How to Sterilize a Fresh Water Tank

by Eric Cedric
Sanitize and clean the fresh water tank for health reasons once a year.

Sanitize and clean the fresh water tank for health reasons once a year.

An RV uses a holding tank to isolate the fresh water from the grey and black water. Over time the fresh water tank accumulates mildew and mold. This is caused by air getting into the tank and lines, allowing bacteria to grow. For health reasons, the fresh water tank should be sterilized and cleaned before your camping seasons begins, especially if the tank has been sitting in storage. To sterilize the tank, the faucets need to be functioning in the RV.

Drain the fresh water tank completely. Make sure the electrical connection is on.

Pour one cup of bleach into the fresh water tank along with one gallon of water using the funnel. The funnel and the bleach-water combo will make sure the bleach gets into the tank valves and hose. Remove the funnel after pouring in the bleach-water.

Push the hose into the tank and fill with fresh water until full.

Turn the RV water pump on and go through the rig opening every faucet, including the shower. Let the bleach water circulate fully through the system.

Turn the faucets off when the bleach can be smelled in the RV cabin. Let the bleach water sit in the tank for four hours.

After at least four hours, turn the faucets back on and let the tank drain completely.

Fill the fresh water tank with fresh water until full.

Items you will need

  • Bleach
  • Funnel
  • Water hose and connection

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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