15 Tips For Staying Hygienic While Traveling Cross-Country

RV Lifestyle | Road Trip


So, you're traveling across the country in an RV — how exciting! Being on the road for days or weeks at a time is a lot of fun…but it can also be a challenge to stay clean while away from home, where a clean bathroom and hot shower are usually available just down the hall.

While living hygienically on the road may seem like a tall order, it's actually easier than you think. Don't believe us? Have a look!

15 Tips for Hygienic Cross-Country Traveling

Here are 15 *very* useful tips for staying hygienic while traveling cross-country! Have your hand sanitizer ready? Open it up, and let's go!

1. Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to stay hygienic on a cross-country RV trip, so do it often. Every other piece of advice that comes after this is important, and some of that advice may crossover with this first bit.

But, seriously: Wash your hands, and often. Multiple opportunities for hand washing abound: After cooking, after cleaning, after dumping — even after using a campground's gym or game room, if available!

2. Shower/Bathe As Often As Possible

You can possibly get away with showering every other day in winter, but if you're on an RV road trip in the summer, it's best to wash up every day if you can in your RV's bathroom.

If staying at a campground without hookups? Have a dip in a nearby lake or river. You can use soap if you do that, but use something biodegradable, like Dr. Bronner's.

Pro-tip: You can even lather up your Dr. Bronner's soap and use it as shaving cream for a disposal razor if you need to!

3. Use Facial Wipes to Freshen Up

If showering every day isn't a realistic option, a good alternative is to have compostable facial wipes with you. They're a quick and easy option to freshen up when you don't have the time or ability to shower, whether you're in your RV or out on a hike.

4. Avoid Greasy Hair with Dry Shampoo

After a day or two without washing, hair can look and feel greasy; it's honestly pretty disgusting! One good way to wash your hair without taking a shower is by using dry shampoo.

There's no need for water; simply spray (or sprinkle it in, if you have the powdery kind), run it through your hair with your fingers, et voila! You've bought yourself another day you can go without washing your hair.

5. Be Sure to Pack the Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer gained immense popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the truth is it had supreme utility even before then. It comes in quite, uh, handy after handling raw meats or emptying dump tanks or after using the facilities (whether in your RV, at your campground, or the more natural kind — trailside).

Use it, and bring along extra; you can also buy antibacterial wipes if you prefer.

Tip: Even after using sanitizer, it's good to properly wash your hands once a sink and soap are around.

6. Use Good Dental Tool Hygiene on the Road

Everyone knows it's good to brush their teeth, but they might not realize the importance of ensuring they have a clean toothbrush while on a cross-country RV road trip. Rinsing your brush is good, but storing it in a case that lets it stay wet for long periods of time is a no-no.

Your best bet? Rinse your toothbrush with water, swirl it around in a small cup of antibacterial or antiseptic mouthwash for 30 seconds to a minute, and then place it where you can let it dry (you may want to disinfect it in mouthwash before you use it, too).

7. Wear Clean Underwear

Space comes at a premium in RVs, sure, but that's no excuse for not having and wearing clean underwear, which is one of the easiest ways to stay hygienic on the road. A week's worth of underwear should be more than enough and doesn't take up much space.

You can bring less underwear along for the ride, so long as you do your laundry more often!

8. Do Laundry When and Where You Can

In general, having and wearing clean clothes on a cross-country RV journey is...advisable, to say the least! Off your body, dirty clothes can pile up, smelling up your vehicle; on your body, you end up smelling even more (especially if you're not showering), and it's just plain unsanitary.

So, if your campground has laundry facilities, please make use of them — for your own sake!

9. Protect Your Peepers with Goggles

When traveling in summer, you're likely going to stay at RV campgrounds that have swimming pools. Of course, you should shower before you get in the pool and after your dip (showers should be available for a quick rinse), but there's something else you must do: Wear swim goggles!

No matter how clean that pool water looks, there's a chance you could get pink eye from swimming in it. Have fun, but goggle-up first!

10. Use Disposable Picnic Table Covers

Anyone who has made use of a popular campground's picnic tables knows they're about as clean as they look (ugh). You may be apprehensive about your plates and cups sitting on a dirty picnic table.

So, bring along a disposable picnic table cover and place it on top before you eat. Best of all, if you're using disposable plates and utensils, you can wrap up and throw everything out together in the cover!

11. DON’T Wear Your Shoes Inside...

Try not to wear your shoes inside your vehicle; you don't know what you're tracking into your RV when you enter with shoes on; you might not like it if you did (especially after a dump station visit)!

Many RVers have slip-ons for when they'll be in and out of their RV (as when cooking), and save harder-to-remove footwear for when they'll be outside for extended periods of time.

12. ...But DO Wear Shoes in Campground Bathrooms!

Speaking of footwear, have a dedicated pair of flip-flops or slippers for use in any bathroom/showering facilities at your campground.

Even if you primarily use your RV's facilities, there will be times when you're without water hookups or the main RV bathroom is in use (hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go!).

Campground toilets are notorious for being bacterial breeding grounds, and camp showers can pass along a nice, itchy athlete's foot fungus to you. Stay safe!

13. Dump Your Dirty Water with Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are a must when emptying out dump tanks; wait till you hear how often *other* campers don't wear gloves when using the same dump station gear — like hoses, connectors, and caps — to empty *their* waste-filled tanks.

Take off your gloves, toss 'em in the trash, and wash your hands when done (don't just use sanitizer!).

Oh, and before going into your RV? Remember to remove the shoes you wore to the dump station!

14. Don't Let Pets Use Communal Water Bowls

What about your pets? Even if they spend most of their time on the ground (and lick places you never would), you need to ensure they're camping as hygienically as possible.

One solid way to prevent your pup from potentially contracting an illness from other campground pooches is to bring along their own water bowl; don't let them drink out of any communal campground water bowls.

15. Clean Your Pets' Paws, Please!

Another thing you should do if bringing along a furry family member is pack a portable paw cleaner. You fill these simple devices up with soap and water and slide them on and off each of your dog's paws after a walk (preferably before you let them inside your RV again). Alternatively, you can also use hypoallergenic pet wipes to clean their paws.

Either way, try to keep your pets' paws clean so they won't track other pets' fecal matter (or other icky stuff!) into your RV.

Stay Hygienic on the Road in a Cruise America RV

When on the road for an extended period of time, staying clean can be a challenge. By following these tips for staying hygienic when traveling cross-country, you can do your part to help you — and everyone you're road-tripping with — stay healthy.

And, while on the subject of road tripping...do you have an RV lined up for your next journey? If not, then why don't you have a look at Cruise America's RV selection today to see how you can stay both comfortable and hygienic on your next cross-country trip? It's time to get out there!