Can You Put Bleach In RV Black Water Tank?

rv black tank

As an RV owner, you must provide maintenance and prevent your RV’s black water tank from viruses, fungi, and bacteria.  Failure to provide proper maintenance can result in your black water tank producing some unpleasant odour that you wouldn’t want to be present in your RV. 

Due to the previous effective use of bleach to get rid of bacteria at home, you might be wondering if you can also make use of bleach for your RV black water tank. This article will provide the perfect answer to this as well as provide you with other important information about getting your RV’s black water tank cleaned up. 

Can I Put Bleach In RV Black water Tank?

If you’ve been perceiving an unpleasant odour coming from your RV black water tank, this is due to the compilation of waste products and the presence of bacteria. To prevent this, proper and consistent cleaning of your RV’s black water tank is essential.

Bleach is an efficient method of getting rid of bacteria and bad odour in your RV’s black water tank.  When you make use of bleach to clean your tank, you can rest assured that there will be no contaminant in your tank and it will be odour-free as well. 

While people can be reluctant to make use of bleach claiming it’s toxic to both humans and pets, however when properly used, you can get the best out of it to make your RV black water tank healthy and fresh. 

How Do I Clean My RV Black Water Tank?

The black water that comes from your RV gets stored in a tank outside the van. This stored water is meant to be constantly disposed and once that is done, you can easily clean the tank. 

When cleaning the black water tank, you should add a minimum of 2 litres of fresh water to the tank before adding bleach which serves as a disinfectant and deodorant. You can return the tank to its position once this has been added. By moving your van around, the added water and disinfectant will be able to clean up the water tank perfectly. 

While it is important to clean up your van toilet regularly, it is also vital to make sure the black water tank remains clean well to prevent your Van from having an unpleasant smell. Failure to give the black water tank the required maintenance will result in the detector giving you a false signal that the tank is full when it’s not. 

When cleaning your van’s black water tank, some steps are required to be followed for a proper cleaning process. These steps include: 

– Make Sure The Required Precautions Are In Place

When making use of bleach to clean your van’s black water tank, your safety should be the first thing in check as the tank contents can be harmful to you.  You have to make sure not to inhale the harmful odour and ensure the content doesn’t spill on your body and clothes 

To prevent yourself from this, make sure you’re putting on protective gear, rubber gloves, and face masks. You should also make sure you have soap and clean water close to you when cleaning. This makes it easy to clean yourself up easily in case the tank content accidentally spills on your body or cloth. 

You should also make sure that the cleaning is contained to a location and shouldn’t be anywhere near the inside of your van. 

– Dispose of The Tank Content When It Is ⅔ Full

Getting your tank full helps in breaking down solid wastes that might be present in the tank. However, make sure the tank is not full to prevent the black water tank from leaking. 

When the tank gets too full, you will be unable to put in additional water to break down solid waste which can cause clogging while draining. 

– Get Rid Of All Waste Build Up In The Tank

To prevent your tank from odour and getting blocked,  once the tank content has been disposed of, you can proceed by flushing the van toilet to fill the black tank with water. Then you can add bleach to the water for ten minutes for proper tank sterilization and make sure all waste build-up has been removed. 

Once this has been done, you can drain the tank, fill it with clean water and drain it again. Repeat this process until you’re certain the tank is free of the bleach scent.  This process will make your tank free of waste build-up when done regularly.  You should also take note that the bleach will in no way cause any damage to your black water tank when used. 

– Prepare Your Tank And Toilet For Use Ater Cleaning

Once the cleaning process has been completed, you should prepare to use the toilet and the black water tank till the next cleaning period. Make sure all drain pipes are properly locked to prevent waste from leaking. 

You should also fill the black tank with water before you begin to use it. If water is not provided in the tank before being used, the waste can get solidified which can result in clogging. 

What Type Of Bleach Can I Use To Clean My RV?

There are different types of bleach that can be used in your van’s black water tank to effectively remove contaminants and odour. They include. 

i. Chlorine Bleach

This is the most known and used type of bleach in cleaning your RV’s black water tank. This form of bleach provides efficient results by getting rid of unpleasant odours and killing germs and viruses. 

ii. Sodium Hypochlorite

This type of bleacher is one of the most used after Chlorine to clean up RV black water tanks. It is also effective in killing germs and eliminating bacteria while making sure your tank is free from bad smells. 

Sodium hypochlorite can however disintegrate the rubber parts of tanks which is why you have to be cautious when making use of it. 

iii. Sodium Percarbonate

This is the safest type of bleach that can be used when cleaning your van’s black water tank thanks to its lack of Chlorine. However, the lack of Chlorine makes it less effective than the above-mentioned two. 

How Often Should I Sanitize My RV Water Tank?

Professionals have made a recommendation that sanitization of your van’s black water tank should be done at least once every six months.

However, if you don’t make use of your RV regularly, you should do the sanitization once every three months. 

What are The Bleach Alternatives To Clean Up My RV Water Tank?

For safety purposes, the best type of bleach you can use for your water tank cleaning is Sodium percarbonate as it does not contain Chlorine. However, if you want to stay away from bleach totally, you can make use of Vinegar which can also effectively get rid of germs and neutralize any foul odour. 

While vinegar will work perfectly as a disinfectant, you should also take note that vinegar is acidic when consistently used for cleaning your van’s black water tank, the metal part of the tank will corrode over time. 

Another bleach alternative that can be used for your water tank is baking soda. This is a safe and non-toxic solution that will get rid of any foul odour that might be coming out of your water tank.

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In this article, we have discussed how often you should check your black water tank and the best ways to clean it. We also talked about possible ways to put bleach in your RV’s toilet tank.

We hope our answers have helped you out. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading.

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Written by Jane Miller

I'm Nomadic Jane, a digital nomad and travel blogger. Since 2009, I've been traveling the world and exploring cultures through my travel blog.