity are your worst enemies in a camper. When things are sealed up tight moisture and humidity build up from cooking, showers, windows, and even breathing.

Too much moisture leads to mold and mildew, which, in turn, create bad smells and an unhealthy environment.


Keep your camper well ventilated. That means opening windows and doors as much as possible. This can be difficult in wet and cold climates and seasons, but if the sun comes out, go ahead and air your space out.

When available, use a bathhouse. Showering in your RV may be more convenient and comfortable, but it creates A LOT of moisture. If you do take a shower in your rig, make sure to turn the bathroom vent fan on and crack some windows.

Cook outside. The steam from cooking and making tea and coffee can really build up indoors. Cooking outdoors can be fun and add to the adventure. Grill some burgers and veggies. Try your hand at using cast iron on an open fire, or roast hotdogs. Bring along a portable propane stove and set up an outdoor kitchen.

Invest in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier can be a lifesaver when it comes to battling moisture.



Even in a traditional home, the refrigerator can start smelling funky if not cleaned occasionally. In an RV, the issue is intensified.

Take the time to regularly clean old food out of your fridge, preferably before it spoils. Keep a box of baking soda on a shelf in your refrigerator to help absorb odors.

After a trip or periodically if you live on the road, give your fridge a good clean. Take everything out, and scrub it down. Don’t forget to remove any drawers or shelves, so you can get an adequate clean.


Air Flow

When it’s cold and wet outside, you just want to keep your camper sealed up tight. This lack of airflow can lead to some funky smells. Because the air is trapped and not able to circulate normal smells may become stale and lead to weird odors.

Turn on an exhaust fan when cooking. Open the windows at least occasionally to allow your RV to air out.

If it is winter and you aren’t getting as much airflow inside your camper, make sure to keep all your linens washed. This will help keep things smelling fresh.


Water System

If you notice a smell coming from your sink or the faucet, you need to flush and sanitize your water system. Empty your fresh water tank. Refill the tank with a little water or hook up to water with a garden hose.

Turn on all your faucets and showers and let them run for a bit.

You can sanitize your system by adding one-quarter cup of household bleach for every 15 gallons of water in your fresh water tank. Dilute the bleach in a gallon of water. Then, add it to your fresh water tank fill. Then, fill your fresh water tank with water.

Run your faucets and showers until you smell bleach. Turn off all the faucets and showers and let the bleach water sit in the pipes and tank for several hours (do not exceed 12 hours or the bleach could cause damage). Drain your water system and fill your fresh water tank with potable water.

Flush out any remaining bleach by running water through the pipes until you don’t smell bleach.


Holding Tanks

Your gray and black water tank walls can collect waste that can cause bad smells even after the tanks have been emptied.

Always empty your black tank first. Then, empty your gray tank. The gray water, which is cleaner than the black water, will help flush the sewer hose after you empty the black water.

Many RVs have a black tank flush system that can be used to clean the black water holding tank more thoroughly.



Sink drains get a bit gross after some time, especially the kitchen sink. Make sure to clean the drain if you notice an offensive odor. You can even run baking soda, white vinegar, and water down the drain to help clean things out.


Eliminate Lingering Odors

Even if you keep your RV cleaned and maintained, odors build up or linger after eliminating the underlying cause of the smell.

Dead Scent is a great way to eliminate odors and sanitize your camper. Dead Scent uses CLO2 technology to completely remove foul smells that penetrate surfaces and linger in the air.

Did you know that some odor molecules like smoke can actually embed themselves in the surfaces of your RV?

Dead Scent eradicates odors at the molecular level. Through a process called oxidation, CLO2 transfers electrons between molecules making those odor-causing molecules odorless.

And because CLO2 is so small, smaller even than smoke molecules, it can get deep down in surfaces to put an end to even the most set in smells.

Dead Scent uses the gas-form of CLO2 so that it can get into all the nooks and crannies in your RV and get rid of odors in places you could never reach to clean.



If you want to get rid of embarrassing smells in your RV, try to remove the underlying cause of the odor. Then, always follow up with a Dead Scent treatment. You’ll be surprised at how clean your camper smells. And with that fresh air smell comes a healthy living environment.

RV smell Dead Scent