4 Hacks to Prevent RV Cupboard Doors from Opening When in Motion

Sometimes it is a RV cupboard door flying open on a big bump. Or sometimes it is an an avalanche of things falling on you when a booby-trapped cupboard has everything shifted on you. It’s always a good idea to secure cupboards that have the tendency to open while you are driving.

Whether you own a motorhome, where contents coming out of a cupboard can be a dangerous distraction, or a trailer or fifth-wheel where a disaster could be occurring that you didn’t even know was happening, there are simple tricks to prevent this problem.

Broken Dishes on Floor
Items falling from cupboards can be both dangerous and can make a huge mess.

RVs usually have latches on the cupboard doors, but they tend to be fairly wimpy and any space with contents of any weight or fragility would be something you’d want to secure a little extra. Other possible candidates are cupboards that face the front of the vehicle, because stopping will result in the contents continuing to push forward as the RV stops, and the tiny latches just won’t hold it.

Strategy #1 – Restrain the contents within the cupboard by using a temporary block.

Ideally you can create a block across the lower portion of the cupboard with something short and see-through, so that can be left in there most of the time. But the block will then prevent items from freely sliding forward on an abrupt stop.

Strengths: It holds back the contents, so they don’t force the door open. This method helps reduce the chances of an avalanche of items falling on you when you first open the RV cupboard door, because it will hold everything back, even if the door is opened. They also can be used on single cupboard doors without hinges, so long as there is a lip on the sides to span the block between. And they can be left in the cupboard all the time, so you are less likely to forget to secure items.

Weaknesses: It can get in the way of pulling things out. Also, if enough items shift, then could be thrown completely over the restraint. And the cupboard door may still pop open, so you will still want to double-check doors that a slide may hit and possible tear off.

Example 1: A small bit of lattice.

Simply take a short row of lattice and span it between the side lips of the cupboard. For extra strength, or if your cupboard opening if particularly wide, a small screw or Command hook on the two inside edges will hold the lattice in place, even with things pressing against it. By using lattice, it is easy to see into the cupboard through the gaps, although you will need to reach over it if you keep it in place.

A sheet of vinyl lattice can be found at most hardware stores and it cuts easily.

Example 2: An adustable window screen for a small window.

There are very inexpensive small window screens that are adjustable that can span a variety of cupboard openings. Simply place in the opening and expand to fit the space. They have wood and metal frames and so are sturdy enough to hold back considerable weight. Being see-through and only 10″ high, the screens allow you to see the contents of the cupboard easily, and the screen can be un-expanded to quickly remove and store if you are staying in place for an extended period.

Expandable Screen for Cupboards
These expandable screens are inexpensive, at under $5, and are a perfect 10″ tall.

Strategy #2 – Latch the RV cupboard doors more securely

What sort of additional latching method may depend on the type of door. Opposing RV cupboard doors that have handles can often be secured by tying something between the handles. But if it is a single door, or it doesn’t have a handle, then you will need to secure it from inside the door.

Example 1: Ball bungees.

These simple ball bungees are quick to attach, have no sharp edges to scratch the wood, and are plenty strong enough to hold back a cupboards contents. Simply slide the bungee loop around the handles and hook it on the ball end.

Ball bungees come in large packs because they are so cheap, but they are super useful in other areas of the RV as well.

Strengths: It’s a cheap and simple way to secure many cupboard doors. It assures doors won’t open, even it lots of items get thrown against the door.

Weaknesses: It only works on RV cupboard doors that open opposite ways, and that have handles together. You also have to remember to place them on every door before you move, and take them on and off for quick stops for something like lunch. And, items may rest up against the door and fall out when you do open it.

Example 2: Baby-safe latches.

These baby-safe latches are attached inside and require you to reach into a slightly open door and press the latch mechanism for the door to open fully. They are designed to keep small children from opening cupboard doors containing dangerous items, but they also work well for these purposes.

Baby-safe latches will work on drawers as well, if you are having issues with drawers staying closed.

Strengths: The latches are always in place, so you won’t forget to put them on before moving. They are strong enough to keep a door closed, even with everything shifting against the RV cupboard door. They will work on all sorts of doors, even single doors with no handles, or cupboards without edges required for spanning a block across.

Weaknesses: They can be annoying to have to deal with all the time, including when you aren’t moving. Also, things can rest against the door that will come tumbling out once the door is opened.

Baby Safety Latches
Doors will not swing open fully until you release the baby-safe latch mechanism.

Which method it best?

You’ll have to determine that. It will depend on a number of factors, such as: How easily you can see into the cupboard? Would you remember to attach something to secure all the cupboard doors every time? Is it a single door or opposing doors with handles? Are you willing to have to unlatch an extra latch every time you open in? How you answer these questions will affect your choices.

Realistically you won’t have to do this for every RV cupboard door, and the ones you do need to secure may require using a couple of these methods. But if a door faces forward, or you have particularly fragile or lots of contents in a cupboard, you will want add that extra security. The first time you have all your spices tumble out, or dishes fly out onto the floor, you’ll realize how important it is. In an RV, it isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when that happens to an unsecured cupboard door.

Where to find these items…

Most items can be found at the hardware store, or can be found online on Amazon. We’ve provided links so you can research your choice further.

  • 10″ Tall, Expandable Window Screen
  • Small, Removable Command Hooks – Multi-Pack
  • Ball Bungee – Variety Pack
  • Baby-Safe Latches – Multi-Pack

Also check out…
3 Fantastic RV Dish Holder Drawer and Cupboard Hacks

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