Proper ways to maintain and clean your 12v refrigerator

If you have been camping with your recreational vehicle for a long time, you know how convenient owning a 12V refrigerator is. They will keep your food fresh and your beer cold. RV refrigerators can be a bit expensive, but they are worth your money. 

Most of the time, when you’re out on the road for a trip, you can’t easily find a store and buy what you need. It can also take up your time to stop over to buy food and drinks. 

While having a recreational vehicle fridge can be convenient for campers, cleaning them can be a hassle. If you are not careful, your unit can be very moldy. However, molds don’t mean you and your refrigerator are doomed and far from saving. If you know how to clean and maintain your unit correctly, you won’t need to worry about the molds.

always inspect your rv fridge
Credits to: Togo Rv

Properly clean your refrigerator after every trip

After every trip, we can be so tired that all we want to do is to plop in our bed and sleep the fatigue away. It can be tempting, but you have to resist the urge to do nothing and rest immediately. 

Clean your refrigerator before anything else. Then, if you are exhausted, at least get rid of the leftover food that might worsen and cause a foul odor on your unit. 

When cleaning your refrigerator, start by removing leftover foods and drinks, like what I stated above. After that, ensure no excess ice or frost, as the moisture can attract mold buildup. 

You can use cleaners that are bought in stores to clean your refrigerator. You can also use a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda. If you are worried about the smell, add lemon, and you are good to go.

Get rid of excess moisture to avoid molds

wiping your rv fridge
Credits to: Hgtv

Mold thrives in damp and warm environments. A closed, moist refrigerator is a perfect place for molds to grow. 

Cleaning your refrigerator is not enough. You have to make sure that it is dry before closing the door and leaving it until your next trip. You can use a dry towel to get rid of the moist or excess water. You can also leave the door open for a few minutes until every corner and nook are dry.

Clean every drawer and drawer compartment

cleaning every drawer of your fridge
Credits to: Camping Road Trip

Ensure that your refrigerator is thoroughly clean; wiping isn’t enough. You might want to remove the drawer and drawer compartments. If you can remove the shelves, you also need to remove that to clean every nook and corner of your fridge. 

Sometimes you can’t avoid spilling food and drinks during your travel; those spills might be hard to spot if many things block your sight. So do not just clean your refrigerator; also clean the drawers and shelves. Make sure that they are dry before putting them into their original places.

Do not forget the fridge door

cleaning rv fridge door
Credits to: Life On Route

Now that the interior of your fridge is clean do not forget to clean the door. RV owners tend to forget about the doors most of the time, but they are as important as the inside. 

Wipe the door with your cleaner or DIY mixture. Do not forget to scrub if there are nasty gunks that are hard to remove. If your refrigerator’s door is dirty, it can prevent your unit from cooling to its total capacity. 

The thermostat is your go-to item when it comes to RV refrigerators.

RV refrigerators are different than your regular refrigerators. Most of the time, the food in your fridge will start to spoil and smell bad if the temperature goes over 40 degrees. A thermostat can help you monitor your fridge’s temperature. 

The thermostat can help you keep your refrigerator in its top shape. When your fridge has no issues, it can last a long time.

Seal all your food and drinks before taking the road

When stocking food in your RV fridge, tightly seal your food containers and bottles. Roads tend to get bumpy, and indeed, the things inside your RV fridge will keep on moving. If they are not sealed tightly, there will be spills everywhere. 

Seal all foods and drinks to avoid spillage. If there are no spills, cleaning your fridge won’t be challenging. Molds won’t grow anywhere.

Develop a pattern when it comes to cleaning your fridge

Please do not be lazy when it comes to cleaning. We understand that cleaning can be tiring, but it is for your good. You don’t want a moldy fridge filled with spoiled food when you are traveling.

organize your food in rv fridge
Credits to: Rv Talk

Make sure you clean it after every trip and clean every corner and nook. Also, please make sure the interior of your fridge is dry before closing. You might also want to place a baking soda on a small open container in the corner of your fridge to keep it smelling fresh. 

Molds can grow into your refrigerator if you are not cleaning it properly. Getting rid of the mold can be a tiring task. If you want mold to stop growing in your refrigerator, make sure that you clean it properly.

If you clean it half-heartedly, you will tire yourself from getting rid of the molds before every trip. Although you might have heard of the saying “prevention is better than cure,” if you clean your unit carefully and adequately, you won’t worry about mold.


There are many ready-made cleaners available in the market, all you have to do is follow our tips, and your fridge can finally be free from the molds and foul odor. A clean fridge is a manifestation of a camper that takes good care of its recreational vehicle and all its equipment. If you can keep your RV refrigerator clean and in its top shape, you won’t have to worry about it breaking down. Instead, you can use it for a long time and many adventures.

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