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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Bleach!

It comes in handy for all kinds of things from disinfecting to stain removal. I consider it a staple household item, and since the van is my house for weeks or months at a time, I figured I'd get a small jug of "splashless" bleach (higher viscosity) and call it a day.

Well that worked for about 6 months until one day the random assortment of containers next to it happened to be in the replenish state after a long trip, so with one or two empty slots, the bleach jug managed to fall over. A few days later I got in the van and it smelled like chlorine, so I cleaned up the mess and did a test. I bought a brand new jug, removed the inner seal, then tightened the cap good and snug, and set the jug on its side. It took quite a while, but sure enough, one day it began leaking.

So I thought, well I have better containers. I go through pint-sized nalgene containers about 1 per year, and I keep the old ones for storing liquids in the garage. They make a tight seal and don't leak at all. I carry one in the van with rubbing alcohol and one with oil for my pole saw, and neither has ever leaked, even being on their side for over a year. So I put bleach in the nalgene, set it upright thinking problem-solved, and a few weeks later a crack spontaneously appeared on the bottom of the nalgene bottle, and it slowly began to leak. In all my years of using the smaller pint-size nalgene bottles, including hundreds of times dropping them on hard pavement, I've never once seen one crack. Sheesh. Bleach and plastic..

So I finally decided no more liquid bleach. It's messy, easy to spill (even the "splashless" variety), and the containers are still fairly large compared to the small amount I need for basic disinfecting and spot removal. So then I started looking for powdered bleach. But grocery stores only seem to have oxide removers or other powdered cleaners that may have bleach but also include abrasion additives I don't want. I use a tiny bit of bleach to disinfect my gravity works filtration system after backpacking trips, and my fresh water tank before 'winterizing', so I only want to use something suitable for them. So the search continued.

Then one day while I was throwing some shock-it in the pool, I realized this is basically powdered bleach. Bingo. Problem solved.

Two slide-lock bags, a plastic spoon, and a rubber band was all it took to end my bleach saga. It also rolls up nice and small, much smaller than a bleach jug, and no more worrying about spills. If a few granules fall, I can just use the handheld vac I keep in the van.

Note: there are many types of shock, but for this application Cal-Hypo is ideal, since it's commonly used to disinfect drinking water. But don't go mixing and drinking it unless it's an emergency, and even then, try to only use 78% cal-hypo or higher brands, and follow these guidelines. For everything else though, regular pool shock cal-hypo is perfect. Just disinfect your water system, then rinse afterwards with tap water.

Note 2: I learned something else in this process. When the larger bleach jug leaked that first time, during cleanup I got some on the vinyl floor and didn't notice until it had dried a day later. I wiped it up, and the floor wasn't stained or bleached in any way. Just like pool vinyl, bleach doesn't interact with vinyl flooring. Nice.

Cheers.
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I buy the small pint Clorox bleach bottles. Have had them in vans for last 11 years and they have not leaked. Different plastic? I do keep the cleaning stuff in a small cardboard box, so bottle is always upright. When empty I refill the small bottle from the large bleach bottles at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I buy the small pint Clorox bleach bottles. Have had them in vans for last 11 years and they have not leaked. Different plastic? I do keep the cleaning stuff in a small cardboard box, so bottle is always upright. When empty I refill the small bottle from the large bleach bottles at home.
I'm glad it's worked out well for you, but it didn't for me. As mentioned in the first post, I had no issues with clorox bottles for a long time until one day a bottle managed to fall on its side because other items I normally keep next to it just happened to not be present. And even then, it's pretty darn easy to accidentally splash a few drops of bleach or spill it when pouring. I've probably done that a few hundred times in my lifetime near the washing machine at home. Splashless helps, but I've spilt/splashed it too. Over the years I've spilt drops of bleach on shirts, towels, pants, etc. Liquids are just messy that way.

With cal-hypo, if I spill a few granules, I'll just vacuum them up with the hand vac.

Also, apparently liquid bleach has a 12 month shelf life, unlike cal-hypo which can last for years.

Cheers.
 

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This is exactly why I don't carry bleach. When I have needed it while on the road (exactly once) to bleach a smelly tank, I just buy the smallest quantity I can, use what I need and dump the rest down a drain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
This is exactly why I don't carry bleach. When I have needed it while on the road (exactly once) to bleach a smelly tank, I just buy the smallest quantity I can, use what I need and dump the rest down a drain.
With cal-hypo no need to buy and dump ever again.

I use bleach at least 2-3 times a month, so buying and dumping doesn't make sense. Plus, I already had tons of cal-hypo at home for the pool. Total cost was a few nickels for the slide-lock bags and a plastic spoon.

Cheers.
 

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Bleach!

It comes in handy for all kinds of things from disinfecting to stain removal. I consider it a staple household item, and since the van is my house for weeks or months at a time, I figured I'd get a small jug of "splashless" bleach (higher viscosity) and call it a day.

Well that worked for about 6 months until one day the random assortment of containers next to it happened to be in the replenish state after a long trip, so with one or two empty slots, the bleach jug managed to fall over. A few days later I got in the van and it smelled like chlorine, so I cleaned up the mess and did a test. I bought a brand new jug, removed the inner seal, then tightened the cap good and snug, and set the jug on its side. It took quite a while, but sure enough, one day it began leaking.

So I thought, well I have better containers. I go through pint-sized nalgene containers about 1 per year, and I keep the old ones for storing liquids in the garage. They make a tight seal and don't leak at all. I carry one in the van with rubbing alcohol and one with oil for my pole saw, and neither has ever leaked, even being on their side for over a year. So I put bleach in the nalgene, set it upright thinking problem-solved, and a few weeks later a crack spontaneously appeared on the bottom of the nalgene bottle, and it slowly began to leak. In all my years of using the smaller pint-size nalgene bottles, including hundreds of times dropping them on hard pavement, I've never once seen one crack. Sheesh. Bleach and plastic..

So I finally decided no more liquid bleach. It's messy, easy to spill (even the "splashless" variety), and the containers are still fairly large compared to the small amount I need for basic disinfecting and spot removal. So then I started looking for powdered bleach. But grocery stores only seem to have oxide removers or other powdered cleaners that may have bleach but also include additives I don't want. I use a tiny bit of bleach to disinfect my gravity works filtration system after backpacking trips, and my fresh water tank before 'winterizing', so I don't want any additives. So the search continued.

Then one day while I was throwing some shock-it in the pool, I realized this is basically powdered bleach! Bingo. Problem solved.

Two slide-lock bags, a plastic spoon, and a rubber band finally solved my bleach saga. It also rolls up nice and small, much smaller than a bleach jug, and no more worrying about spills.

Note: there are many types of shock, but for this application Cal-Hypo is ideal, since it's commonly used to disinfect drinking water. But don't go mixing and drinking it unless it's an emergency, and even then, try to only use 78% cal-hypo or higher brands, and follow these guidelines. It's better to only use it to disinfect/flush drinking water systems, then rinse them afterwards with tap or purified water.

Note 2: I learned something else in this process. When the larger bleach jug leaked that first time, during cleanup I got some on the vinyl floor and didn't notice until it had dried a day later. I wiped it up, and the floor wasn't stained or bleached in any way. As with above-ground pool vinyl, bleach doesn't interact with vinyl flooring. Nice.

Cheers.
View attachment 177132
View attachment 177133
i still use my nalgenes from the 90s on a regular bases
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
i still use my nalgenes from the 90s on a regular bases
That's very eco-conscious and thrifty. I can respect that.

I hate to buy new ones yearly but I like the pint sized narrow mouth ones with the attached lid, and after a year the plastic part that holds the lid on usually breaks. Last I checked (years ago admittedly) it cost nearly as much to buy the replacement part as it does to buy a new bottle. Over time the lids also build up junk in them. I have a technique for cleaning out the threads, but eventually they just get worn and old.

Plus, I'm sill avoiding thousands of disposable water bottles per year, and saving money on that. I carry one with me everywhere, work, travel, and even at home I use it all day and evening because they never spill. I only use a glass at meal times. So each one gets a ton of use. And as mentioned, I reuse the old ones for a variety of things in the garage.

I also give new ones as presents, and accidentally leave them at people's houses now and then, so I'm fine with the tiny cost of buying a few and keeping them on hand to replace as needed. Usually I can get them new for $8 or so on eBay. That's pocket change these days.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
And another neat trick I discovered to keep the Dometic CFX375DZ fridge/freezer sparkling clean with minimal effort: line the compartments with a brand new glad trash bag before each trip. Then just let the bags dry in the garage at home overnight when you get back, and finally use them as perfectly good trash bags.

Am I the only one who does this?

Cheers.
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I have never tried the trash bag trick. I fairly quickly removed the baskets from my car fridge because they were super annoying to clean -- so many litlte corners. That also added a surprising amount of space to the fridge. That wouldn't be such a great idea if I used the baskets to load out from the house or whatever, but I don't. So.... bigger fridge that I can clean with a quick swipe of a rag. Ahhhhh.

Your trash bag trick also keeps you from having to clean those darned grids (y)
 

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I fairly quickly removed the baskets from my car fridge because they were super annoying to clean -- so many litlte corners. That also added a surprising amount of space to the fridge.
The baskets allow/aid air circulation. Otherwise you'll need to rely on conduction, and that isn't the most efficient/safest way to keep your food cold.
 

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The baskets allow/aid air circulation. Otherwise you'll need to rely on conduction, and that isn't the most efficient/safest way to keep your food cold.
I took that into consideration. I decided they probably allowed very little circulation just by their design (especially if there is any liquid from condensation or etc. on the bottom of the unit). But then too, the way my food happens to be shaped, it can't really pack too tightly and block air circulation (eg a carton of milk, some cylindrical cans, any produce propped on top of those.

I think the inserts are designed more to allow one to remove the contents in one fell swoop (I don't tend to do that).

I kind of cheated though by using "iceboxes" in boats for years (they are basically top-opening refrigerators, minus the refrigeration). You quickly figure out that air circulation is important, or else everything molds, spoils, and/or the cold gets very uneven. I haven't noticed anything like that in my top-opening Dometics. Or if I have, it's beneficial (say it's colder on the bottom so I put drinks there; and warmer up top so I put produce there. OTOH, I noticed that same distribution pattern for the ~4 years I used it with the baskets intact.

I've had it running 24/7 for just about 8 years now, so about half the time each way.

Wouldn't be the right solution for everyone though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have never tried the trash bag trick. I fairly quickly removed the baskets from my car fridge because they were super annoying to clean -- so many litlte corners. That also added a surprising amount of space to the fridge. That wouldn't be such a great idea if I used the baskets to load out from the house or whatever, but I don't. So.... bigger fridge that I can clean with a quick swipe of a rag. Ahhhhh.

Your trash bag trick also keeps you from having to clean those darned grids (y)
I did the same thing for the extra organizers baskets, and all freezer baskets. They significantly reduce your ability to pack the fridge full, and are extra work to clean.

But I did keep the largest basket on the left side (my fridge side) because it takes up very little extra space, and makes adding the trash bag a cinch. The bags I use are so large the top half can push down into the basket, so only the bottom center of the basket is still exposed. I have spent a few minutes cleaning that area now and then, but it's worth it for how well it holds the bag in place.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
The baskets allow/aid air circulation. Otherwise you'll need to rely on conduction, and that isn't the most efficient/safest way to keep your food cold.
I sent a note to Dometic to double check, but I think that might be a mixup relating to conventional home fridge/freezers which have blower motors pushing cold air around. Dometic units don't have blowers/fans.

One thing is for certain: open air is the enemy of efficiency with these units. It's very easy to demonstrate this. Just turn them on when empty and check the app after 1 day to see how much power it consumed. It'll be noticeably higher compared to a full fridge.

When I travel, both sides are always packed to the absolute brim, and all of my food stays cold, and my ice cream, popsicles, and frozen vegetables are always frozen solid. I can get so much more food in the fridge without the baskets, that even if they happened to save a few watts, I still wouldn't use them. I'm usually shoving grapes and strawberries around on the top of the fridge to fit them all in, same goes with extra frozen broccoli bags on the freezer side. The benefit is significant because a grocery run tends to be the only thing that forces me to leave a great spot in the wilderness.

I think in this case, the main benefit of the baskets is if you don't carry much food and want to easily keep items that don't want/need more cooling toward the top (produce, butter, or even for softer ice cream on the freezer side).

We'll see what Dometic says, and I'll repost here.

Cheers.
 

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I have two Engel chests—one for fridge, one for freezer. I was intrigued by your scheme until i remembered I use the grid to attach dividers in both. This is particularly important in the fridge so that the gallon milk jug can be removed without stuff falling into its space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have two Engel chests—one for fridge, one for freezer. I was intrigued by your scheme until i remembered I use the grid to attach dividers in both. This is particularly important in the fridge so that the gallon milk jug can be removed without stuff falling into its space.
You can probably still do this. Just remove the small baskets, bag the large main basket, and restore the small baskets afterwards. They'll probably just pinch the thin trash-bag material a bit as they insert. Or you could just quickly snip the inner edge of the bag with scissors, which would still leave the outer edge of the bag intact behind the basket.

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I was referring to the guy removing the baskets. I have no issue with cleaning the fridge (or freezer), so have no need for the bag.
 
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