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RV Maintenance Hacks | How to Care for the Vintage Stove in Your RV

RV Maintenance Hacks | How to Care for the Vintage Stove in Your RV

Your vintage stove has given you so much love over the years, especially during those long roadtrips in the summer.  

The pride of your RV, your vintage stove has been the center of many happy feasts with your friends and family. But, as time goes on, you start to notice the shine seems to be duller on the appliances, specifically the chrome work or the porcelain finish of your stove.  

Discolouration and stains start to develop due to everyday cooking, natural boil overs or splatters of that bacon grease. Over time, the residue starts to build up, and starts to look messy. Excessive build-up of grease and dirt are a fire hazard, so it’s essential to give your stove a good scrub occasionally.  

Whether you own a Dixie, O’Keefe or a Western Holly stove, here are some tips on caring for your stove so it shows its wonderful history and not its age:

Photo Credit: Stitch and Boots


A simple wipe and clean typically does the job, but to get those deep or hard stains that take away the luster of your chrome, you need something a little heavier.

Here’s what NOT to do: many people make the mistake of scouring off dirt with steel wool, which will scratch the chrome surface.

Sidenote, from Vintage Camper Trailers: "The use of steel wool is sometimes helpful on heavily oxidized chrome. If you are going to use steel wool, only use 0000 grade. Some people think you should never use steel wool on chrome. I use it on heavily rusted chrome and sometimes can see some scratches if I am too aggressive. On things like hubcaps, a few fine scratches still looks better than rust. You may want to test an area on your project to see if it leaves scratches. The quality of the chrome, the pressure applied etc. could all be a factor in the results you achieve. Bronze wool won't scratch. You can find bronze wool at a marine supply store. Another trick is to rub the chrome with crumpled up aluminum foil and wax over it."

Some key cleaners you can use to get that beautiful lustrous shine again include Lysol, Windex and the heavyweight champion, Chrome Finish. A great brand of Chrome Finish is Turtle Wax -- this stuff is magic!  

Start by testing the polish out on a small area, to see if it cleans up well and doesn’t damage anything. Vintage appliances are very difficult to get replacement parts for. Use a brush that has plastic or nylon bristles only -- no copper or steel bristles because, again, they will scratch the chrome. Scrub sponges are okay, as long as you use the non-scratch version. These are particularly good for getting into those little crevices.

Put a little of the chrome polish on the brush (or you can pour some polish right on the appliance), apply medium pressure and vigorously clean. Wipe away with a damp towel, buff it out a little and enjoy the shine! If you have a piece that’s truly discoloured, you can do another round of cleaning.

Photo Credit: Turtle Wax

Please exercise caution when using a Turtle Wax rubbing compound, if this is something you want to try. The compound contains a grit and can be disastrous when used improperly.

For dark areas that have really baked on, apply the chrome polish on to the stain and let it saturate for a little bit. Using a plastic scraper you can get from any hardware store or paint store, scrape off the baked on bits. Those scrapers are very handy for cleaning the inside of your vintage stove as well.

You can use these same techniques to clean the chrome or stainless trim around parts of your vintage appliance. You need to be very careful in backsplash areas or areas that aren’t chrome that may be discoloured with the use of any type of cleaner, so cover them with cardboard or masking tape to protect them.

Key ingredient:

  • Chrome polish

Photo Credit: Pinterest


Porcelain enamel surfaces resist damage and burns, and they can stay bright and shiny with only a bit of proper cleaning. Staining can appear on the surface still, even after removal, and because they don’t penetrate into the surface, it’s likely that a stronger cleaner can remove them without scratching the surface. Porcelain can scratch, so you have to stay away from the harsh stuff.

After wiping down the top of the stove with a damp rag, scrape heavy residue with a plastic scraper. Do not use metal scrapers -- you’ll risk scratching the porcelain!. Wipe away the residue and then, using a mixture of two parts baking soda to one part water, rub the paste on to any remaining stains. Use a plastic or nylon scrubber, and scrub until the stain fades. Do a final wipe with a moist rag, and then dry towel.

Key ingredient:

  • Baking soda

Photo Credit: Radio Akhmoo

Now that you’re equipped with these handy cleaning tips, it’s time to get scrubbing and restore your pride and joy back to its former glory!

Don’t forget to use your Lynx Levelers to keep your RV nice and steady while you’re at it, and that you have some good lighting so you don’t miss a single spot in your battle against grime!

*Cover Image Photo Credit: Pinterest