How to Clean RV Water Tanks

How to Clean RV Water Tanks
An RV's water tanks will eventually become fouled. That is a fact of life that comes with RV ownership, and at a minimum, cleaning the tanks out is necessary to maintain good sanitation. The procedure is fairly easy, although the first time will involve a bit of crawling around the RV to find all the necessary parts.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bleach Bucket
  • Bleach
  • Bucket
Step 1
Go to the RV's water heater. This is usually accessed by a panel on the outside of the RV. Turn it off and release the pressure relief valve. Also turn off the water pump.
Step 2
Pull the plug out of the water heater tank, and let that drain.
Step 3
Find the low point on the RV's drain lines. These will have plugs or valves, and opening them will drain the rest of the water out of the system.
Step 4
Close and plug all of the drains.
Step 5
Mix a water and bleach solution, using 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water your tanks can hold. If you do not know how much they can hold, consult your owner's manual.
Step 6
Hook up the RV to a water source and fill the tanks the rest of the way. Turn the water pump back on, open all the faucets, and let them run until you can smell bleach coming out of them. This will circulate bleach water into all the lines in the RV. Turn the faucets off once this has been achieved.
Step 7
Leave the RV to sit overnight or for 12 hours, whichever is most convenient.
Step 8
Open all the valves and pull all the plugs to drain the system again. Refill the water tanks.
Step 9
Open the faucets again to check for a bleach smell. If there is any, it should go away in short order.

Tips & Warnings

It is sometimes recommended to run a cycle of soapy water through the system instead of bleach. This is really only necessary for the dirtiest tanks. Repeat the same process using a solution of 4 tsp. of liquid soap per 10 gallons in place of the bleach-water mix.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.