Escapees RV Club

How To Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank (Plus How Often You Should Do It)

Yuck! What’s that smell? Well, if you’re in an RV, it could be any number of things… Including your fresh water tank! In this article, we’re going to learn how to sanitize your fresh water tank, why you should do it, and how often it needs to be done.Let’s get started!

Do You Really Need to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank?

Bacteria, algae, mold, and mildew can build up in your RV’s fresh water tank and lines. This can cause illness, bad smells, and make your fresh water taste bad.

So no, you don’t have to sanitize your RV water tank, but you probably should. Drinking, showering, brushing your teeth, and cooking with potentially contaminated water and water that smells and tastes bad doesn’t sound like it would make your RV trip very relaxing.

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How Often Should You Sanitize Your Fresh Water Tank?

If you’re a full-time RVer, your RV fresh water tank should be sanitized once every six months. To be sure there is no mold, mildew, algae, and bacteria build-up, here are the times and how often you should be cleaning the water tank in your RV for other situations:

  • After your RV has been stored and/or winterized
  • After buying a brand new or used RV
  • If your RV has been unused for at least two weeks with water in the tank
  • If you have been to a campground where the water was contaminated
  • If you used water from a source in a community that was under a boil order for contaminated water

How Long Does It Take?

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While you may only need a few supplies, you will need about half of a day for a thorough cleaning of the water tank in your RV.

You’ll need time to drain and fill your water tank several times, in addition to letting the cleaning solution sit in your RV fresh water tank and lines for at least five hours and up to ten hours.

Obviously, allowing the cleaning solution to sit for up to ten hours will take the most time, which is why some RVers choose to do this step overnight. Kudos to the person who first thought of doing this step while you sleep!

How to Calculate How Much Bleach You Need for Cleaning Your RV Water Tank

It’s not a great idea to “wing it” when deciding how much bleach to use before sanitizing your RV water tank. Too little and you won’t get rid of algae, bacteria, mold, and mildew. Too much and you could damage the fresh water system and its seals.

A standard guideline is to use ¼ cup of bleach for every 16 gallons of fresh water. Calculate how much you will need for your fresh water tank to be sufficiently sanitized. You may also want to consult your RV manual for any other recommendations by the manufacturer to be sure you’re sanitizing your RV fresh water tank with the correct amount of bleach for your specific RV.

Pro tip: Never pour undiluted bleach into your fresh water tank. Always dilute it with water first. Undiluted bleach will damage your sensitive RV plumbing system. Use a one-gallon jug, pitcher, or small bucket with a spout to mix the bleach and water.

How to Sanitize Your RV Fresh Water Tank in 5 Simple Steps

Before starting, we suggest consulting manufacturer recommendations for how to sanitize your RV fresh water tank if you have any concerns or questions regarding your fresh water system.

Step 1: Turn Off Your Water Heater

Turning off your water heater ensures that you will not be heating up the bleach solution which could cause damage to the hot water tank.

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Credit for the image: Jeannie Goode

Step 2: Discharge the hot water tank and fresh water tanks in your RV.

A valved clean waters dump is located beneath your RV. Drain all of the fresh water in your pond by opening the gate. According to the company’s guidelines, follow the same procedure for your hot water cylinder.

Once all of the ocean has been drained from your hot water and fresh water tanks, shut both valve.

Make sure to change the bypass valve if, for some reason, you decide not to purify your hot water tank so that no water can pass through the container while you’re doing so.

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Credit for the image: Jeannie Goode

Step 3: Add Bleach Mixture to Your Tank and Fill It Up

Now that you have completed step two and you have calculated how much bleach you will need to sanitize your fresh water tank, it’s time to pour it in.

Warning: never pour undiluted bleach into your water tank! Mix the bleach with water before pouring it into your fresh water tank. Many RVers use a clean one-gallon jug, pitcher, or small bucket with a spout for the bleach and water mixture.

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Credit for the image: Jeannie Goode

Getting the bleach and water mixture into your fresh water tank can sometimes be a trick. To keep from spilling bleach all over the side of your rig and on yourself, use a commercially made or homemade funnel.

To make a homemade funnel, simply use a disposable water bottle with part of one side cut out and the spout intact. You then put the spout of the water bottle into the fresh water inlet to your rig with the cut-out side facing up and pour the bleach mixture into the cut out part of the water bottle.

It will easily drain into your fresh water tank through the spout of the water bottle. Other RVers simply use a plant watering can with a small spout that will fit into the fresh water inlet.

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Continue refilling your RV fresh water tank and running your faucets until you can no longer smell bleach. When you no longer smell bleach, you can fill up your fresh water tank completely with clean water or empty it once again if you plan to leave your RV sit unused for more than a week.

If you happen to be in an RV park that’s on a septic system, please ask if it’s ok for you to dump the bleach solution down into their system. You don’t want to be that person who ruins their septic system.

Can You Sanitize Your RV Water Tank Without Bleach?

If you are not comfortable using bleach, you can use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide when cleaning the water tank in your RV. However, unless each is heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, they will not be as effective as bleach at killing bacteria in a contaminated RV fresh water tank.

Another option is to use a commercially available product that was created to sanitize RV fresh water tanks. Be sure to use it as directed for best results.

Conclusion

Learning how to sanitize your RV fresh water tank isn’t difficult, and doing it doesn’t take much time or effort to get the peace of mind of having clean, fresh water in your RV for you and your family. A few supplies, some time, and patience are all you need for the regular upkeep of your RV’s fresh water system.

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Until you can no more smell detergent, keep refilling your RV’s fresh water reservoir and running your faucets. If you intend to keep your RV idle for more than a week, you can completely fill your fresh water tank with clean water once it stops smelling detergent or bare it once more.

Ask permission to dump the detergent alternative down into their program if you happen to be in an RV park with a septic system. You do n’t want to be the one whose septic system is destroyed.

Does Your Car Water Tank Be Sanitized Without Bleaching?

When cleaning the water reservoir in your RV, you can use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide if detergent is not an option. However, they wo n’t be as effective at eradicating bacteria in a contaminated RV fresh water tank as bleach unless each is heated to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another choice is to purify RV fresh water tank using a product that is readily available on the market. For best results, make sure to apply it exactly as directed.

Conclusion

It does n’t take much time or effort to learn how to sanitize your RV’s fresh water tank, and it gives you and your family the comfort of knowing that your water is clean and fresh. You only need a few items, some time, and patience to regularly maintain the fresh water system in your RV.

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Author

Goode, Jeannie

Jeannie Dees has been a full-time RVer for four years. Jeannie retired early from teaching to pursue the nomadic life with her husband, Erick Young. Work camping has been a new experience for them both, but living an adventurous life is not. They love to explore new places and meet new people here at home and abroad, and are always excited for what’s around the next bend.

Goode, Jeannie has been a full-time RVer for four years. Jeannie retired early from teaching to pursue the nomadic life with her husband, Erick Young. Work camping has been a new experience for them both, but living an adventurous life is not. They love to explore new places and meet new people here at home and abroad, and are always excited for what’s around the next bend.

Hey RV Guys - Helping one RV'er at a time!

This Clubs | Escapes RV Club - How to Purify Your RV's Clean Water Tank ( And How Frequently Should You Do It ) ~ Jeannie Dees was originally posted on: https://escapees.com/how-to-sanitize-your-rv-fresh-water-tank/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-sanitize-your-rv-fresh-water-tank