Monday, September 25, 2023


Ask Dave: How can I sanitize a collapsible hose for fresh water?

Dear Dave,
There is much written about the necessity and how to sanitize the potable water systems in the RV. I have only seen a few articles about sanitizing the potable hoses from the source to the RV. A bleach treatment in a “standard” hose makes sense to me. I am thinking of getting one of those collapsible hoses. With all the nooks and crannies when collapsed, can they as easily and safely be sanitized? —Kelly

Dear Kelly,
The first thing you need to look at is if the water hose is designed for drinking water or is potable. Most “collapsible” hoses or coil hoses are designed for outside garden use and not drinkable water. There are several issues with them such as chemicals that can “leach” into the water during transfer, as well as taste.

Hose safe for fresh water

I did find a source for a “coil” type water hose that is also safe for fresh or potable water and is easier to store in a compartment. However, there are very few of these that are available at home improvement and hardware stores that can be used for a fresh water supply at a campground.

I researched the flexible or expandable hoses available and could not find one that was listed for potable water connections, rather outside use only. Here is one I use outside at home.

If you can find one that is approved for drinking water, I would suggest using a funnel to introduce a sanitizing solution of bleach and water of at least one quart into the hose and then connect it to a pressurized source such as a faucet and run water long enough to expand the hose. This should get to all the “nooks and crannies.”

Personally, I don’t like the flexible hose at home and would not use it in an RV application. The compact design is not a benefit over the cumbersome functionality.

Here are some drinking water hoses on Amazon. They don’t really appear to take up too much space.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


  1. I use a 5 gallon bucket. Coil the hose into the bucket and fill with the sanitizing solution. I use a baster to put water into the hose if needed. Soak overnight or longer, rinse then ready for the season.

  2. I installed a quick couple adapter on the outside shower, now I can attach my hoses to sanitize when I’m sanitizing the onboard tank and system. And a big bonus is that I can run hot water from the onboard system thru the water hoses to make them easy to coil up in cold weather. And another plus is that I can get warm water to help debug the windshield. It’s been a win-win all the way around.

  3. The Teknor Apex Zero-G Drinking water safe semi-collapsable hoses are great! Very easy to store.

    No problems in 4+ years of use. The “surgical” tubing inside doesn’t have any nooks and crannies. I loosely put a cap on the far end (so air can escape) and fill it using a funnel with the same strength bleach sanitizing solution that I use on my water tank. Tighten caps on both ends. I let it soak for a few hours. Rinse with fresh water. If it’s going to be a few months before using again, I dry the inside.

    Method one. Without the end caps, cover the ends with socks to keep bugs out. Stretch out the hose in the sun so one end is lower than the other. (Clothesline, porch railing, etc.)

    Method two. Hook up an aquarium air compressor to one end and blow air through the stretched out hose for 24 hours. We have an unused guest bedroom that I use to lay the hose flat on the floor. Again use a sock at the open end to prevent dust or bugs from getting in.

    • The only problem is they only come in 25 and 50 foot lengths. To make a 4′ section to hook up my water filter and pressure regulator, I cut a 25′ hose and put new fittings on the open ends. That’s hard to do because of the surgical tubing and the cloth covering but I finally managed. The fittings have stayed on for 4+ years.

  4. Those ‘pig-tail’ like hoses are a pain in the butt. In cold weather they are almost unusable. In warm weather you still can’t get the true length to stretch out.

  5. I have been useing Zero-G cloth hoses designed for drinking water for 3 years now. You can get them in 25′ or 50′ lengths. They are very durable and are soft enough to squeegee out the water inside of them with your fingers as you coil it up. I fill them with a bleach solution and connect the ends together overnight to sanitize. There are no wrinkled side walls like a colapsable hose. Here is the Amizon link for purchase.

    Teknor Apex-4006-50 Zero-G 1/2″ x 50′, Blue

  6. An easy way to sanitize any hose is to use a filter housing and fill it with the sanitizing solution. Hook up the hoses to the outlet of the canister housing and then turn on the water. This will force the solution into the hoses and what ever is connected to the hose end. Let it set and then run enough fresh water to remove the sanitizing solution out. I use this method to introduce the solution into my RV FW Tank and plumbing every time I sanitize. When finished, I just install the filters in the housing and I am done until the next time.

  7. That collapsing and expanding hose may seem great, especially as seen on TV, but don’t expect it to last. In a very short time you’ll have a fabric covered hose that just lays there like any other hose. It kinks really easy too.

        • The zero-G is not a traditional expandable with a ribbed interior. The girth of the tube does expand and harden a bit from the pressure. I have been using one for several years. I can fold up a 25 ft. version into a plastic shoe box. It is a great hose that is flexible even when cold, very light weight and particularly useful for those of us with limited space.


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