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Cleaning + Disinfecting

Reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission for yourself and your renters

COVID-19 is transmitted through two primary routes: respiratory transmission and contact transmission.

With regard to respiratory transmission, it is believed the virus does not linger in the air long enough or at high enough levels to be a risk to most people who are not physically near an infected person.

Because the virus can live for up to three days on some surfaces, such as plastic and steel, the guidelines shared below focus on cleaning and disinfecting your camper van so as to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission through contact.

The difference between cleaning & disinfecting

Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but removing germs decreases their volume and therefore the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting works by using chemicals, such as EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. Disinfecting doesn’t necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces the risk of spreading infection.

Step 1: Remove soiled linens, cookware, kitchen items, trash etc. from the van

Place soiled linens directly in the washing machine and wash. The new coronavirus, like the flu virus, is surrounded by a fatty membrane that is vulnerable to soap. Washing linens in regular laundry detergent, followed by a stint in the dryer is more than enough to remove the virus — if it was even there in the first place.

Run all kitchen supplies – pots, pans, silverware, plates, cups, etc. – through the dishwasher.

Pro Tip

“To expedite the time it takes to prepare your van for a rental, consider investing in two sets of key items. That way you aren’t waiting for your one set of dishes, linens, etc to be clean before readying the van for its next rental. Instead you can remove dirty linens, as an example, and immediately replace them with your second, clean set of linens. ”

Open all doors and windows to air out the vehicle before you start cleaning, and leave them open during the cleaning process if you can.

Wear gloves and a face mask while you clean and disinfect.

Clean from top to bottom, starting with sun visors, rearview mirror, etc., moving down toward the dash, steering wheel, center console, and seats, and then down to the floor to avoid contaminating surfaces as you clean.

Clean interior non-porous and semi-porous surfaces with soap and water or another cleaning product, being careful to avoid radios, gauges, or any electrical components — wipe those down with a multipurpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth.

Vacuum interior porous surfaces like car seats and carpet, or use car upholstery cleaner.

Step 2: Clean the Van

Pro Tip

“Refer to the contact time or dwell time on the disinfectant’s instructions; the surface must stay wet for the entire dwell or contact time to kill germs effectively.”

Step 3: Disinfect high touch surfaces and objects

Make sure your vehicle interior is cool before applying any disinfectant. Applying disinfectant to warm or hot surfaces increases evaporation and reduces the wet or dwell/contact time of the disinfectant, reducing its ability to kill viruses.

Apply the disinfectant, moving from top to bottom, according to the instruction label, paying special attention to frequently touched hot spots below. Consider disinfecting frequently used camping gear in addition to frequently touched surfaces inside the van.

If you are using wipes, make sure they are labeled as “disinfecting” wipes rather than “cleaning” wipes. Also be sure the wipes haven’t dried out; they need to be wet to be effective.

Clean and disinfect the key/key fob and place it on a clean surface. Consider putting the fob in a plastic bag so that the renter is the next person to touch the fob.

Pro Tip

“High touch surfaces would be obvious things like the door handle, steering wheel, gear shifter, or seat belt buckles. Also be sure to disinfect high touch camping items like lanterns, head lamps, knobs on the stove top, etc. ”

Stock the van with fresh linens and clean kitchen items, new trash liners, etc.

Also include for the renter a small bottle of hand sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol content), disinfecting hand soap, and disinfecting wipes.

Print and fill out a GoCamp cleaning and disinfecting checklist before each rental. Place the completed checklist in the front of the GoCamp Notebook stored inside your van.

Step 4: Restock the Van

Other Considerations

Insurance: Several van owners have asked whether GoCamp’s insurance policy would cover law suits that might arise should a renter believe they contracted COVID-19 from your van.

No, GoCamp’s policy does not cover liability related to COVID-19 transmission, largely because proving definitively where someone contracted the virus is nearly impossible.

Learning as we go. We will update the information found here as new information about best practices becomes available. If you have thoughts or suggestions on ways to improve our recommendations, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Do what is right for you. We also recognize that everyone’s personal situation is different — both from the perspective of the level of risk you are willing to take, and how much time you may have to dedicate to your rental business. Do you need at least two full days between rentals to properly clean and sanitize your van? We’re happy to block off days before and after rentals on your calendar; just let us know. Do you want to stop renting your van temporarily? Don’t hesitate to be in touch to discuss your personal needs and/or preferences.

Helpful Resources

Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities — Interim Recommendations for U.S. Community Facilities with Suspected/Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

EPA Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 — List of products on this list meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

EPA Coronavirus Site — All EPA recommendations for COVID-19

NIH Coronavirus Site — The latest research information from the National Institutes of Health

World Health Organization — Coronavirus site