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How to Sanitize RV Water Tanks?

Medha Godbole
Recreational vehicles (RV) are a fantastic option if you have to go camping or trailing. One of the important things to keep them in perfect shape is to sanitize their water tanks. This will keep them in good condition for a nice, long escapade, far from the maddening crowd.
Visualize how amazing it would be if you want to tour around your country or state and you do not have to depend upon the public transport; all because you have a recreational vehicle, which is almost like a mobile home. Also called a motorhome, it is equipped well with living space, ambiance, and amenities, similar to those of your home.
Now, because it is akin to your home, it naturally has water supply, food, storage area, bedding, etc. Among all this, before you begin your camping session, it is crucial to sanitize your RV water tanks, as you are going to use that water for almost everything, right from bathing to washing utensils.
That is why, the storage facility should be clean. Sanitizing them is not a very difficult proposition, though you have to be careful so as not to expose your skin and sensitive areas to the strong chemicals. The following pointers highlight the steps for the same.

Things You Need

  • Bleach
  • Funnel
  • Proper water supply
  • Container


  • To begin with, place your RV in such a spot that you would be easily able to drain the water from it. The water tank in this case is normally at the back of your vehicle. Now, go there and open the pressure release valve after turning the tank off. Turn off the water pump as well, which may or may not be with the water heater.
  • Pull out the plug from this tank, which will lead to draining of this heater. After this, locate the RV's drain lines and their low points. There, you would find the drain valves or plugs. To drain the water lines, open these valves or plugs.
  • Now close the drainage points after complete draining. Follow this up by adding a quarter of a cup of bleach to the main tank per 15 gallons of water the tank can hold. Make sure that you have taken all the safety measures such as gloves and eye protection while you do this. Use a funnel, if needed. Fill the tank with water, once this is done.
  • Open the hot and cold water faucets in the RV till the bleach comes out of them, prominently enough for you to smell it. After this, shut them and let the bleach stay in the system for at least 6 hours or if possible, overnight.
  • For sanitization, open the drain valves or cocks outside the RV. There are two valves, which would most probably be at the lowest point of the water lines of the system.
  • Usually, you would be able to open them manually, but if the valves are stiff, you might need pliers to open them. Turn these cocks clockwise, in a single half to a full turn.
  • Again, open both the faucets for allowing air in the water line and for the bleach water to drain out.
  • At the bottom left corner of the heater, there would be a drain cock, which you would need to open. Follow this up by opening the pressure relief valve, situated at the top of the heater.
  • The pressure relief valve can be opened by simply lifting a lever. After this, allow the water to drain.
  • Now, allow the pump to run for 30 seconds or may be a bit more, which will drain and push out any remaining amount of water. Be careful as to not let it run for more than 30 seconds, as it can lead to overheating of the system in the absence of water in the pump.
  • Now close the faucets (valves) in the RV, filling the system again. Then, rinse the system all over by opening the drains and letting the water drain out. Refill your system again, after closing the valves for the last time.
Thus, all in all, this process is not that difficult. However, ensure that you take precautionary measures as per the water purification system you adhere to.