How to disinfect your RV Water Tank

Here is a camper tip to ensure that you have clean, safe drinking water in your motor home, fifth wheel or travel trailer, you will need to disinfect your RV water tank, especially for a newly purchased camper or one that has been sitting for a while.

The most common method to disinfect your water tank involves filling the fresh water tank with a solution of household bleach and running the solution through each faucet, then letting it stand for at least three hours. Finally, flush the system once or twice to remove the taste and smell.

Here are some simple directions to sanitizing your fresh water tank:

Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.

Make sure that the water heater is turned off and that the water is cool.

Used a diluted 1/4 cup of household bleach to one gallon of water for every 15 gallons of tank capacity.

Add the diluted bleach solution to the filled, fresh water tank. (Make sure to NEVER pour straight bleach into the RV fresh water tank)

Run the chlorinated water solution through each faucet one at a time for 1-2 minutes per faucet.  You should be able to smell the chlorine. (Be sure you are using the water pump and not an external water source)


After you have run the water thru the faucets, top off the RV fresh water tank with additional fresh water and let stand for at least three hours.  If you can wait, letting it sit over night is better.

Drain the fresh water system completely by flushing the faucets for several minutes each. You can open the fresh water tank drain valve to speed up emptying the tank.  Be sure to open the hot water tank drain plug and drain until it is empty too.

Close all valves and faucets and drain plugs and fill fresh water tank again but this time it should be water only. (no bleach)

Turn on each faucet one at a time and flush for several minutes, repeating until the tank is empty. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)

Refill the tank with fresh water.  The fresh water system should now be safe for use.  If the chlorine odor is too strong after you rinsed it,  repeat the step to flush your fresh water system until you are satisfied.

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