By Cheri Sicard
You might be putting drinkable water into your RV freshwater tank, but is it really safe and drinkable when it comes out of your RV’s faucet? Do you know what’s lurking in your dark, wet, warm RV freshwater tank? That environment is perfect for bacteria to grow. Eeewwww!
You really should disinfect your freshwater tank every six months. It might seem like a daunting and intimidating job, but it does not need to be. Robin Barrett from Creativity RV is here to help!
So what does it take to disinfect an RV freshwater tank? Bleach. But just a little bit.
Robin says you should consult your RV’s manual for how much to add. If, however, you don’t have such a manual (no manual came with my used RV), you will need to figure out the proper amount depending on the size of your freshwater tank.
Robin says a good rule of thumb is to add 1/4 cup of liquid bleach for every 16 gallons of fresh water. For the size tank Robin is working on in the video, she would use 3 cups of liquid bleach.
However, this is where the hack comes in.
Liquid bleach is not a handy item to carry in the RV. It’s heavy. It takes up a lot of space. And it could spill. Not only that, siphoning the liquid into your freshwater tank without spilling any can be a pain in the you-know-where.
Robin discovered a better alternative in dry bleach tablets!
These are concentrated dry bleach tablets. Sixteen tablets are the equivalent of 1 gallon of bleach. But they weigh a heck of a lot less and don’t take up nearly as much room. Plus, there is no spillage danger.
These tablets create liquid bleach when mixed with water. So all Robin does is add a tablet to the hose and run fresh water into the tank. It’s brilliant as the hose will also get a bleach rinse and disinfecting!
You will want to do this job when you have access to fresh water and sewer. Here are the steps to disinfecting your RV’s freshwater tank (watch the video of a demonstration).
- Open the valve and drain the freshwater tank.
- Robin chose to refill the tank and run the water through all the pipes and faucets (honestly, I am not sure what the purpose of this was, and she does treat it as an option).
- She then refilled the tank WITH the bleach tablets in the hose.
- She then let it sit for 3 hours so the bleach can do its disinfecting magic. Don’t leave it longer as bleach can ruin your seals with time. If you can, drive around with the bleach water in the tank.
- Before you empty the tank, run the bleach water through all your water lines and faucets to disinfect them.
- Empty the freshwater tank again.
- Refill the tank, run it through the lines, and dump it again two or three times more. Or until you no longer smell bleach.
Be sure to see Robin’s follow-up video on cleaning your tank sensors, which you can do at the same time.