Can I use car air fresheners to keep my RV smelling fresh?

Can I use car air fresheners to keep my RV smelling fresh?

Last Updated on April 7, 2020 by Jess

Every RV owner knows that their RV can be a home away from home when they are on the road. It is one of the many benefits of having an RV. Just like your house, you want your camper to be a welcoming and cozy space.

Achieving a fresh and inviting smell is important if you do not just drive, but also eat, sleep and relax in your RV. With increasing concern about the toxicity of the products we often use, owners of a camper or they try to find out from multiple online sources whether a ho is the right choice to keep their stainless steel fresh.

The answer to this question may surprise you. We will take a look at the many types of car air fresheners on the market and see if these products are safe and effective.

Types of car air fresheners

There are many ways to mask unpleasant smells. Because we live in a society very close to the drivers, products can be found in many stores to keep your car fresh. The smells vary from fruity, musky to crunchy. There is a smell for everyone. Here are some of the types of car air fresheners on the market:

Hanging cardboard fresheners

These car air fresheners are fragrant cardboard in the form of trees or other objects. They are usually hung from the rearview mirror.

Gel containers

This type of car air freshener uses pearl-shaped gel to absorb odors or mask odors with a fragrant odor.

Ventilation clips and plug-ins

These types of auto air fresheners are perfumed gel-filled devices that are placed over the air vents of the car and release that smell when ventilation air passes through.

Aerosol sprays

Aerosol cans are some of the oldest types of car air fresheners. They mask odors with smell. Some spray cans contain ingredients that break down odor-causing bacteria.

Toxins in car air fresheners and their effects

These products may be easy to find, but do not assume that they are completely harmless. Even products that are marked as natural can be full of chemicals that are known to cause health problems. Many air fresheners use carcinogens and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These components can mean bad news for your health. A plug-in air freshener can contain more than twenty different VOCs. More than one-third is classified as toxic or dangerous according to federal law.

Your skin may become irritated and inflamed if you directly touch gel air fresheners. They are also toxic to pets and children if they manage to consume gel pearls.

It is not just plug-in and gel container air fresheners that can be problematic. The other types of car air fresheners mentioned can irritate sensitive nasal passages and aggravate allergies and asthma. Some of the types of harmful chemicals that are often found in air fresheners are:


This ingredient is known to cause cancer. It is also irritating to the airways. If you notice that your eyes, throat or nose burn after exposure to air freshener, this chemical may well be the culprit.


Acetaldehyde is a chemical that occurs naturally in nature. In air fresheners, however, this is a synthetic version that is used. It is also irritating to the airways that can cause tissue lesions and dermatitis. This ingredient is believed to expose those at risk for cancer and reproductive problems.


This ingredient is often found in paint thinners. It is considered to be irritating to the airways. It can also damage the nervous system when it is present in high concentrations.

Safe ways to keep your RV nice and fresh

Now that you know what risks you take with commonly found car air fresheners, let’s look at some better ways to keep your RV fresh and pleasant smelling.

1. Identify and eliminate sources of odor

The first step in achieving an inviting fragrance in your RV is to identify the source of the offensive odor. The masking of the smell with chemicals only temporarily gives you a pleasant smell, and in the worst case the smell of your chosen air freshener mixes with the source of odor, creating an unattractive hybrid funk. Once you have found the cause of your odor problem, you can correct it by making each air freshener you use more effective and more pleasant. Before you start with an air freshener, first check these common odors:

Carpets and curtains

Smoke and pet smells easily get stuck in carpets and curtains. If you do not smoke or have a pet, carpets and curtains can still be a sponge for smells. Wash your curtains with an odorless or smelling detergent and give your carpet a thorough cleaning to remove odors.

Bathroom / Sewer

Your black water tank must be one of the first places you check when using RV odors. Good ventilation is the best solution for a smelly bathroom and a black water tank.

Sink and shower drain

When your bathroom and kitchen drains are not in use, they can develop bacteria that can cause bad odors. Take the time to clean and treat your sewers if you know that your camper will not work for a while and before you start your journey in your RV.

Portable water

Smell can also come from your freshwater tank. If your fresh water tank becomes a source of odor, you may need to sterilize your tank.

After you have ensured that you have removed all the odor sources, it is a good idea to leave your RV. Check your ventilation system to make sure it is working properly. If the weather permits, try opening the windows of your RV and letting in fresh air. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant, but be careful not to expose your RV furniture for too long, because high temperatures can cause damage.

2. Safe car air fresheners

Once you have completed step one, it is time to look for safe methods to invite your RV that cozy home fragrance.


Diffusers that use natural essential oils are some of the safest and longer-lasting methods to freshen the air.

Spice juices

Herbal bags can be used anywhere in your RV to give the air a pleasant scent. They are fabric bags filled with dried herbs, spices and fruit. Some things that are used to fill herb bags are lavender, rosemary, cinnamon, orange peel and sage.

Diy Soy Candle Wax in a pot

A quick and easy way to freshen up the air in your RV is to reuse a jar with a lid and place your favorite soy wax grease in it. No fire required. The heat from inside your RV ensures that the wax releases its fragrance.


It is not necessary to expose yourself and your family to toxins to reach a good-smelling RV. Unfortunately, car air fresheners do not contain all the chemicals that they contain on their packaging. Keep your family and yourself safe and follow the steps outlined here so that you can enjoy a fresh, carefree scent.

To remember:

  • Locate and remove the odor source
  • Air from your camper
  • Use safe alternatives to chemical air fresheners for cars

The post Can I use car air fresheners to keep my RV smelling fresh? appeared on the Camper report for the first time.

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