Campervan guides

How to clean a campervan water tank

Campervan water tank

Want to know how to clean a campervan water tank properly? Find out everything you need to know with these campervan water tank cleaning tips and advice from Van Life Matters.

To avoid harmful bacteria and fungi from growing in the tank and pipes, campervan water tank cleaning is essential.

Stored water can deteriorate surprisingly fast – and even faster on hot summer days.

Running the taps every few days and regularly refilling the tank with fresh water is not enough to avoid the dangers.

Unless you regularly clean the water tank and its pipes, you could be putting yourself at risk of legionella and other harmful bacteria.

NEED TO KNOW: Even if you don’t drink the water, you could still become infected from harmful bacteria. Inhaling the water as vapour during a shower or while rinsing fruit and vegetables could be enough to make you ill.

How often should you clean a campervan water tank?

It’s widely advised that campervan owners should thoroughly clean the water tank at least twice a year.

Most owners tend to do so at the start of the holiday season and before winter storage.

How to clean a campervan water tank

  1. Empty the water tank: Turn off the water pump and heater. Locate the drain valve for the tank, usually on the underside of the campervan, and open it to allow the water can drain out. Don’t forget to close it again.
  2. Prepare a cleaning solution:
  3. Refill tank with cleaning solution: Use a funnel to pour the mixture into your freshwater tank. Use a hose connected to a water source to fill the rest of the tank with clean water, until you have a completely full tank.
  4. Clean the pipes: The water pipes can be cleaned by pumping water, with the cleaning agent, through the hoses. Turn the water system back on, then turn on the taps. Allow the water to flow through the system and out of the taps for about five minutes, or until you can smell the cleaning agent running through the taps. Close the taps and let the pipes soak for a few hours.
  5. Drain and rinse: Drain the pipes and the water tank completely and thoroughly rinse-through.

Best campervan water tank cleaners

There’s lots of choice when it comes to cleaning a campervan water tank, including plenty of ‘home-made’ options.

Some of the of the more popular and trusted campervan water tank cleaners include:

  • PuriClean: Puriclean provides a simple and effective method of cleaning and purifying the complete water system. The unique dual-purpose formula cleans and sterilises in one easy action.
  • Pro-Kleenn fresh water tank cleaner: This fresh water tank cleaner eliminates algae and bacteria from water tanks and supply systems. Just 100ml of solution is required per 20L of tank capacity.
  • Eslan fresh water tank cleaner: This solution attacks algae and bacteria in your campervan water tank or portable water carrier and removes calcium build-up and other deposits from the system. Regular use helps keep your water system free from micro-organisms and black spot to provide fresh water.

Keeping the water tank clean while traveling

While out on the road, it’s advisable to change the water as often as possible – but at least every three days.

when refilling, always use a clean water hose or watering can to prevent bacteria from getting into your water tank.

Can you drink from a campervan water tank?

It’s important to remember that tap water quality can vary from site-to-site and introducing harmful bacteria to your system is easily done – particularly if you don’t use your own hose or watering can.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t drink water from a campervan water tank though, provided you regularly replace the water, drain and clean the system following the best practice advice outlined in this article.

If in doubt though, only drink from bottled water or boil water from your tank to kill any bacteria before drinking.

Can water be left in a campervan tank?

No, not safely.

Water should be changed regularly during travel, at least every three days, and drained before any period of campervan storage.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Van Life Matters newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest UK Van Life news, tips and advice.

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