Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!

No Experience, Existing Product Or Technical Skills Are Required


We're an affiliate.
We hope you love the products/services we recommend on Just Van Life! So you know, there is the possibility we will collect a commission should you make a purchase via any of our links. This will in no way affect the purchase price. Thank you for your support, we really appreciate it!

The first rule of venturing out into the great outdoors is simple – you need clean water! A shower after a long hike, washing the dishes after a cook-out, or just a sip of water on a hot day, access to clean water while camping is essential.

Your RV’s fresh water tank is one of the most important pieces of equipment you have. But how clean is your water?

Your fresh water tank is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria if it’s not maintained regularly. All sorts of fungus and slime can grow and invade your water supply!

There’s only so much your water filter can do, so it needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Fortunately, this is an easy task. This guide will walk you through how to keep your tank clean and your water fresh.

How To Sanitize RV’s Fresh Water Tank

Preparing Your Equipment

Your most important piece of equipment will be the bacteria-killing chemical – bleach, of course! It’s as simple as mixing chlorine with water and pumping it through your system. Doing this will leave your tank clean and safe to use.

While it’s easy to do, it has to be done right and will take the best part of a day to complete. It’s better to do it at home before you head out on your camping trip.

So what do you need? All it takes is chlorine bleach, clean water, a measuring cup, a gallon-sized pitcher, and a funnel. With this equipment, you’re ready to start cleaning!

Turn Off Your Water Heater And Pump

Let’s begin by turning off your water heater and your water pump to prevent avoidable damage to your system that could happen if bleach enters your hot water tank or water output sources, such as your shower head.

Allow the water to cool before beginning to drain it, and check your faucets to make sure your water pump is definitely off. Also, make sure that your grey water tank is empty before continuing to the next step.

Drain Your Tank

Now you have to drain your fresh water tank. To do this, locate the low-point valves underneath your RV.

There should be a red valve for hot water and a blue one for cold water. If you’re having trouble, consult your RV owner’s manual.

Next, open both valves and drain the water from your fresh water tank, hot water tank, and your plumbing lines. Do so in an area with good drainage to prevent the water from pooling around you.

Measure Your Bleach

As your system drains, measure out the chlorine bleach you’ll need to effectively sanitize your tank. You should use a quarter cup of bleach for every 16 gallons of water your fresh water tank holds, our one ounce for every eight gallons.

Measure the amount of bleach based on these ratios so you can begin to mix the cleaning solution. Once the water has been drained from the low-point valves, close them.

Add Mixture To Your Tank

Next, you have to dilute your bleach with at least a gallon of water. Mix the solution in your gallon-sized pitcher and begin to pour it into the fresh water inlet located on the side of your RV.

Be sure to use a funnel so all the solution is poured into the tank and there’s no spillage.

Fill Your Tank With Clean Water

How To Sanitize RV’s Fresh Water Tank

Now, fill your tank with clean water. The easiest way to do this is to connect a hose to a fresh water source and fill your tank until it’s completely full. This will mix your bleach solution through the tank.

Once it’s full, replace the cap on your fresh water inlet and circulate the solution through the plumbing lines.

To do this, you need to turn on your water pump and then open all your faucets and showerheads for 2 to 3 minutes. Once you’ve done this, close all the fresh water outputs you turned on and shut off the pump again.

Give It Some Time

And now we wait! Let the solution sit in the system for 12 hours before draining it. If you do decide to clean your tank while out on a trip, be sure to bring plenty of bottled water that you can use while you wait.

Drain Your Tank Again

After you’ve waited 12 hours, you need to drain the tank again. Open both low-point valves and let them drain as you did the first time.

If possible, avoid draining your tank into the soil. Bleach is harmful to plant life and can damage the soil. A solution is to drain the solution into a large bucket and dispose of it at a sewer inlet.

Flush The System

Finally, it’s time to flush out the system with clean water and circulate it through the tank and plumbing lines.

Fill the water tank with fresh water and then turn the water pump back on. Continue to open all faucets and showerheads again until you can no longer smell bleach.

You may need to flush the system out more than once. Keep going until the bleach smell is completely gone. When the smell has disappeared, you’re ready to switch everything back on and get camping!

How Often Should I Clean My Fresh Water Tank?

Fortunately, you don’t need to sanitize your system very often. It all depends on how much time you spend in your RV. For example, if you live in your RV then you should do this twice a year.

If you don’t, then once a year is fine, but keep in mind how long the water has been sitting in the tank before hitting the road. If it hasn’t been replaced in a while then you should consider sanitizing it.


While sanitizing your RV’s fresh water tank is simple, it does take a long time, but thankfully it only needs to be done once or twice a year.

It’s important to keep on top of it to protect yourself from bacteria that could make you very ill. With this guide, you’ll have no problem keeping your water clean for your camping trips.

Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!

No Experience, Existing Product Or Technical Skills Are Required


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top