How to Sanitize Your RV Water Tank?

I hope you agree with me when I say,

 When it comes to owning an RV, keeping up with its maintenance is equally important. 

You could ensure this by keeping a strict check on the tires, water tank, and batteries. In case you miss out on regular maintenance, there might be a lot of problems. One of the major ones includes sanitizing the water tank.

Without a clean water tank, you will be welcoming tons of bacteria into your system. Instead of enjoying the trip, you would be down by illness. I am sure the last thing on your list would be to fall sick due to a lack of sanitization. The sanitization will help that you remain healthy. Moreover, you do not require professional help for this. You can easily sanitize the water tank by yourself without using any tools.

sanitize your RV

To begin with, let me take you through what an RV is. It is referred to as a recreational vehicle, often called an RV. It basically includes small living spaces or quarters inside a van for accommodation purposes. These RV’s include caravans, motorhomes, campervans, etc.

To help ease the hassle for you, we are listing down some steps to sanitize your RV water rank. Further below you will find a video tutorial that shows the entire process. Along with this, we have also included the list of equipment needed for this.

1- Drain the water system

The first you need to do is to drain the water system. Unscrew the plug at the bottom left corner of the water heater along with opening the valve on top. Make sure to turn off the water heater before starting the process. To prevent it from being damaged, let the water system cool down, and then move on to draining.

2- Prepare the sanitizing solution.

The next step is to prepare the solution. While the water is being drained, you could start with this. We recommend you use bleach since that is the most effective. However, there are other alternatives such as vinegar or ready-to-use solutions.

As for the bleach solution, take 1/4th cup of bleach and dilute it with a gallon of water, and then pour it into the pump. This quantity is enough for 15 to 16 gallons of the freshwater tank, therefore measure it according to your tank size. Do not pour the bleach directly into the tank at any cost.

3- Fill the tank with the solution and pump it.

Once the solution is filled in the tank, turn on the water pump, open all of the hot and cold faucets and let the water run till you smell the bleach prominently at each tap. Make sure that the tank is completely filled with the solution to ensure that each and every corner is sanitized properly.

4- Let it sit for 12 hours.

The bleach solution will work if it is left in there for at least 12 hours. If you keep it for a few hours, the water tank will not be sanitized properly. Therefore, let the solution sit overnight and come back to amazing results. The solution will help get rid of the tiniest possible germs.

5- Drain the tank and flush the system.

Once the solution has been in the system for at least 12 hours, drain the water out again. Once drained, refill the tank with fresh water and turn on the pump. The pump will ensure water circulation through the system. Then, open all the faucets and let them be till the smell of the bleach goes away.

However, the smell might not go away so quickly, hence you will have to go over the same rinsing process multiple times. In fact, we recommend that you rinse the since multiple times with or without the bleach smell to make sure that there are no chemicals left in the system.

Check out this video in case you are looking for a video tutorial on how to sanitize the water system.

How Often Should You Sanitize.

It is recommended to sanitize the system every 6 months if you use your RV regularly. However, if you want to follow a strict maintenance schedule, you can clean it every 3 months as well.

If your RV has not been in use for a long time, you must immediately sanitize the water tanks. Moreover, if you fill your water tank at some campground, the water inside might be contaminated, so you must start with the sanitization process of the system.

Another sign that shows it is time to clean the system, is when it starts to smell bad. This is when you know that the water tank has some kind of bacteria and is in dire need of sanitization.

If you are looking for a good electric tankless water heater for your RV, this guide would be of great help.

Equipment you need for the sanitization.
  • 1 external water filter.
  • 1 internal water filter.
  • A funnel that is flexible along with a water hose.
  • Chlorine bleach (1 ounce of bleach for every 8 gallons).
  • 1 water filter wrench.


To conclude, we hope that the steps explained above have eased the sanitization process for you. It is extremely important to drink clean and safe water in order to protect your health. It is absolutely necessary to sanitize your water tank twice a year no matter how much you use your RV, less or more. The process is very easy to follow and is not heavy on the pocket either.

In case you want to know whether your RV convertor is in a good condition or not, check out this article.

Go through this article to increase the spectrum of knowledge regarding water tanks in the RV.

Your water tank is now clean with fresh and clean water for drinking!

Hey! I’m Mark Polk, an author, camper & public speaker on anything & everything RV related. I have educated millions of RV consumers on safely and properly usage through my movies (i.e. TRV Education 101: RV Care and Maintenance 2009) Writing about this industry is a huge passion of mine, so here’s a little piece of my mind.