There’s nothing like a nice warm shower to get you squeaky clean after a long day of exploring. And thanks to RV showers, you can enjoy that time in the privacy of your own rig without having to wait in line at the campground’s communal showers.
But RV showers typically aren’t like the ones you’d find at home. Not only can they be cramped, but you may also have to deal with a limited water supply. We created this nifty guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of RV showers and to teach you how to make the most of it.
What to Expect in an RV Shower
If you don’t yet have an RV, you might be wondering what to expect in an RV shower.
Wet Bath vs. Dry Bath
There are two main types of RV bathroom configurations: the wet bath and the dry bath. A dry bath is similar to what you would find in a house. The bathroom has a toilet, sink, and shower, all with its own designated area. A wet bath, on the other hand, has these amenities combined into one space, like an RV shower toilet combo. The entire bathroom floor is waterproof and has a drain.
Each has its pros and cons. A wet bath is more spacious, but you have to worry about keeping everything else in the bathroom dry. A dry bath is more like your traditional setup, allowing one person to shower while the other brushes their teeth, uses the mirror, etc. On the downside, the shower stall itself is usually much more cramped.
Dry baths may have a smaller version of a bathtub, but it’s more common to see a shower pan, which are shallow basins that keep water from running out but don’t hold water like a tub.
RV Shower Similarities
While the specifics will, of course, depend on what type and model RV you have, there are a few things that nearly all will have in common.
- In general, the area will be smaller than residential showers.
- Unless you are connected to a water hookup, your water supply is limited to what is in the freshwater tank. Hot water is even more limited since hot water tanks are only six to ten gallons (compared to the forty-plus gallons that a residential water heater holds).
- Your water will drain into the grey water tank (or black water tank if your rig doesn’t have a grey water tank.)
Luckily, there are several ways to make the most of your shower, even with these limitations!
Getting the Most Out of Your RV Shower
When you first purchase your RV, its shower may not be completely optimized for the best experience possible. Try these small fixes to get the most out of your RV shower.
The Best Shower Heads for an RV
The key to the best RV shower experience is the showerhead.
First and foremost, your shower head needs to be a water-conserving low-flow model. Especially if you are dry camping without hookups, conserving water is of utmost importance.
Let’s take a look at the math.
On average, a shower lasts about 8 minutes. A standard residential shower head allows about 3.8 gallons of water per minute to flow. That’s 30.4 gallons of water for a single shower, which may be your entire freshwater tank! This also means you’ll have to dump your wastewater more frequently, which can be an annoying hassle.
A good RV shower head, however, can cut that number down at least 40%, giving you more water for other things like cooking and hydration. Additionally, many RV shower heads have a wall mount, but can also be handheld with a wand. This allows you to quickly rinse all areas without having to simply wait for the water to trickle down. Having a shut-off or low-flow valve for flow control is also a great feature to have for maximum water conservation.
So when searching for a new shower head, be sure to get one that has a low GPM (gallons per minute), preferably 2 gallons per minute or less. Read reviews online to learn more about the product’s durability and reliability.
A Good Hose
Sometimes the hoses that come with RV shower wands can be stiff and difficult to maneuver. If you find that this is the case, invest in a new hose for increased flexibility. It’ll take some of the frustration out of shower time if you don’t always have to wrangle an unruly hose.
Keeping It Clean
An RV shower may help keep you clean, but that doesn’t mean you can skip cleaning the shower.
The key to shower maintenance is preventing buildup. Soap scum, mildew, dirt, and grime can all cause issues in your shower. The quickest way to clean is just to give your shower a quick wipe down or squeegee after every use.
For a deeper RV shower clean, use a cleanser to wipe everything down. Use a soft sponge or mild abrasive, such as a dryer sheet, which can scrub without damaging any surfaces. Most cleaners that you’d use in a residential shower are suitable. Just make sure to read the label to make sure it is compatible with the material you’re cleaning.
RV Shower Repairs
You may find yourself needing to make repairs on your shower. If you notice a leak, puddles or wet spots outside of the shower pan, or anything else that causes concern, address it immediately. Leaks can rot wood and lead to costly damage if not taken care of.
Patching an RV Shower Pan or Bathtub
If you find cracks or holes in your shower pan, you can purchase a repair kit to patch them up. You can buy a repair kit at an RV retailer, or, if you’re in a pinch, use repair tape such as Eternabond RV roof repair tape.
If the crack or tear is large, it might be best to simply replace the entire shower pan. This job is a little more involved, and unless you are confident in your DIY abilities, it is usually a job better fit for a professional RV repair person.
So Fresh and So Clean
While RV showers may not be the same as what you have at home, they are a much-welcomed amenity when out on the road. Just by implementing some of these simple tips, you can upgrade your existing shower to work more efficiently, saving you water and a headache.
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