You’ve returned home from your latest RV trip and, sadly, don’t have another getaway planned for at least a season. Now what? The RV lifestyle doesn’t end when the trip is over. Properly preparing your RV for long-term storage might not be fun, but it’s crucial to ensure it remains in good condition and ready for your next adventure. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to safeguard your RV in storage.

Clean and Organize Your RV

Give your RV a thorough cleaning inside and out to prevent mold, mildew, and pests from taking over during storage. 

Wash the exterior, including the roof, to remove dirt, dust, grime, and any residue. Consider applying a protective wax or RV-specific protectant to the exterior surfaces to guard against sun damage. It’s also a good idea to inspect the RV’s roof and seams for any signs of leaks or damaged sealants. Repair any issues to prevent water damage during storage.

When cleaning inside your RV, remove all perishable items, wipe down all surfaces, vacuum the floors, and don’t forget to clean the appliances, cabinets, and bathroom.

A good rule of thumb for cleaning and decluttering your RV is to empty everything! Take out all perishable items and valuables. Toiletries, cleaning supplies, and especially food need to be removed. Pest control is essential to storing your RV without a headache later on. Don’t leave electronics, personal documents, or valuable camping gear in the RV during storage either. Properly stow away items that you’ll leave in the RV, such as bedding and cookware, to prevent them from shifting during storage. 

Drain RV Water Systems

Protect your pipes from potential freezes and water damage by draining everything.

Empty the fresh water tank and hot water heater, and drain all water lines. Ensure the gray and black water tanks are completely emptied and rinsed to prevent odors and buildup. 

This is a very important and involved process. Here are the steps to follow:

      • Turn off the water heater and allow it to cool.
      • Locate the water heater’s drain plug or anode rod (usually found on the outside of the water heater).
      • Many RVs come equipped with a water heater bypass kit, but if your RV doesn’t have one, you can install it or hire a professional to do so. The bypass kit allows you to divert antifreeze away from the water heater, saving you from using too much antifreeze.
      • Open the drain valve located on your RV’s fresh water tank. Make sure to let all the water drain out completely. Open all faucets one at a time (both hot and cold) inside your RV, including showerheads, sink faucets, and any exterior faucets. Flush the toilet to remove water from the toilet’s tank and bowl. Don’t forget to open any low-point drains in your RV’s plumbing system if it has them. These are usually located underneath the RV and help drain any remaining water from the pipes.

TIP: Use a compressed air fitting to hook up an air compressor to the city water inlet to make sure all water is blown out of the lines.

Winterize Your RV With Antifreeze

If you expect freezing temperatures during storage, consider using an RV antifreeze to protect the plumbing system. It’s important to use RV-specific antifreeze, and NOT regular automotive antifreeze in your RV’s plumbing system. 

      • To start, remove your water filter and reattach the housing.
      • If your RV has a water pump converter kit or an antifreeze inlet, you can use it to pump antifreeze directly into the plumbing system. Connect a hose to the inlet (or pump converter kit). Place the other end of the hose into a container of RV antifreeze and turn on the RV water pump.
      • Starting with the closest faucet to the water pump, turn on the hot water tap until you see pink RV antifreeze coming out. Repeat this process for all faucets one at a time again (both hot and cold) and the toilet until you see pink antifreeze. Don’t forget any exterior faucets or showers if your RV has them. Pour RV antifreeze down each drain to ensure the P-traps are protected. This includes sinks, showers, and the toilet.

When spring arrives, you can easily de-winterize your RV by flushing out the antifreeze and sanitizing the water system before hitting the road again.

Check RV Fuel and Propane

Fill the fuel tank to prevent condensation and add a fuel stabilizer to keep the gasoline fresh. Turn off the propane supply at the tank, and if necessary, remove propane cylinders from the RV and store them in a safe, ventilated area.

Electrical and Battery Care

Disconnect the RV’s batteries to prevent them from draining during storage. Consider using a battery tender to maintain the charge. Turn off the main electrical breaker. This will prevent any unnecessary power consumption and reduce the risk of electrical issues.

Tires and Suspension

Inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure to prevent flat spots. Consider using tire covers to protect them from UV rays. If possible, move the RV a few inches every few months to prevent flat spots on the tires.

Cover Your RV

Invest in a quality RV cover to protect your vehicle from the elements, UV rays, and dust, especially if you will have your RV in outdoor storage. Make sure the cover is properly fitted and secured to prevent moisture and pests from getting in.

RV Ventilation

Leave roof vents slightly open to allow for ventilation, reducing humidity inside the RV. Consider using moisture-absorbing products like desiccant bags or containers to further help control humidity.

Security Measures

Shut and lock all doors and windows securely. If possible, install additional security measures like wheel locks or hitch locks to keep your RV safe from theft.


Take photos or make a checklist of the RV’s condition before placing into storage. This can be helpful for insurance purposes and to track any changes over time.

Happy Safe RV Storing!

Have peace of mind knowing that your RV will be in top shape when you’re ready to hit the road again. Remember that proper preparation now will save you time and money in the long run, allowing you to enjoy many more memorable journeys in your beloved RV.

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