Sanitize Your Fresh Water Tank When You Winterize Your RV

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Jess

Clean and disinfect your motorhome with TankFRESH before winterizing it.

No one likes to winterize their RV. No one. Winterization means the end of another camping season, and that’s often a sad day for everyone. It also means a lot of work and even some worry. But it’s also a good time to routinely maintain your RV’s water system and make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape.

First steps to winterization

The work and worry starts when you need to visit the landfill and make sure your gray and black tanks are completely cleaned and emptied. You also need to make sure all windows and vents are properly closed and sealed. If you forget even one during a harsh winter, it can wreak havoc on the interior of your RV. Then there’s the issue with the fresh water tank and plumbing. You need to make sure that all the water has been drained to avoid tank or plumbing problems when it gets really cold. Decisions need to be made on how to winterize your system.

If you live in a place where it doesn’t get too cold, blowing out the water lines with air is often enough. If you live in a place where antifreeze must be used every winter, you will need to properly winterize your RV – unless you are fortunate enough to have the use of a climate-controlled storage facility. Some of these questions can be answered by checking with local RV storage companies to see what they do.

Care of the fresh water system

Winterizing your water system is also a good time to maintain it. A good winterization and maintenance plan will allow for a smooth winterization in the spring.

Many experts recommend cleaning your fresh water tanks at the end of the camping season. You’ve been using your water system throughout the camping season, and it’s likely that the water has been circulating frequently. But now you will shut it off for an extended period of time without the water tank and lines moving.

Whatever is in there will be there all winter, waiting for you in the spring. Cleaning just before winterizing means you’ll start spring with clean tanks and lines, not ones that may have accumulated unknown contaminants during the long winter.

Disinfectant is poured into an RV through a funnel to clean and winterize the fresh water system.
Use a product specifically designed for cleaning your fresh water system. Image: TankFRESH

Cleaning before winterization

There are many options for cleaning your water system, ranging from doing nothing to adding a bleach solution to the system. Another option is to use products specifically designed for cleaning and disinfecting RV water systems.

Do nothing

Doing nothing before winterizing your home is, of course, the worst of all options. A variety of water has been added to your water system – some very clean and some, shall we say, not so clean. Mold and bacteria can grow in this dark, damp environment. That’s why it’s important to clean your system regularly.

Use of bleach in your water system before winterization.

One of the most popular options is to add a bleach solution to your system and then rinse it out after it has circulated through the tank and water lines. There seem to be hundreds of “experts” on YouTube, all with different ideas about what the best ratio of bleach to water is, how long to leave the bleach in the system, how to flush the bleach solution out of the system, and how often to do the cleaning process. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s easy to lose track of what’s best.

Too strong of a bleach solution can damage your tanks, pipes and fixtures, while too weak of a solution may not kill the contaminants. The same problems occur if you leave the bleach solution in your system too long or too short. When you are done cleaning, you must drain the solution in an environmentally safe manner. You should not dare drain the solution into a septic system because the bleach will kill the good bacteria that keep your septic system working properly, and if you simply drain the solution into the ground, it can cause problems with groundwater.

Use a product designed for your RV’s water system.

A safer, easier and more environmentally friendly option is to use a premixed solution made specifically for RV fresh water systems. Using such a product takes the guesswork out of what to add and when. Just follow the label instructions for the amount you need to add for your tank size and you’re ready to go.

One product that solves these problems is TankFRESH from Clear2O, a manufacturer of water filtration systems. TankFRESH takes the guesswork out of cleaning your fresh water system. There are no ingredients to mix or measure. It’s all premixed, and you simply add the appropriate amount for your tank size.

Clear2O recommends moving the RV back and forth a bit so the entire tank is in contact with the solution. Then after 30 minutes, simply empty the tanks.

TankFRESH is environmentally safe because it contains no bleach and emits no corrosive fumes. You can safely use it around your family and pets. When you use a product like TankFRESH, you don’t have to guess how to mix the solution, and you don’t have to empty the system when you’re done.

Winterize properly to avoid problems later on

Winterizing your RV may not be the most exciting RV-related task. However, maintaining your fresh water system is a surefire way to avoid problems later on. TankFRESH’s full range of products can help you do just that.

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