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YUCK! There was green algae growing in the water hose we drink from!

By Nanci Dixon
We had a leak at the end of our drinking water hose that no number of washers would fix. No big deal. It was so firmly attached to the motorhome hose reel that we decided to just cut the old male hose end off and replace it with a repair end.

I cut the leaking end off, glanced inside, and YUCK! The inside of the hose was coated with green goo. Algae! That is the white water hose we drink from! Algae forms with a combination of minerals, moisture, sun and heat. Our months in Arizona certainly left the hose exposed to sun and heat. The nutrients that algae thrive in are iron, phosphorus, oxygen and hydrogen. Most tap water has iron and phosphorus and oxygen is in the air in the hose or tanks.

While we sanitize our fresh water tank at least every three or four months, in three years had never thought to sanitize the hose. Will be doing that from now!

Follow these steps to sanitize a water hose

Both vinegar and bleach kill algae. Vinegar is less harsh but will require more.

  1. If you’re using vinegar, you can use full strength, but the results are not as sure as bleach.
  2. If using bleach, dilute 1/4 cup bleach in a gallon of water. When sanitizing the whole system the recommended amount is 1/4 cup bleach for every 15 gallons of water. Bleach is caustic to metal and can be harmful to plastic and rubber parts, so you want to use just enough to get out the algae. A 1/4 cup to a gallon ratio should not be used for the entire sanitation of the water system.
  3. Pour into the hose. Cap the ends.
  4. Another method of getting the bleach into the hose is to add the 1/4 cup bleach to the hose and slowly add water to the hose until full then cap the ends. (I gave up trying to pour the gallon of diluted bleach in and used this method.)
  5. Slosh around and leave overnight.
  6. Run water through until the bleach smell is gone.

After we sanitized the hose, we decided it would be good to sanitize the whole system. When I sanitize the whole system in the future I am going to add at least half of the bleach in the water hose first instead of just the tank.

Hint

Want to get rid of the bleach smell on your hands? Try rubbing your hands with lemon juice or vinegar and rinse well. Coffee grounds can also exfoliate and help remove odors.

Related:

New device keeps your fresh water tank clean. So simple, yet effective!

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Irv
1 year ago

I sanitize and dry my water hoses after every trip if its going to be more than a month or two before the next trip. After many tries, here’s what’s easiest for me.

• Loosely put a cap on one end of the water hose and put that end in a bucket etc.
• Put the bleach solution is a container with a spigot (such as an ice tea container)
• Stretch out the hose with the open end higher than the semi-close end
• Use the spigot to run the solution into the open end of the hose until the solution starts to come out the semi-closed end.
• Tighten the semi-close end and cap the end you filled from.

After letting the solution soak, I drain the hose and then repeat the process to rinse out the hose.

I then let the hose dry.
• Method 1: Find a porch railing or clothesline where you can attach the hose so that heat from the sun will dry it out. (The hose should be somewhat slanted so water can drip out.) I cover the open ends of the hose with clean socks to keep insects out.

Irv
1 year ago
Reply to  Irv

Method 2: Buy an aquarium air pump and use it to send low pressure air through, a well drained and stretched out hose for 24 hours or so. I drilled out a plastic hose cap so the air pump tubing fits snugly.

Wolfe
1 year ago

spring sanitation: I pour 1 cup bleach into the hose female, connect all 400′ of hose, and slowly fill the first few gallons of my tank. This intense bleach rinse going down the hose has never let hose get nasty dirty, and followed by 50gallons of water to fill tank the hose remains tasteless. Soak tank 4 hours, dump and rinse…good to go.

julie Winkelman
1 year ago

No need to buy caps for the ends, just screw the ends of your hose together. That’s what we do everytime we store the hose, too. Prevents moisture from dripping in your storage bay.

Dino
1 year ago

WARNING…do not mix bleach and vinegar!

Hi friends…When mixed together, bleach and vinegar produce toxic chlorine gas. Chlorine gas itself is greenish-yellow but, when diluted in the air, it’s invisible. This means it’s only detectable by its strong scent and the side effects you experience.

So just how dangerous is chlorine gas? It was effectively used as a weapon during World War I.

Symptoms of exposure are:
Burning eyes, nose, and throat, reddening, and blistering of skin, difficulty breathing
Tightness in chest, nausea and vomiting
Potentially deadly pulmonary edema (fluid buildup in lungs. Call poison ctr 800-222-1222 or 911 if needed.

William Johnson
1 year ago

Why would you drink water from an RV water tank? Is it the cost of drinking water?

Tom M.
1 year ago

That’s a good question. I always use bottled water for coffee, ice, etc. Water tank water is for washing.

Neal Davis
1 year ago

Wow! What an eye-opening story and what great advice! Thank you! We now have another RV maintenance item on our list. Thanks again!

Ken
1 year ago

Sidebar. I remember all those hoses we drank out of as kids in Navy housing area. Endless games of hide n seek, we knew which houses had the best tasting water, coldest water and easiest access. Avoided those huge black heavy duty industrial hoses with a wickedly nasty taste.Old faded, leaky hoses and their water tended to taste the best, when temperature soared daily over the 90-100s. And out of bounds was three blocks away. Well at 67 years old.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken

I remember just walking down the street in summer and getting thirsty. So we simply grabbed the first hose we saw and drank from it. This was in Chicago in the 50’s. Nobody died. Nobody got sick. But we all stayed hydrated. We never thought about ‘hydrating’, we were just thirsty.
I’m 75 now.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tommy Molnar
Jim Ring
3 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Yair Mate, that’s what we all used to do in Kalgoorlie, West Australia, no one died here either, and I’m 82 now, just starting to look ’round for our last ‘van.
Jim

Alain T.
1 year ago

Been wondering about “stuff” living in the drinking hose and had used the same chlorine formula of 1/4 cup per 15 g for 4 hrs, until reading my unit’s manual where it’s stated in bold, to sanitize (…) do not use your non-toxic drinking water hose! Now we just “invest” in a new water hose every year or so, when on sale of course.

Scott R. Ellis
1 year ago

Algae is not a “combination” of bacteria and other things. Algae and bacteria are completely separate organisms.

Ed K
1 year ago

An easy way to add the bleach is to pour it into the water filter canister and place the canister at the faucet instead of the coach. Make sure you remove the filter cartridges.

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