Saturday, December 9, 2023


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

By Tony Barthel
Using bleach to sanitize a fresh water tank in an RV is something that has become customary for many. But the process of bleaching a fresh water tank has consequences, such as unusually white shoes and clothes. It’s not as easy to sanitize a fresh water tank when you’re worrying about getting bleach all over you or your RV. Here’s where the RV Inline Sanitizer comes in handy. 

RV inline sanitizer
The RV Inline Sanitizer with bleach tank cap open.

Recently Tom Hoepfner reached out to us to give his device a try and I have to admit my first thought was this was definitely a first-world problem solver. But after using it, I realized he had really saved me a lot of time. And, with fewer bleached articles of clothing, potentially a lot of money as well. 

Essentially the RV Inline Sanitizer is the simplest of solutions. It’s essentially a reservoir in which you put bleach and then use a source hose and a delivery hose to fill your fresh water tank. The sanitizer effectively adds the bleach as you fill the tank. It truly is that simple. 

The recommendation is to use the sanitizer before you head out on a trip so that the bleach can slosh around in the tank while you navigate the highways and byways of this majestic land. Then, once at your destination, flush the tank with fresh water until all evidence of bleach is gone. 

The mixture recommended is 8 ounces of household bleach for every 40 gallons of fresh water. There are some who might argue that household bleach is not really meant as a food-grade product, but when I owned a bed and breakfast, bleach was a part of everyday use in the kitchen, since we used it to sanitize sinks and prep tables. It’s just what we use ‘round here. 

Anyway, once your fresh tank is full of the bleach/water solution the recommendation is to disconnect from city water, turn on your water pump and run each faucet in the RV until you smell the bleach. Then do the slosh and drive. 

Once you arrive at your destination flush out the system with fresh water until you no longer smell the bleach. Simple. And the RV Inline Sanitizer really does simplify the process – it’s a much more useful gadget than I had anticipated, honestly. 

Surprisingly, I do know someone who got pretty sick from the water in their RV and it turns out they never sanitized the tanks in the five years they owned it. For those who don’t drink the water in their RV, remember that your skin is the largest organ on the human body and you likely do use that water to take a shower and even brush your teeth. 

It is recommended by many manufacturers to sanitize the tank twice a year. 

So is the RV Inline Sanitizer worth the money? That’s your decision, but I have to admit that having it has made me more likely to sanitize the tank in my own RV. It’s a simple solution that makes something we all should be doing a little easier and that’s what RVing is all about, really. 

Learn more on the official product website, or check it out on Amazon.


Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.



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J B (@guest_262442)
15 days ago

If a person bought all the “gimmicks” out there to make your RV life better you would need a semi truck to haul it around. Use a little common sense.

Mikal H (@guest_262434)
15 days ago

Just pour the bleach into the “delivery hose” first, connect to faucet, fill.

Michael A Noble (@guest_262943)
10 days ago
Reply to  Mikal H


George J Herberger (@guest_165943)
1 year ago

While the bleach works well, I use DiClor, a pool sanitizer. You don’t need to drain and refill the tank. Still would not drink it. Anyone hear of any problems with this usage?

Ron Sifford (@guest_165916)
1 year ago

It is a handy gadget that works

Bob nicholson (@guest_149492)
2 years ago

I ordered one of your chlorinatiors and have not heard from you folks at all. I have checked and I have been billed so I’m wondering if you could check from your end.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob nicholson

Hi, Bob. We don’t sell those ourselves, so you must have ordered it from the company. I suggest you check with them directly. Sorry we can’t help you. Take care. 🙂 –Diane

Jeff Mattingly (@guest_142691)
2 years ago

Aren’t you supposed to by-pass the hot water heater before adding clorine bleach?

Mark Birnbaum (@guest_132155)
2 years ago

Most municipal water systems use chlorine to keep water safe. Household bleach is mostly chlorine, but there can be additives (including “fresh” scents). Anybody who has a hot tub or pool and uses chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) based sanitation knows their water would be safe to drink (when properly maintained).

Rather than a one-time flush of your tank with this gadget, CAMCO (and others) have a diluted chlorine you add to your tank with each and every fill. (Usually 1 oz per 20 gallons.) This ensures your water is safe to drink, just like your tap at home.

Camco’s is labeled TastePURE Drinking Water Freshener. You will find on shelves at retailers like Walmart, camping and RV stores, campground stores and some hardware stores. Just buy a funnel with enough of a snout to fit your RV.

Bob P (@guest_103308)
3 years ago

Since I don’t want to contaminate my water filter with bleach I remove the filter element, pour the recommended amount of bleach into the filter housing close it up and connect the hose and fill my tank since there isn’t a gravity fill port but a selector valve to fill the tank. Since I’m basically cheap this is much cheaper than buying a special tank to put bleach in, I’m assuming this tank is a solution to the type of tank fill like I have. This goes back to my comment on common sense.

Rich (@guest_103278)
3 years ago

When we got our new RV, I sanitized the fresh water tank and off we went
Drained the tank and refilled. Later I showered and thought I smelled bleach. My wife asked,”What did you do to your hair and beard?” My hair and beard were as white as snow. I had forgotten to flush out the water heater and hot water line.

laura (@guest_97888)
3 years ago

Who knew I’d be learning so much but this has brought up a few questions. I hav ore an r-Pod, the grey water drains through the black water tank.

  1. Will the bleachy water damage the water lines?
  2. Will the bleach damage the black water tank and it’s “environment”?
  3. Still don’t know where to dump the water, no place I go has public sewage – it’s all septic systems with tanks so I wouldn’t want to fill up their tanks.

Whew, something so simple as clean water can be so complicated

Tommy Molnar (@guest_97841)
3 years ago


“Much ado about nothing”.

Tom Hosack (@guest_262436)
15 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar


Jackie (@guest_97224)
3 years ago

We have used this system and love it, we drop our bleach sanitized water into the drop station or the RV hopup sewer site, besides 8oz bleach and 20gals or more will never destroy the lawn and shruppey, after all I used as much bleach in my 8 gallon capacity cloth washing machine and it automaticly runs into my city sewer. So what’s the big deal, I love it!

Robbie (@guest_97168)
3 years ago

What a gimmick. Just put the bleach in your sediment filter canister, then fill it up with water. Geesh, one more useless RV gadget.

Bob P (@guest_116656)
2 years ago
Reply to  Robbie

Yes but just think of all the people without common sense who will buy this useless device and use it, to top it off how many who have a gravity fill port will buy this when all they had to do is pour the bleach into the gravity fill port. As P.T.Barnum said there’s one born every minute.

impavid (@guest_96839)
3 years ago

If you’re adding and sloshing bleach in your fresh water tank, then draining it out, where are you draining it to? I don’t see it being good to run your pump to pump the tank dry so you must be draining it out onto the ground. Drain 40 gallons onto the ground at your campsite will make quite a little lake and muddy up the ground or kill the grass.

S Fischer (@guest_142677)
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony

With a few cheap plumbing connectors I drain my fresh water tank through a hose (which I would normally attach to my black tank flush) directly into the sewer connection. No water on the ground at all.

Dan (@guest_96710)
3 years ago

Bleach will destroy the copper pipes in Aquahot systems. In the Aquahot manual it specifically states not to use bleach.

Gene (@guest_96681)
3 years ago

I sanitize my freshwater tank with sodium-dichlor, 1/2 tsp in the hose then fill up the 40 gal tank. Run it through all the faucets and leave it in overnight, drain and refill with plain fresh water.

Chuck B (@guest_96669)
3 years ago

I’m not sure how many RV parks would like for us to dump our 100 gallon water tank full of bleach water when we arrive. Chuck

James Starling (@guest_136811)
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony

You want to sanitize the whole tank so I top off the fresh water after running pump to fill all water lines and hot water tank. Usually 4 hours is long enough but overnight is better for solution to sit in tanks. No need to slosh around if already full. You don’t want to slosh out fill hole and down side of RV. ALSO, not a good idea to drive with full water tank!

Rodger (@guest_96662)
3 years ago

I can just imagine how happy the campground operator is with you flushing your tanks in their sewer system. If everyone did this, it would overload the system.

wanderer (@guest_96632)
3 years ago

Glad to see this! My new rig has a freshwater fill where the hose screws on, I can no longer use a funnel to put in bleach.

Leon (@guest_96642)
3 years ago
Reply to  wanderer

Use your funnel to pour bleach into your empty hose. Flush your hose. Disconnect it enough to drain a few feet from the hose then reconnect to the supply. Use the funnel to pour the bleach into the hose, plug it into the vehicle and turn on the water.

Seann Fox (@guest_96605)
3 years ago

Bleach is a highly toxic environmentally unfriendly substance.
Hydrogen peroxide on the other hand sterilizes just as well as bleach and is environmentally friendly

DAVE TELENKO (@guest_96641)
3 years ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

Would be nice to see some scientific facts about using hydrogen peroxide versus bleach!!

Irv (@guest_96677)
3 years ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

The CDC doesn’t recommend Hydrogen Peroxide for water treatment! Hydrogen Peroxide is an effective sanitizer at the strength you buy in grocery stores. If you could get in your tank and wipe it down using full strength it would work fine.

Several other common products, including hydrogen peroxide, citrus juice, and potassium permanganate, have antibacterial effects in water and are marketed in commercial products for travelers. None have sufficient data to recommend them for primary water disinfection at low doses in the field.” -CDC

Bleach rapidly breaks down when exposed to air or contact with organic material. It is NOT harmful to the environment.

 As bleach is used to destroy germs, it reverts mainly to salty water.
Fred Reiff, P.E., is a retired official of the Pan American Health Organization.

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