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How To Clean An RV Fresh Water Tank

Water from RV water tank pouring from a tap into a glass held by a hand - feature image for How To Clean An RV Fresh Water Tank
Hand holding a glass of water poured from the kitchen faucet.

How To Clean An RV Fresh Water Tank

If you’ve ever poured yourself a glass of water in your RV and had it smell a little like rotten eggs or even algae, you already know why you need to clean your RV water tank. Here’s how to clean an RV fresh water tank to keep your water smelling and tasting fresh every time you open a tap.

How often should you clean an RV water tank?

How often you need to clean your RV tank really depends on how often you are using it. If you live in your RV full-time, you will have water moving in and out of the freshwater tank. Frequent use of the RV water system gives less chance for bacteria and algae to start to populate the water tank. If you live in your RV full-time, you should sanitize your RV water tank annually.

If your RV is used part-time, you’ll need to sanitize the water tank as frequently as every 4 months to keep everything fresh.

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What product to use to sanitize your RV water tank

Any household chlorine bleach will kill bacteria and algae as it neutralizes odors in the RV water system. You’ll need about 1/2 cup for a 33-gallon tank.

How to clean an RV fresh water tank

  1. Turn the hot water heater off and drain all the hot water from your hot water tank.
  2. Drain your RV freshwater tank. Drain any water from the freshwater tank by opening the freshwater drain plug.
  3. Drain the water sytem. Open and drain each tap in the RV including the indoor and outdoor showers. Make sure you close the taps again.
  4. Mix a bleach solution. Mix 1/2 cup of bleach to about 4 gallons of water in a 5-gallon bucket.
  5. Pour the bleach solution into the RV water tank. Use a funnel to carefully pour the bleach solution from the 5-gallon bucket into the RV water tank.
  6. Fill the water tank with water.
  7. Open each tap in the RV. One by one, open each tap in the RV and run the water until you can smell bleach coming from the tap and then close.
  8. Allow the water system to sanitize. Don’t use the water system for 6 hours. Just let it sit. This will allow the bleach to sanitize the water system.
  9. Drain the freshwater tank. Open the freshwater tank drain plug to drain the freshwater tank.
  10. Open each tap in the RV. One by one, open each tap in the RV and run the water until the water line is empty and then close.
  11. Flush. Fill the freshwater tank and open all the taps in the RV until there is no more odor. You may need to repeat this several times.
  12. Your RV tank will now be sanitized. Enjoy some clean water!

Track your RV maintenance

Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance from RV LIFE. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.

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