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How Much Bleach to Sanitize the RV Tank? (Size Chart Included)

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

how much bleach to sanitize the rv tank

A water tank is a place that consists of wastes from an RV. This place will contain many bacteria and odors. To prevent foul odors far away from your living areas or keep the tank clean, you should sanitize it frequently with the right process. Additionally, bleach has become an important element to eliminate grease and waste completely.

However, pure bleach can break down the texture of the tank if we don’t mix it with a moderate amount of water. But don’t worry as I am going to give you some necessary information on how much bleach to sanitize the RV tank.

Table of Contents

When Should You Sanitize the RV Tank?


If your RV has one of these symptoms as below, that is the right time for you to sanitize the water tank.

You recognize stale odor from the fresh water system. The stale odor appears when you leave water in the tank for quite some time.

When the RV hasn’t been used for more than a month, the RV tank has a problem with slime or algae.

As a result, the filters have been degraded so they couldn’t remove contaminants for your RV tank.

How Much Bleach to Sanitize the RV Water Tank?

When you want to sanitize your RV water tank, you should equip knowledge on how to use a moderate solution. Although bleach can remove most bacteria and grease, it is too strong to use a pure solution without mixing water that can break the tank. Depending on the size of your water tank, you ought to mix pure bleach with a moderate amount of water as formulas above:

Water Tank Size Amount of Bleach Mix including Water
40 gallons (152 liters) 1 cup (240 ml) 4 gallons (16 liters)
50 gallons (190 liters) 1 ¼ cup (300 ml) 5 gallons (20 liters)
60 gallons (227 liters) 1 ½ cup (360 ml) 6 gallons (24 liters)
80 gallons (302 liters) 1 ¾ cup (420 ml) 7 gallons (28 liters)
100 gallons (380 liters) 2 cups (480 ml) 8 gallons (32 liters)

How to Sanitize the Water Tank?


When you have determined the size of your RV tank, you can mix the solution carefully to start cleaning the tank. These are steps for you can refer to:

Step 1: Remove these water filters to easily replace new ones. The fresh water system usually contains interior or exterior filters.

Step 2: Drain the entire hot water out of the tank.

Step 3: Then, start to flush all water out of the system, including the fresh water tank, water lines. After finishing, you need to close all of the drain valves.

Step 4: Prepare 5% sodium hypochlorite to make chlorine bleach (non-gel and non-scented) and water. . It’s because the most effective bleach is chlorine.

Step 5: Pour bleach mixture into the water tank.

Step 6: Add water into the fresh water tank. Let the chlorinated water run through water lines for more than two minutes.

Step 7: Add water again to the water tank.

Step 8: Let it sit at least 4 hours, but overnight will be better.

Step 9: Rinse and drain the fresh water tank and water lines repeatedly until you don’t smell any chlorine.

Step 10: Although you have rinsed the water many times to remove chlorine, you still smell it. Don’t worry since you can prepare a backup solution of ½ cup of baking soda and 4 liters of water into the tank. Then, rinse and drain the fresh water tank to receive the expected result.

How to Keep the Water Tank Clean and Smelling Fresh?

Besides sanitizing the water tank regularly to remove stale odor, you should maintain the RV tank to keep it clean and fresh always. These are some tips that you may need:

Use the potable hose only for potable water: if you use this hose to drain the gray water tank, that is an unacceptable mistake. That will lead to the issue of bacteria latch on the hose and pollution to the fresh water system.

Remove the stink from the sink: the grease can latch on the sink when you wash dishes. After a period of time, it can cause a stink in not only your kitchen but also entire RV areas. So you can use an orange soda to pour down the drain and rinse the sink with some water.


No food stick on the drain: you ought to use a mesh basket to catch bits of food from falling down the drain. If they are stuck in the valve or water tank, they can cause some bad odors.

These are some steps and tips to sanitize your water tank in the right way. You can refer to these pieces of information and perform with your RV.

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