Love travelling in your Motorhome, campervan or RV during winter but hate condensation?? So do we! Here are 12 awesome tips for you to stop condensation in your motorhome (ok, 12 tips and then a really weird one!)
In a hurry? Want the easiest solution quickly? Here you go
We love road tripping out of season. Campsites are quieter, the roads are less busy and you can go to some AMAZING places without queuing for hours, like CORNWALL! HOWEVER- cooler weather brings one really annoying companion… condensation. After all these years living on boats, we've become quite good at managing/ stopping that annoying moisture all over your windows, especially in the morning. Here are 12 great tips to stop condensation in your motorhome, which we hope will help you enjoy trips away all year around.
Ready? Excited? Ok then. Let's go!
How to stop condensation in a campervan- What causes it?
Don't panic- I'm not going to get technical on you. In basic terms, condensation is caused by the volume of water in the air increasing (often because we've breathed it out!) This air, now full of water vapour, touches something cold, like a window. The air is then cooled down and can't hold the moisture in it anymore, so the vapour turns to liquid on the cool surface it's touching. (If you're interested, this is basically how clouds are made too. So condensation in your motorhome is just tiny baby clouds sticking to your windows. Cute, huh?!) You'll find the most condensation in the coldest part of your van, which for us is the front cab as we don't really heat that.
How to Stop Condensation in your motorhome
So, there are two ways to stop condensation (or at least reduce it!). First is to reduce the amount of water vapour in the air. Second is to stop that air getting cold. Simples. Yeah, right.
Tips to Stop Damp and Condensation in your RV, Motorhome & Camper
1- Keep your motorhome warm
This is our preferred solution to stop condensation on both the boat and in our motorhome- and it works, although it will increase your costs! Keeping your space at a comfortable temperature stops the air cooling down enough to cause condensation. I should point out that when it gets REALLY cold outside, this no longer works so well. 🙁
2- Open a window in the Campervan
A simple solution, but not always fun if it's freezing/ raining! Getting some fresh air into your motorhome allows air with less water vapour to enter, reducing the humidity and therefore reducing the level of condensation which can occur. Just be sure to pick your moments. There's no set rule on how long you have to have it open for- obviously the longer the better! We always open a window or a vent whenever we are cooking. I know, this seems to contradict point one, but heating from cooking generally involves steam, which contains… you guessed it… moisture!
3- Use an extractor fan/ vent in the RV
For the same reasons as above, if you have an extractor fitted either in your bathroom or kitchen, use it to freshen up the air, especially after a shower/ while cooking. Showers are the hardest- so much hot, moist air which needs to go somewhere. We leave our vents open for a couple of hours after a shower and keep the bathroom door shut as much as possible so that air doesn't get out into the rest of the Motorhome.
4- Use Campsite facilities if available.
We LOVE to wild camp (boondock for my American friends ) We. LOVE. It. Pretty much any other page on this website will tell you why wild camping is preferable to campsites for us. BUT in winter, we use campsites a lot more. We also use their facilities more, both for showers and for washing/ drying clothes. (See below.)
5- Don't hang up wet clothes/ towels to dry
One way we save some money during summer is to wash our clothes at a laundrette, then hang them up in our bathroom to dry overnight. It works great. But don't do this in winter if you can avoid it. All that extra moisture in the air will cause havoc for your condensation levels. Mr WB has already mentioned putting the puppy in the tumble drier before we let him back into the MH! (Sadly, I feel compelled to state that I am joking. Don't ever put a puppy into a tumble drier. Please don't call the RSPCA. We're nice people. Honest. Thank you.)
6- Can you use a dehumidifier in a motorhome or campervan?
We don't use plug-in dehumidifier's on the motorhome, but we do on the boat- and they work great. On the motorhome, we use stand alone, disposable packets, like this one (UK) and this one (USA); they have worked very well. We also have hanging ones, like this, to reduce moisture in the wardrobe.
NOTE- a dehumidifier will NOT remove mildew. Once that has started, everything needs a thorough cleaning with disinfectant, and then it all needs to be dried thoroughly and left with sufficient airflow.
7- Create airflow around your camper
One thing we occasionally suffer from on the boat is mildew/ mould- caused by not allowing enough airflow into our cupboards/ drawers/ wardrobes. (Usually after we've been away for a week or more.) For this reason, we often leave everything open/ ajar when we go travelling- it stops the mildew. You can do something similar on the motorhome- either cut small holes or fit a vent to allow airflow to cupboards which don't already have them. Or don't put clothes in cupboards which don't have airflow into them. Having said that, mildew also affects paperwork and books, so be careful what you leave onboard when you're not using your van.
8- Remember cushions and seats need love too!
You need airflow around your cushions and seats- so make sure to pull them out a little so that you don't come back to seats covered in horrible green spots- which is damp/ mildew.
9- Put a protector over your windows
There are several ways to do this, and it works exactly like double-glazing; you have a buffer between the cold surface and the warm air inside the motorhome. We tried it on the boat several years ago and it worked…ok. But it seems to work much better on the motorhome. Our coldest part is our cab, so silver screens on the exterior seem to reduce the problem. It doesn't stop it completely, but it does reduce it. NOTE- the pull-over fitted screens inside the cab are great for privacy, but don't stop condensation as the air just circulates around them.
10- Keep things clean and dry
Whether you're using your motorhome throughout winter or not, keeping your cupboards clean will definitely help to reduce damp. Damp is caused by condensation (or other moisture) sitting unchecked for too long. It can cause serious problems for both the vehicle and your health. You can reduce the chances of damp/ mildew by increasing airflow, cleaning out cupboards and drying them thoroughly after cleaning. Do NOT put anything into your cupboards/ wardrobe which is damp. This includes coats and shoes.
11- Check for leaks in your campervan
It's probably common sense, but if your van is leaking, you're going to get more moisture into your space. Moisture= condensation when it's warmed up, so make sure there are no leaks. We carry a tube of silicone with us- just in case!
12- Get a Handheld Window Cleaner Vacuum
These things are GENIUS! Battery operated, easy to clean and work really well to remove condensation for windows in just a couple of minutes! I had never heard of them before we got a Motorhome- now I'm not sure how we ever lived without one! It's definitely one of the easiest ways to remove condensation from a Motorhome, RV, Boat or camper. Our favourite brand is Karcher, but there are other types on the market- check them out here.
Can you use an electric dehumidifier in a motorhome?
For some reason, people seem worried about using a dehumidifier in a motorhome. It's perfectly safe, as long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions and remember to empty it regularly (we empty ours on the boat every morning; it doesn't need it that regularly, but at least then we don't forget!) Personally, I wouldn't leave an electric dehumidifier on in the motorhome for a long period of time (while on a driveway for example), especially if I wasn't there to keep an eye on it, but it's certainly not a problem overnight while you're there. You can add it to your Christmas list, along with these other perfect gifts!
Pro's of using an electric dehumidifier in a motorhome
- Safe around pets! This is a big one for us- disposable dehumidifies are harmful to animals if ingested.
- Easy and efficient to use
- You don't need to worry about buying replacements
- Probably kinder to the environment, as there is less plastic wastage.
Cons of using an electric dehumidifier in a motorhome
- You need power. 12v or mains, you need something reliable to plug it into.
- Have to remember to empty it.
- Takes up space.
There are plenty of dehumidifiers on the market. Make SURE the one you are ordering has an automatic shut off when it gets full and a plug appropriate to your country (you'd be amazed how many don't come with a plug!)
What's the BEST 12v dehumidifer for a motorhome or campervan?
I'll be honest (as always!) and tell you that we've REALLY struggled to find a reliable 12v dehumidifier for our motorhome. We've tried several models- and they've all either failed within a few days or not made any difference whatsoever. That's why we prefer boxes or sachets like these.
However, we are really pleased with the electric dehumidifier we use on the boat. They work great in the motorhome too, but obviously, you need mains to run them on.
Looking for the BEST dehumidifier for an RV?
A final RANDOM tip for you to stop condensation in your motorhome!
Ok- full disclosure- we haven't tried this but I thought I'd share it in case it helped anyone out. APPARENTLY, if you put a very thin coating of washing up liquid over the inside of your windows/ windscreen, it stops condensation. My guess is the washing up liquid creates a barrier between cold glass and warm air= reduced condensation! It sounds a bit odd to me- surely the washing up liquid smears and obstructs your vision?? And cleaning it off must be a pain.
If you've tried it, let me know if it works!!
So there you go- 12 tips (13 technically but that sounded unlucky!!) to help stop condensation in your motorhome. I hope they help you enjoy trips in your motorhome all year long.
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