Special until May 31st: 30% off Solvent & Cleaner for the month of May. Use Code MAY24 at checkout. *restrictions apply

Free ground shipping in the Continental US for any orders over $150!

How to Sanitize RV Water Tank

It’s another day inside your house. You go to the faucet, pour yourself a glass of clean water without a second thought. The only work you have to do to obtain fresh, clean water is to grab a glass and flick the faucet on with a finger or two. You’ve come to expect it. But that’s not exactly the case with your RV, is it? There, you’ve got to get hands-on with your water supply, especially if you notice a malfunction or a funky smell coming from the wrong place.

So we’ll forgive you if you’ve never worked on maintaining your water supply before. In fact, we sympathize with any first-timer who needs to get the basics of water maintenance down in order to secure a fresh, clean supply of water from their RV—which is why we’ve put together a few tips for treating your water and keeping it clear and clean:

Drain regularly. Many first-time RV owners are skittish about using their RV water; they budget it like they’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and have no public utilities to turn to. Truth is, your RV is only a partially independent system; you can drain and fill its water supply as you please. That’s why many RV owners recommend draining your water after a trip to prevent staleness, starting with the water heater. Some tips:

  • Never drain the water from the water heater when it’s still hot or under pressure. That’s just asking for a problem.
  • Find where your individual RV’s water line drains, as this will typically be the “low gravity point” from which to drain all of the water out of your RV—there may be two, one for hot water and one for cold water. Open and let them drain, and find your fresh water tank and drain that as well.

If you haven’t been draining regularly, you can still fix stale water by draining it and then cleaning/sanitizing your RV’s water system. Drain (as described above). Once the draining is complete, close your drains. Then, you should prepare a cleaning solution—some recommend a quarter cup of bleach for fifteen gallons of water that your fresh water tank can hold. Mix that bleach into a gallon container and then put in your source of fresh water. Remember: bleach is toxic, so make sure no one will be using your RV water at this point.

Then, run your water. Turn the water pump on. Run all of your faucets until you can smell the bleach running through each part of the system. Then stop running the faucets and let the water system sit for a while—likely, a few hours will suffice, though longer may be needed if it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out the system. No drinking the water, no running showers, etc. while this is going on.

Then drain the system, fill with fresh water, and run everything again until the bleach smell goes away. You want the bleach completely eliminated from the system, so you may even have to repeat the fresh water steps until you’re sure the system is clean.

For ongoing cleanliness, you should invest in a high quality filtration system. Removing bacteria and other potential contaminants will prevent your RV water system from getting musty, and will likely decrease the amount of time and effort you need to spend draining and cleaning out your systems.

True: most of us don’t have to worry about draining and cleaning out our home water systems. But if you arm yourself with a little knowledge and foresight, your water maintenance efforts in your RV will require minimal time and ensure quality, fresh water.

All products proudly made in the usa