two water tanks installed under campervan

How to Clean your Caravan’s Water Tank in 6 Easy Steps

Caravans and camper vans are great for travelling and often come with their own water tanks. While this might seem insignificant, it’s important to keep your caravan’s water tanks clean. Why? Because the water in a caravan’s tank is used for drinking water, cooking and cleaning, it must be clean and free from bacteria.

Cleaning your caravan’s water tank is easy and only takes a few simple steps.

The main challenge people seem to have when it comes to cleaning their caravan’s water tank is knowing how to do it properly. Many people simply don’t know how to empty the tank or what products to use for cleaning. Others find it challenging to get the tank clean enough, or they’re not sure how to get rid of all the bacteria.

It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who struggles with this. But there are many people out there who have the same problem.

This article will help you learn how to clean your caravan water tank and hopefully make it easier for you to get rid of these problems and enjoy your time on the road.

Why Should You Clean Your Caravan’s Water System?

Caravan tanks and pipes are an important part of your caravan. They help bring fresh water into your home on wheels and take dirty water away. If they are not properly maintained, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful organisms.

It is important to clean your caravan’s water system regularly. You do not want to get sick from drinking contaminated water, and you also do not want to damage your caravan’s pipes.

How Often Should You Clean Your Caravan’s Water System?

It’s a great idea to clean your water system before using it for the first time if it has been in storage. This will ensure no build-up of residue or bacteria, which could potentially make someone sick!

I would recommend doing this every time you put your caravan into storage, or at least once or twice a year when in use. This will help to keep your system in good working order and stop any problems from developing.

I would also recommend giving your system a clean if you notice any changes in the water quality, such as a strange taste or odour. This could be a sign that there are bacteria present, and it’s best to nip the problem in the bum before it gets too bad.

Keeping your water system clean is essential for your health and the longevity of your caravan.

How To Clean Your Caravan’s Water Tanks

Water Hose in a mess

Cleaning your caravan’s fresh water tanks regularly is important to ensure that they remain in good condition and continue to work correctly. There are a few different cleaning solutions that you can use, depending on what you have available.

You will need:

  • A food grade hose
  • Cleaning solution
  • Freshwater to refill the tank

1. Empty the caravan water tank

The first step is to empty your RV water tanks. This can be done by using a hose to siphon the water out or opening the drain valve and emptying the water onto the ground.

2. Clean the inside of the tank with a hose

Once the tank is empty, it’s time to start cleaning it. You can do this by using a hose to spray down inside of the tank. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that has built up over time.

If you’re having difficulty reaching all of the nooks and crannies and you have the option, you can use a brush to scrub the inside of the tank. This will help to loosen any stubborn dirt or grime.

3. Add a cleaning product to the tank and fill it with fresh water

Once the tank has been flashed with fresh water, it’s time to add the caravan water tank cleaner. You have a few options; regular household bleach is what we recommended, by adding 125ml per 1,000 litres of water is what we found works best.

Bleach is a powerful and effective way to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi or other microbes that may be present in your water tank.

Another great option would be baking soda and white vinegar.

Bleach coming out of a bottle

4. Let the cleaning product work for a few hours

After adding the cleaning solution to the tank, it’s important to let it work for a few hours. This will give it time to kill any bacteria or other harmful organisms that may be present in the water.

If you’re using bleach, you should let the solution sit for at least 2 hrs. If you’re using baking soda and white vinegar, you should let it sit for 4 hours. Leaving it for 24 hours would be ideal.

A great idea could be to fill your caravan water tanks with fresh water and your bleach solution on your way home from a trip. It will allow the cleaning solution to work and slush about while driving.

5. Drain the tank and refill it with fresh water

Once the cleaning solution has had time to work, it’s time to drain the tank and refill it with fresh water. This will help remove any residual bleach or other cleaning products that may be present in the water.

It’s important to make sure that you rinse the tank out well before refilling it with fresh water. You don’t want any of the cleaning solutions to remain in the water as it could potentially make someone sick.

Once the tank has been rinsed out and refilled with fresh water, you can close the drain valve and turn the water back on. Your caravan’s water system is now clean and ready to use!


Using an inline water filter when filling your fresh water tank is a great way to help keep them clean and free of debris.

caravan Freshwater sink

6. Test the water quality

Once you’ve finished cleaning your caravan’s water system, it’s a good idea to test the water quality. This can be done by using a water testing kit or sending a water sample off to a lab for analysis.

You should test the water for things like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other contaminants. If any of these are present in the water, it’s important to take steps to remove them before using the water for drinking or cooking.

Cleaning your caravan’s water tank is important for maintaining the system and keeping it functioning correctly. By following these simple steps, you can easily keep your caravan’s water clean and safe to use.

Final Thoughts

Caravans come with a water tank that needs to be cleaned regularly. This can help prevent problems such as bad smells, mould and bacteria growth which could make you sick if not dealt with properly! The steps mentioned above should take care of any dirt or residue left behind, so your motorhome stays in perfect condition no matter how often it’s used.

Just like your home, the caravan needs to be taken care of in order for it to function correctly.

People in front of Bridge

Wade & Dani

Hi! We’re Wade and Dani, We’re currently travelling around Australia in our 2017 Mercedes Sprinter Camper van and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow long on our Instagram