How to sanitize your RV water system

How to sanitize your RV water system

Your RV Water System is a very important part of RV life ,expecially the fresh water that you drink from the RV.

Like with anything your RVs water needs to be clean and sanitized or this can lead to your family getting sick on your vacation and trips.

Sanitizing your RV Fresh water tank is very easy to do follow this guide to help you get started.

How To Sanitize your RV tank With Bleach

The most common method for sanitizing an RV’s fresh or grey tank is using bleach” (a similar process can be used for the blackwater tank).

Bleach puts proper amounts in all areas at once; if you’re unsure about where to add bleach during this process, check your owner’s manual.

Step 1: Fill the RV tank with fresh water.

This should take care of any remaining poop or chemicals that are still floating around, so you want to make sure this step is done before filling up again.

Step 2: Add bleach to the full tank.

Use a recommended concentration for your type of system (as per your owner’s manual).

For those lucky few whose RV has a separate greywater system For example, if your RV systems hold two gallons each and you have four separate tanks, use 1/2 cup of bleach for every 32 gallons of water storage in your system.

Mix it up really well since all your tanks are going to be filled at once; using an old paint stirring attachment can help with this process.

If you need to clean your faucets, filters or shower heads, consider using a hydrogen peroxide solution instead. This will help keep them from turning black (from the inside out!) after frequent use out in the elements.

Step 3: Let it sit overnight or 24 hours

OR add another dose just before you’re ready to fill with water.

Step 4: Fill up your RV tanks one at a time

Completely emptying any bleach before adding another portion of the tank.

Sanitizing your blackwater tank

Figure out how much bleach you need based on the total capacity of your system as per the owner’s manual and divide by three if you have a single blackwater tank (or one in each toilet).

Detergent can be used instead of a chlorine solution, but it may require more than just one dose. Don’t forget to flush out all remaining detergent before adding any human waste!

If you’re using an RV manufactured after 2006 with holding tanks that are 3/4 or larger, there’s no need to add bleach at all since these systems help protect against biological growth during storage.

These newer models will typically have an inspection tag showing approval from a recognized testing facility. If you’re running into problems with slime and scum, try flushing bleach through your toilet(s) once before adding any waste.

You can also use the same process to sanitize water in other systems (e.g., greywater tanks), but be sure not to mix bleach with any chemicals besides vinegar; doing so could cause serious damage to your RV plumbing!

Lots of things recommend using vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice when cleaning out blackwater tanks due to the buildup of “stuff” throughout the system — this is what I did at first, but it never entirely got rid of all the gunk since there’s no way for non-bleach products to get inside smaller pipe holes.

If you still see dark water after treating your blackwater tanks, you can use a hose to siphon it out and dump directly onto the ground.

Sanitizing your RV water system Other Alternative to Bleach

If you’re seeing noticeable buildup in blackwater tanks or toilets on an ongoing basis despite regularly following steps 1 through 4 above, consider using Bio-Clean instead. I started by adding as directed on each bottle but eventually had to double that dosage because I still kept getting slime, among other things — and I was running fresh water through at least once per week!

This product has worked wonders for me and will likely be the next thing I buy after moving into my new RV!


While it’s not perfect, bleach is a great way to sanitize your freshwater system if you’re looking for something cheap and easy.

Just make sure you don’t add any ingredients other than bleach (not even vinegar!) when treating black or greywater systems or you’ll risk clouding up your pipes and failing an inspection.

Bleach should be used sparingly in drinking water tanks, but the smell will eventually go away with a good flushing out afterward If your black/greywater systems are using a macerator , you may have to run several cycles of fresh water through until the system is clear!

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