RV Sewer Hose

How to Clean Your RV Tanks

If you’re new to RV’ing or just curious if you’re doing enough keep your RV tanks sparkling clean, you’re in the right place.  Let’s learn how to clean your RV tanks…

how to clean your RV tanks: RV Sewer Hose

First off, let’s go over the three different tank reservoirs you’ll find on your RV or Travel Trailer.

Gray Water Tank: Your gray water tank collects the waste water from your sink and shower. 

Black Water Tank: Your black water tank collects the waste water from your toilet.

Clean Water Tank: Your clean water tank holds fresh water for your sinks, toilet and shower. 

Now that we know the difference between the tanks, let’s talk about upkeep. If you have a newer RV or trailer you might have a convenient option to hook a hose up to your waste water tank to flush them out. This convenient feature lets you bypass having to run a hose through your RV to flush out your toilet tank (black water tank).

How to Clean Your RV Tanks:

Black Water Tank Maintenance 

My RV is older so I don’t have this luxury. To manually clean your black water tank, first you want to empty it. The pull level to your black water tank is usually located on the right hand side of the drain (see image above). Your gray water lever is on the left. 

Once the tank is completely empty, push the lever closed again. Now the fun part…

Run a hose into your RV bathroom. Fill your black water tank with clean water and drain it again. Repeat this step a couple times. (Note: Make sure you’re not using the hose you use for your clean water.) You should purchase a [blue hose] for your clean water and an [orange hose] for flushing your tanks. 

Another helpful tool for this job is [tank wand]. This tool is particularly helpful for cleaning your sensors. Sensors in your back water tank let you know how full your tank is. If they get blocked up, you won’t get an accurate reading and won’t know when it’s time to dump. 

If you’re going all out, you can also buy a [sensor cleaning solution] that you pour into your black water tank (filled with clean water) to help break up any debris stuck to your sensors. 

Once you’re done flushing out your tanks and your sensors are working properly, you can fill your tank with a couple bowls of water and add your chemical of choice. If you don’t like chemical smells you can also find natural black water tank solutions as well.

Gray Water Tank Maintenance 

Your Gray Water tank doesn’t get as dirty as your Black Water tank but you can still get a buildup of food or grease that makes it down your sink.

Tip: Don’t pour grease down your sink.

To clean your Gray Water tank, drain the tank completely then fill it up again with clean water. Pour in a non-abrasive degreasing solution like [cascade] or another RV [tank cleaning solution] and let it soak for an hour or so. Empty your tank. Repeat if your sensors are still blocked or a bad smell still exists. 

Tip: You can also drive around with the cleaning solution in your tanks to help stir things up.

Cleaning Your Water Tank Reservoir

If you drink from your water tank you want to make sure it’s clean at all times. Bacteria can build up in your tank reservoir and water lines over time causing you to get sick from drinking contaminated water. To help keep your water tank clean, you can attach a [water purifier] to your hose inlet which will filter water before it goes into your clean water tank.

Some people will even install an [under the sink water filter] to make sure the water is purified – especially if you’re drinking it. You can also just use a regulate [Brita filter] to store clean water in your refrigerator if you don’t want to install an entire purification system under your sink.

To clean your tank and water lines, I’d recommend using white vinegar. I’ve heard of people using a tablespoon of bleach but this can ruin your water lines and gaskets over time. 

With your water tank empty, get a [funnel] to pour a bottle of [white vinegar] in your holding tank and then fill your tank up with clean water. 

Go into your RV and run your sinks, shower and toilet for a few minutes so your water lines can fill up with the cleaning solution. Let this sit for about an hour. Then run your faucets again until your water tank is empty. Repeat if desired.

Once your tank is empty, fill it with clean water. Run all your faucets again to ensure all the cleaning solution is out of your water lines and holding tank. Repeat one more time. 

After you’ve flushed your lines thoroughly, fill your water tank back up with clean water and you’re all set.

Thanks for stopping by!

Charley Waters

Hey! I have been fond of the topic of RV for more than 5 years. I have experience in the features of life on wheels. I'm a member of various RV communities and support communication with people who living in RV full time. I hope my articles will be useful to you.

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