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How to Sanitize RV Water Tank

RVs are a great way to explore the world and see new places. It’s also a great place to take your family on vacation or live full time if you can’t afford a house.

One of the most important pieces of equipment in an RV is the water tank because it provides all of the drinking water for everyone inside.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to sanitize your RV’s water tank so that it stays clean and safe to drink from!

What is an RV?

A recreational vehicle (RV) is a type of camper with the ability to drive on roads. It is usually used as a means of transportation, but some people live in them year-round or use them for extended vacations. RVs have been around since the 1930s and continue to be popular today because many people find traveling in them enjoyable!

There are a lot of things that go into making an RV work. If you’re going to live out of one then you probably already know most or all of this, but if you’re just going on vacation then it might come as a surprise!

The main components include:

  • A refrigerator
  • Some kind of heating system like electric heaters or propane
  • A water tank that holds all of the drinking water
  • A gas or diesel engine for driving

What Is The Best Way To Sanitize An RV Water Tank?

Although an RV is great, one of its major downfalls is that it doesn’t have a home’s water filtration system. This means that you need to sanitize your drinking water manually by using chemicals designed just for this purpose. 

The process will help you avoid stomach problems caused by bacteria and other contaminants in the water. Here are four courses of action that work well:

  • Using Chlorine Bleach
  • Using Pure Green 
  • Using Aqua Mira
  • Boiling the Water

How to Sanitize RV Water Tank

The purpose of this article is to give you techniques and tips on how to sanitize your water tank. Having a clean tank will ensure that you have safe, healthy drinking water for all the members of your family.

Fill the Water Tank

The first step in sanitizing an RV fresh water tank is to fill it up with the hottest possible non-bleach water available from a water hose or other source. You can use a pressure washer or even a bubbling campfire if there are no fires allowed where you park! 

Keep the pressure from blowing out your drain valves by blocking them open until all air has been purged from inside the tanks.

Remember not to use any soap as it leaves residue which attracts scum and insects!

Drain the Water 

In order to rid your tank of chemicals, sediments, bacteria and algae build-up you need to drain the tank from “antiseptic” to “sterilized”.

This is done by holding down the black water valve (toilet) until all fresh water has completed draining then replugging that line in order for grey and black tanks to be drained at the same time. 

Leave both valves open with a slight drip until all air has been purged from inside the tanks. Air in the system causes problems when it comes time to add new products (bleach or non-chlorine RV sanitizers) because these products can cause an explosion when mixed with air under pressure!

Add Bleach 

Next, you must sanitize (bleach) your fresh tank by adding 1/2 cup chlorine to the clean water using a funnel or hose if possible. This will prevent algae and bacterial growth which can cause “smelly” odors in your drinking water as well as clogs within the systems lines. 

If you do not have access to any type of pressurized source at this time then just leave both valves open with slight drip until all the bleach is gone from the lines so it won’t harm any other components on your RV later on down the road!

Fill Tank Back Up

Once free chlorine has dissipated, refill your tanks completely leaving all drain valves open with a slight drip until all the water inside has completed draining. You can now refill with fresh water or leave your RV hooked up and running for a few minutes with the garden hose. 

If you wish to flush out any marine growth or sediment that may have accumulated during storage. After doing this you must again dump your tanks, refill and repeat steps above at least two more times before attaching your fresh water source.

Sanitize Again

It is always good practice to sanitize (not bleach) after having flushed out any corrosive material such as road salt etc…After flushing is complete it’s important to again drain all fluid from the lines by opening both valves with slight drip until all air is purged from within each line leaving them completely empty!

This is done to prevent corrosion of any metal components inside the system.


Once both valves are shut off, you must rinse your tanks by adding 1 gallon of non-chlorine RV sanitizer per 30 gallons of fresh water tank capacity (or 1 oz. per 10 Gallons) and allow this product to circulate throughout each line until it completely drains out through each valve leaving them open with slight drip until all chemical has dissipated from the lines!

Now your tanks are ready for storage once again!

Filling Your Fresh Water Tank

Before filling your freshwater tank with clean drinking water, always remember that if you hook up prior to draining any grey or black water into a dump station they will most likely not let you dump.

It is also recommended not to fill your fresh water tank completely at this time, only 80% in order to avoid compressing gasses in the lines which can cause an explosion if these glasses are allowed to collect and air pockets occur inside the system!

Drain Black Water Tank

The last thing you must do before leaving on your trip is dump any waste from your black water tank by opening both valves with slight drip allowing the entire contents of this tank to drain out into a sewer or septic system…NOT INTO A DUMP STATION PIPELINE OR DITCH!!!

This will help keep your tanks lighter weight while traveling for improved fuel consumption since many campgrounds along your travels will not have full hookups!

This is a very general explanation of how to sanitize your RV fresh and black water tanks and should be used as a guide only with the intention of following your manufacturer’s instruction manuals if available. 

Most RVs manufactured after 1995 utilize some type of “High Tech” system that is not compatible with chlorine disinfectants but do require periodic cleaning along with non-chlorine products such as AquaKleen,AquaMagic or Safe-T-Clear for best results. 

These types of systems include cassette toilets, composting toilets, macerating pumps etc…Even though most manufactures recommend this practice it may void any warranty so you must use all chemicals at your own risk.

Another Simple way to sanitize RV water Tank

  • Sanitize your water tank with a mixture of bleach and water or by boiling
  • Fill the tank with fresh, clean water after sanitizing it
  • Use an RV-friendly cleaning product to scrub off any dirt on the outside of the tank
  • Rinse off all traces of cleaner before filling up the tank again
  • Have your tanks inspected annually for damage that could lead to leaks or contamination 
  • Keep track of your mileage so you know when it’s time for another inspection

FAQs about Sanitizing an RV Water Tank

Boiling can kill many kinds of bacteria, but it doesn’t kill giardia and other parasites. If you choose to do this method, bring your water up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit before letting it cool down.

How long does it take for the bleach to work? 

A higher concentration of bleach will work faster than a lower concentration. The standard amount should sanitize the water in about 20 minutes, but I’ve found that 30-40 minutes is better just to be sure. 

The pur green solution takes longer (about 15 minutes) and Aqua Mira works within 15-30 minutes depending on strength and purity level. How many drops of Aqua Mira per gallon should I use? Only add 2 drops! Any more than that can make your drinking water taste bad.

Are There Any Other Methods? 

 Yes, but they’re not recommended unless you have no access to chlorine bleach or Aqua Mira . Boiling and pure green can be purchased at a grocery store, but both of them require a significant amount of time. Aqua mira is more widely available online if you need to purchase it!

Why Should I Sanitize My Rv Water Tank?  

It’s always a good idea to do this especially if your recent campsite had a lot of campers driving around in the vicinity. If rainwater floods the area, even better! In some states, water that comes from public parks can’t be guaranteed 100% clean-that means that there could be bacteria living in the supply.


Make sure you keep the water in your RV tank clean and safe with these steps. With a little effort, it’s easy to maintain your RV so that you can enjoy traveling without worries about sanitation!

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