This post may contain affiliate links.
The RV shower is one of the coolest things about a motorhome. Not only can you go anywhere you want, but you can shower just about anywhere as well, including when you’re boondocking in the middle of nowhere. So, you can shower in the middle of the forest or the desert. Heck, you could even shower in a parking lot if you wanted to (and we have… many times!).
After nearly two decades on the road full time, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves that address some of the limitations of an RV shower and make it a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. In today’s post, we’re sharing those tips and tricks with you.
What Are the Limitations of an RV Shower?
RV showers are often small in size and don’t have a lot of shelf space for items like soaps, shampoos, conditioners, razors, etc. And of course wherever you do leave those items, they might just end up getting tossed onto the shower floor during travel.
The most common complaint about RV showers, however, probably pertains to a limitation related to boondocking, and that’s water capacity.
The size of your RV’s holding tanks will determine how much showering you’ll be able to do while boondocking, as well as the length and water volume of those showers. This varies greatly depending on your RV’s size, which typically tends to be the primary determining factor for the size of your holding tanks.
For example, we have a 43-foot motorhome, so our shower size and our tank capacities will almost always be significantly greater than that of a Class C or B motorhome or a travel trailer, or even a smaller Class A.
But no matter how you slice it, when you’re boondocking, water conservation is a must. The longer your fresh water lasts, after all, the longer you’ll be able to camp where you are without emptying your gray tank and refilling your fresh water tanks. And the longer you’ll be able to stay without having to move before you’re ready.
How Much Water Does an RV Shower Use?
The answer to this question involves multiple factors including water pressure, showerhead flow rate, and how long you take to get clean, wash your hair (some of us have more or less to deal with), shave (if you like doing that in the shower), etc. So, in essence, the answer depends on the person showering and the equipment being used.
According to the EPA, a standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm), with no way to reduce that, and the average shower lasts 8 minutes. That’s 20 gallons of water per shower! YIKES! No matter how large your tanks are, that’s hardly great for boondocking. Unless you only ever dry camp for one or two nights at a time.
If you’re hooked up to a city water source at a campground, you might not worry as much about how long a shower you’re taking, (although in truth it’s still a good idea for all of us to conserve water since it’s such a valuable resource), but when you boondock as often as we do, you’ve got to come up with some creative solutions to long showers in an effort to use less water.
The considerations required for showering while boondocking is a topic worthy of its own separate article, so we’ll address that specific issue in a future post. But it’s worth mentioning that one of the best ways to use less water while showering is to reconsider your choice of showerhead.
We use a low-flow showerhead that not only allows for a comfortable showering experience, but uses far less water. While it is rated at 2.5 gpm, it has a flow control, or “pause” valve, that allows us to easily reduce or stop the flow completely when we want to conserve water while boondocking.
A pause valve like this can be used while soaping up or shaving, and then the water flow can be resumed for rinsing, without having to re-adjust the temperature. The most important thing the valve does is allows us to maintain an extremely low flow during our entire shower, even when rinsing off. We can actually take a thorough shower using only about a gallon of water! But it’s still a satisfying spray… .and can be turned up to full pressure when you’re hooked up!
Don’t be fooled by the small size and low price of this little showerhead. It has three awesome attributes that make it our favorite: 1) A low (and, most importantly, adjustable) flow rate, 2) Surprisingly powerful spray pattern, and 3) Incredibly cheap (and we do mean low price, not low quality)! We’ve been using this showerhead for ages and we absolutely love it.
- INTENSELY POWERFUL. Immerse yourself in the steady, intensely powerful full body spray with forceful streams of water to satisfy all of your showering...
- 2 CONVENIENT SPRAY OPTIONS. Shower head spray options include full body spray and pause
Changing your showerhead to a low-flow model with a pause valve is one of the easiest and most effective ways to use less water in your RV shower. Have a look at our post The 5 Best RV Showerheads to Save Water While Boondocking for more water-saving showerhead suggestions, along with some other great RV water-saving ideas.
How Can I Improve My RV Shower?
We’ve already addressed the showerhead, but believe it or not, there are ways to improve nearly everything about your RV shower, including the space limitation.
Depending on the size of your RV, it’s possible that you’ve got a relatively cramped shower. While ours is fairly large in RV terms, we’ve addressed the available space in certain ways. Here are a couple of the improvements we made when we first bought our RV and continue to enjoy to this day.
Dispensers for body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are fantastic for RVs for a couple of reasons.
First, they address the space issue. Many RVs don’t have shelves at all or don’t have shelves that are spacious enough for the various containers of everyone’s favorite shower items.
And second, even if you do have adequate shelf space, every time you move the RV, you have to secure all those bottles somewhere because they’ll fall, break open, leak, etc. when you’re driving down the road. In fact, they probably won’t even make it down the road – they’ll likely fall before you’ve fully pulled out of your camping spot. 🤦♂️
Dispensers solve all of those issues. We’ve used ours for years and they work especially well for all of Peter’s hair-care products. 🤣
You can buy two-chamber or three-chamber dispensers, and purchase as many as you need to accommodate your family’s various products.
- Eliminate shower bottle clutter with this convenient dispenser
- Includes-handy storage hooks for razors and accessories
- Eliminate shower bottle clutter with this convenient dispenser
- Includes-handy storage hooks for razors and accessories
Fogless Shower Mirror
We like to shave in the shower (especially when we’re not boondocking and can use a bit more water) so a good fogless shower mirror has long been a part of our RV shower setup. These hang nicely on the shower wall and can serve to improve your RV shower experience. There are many different types to choose from, but this one is amazingly well-reviewed.
- Larger Design: The Deluxe Shave Well Mirror makes your shower routine effortless, from shaving to removing makeup to brushing your teeth; The larger,...
- No More Suction Cups: The mirror’s strong adhesive hook outperforms weak, standard suction cups to stay secure on all surfaces like tile and natural...
How Do You Keep an RV Shower Clean?
Keeping your RV shower clean on a regular basis makes deep cleaning from time to time a cinch. Here are a few of our tips for keeping your RV shower clean:
An easy way to keep your RV shower clean with little effort is to have a shower squeegee on hand to keep soap residue and water spotting at bay. You’ll still need to clean your shower, of course, but not nearly as often.
A shower squeegee also helps to draw water off the walls and into the shower drain, allowing your shower to dry more quickly. This is an added bonus, especially during winter camping, when reducing moisture build-up in the RV is particularly important.
Our favorite shower squeegee includes a suction cup for storing the squeegee right on the shower walls for easy use after showering. Unlike plastic squeegees, its rubbery blade stays flexible, and the stainless steel never rusts.
- Wipes off tiles, mirrors, shower doors and windows
- Flexible blade works on rippled surfaces
Use Shower Gel
Using shower gel instead of soap can help to cut down on the buildup of soap scum, which is half the battle in keeping any shower clean. And bar soap is a prime candidate for falling onto the floor during travel.
Find a shower gel that suits you and replace your old-fashioned soaps with a good shower gel in a soap dispenser.
Use an After-Shower Spray
Spraying down your RV shower walls with an after-shower spray cleans the surfaces well enough to keep any build-up from forming over time. This makes deep cleaning of your shower both less work, and needed less often. This quick action after a shower can save you lots of time and scrubbing in the long run.
After-shower sprays like this one are readily available, or you can make your own with a little white vinegar and water (or, if you hate the smell of vinegar, you can use citric acid powder instead). If making your own, be sure to test that it’s safe for the walls/tile in your RV’s shower.
Use Cleaning/Disinfecting Wipes
Having good cleaning/disinfecting wipes on hand is a great way to keep your RV shower clean, but your entire RV bathroom clean, too. This not only serves to keep germs at bay but also extends the time between necessary deep cleaning of this area of your RV.
There are many types of cleaning and disinfecting wipes available. You may have a favorite that you use in your home, and there are many like these available on Amazon or in your local grocery or big box stores.
Wax Your RV Shower Walls
You read that right – we suggest waxing your RV shower walls. A good quality automotive or boat wax on the fiberglass walls of your RV shower once a year or so allows water to bead off more easily and keeps the walls spot-free and easy to clean. But don’t wax the floor — walls only! The last thing you need is a slipperier RV shower floor.
Our favorite wax, both inside AND outside the RV is Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax:
- IMPROVED FORMULA: Improved formula delivers a glossier finish, increased protection and more water beading action in one easy step
- EASY TO USE WAX: Easy spread on and wipe off application – even in full sun!
Check out our video on getting your RV shower ready to roll:
There are lots of tips and tricks we’ve learned over nearly 2 decades of full-time RVing, and how to maximize the enjoyment of an RV shower incorporates several of them. We hope you’ve found one or two gems in this post that will help you to enjoy your RV shower for many years to come.
Geek Out with Us Every Week
Join our newsletter to learn about all things RV-related. Every week we offer free tips, tricks, product reviews, and more to our online community of RVers. Whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned expert, we’d love for you to geek out with us!
Sometimes we receive products for evaluation at no cost and may use affiliate links to the products and services from which we earn commissions. For example, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. That said, it's important to us to let you know that our opinions are our own. We only recommend products we believe deliver real value and that we can confidently recommend without reservation. You also won’t pay an extra penny by using our links. Thanks so much for supporting RVgeeks as we work to create helpful RVing-related content that we hope enhances your RVing life!
Even though we're handy RVers, we're not professional technicians. So although we're happy with the techniques and products we use, you should be sure to confirm that all methods and materials are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.