How to Sanitize RV Water Tank | Complete Guide

How to Sanitize an rv

If you have an RV but you don’t know how to sanitize RV water tank then don’t worry, you are at the right place. Most people used the RV for camping and traveling. The biggest problem with camping is that it is difficult to get clean and fresh water in some places. RV has a tank full of water, which will be enough for the tour but having the same water for many days could also become hygienic for your health. The taste and odor will change with time. So keeping RV water fresh and healthy is very important for your health. Here you will find the easy steps about how to sanitize the RV water tank.

This is an extremely important step to take and should be done regularly. Even if you think that your RV is brand new, it is never too late to start thinking about keeping it healthy by ensuring it is properly treated with some form of water filtration system. You may not realize that your water source can be so dangerous.

Why You Should Need to Sanitize RV Water Tanks

Have you ever wondered about the significance of sanitizing water tanks in RVs? Among recreational vehicles, RVs have the highest rate of infestation, with marine vehicles being a close second. Sanitizing the water tank in your RV is crucial for safeguarding your family’s health against waterborne illnesses such as dysentery or cholera. Additionally, a well-designed and well-maintained RV unit will minimize maintenance expenses, as it will require fewer chemical scrubbing and disinfection procedures compared to a standard open-water tank.

When it comes to cleaning your water tank, there are numerous options available to you. While some individuals may opt to purchase costly specialized kits for their water tanks, constructing your own tank can be a less expensive alternative if you are searching for an RV solution. Additionally, it’s important to note that building a quality sanitizing unit doesn’t require extensive skills or resources. In fact, some individuals prefer to build their own units as they tend to be more affordable than commercial options.

How to Sanitize RV Water Tank?

Numerous individuals often wonder about the process of sanitizing their RV water tank. However, it’s important to acknowledge that there is no straightforward answer to this question. One must consider that RV tanks, particularly in the case of used RVs, typically contain different equipment and components designed to ensure water sanitation. It is not as uncomplicated as merely filling the RV tank with water and using it immediately.

Some may believe that the easiest way to sanitize an RV water tank is by filling it with tap water and adding sanitizers or bleach. However, this method is hazardous due to the presence of substances like chlorine and certain additives found in tap water. Therefore, it is not advisable to do so without additional investments and equipment. Learning how to properly sanitize RV water tanks requires understanding what to look for. You have the option to hire a professional for this task or explore how to do it yourself.

Easy Steps to Sanitize RV Water Tank

1) Turn Off Water Heater

To begin the sanitizing process of a water heater attached to a water tank, it is crucial to first turn off the electric heater. This is important because the sanitization procedure could potentially harm the water heater. After turning it off, it is recommended to allow sufficient time for the water heater to cool down. Additionally, having a water pump can be advantageous in ensuring that all the water is completely drained from the system.

2) Calculate The Bleach You Need

Caution should be exercised when using excessive amounts of bleach in a water tank, as it can leave behind potentially hazardous substances. The appropriate quantity of bleach to use depends on the size of the tank. A ratio of one ounce of bleach per eight gallons of water in the tank is recommended. To calculate the required amount of bleach for a specific tank size, such as 20 gallons, you would need 2.5 ounces of bleach. It is important to note that bleach should never be directly added to the water due to the presence of dangerous chemicals. Instead, pour the calculated amount of bleach into one gallon of water using a funnel, and then utilize this solution to clean the water tank.

3) Pump And Potable Water

To ensure thorough cleaning and sanitization, begin by emptying the water tank. Next, utilize the water pump to pour clean water through it. This method is highly recommended as it guarantees a complete purification process. Additionally, it is essential to ensure the complete removal of bleach from the tank. Therefore, employing a pump and clean water becomes imperative.

4) Leave it To Clean

For optimal results, it is recommended to mix the water and bleach solution and pour it into the tank. It is important to allow the solution to sit for a maximum of twelve hours before washing it out. If the tank is washed out too soon, the cleaning may not be as effective. Therefore, it is advisable to wait until the next morning for thorough cleaning by leaving the freshwater with bleach in the tank overnight. This will yield the best results.

5) Flush The System

To effectively clean your tank, follow these steps:

  • After leaving bleach water in the tank overnight, drain all the water from the tank the next morning.
  • Refill the tank with fresh water and ensure it circulates throughout the entire system for thorough cleaning.
  • For optimal results, consider using a water pump to facilitate the circulation of water in the system.
  • It’s important to note that the bleach smell may take some time to diminish.
  • Therefore, it is recommended to repeat the procedure multiple times to fully eliminate the bleach odor.

By repeatedly following this process, you will achieve a properly cleaned tank and gradually reduce the bleach smell.

Benefits of Sanitizing Water Tank

Despite the time-consuming nature of the sanitizing process, many people tend to overlook its importance for their water tanks. However, undertaking regular sanitization offers numerous benefits and is essential for maintaining the quality of your water. It’s crucial to prioritize the sanitizing routine regardless of how frequently you use the water tank or how long it has been since the water was changed. Ideally, you should sanitize your water tank at least twice within a six-month period. If you rely on boiled water in your tank, it’s advisable to sanitize it more frequently, even before the six-month mark. By sanitizing your water tank, you ensure the consumption of pure freshwater, even during travels or outings. This practice not only promotes good health but also preserves the excellent and fresh taste of the water.

The Time You Need To Put in The Sanitizing Process

In the above section, we tried to provide the complete process in steps to understand easily. Most people are afraid to spend money on this process because they think it is too expensive. Here we described the total expenditures you will face by processing this system.

First of all, you need to check the tools you need in this process and these tools include one external RV water filter, an internal water filter, Bleach, a funnel with the hose, and a filter wrench. The external water filter and internal water filter have a cost of 30$. Bleach is available at 2$. Anyhow it depends on the size of the bleach bottle you choose. The wrench and funnel have cost a total of 8$. Some other useful accessories included a container to mix the bleach and water and cups to measure the amount. You can check the total expenditure in this section.

Some Additional Recommendations

Cleaning and sanitizing your water tank is crucial for maintaining good health. Ignoring essential tips can have negative effects on your well-being since the water tank is responsible for providing drinking water. Here, we discuss some additional tips to follow, ensuring optimal cleanliness. Firstly, it is important to note that dirty water should never be used for the cleaning process. Always utilize clean and fresh water throughout. Strictly adhere to all instructions concerning the cleaning procedure. Avoid using bleach independently for tank cleaning; instead, always mix the appropriate amount of bleach with water.

Things That You’ll Need to Sanitize RV Properly

To properly sanitize, there are a few essential items you’ll need to purchase. Alongside water, you’ll require sanitizing agents, a bucket, and a funnel. These items can be conveniently found online or in retail stores at affordable prices. For more information, you can reach out to local water treatment facilities.

Once your project is complete, it is crucial to let the water sit for a few days. Allowing the water to sit for this duration is important as it helps prevent the accumulation of bacteria that may cause food poisoning. After the designated time has passed, drain the water from your water tank and proceed to clean it. Rinse the interior of the water tank and any accompanying accessories with water, and ensure they are thoroughly dried.

You might also interested to know about: How To Winterize An RV! 


An RV water tank is a vital accessory for ensuring access to clean and fresh water while traveling. RV owners understand the true value of having a reliable water tank. However, keeping water in the tank for extended periods can pose health risks due to the development of mold and unpleasant odors. Since the same water is used for drinking and cooking, it is crucial to sanitize the RV water tank regularly. In this article, we provide detailed steps on how to effectively sanitize your RV water tank, ensuring it is free from bacteria. Regardless of how frequently you use your water tank, it is recommended to sanitize it every six months. If you use boiled water in the tank, you should follow the same process sooner within the six-month period.

Sanitizing your RV is a straightforward process that requires minimal time and expense. Once complete, it is important to let your RV return to camp so you can use the fresh water. While there are simple steps to follow, there are also various aspects of camping that are worth knowing. Take the time to learn about them, and your camping experience will be greatly enhanced.


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