Skip to content

Van Build

Close this search box.

How Long To Leave Bleach In RV Water Tank?

    Updated December 12, 2022

    You probably know about cleaning your water systems and water tanks if you own an RV. Most individuals use bleach or a cleaning solution containing bleach inside their water tanks to sanitize over a period of time. However, you might be wondering how long you should keep the bleach in your tanks and whether it becomes risky if kept there for an extended period of time.

    How Long to Leave Bleach In Your RV Water Tank?

    The simple answer is that you should keep the bleach on for at least 4 hours, however most experts advise leaving it on for 24 or even overnight. You shouldn’t worry about leaving bleach in your water systems for an extended period of time because it is generally innocuous and safe. Although your bleach and water mixture shouldn’t be left within the water tanks for days on end because it can encourage the growth of mold or bacteria, bleach itself is safe.

    Will Bleach Hurt My RV Water Tanks?

    Actually, no. The bleach solution won’t harm the plastic water tank, the Pexate pipes, or even the water pump itself because you’ll only let it sit for 8 hours or longer. You could use something stronger, like 2 or 3 cups for every 50 gallons, and it wouldn’t hurt at all. Remember that bleach itself comes in a plastic jug and that it may be stored on a shelf for years in some homes. Neither the jug nor a washing machine appear to be harmed by this.

    One widespread misconception regarding bleach is that the chlorine in the substance could harm the plumbing or tanks in your RV. Although this is possible, it will never occur during the time it takes to sanitize your system. Sanitizing takes between four and twenty-four hours, whereas the harm would develop over several weeks or months. You shouldn’t be concerned about chlorine because it can also potentially affect toilets for the reasons mentioned above. Just make sure you rinse all chemicals with water after using them properly.

    Can You Put Bleach In RV Water Tanks?

    Due to its ability to kill 99.9% of bacteria, bleach is frequently used to sterilize spaces. However, unadulterated, it is quite abrasive and potent. The human body can potentially suffer severe damage from it, including burns, poisoning, and even death. To use bleach properly and prevent corrosive harm to you or an RV component, dilute it to the proper solution.

    Although some germs are helpful, bleach destroys all bacteria without discrimination. Additionally, excessive use of cleaning products like bleach can make it harder for someone to fight off “super-bugs” in an unclean environment (which camping is). Therefore, bleach should only be used sometimes to shock the RV system for a planned deep-sanitization session. It should also be used sparingly and intelligently. Avoid over-sanitizing all RV surfaces all the time, especially if you will be touching them with your skin because your skin will eventually absorb the bleach.

    Leave the diluted bleach solution in the tank for at least 8 to 12 hours to allow it to infiltrate the region and eradicate any bacteria before beginning the deep cleaning bleach soak.

    Can You Sanitize An RV Water Tank Without Bleach?

    Without using bleach, one can cleanse the RV tank using a variety of less abrasive and just as potent natural sanitizing agents. Baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are some healthier substitutes. Additionally, one can employ a variety of essential oils that are antimicrobial (but make sure you dilute appropriately). In one study, it was discovered that the four essential oils lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, and orange were very efficient against all 22 bacterial strains studied. Tea tree oil also possesses antibacterial and antifungal effects, according to numerous research.

    Listeria, E. Coli, and Salmonella are the principal microorganisms you are focusing on. The effectiveness of the substitutes vs the usage of bleach is depicted in the chart below: White vinegar and hydrogen peroxide appear to be suitable (and considerably safer and healthier) substitutes for chlorine bleach.

    What Kind Of Bleach Should You Use In An RV Water Tank?

    For every 15 gal of freshwater capacity, one-fourth cup of bleach is needed to sanitize the RV water tank. Many RVers sanitize the RV water tank with Clorox or other off-brand bleach. Bleach is very cheap; a gallon can cost anywhere from $8 to $15, depending on the brand and quality. For instance, companies like Seventh Generation or Ecover Zero provide chlorine-free substitutes that use hydrogen peroxide or other, safer choices in terms of the environment and human health. These cost a little extra money.