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Do you need to sanitize a water tank that's never been used?

OregonMan
Explorer
Explorer
Hi guys I've seen videos online about sanitizing your fresh water tank in a travel trailer using a little bleach and water. Is this necessary if your fresh water tank has never once been used? I do not plan on drinking the water, just plan on using it for the sink, toilet and possibly the shower. The fresh water tank has never been used in this trailer and it is a 2018 model. Thanks for any info.
22 REPLIES 22

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
JRscooby wrote:
I talked to a guy that full timed. He claimed he put a quart of vodka in tank at every re-fill.

In his tank or the rv tank? Lol
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

JRscooby
Explorer II
Explorer II
I talked to a guy that full timed. He claimed he put a quart of vodka in tank at every re-fill.

Huntindog
Explorer
Explorer
Sanitizing does waste a lot of water.
I did it once, in my first used TT. It took MANY flushes to get the bleach smell out of it. And yes I followed the instructions in the manual as to how to do it.
My subsequent coaches have all been new. I have never sanitized any of them. I do use good city water, which has some free chorine in it.We do not drink it or make ice, brush our teeth etc. with it. We bring along a few cases of bottled water for that. No issues in 30 years.
I suppose if ones water source is suspect then it might be a prudent thing to do.
Huntindog
100% boondocking
2021 Grand Design Momentum 398M
2 bathrooms, no waiting
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2020 Silverado HighCountry CC DA 4X4 DRW

phillyg
Explorer II
Explorer II
Yes.
--2005 Ford F350 Lariat Crewcab 6.0, 4x4, 3.73 rear
--2016 Montana 3711FL, 40'
--2014 Wildcat 327CK, 38' SOLD

mockturtle
Explorer
Explorer
Yes.
2015 Tiger Bengal TX 4X4
Chevy 3500HD, 6L V8

Lantley
Nomad
Nomad
Be it just saw dust, dirt, critters or bacteria. Sanitizing is a good idea simply because its not that hard to do. Its cheap insurance vs. ignoring the issue.
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dodge_guy
Explorer II
Explorer II
I would! I do it twice a year. Yep nice I’m the spring when it gets dewinterized and then mid summer because it may sit for a while
Wife Kim
Son Brandon 17yrs
Daughter Marissa 16yrs
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A bad day camping is
better than a good day at work!

toedtoes
Explorer III
Explorer III
If it has never had water in it, then sanitizing isn't necessary - it's the stagnant water that causes the bacteria/algae/etc, to grow in a tank.

However, I agree with valhalla360 that it wouldn't hurt to fill, drain/run through pipes, then fill again - to get any dust, sawdust, etc, out that might have gotten into the tank or pipes. It will also let you check for leaks before you head out on your trip.

As to sanitizing in general, some folks do some don't. I only sanitize right after I buy a used RV (don't know what prior owners do) and then only if I notice a change in the smell/taste of the water. However, I don't normally leave my tank filled for long periods of time unused. My logic in regards to "I don't/do drink from the tank" is that if I am washing the dishes, utensils, glassware, cookingware, etc, then I expect the water to be potable. If I'm only using it to bathe in and/or the toilet, then I don't need it to be potable.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

Lwiddis
Explorer II
Explorer II
"59 years old a couple of days ago"

You are just a kid, Mitch!
Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad

klutchdust
Explorer II
Explorer II
I don't sanitize my tanks and I drive with my propane turned on to keep the fridge cold. Even drove with the water heater on and warming the water. I don't buy extended warranties, pick up raw chicken with my hands and make my own laundry detergent. Living on the edge..........even drank warm water from the garden hose as a kid.

MitchF150
Explorer III
Explorer III
This topic comes up as much as running your fridge on propane while driving.. 🙂

In the end, it's up to you what you want to do for you and your rig.. You will get more 'votes' for sanitizing as you will for 'no big deal' as that's just the way these things go.. But, in reality, it's probably 50/50 because those that don't are not just gonna praise the fact that they don't.. ha, ha..

For the record, I have not put an ounce of 'bleach' in my tank and I drive with the propane on the fridge.. Living on the edge I guess?? 🙂

That's just what works for me and I'm good with it.. If Joe Smith does not agree, that's fine... He can do what he wants and we still both get down the road.

I do a lot of other things that would probably get me banned from here or society as a whole too... 59 years old a couple of days ago, so just gonna go with it.. 🙂

Good luck! Mitch
2013 F150 XLT 4x4 SuperCab Max Tow Egoboost 3.73 gears #7700 GVWR #1920 payload. 2019 Rockwood Mini Lite 2511S.

Draggo
Explorer
Explorer
I don't drink the water out of my tank but still sanitize it every spring when I prep the trailer. Doesn't take that long.
Mike & Company
2021 GMC Sierra SLE (6.6L V-8, 3.73 rear gear)
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pianotuna
Nomad II
Nomad II
Sanitize
Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Lwiddis
Explorer II
Explorer II
Absolutely! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Filling it and dumping will get the dust etc. out. Adding bleach is easy. Run the bleach water through the water lines too.
Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad