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Wassertank Wohnmobil reinigen: Ein junger Mann in schwarzem Shirt hält neben seinem weißen Wohnmobil einen Wasserschlauch in der Hand, um den Wassertank seines Campers zu säubern.
Wassertank Wohnmobil reinigen: Ein junger Mann in schwarzem Shirt hält neben seinem weißen Wohnmobil einen Wasserschlauch in der Hand, um den Wassertank seines Campers zu säubern.

Cleaning the motorhome water tank: What to look out for

Julia - Praktikantin bei CamperBoys
Article from Julia

To keep your drinking water in your camper or motorhome hygienic, clean and free from bacteria, it is important to clean the fresh water tank regularly. Here you'll find out what's important and you can find answers to your questions.

A camping holiday is wonderful and cosy and great. But there's no getting around it: a bit of dirt and some less enjoyable tasks are usually also part of it 😉 Cleaning the water tank in your motorhome for example. In this article, we explain why it is important - and, above all, very easy! You'll find out what you need to consider, which cleaning agents or household remedies you can use and how you can easily clean it step by step.
By the way: If you rent one of our Off campers, you don't have to worry about cleaning the water tank. We'll make sure that everything, including the water tank, is spotlessly clean and you can start your journey without any worries. Before you return your campervan to us, just remember to empty the fresh and waste water tanks and the toilet cassette at an appropriate disposal station. However, if you are the proud owner of your own home on four wheels, you should know about cleaning the water tank and not neglect it.
Eine junge Frau in gelbem Pulli trägt dreckige Teller, Besteck und eine Pfanne zum Abwasch - mit sauberem Wassertank im Wohnmobil.

Cleaning the motorhome water tank: The most important questions

💡 Why do I need to clean the water tank in my motorhome?

Whether for brushing your teeth, showering or cooking, for drinking or flushing the toilet: on average, campers use between 15 and 20 litres of fresh water per person every day - that's quite a lot! But unlike the water from the tap at home, the water in a motorhome requires a little more care. Not only does limescale build up inside the water tank over time, which affects the flavour of the drinking water, but also the so-called biofilm. This is a layer of slime that serves as a breeding ground for unwanted microorganisms: Unfortunately, bacteria that are harmful to health also feel as at home in the biofilm as you hopefully do in your camper. To prevent them from multiplying and to ensure a clean and healthy water system in your motorhome, the water tank should therefore be cleaned regularly. Even if you can't see any dirt in the water tank. This is because contamination is usually not visible to the naked eye.
Das Trinkwasser frisch und sauber halten ist auch fürs Kochen wichtig: Eine Freundesgruppe sitzt um ihren Campingtisch herum auf einer sonnigen Wiese neben ihrem Camper. und frühstückt

📆 How often should the water tank be cleaned?

At least once, ideally twice a year, it is advisable to remove biofilm and other impurities from the water tank in the motorhome. The best time to do this is at the beginning and end of your holiday season. That way, you'll have absolutely clean drinking water before you set off on your first holiday of the year. And you'll prevent your camper from going into hibernation (unless you're a fan of winter camping, of course!), no bacteria will accumulate. But even if your campervan, and therefore your water tank, is in use all year round, you should clean it thoroughly once or twice a year.
Ein weißer Off Camper mit zwei Kaffeetassen im Fenster, in die frischer Kaffee eingeschenkt wird.

⏰ How long does it take to clean the water tank in the motorhome?

Good news: What sounds time-consuming can be done with ease - and with little time! You only need about an hour of active time for the preparations before you leave the cleaning agent to take effect. Then it's just a case of waiting: depending on which product you use, this can take between one and twelve hours. It's best to find out in advance so that you can plan the cleaning process.

🧴 How do I find the right water tank cleaning agent?

To clean the water tanks of motorhomes and campers, you can choose from various special tank cleaners, which are available in liquid or powdered form. These cleaning agents are usually based on substances such as chlorine dioxide, active oxygen or fruit acids, which thoroughly remove the biofilm. To avoid dangers when using such cleaning agents, you should read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow them at all times. To select the ideal cleaning agent for you and your camper, we recommend you take a look at `Compare different water tank cleaners`.
Tip: Cleaning the water tank is particularly easy with coloured tank cleaners, which make any remaining residue in the tank visible.
Eine Person wäscht sich die Beine in der Wiese mit dem Duschkopf des Wohnmobils ab: Auch dafür muss man das Trinkwasser im Wohnmobil keimfrei halten und vom Biofilm befreien.

🧼 Cleaning the motorhome water tank with household remedies: Does it make sense?

As an alternative to these chemical cleaning agents, various home remedies are often recommended, which many campers swear by. However, caution is advised here, as they can sometimes have disadvantages such as health risks or cause damage to the motorhome. Here is a small home remedy check for cleaning the tank:
  • Vinegar essence removes limescale and bacteria, but is very aggressive and can damage seals.
  • Although the often recommended denture cleaner has an antibacterial effect, undissolved residues of it can clog or damage parts of the camper such as the pump.
  • Chlorine cleaner is also antibacterial, but should also not be used as it can be dangerous when undiluted and leaves behind an unpleasant chlorine odour - which is difficult to get rid of.
If you still want to use a more natural household remedy, we can recommend good old citric acid: it has many advantages over the other options, also dissolves limescale and removes biofilm. However, you should note that citric acid must not be heated, as this can cause deposits to form. We therefore recommend dissolving the citric acid powder in cold or lukewarm water. For a water tank with a capacity of 100 litres, for example, four litres of water and between five and ten heaped tablespoons of citric acid are required. We have summarised how you can also be sustainable and minimalist when camping in other areas and protect nature by travelling consciously in other blog articles.
Nach dem Reinigen des Wassertanks ihres Wohnmobils macht eine junge Frau bei Sonnenuntergang die Heckklappe zu.

Cleaning the caravan water tank: step-by-step instructions

Depending on the cleaning agent selected, the procedure for cleaning the water tank of your motorhome may differ in detail. In particular, you should read the information on dosage and contact time carefully. Please always follow the precise instructions for use of the cleaning agent of your choice, which of course take priority. Nevertheless, we would like to explain below how the cleaning process basically works. Before that, however, there are a few safety instructions to follow, so pay close attention:

Important precautions

  • It's all in the mix? Not in this case! Decide on a single cleaning agent and do not mix several different ones, as this can produce dangerous gases.
  • During the cleaning of your water tank, a lot of water has to be filled up, but also drained. You should therefore look for a suitable location for your vehicle. A car park on your own property or a campsite with supply and disposal facilities is ideal, a public car park is not that great.
  • Safety first: When cleaning the water tank with chemical products, you should always wear gloves to protect your skin. It is also advisable to wear protective goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes. Also keep the cleaning agent away from children.
Camper mit Fahrrädern vor einem Maisfeld in Italien: Ist der Wassertank im Wohnmobil sauber, kann die Reise losgehen!

Preparing the water tank - step-by-step instructions

1. Switch off the hot water boiler & empty the water tank: In preparation for cleaning, you should first switch off the hot water boiler in your vehicle and empty the fresh water tank completely. It is best to open all the taps so that the pipes are also flushed out.
2. Clean the tank by hand: Before the cleaning agent can work its wonders, you should scrub the inside walls of the tank thoroughly with a brush (for example, a toilet brush). This helps to loosen the biofilm, allowing the cleaning agent to work better later on.
Tip: It is also best to scrub the pipes by hand in advance, for example with a thin bottle brush - this will also allow you to reach tight corners and edges of the tank.
3. Pour the cleaner into the tank: Next, mix the cleaning agent, if necessary, in a separate container according to the manufacturer's instructions or simply take it to hand. Then pour the detergent into the pre-treated water tank - the easiest way to do this is via the large service opening. Fill the tank up to about a third full with water.
Tip: To clean aerators, nozzles, the shower head, the filling hose, etc. in the best possible way, you can save some of the cleaning fluid and put the accessories in it.
4. Open the water pipes: Now open all tapping points (with the boiler switched off!) so that the cleaning fluid can distribute itself throughout the entire water system of your motorhome and also remove impurities in the pipes and hoses.
5. Allow to take effect: The roughest part is already done, now it's time to wait. The contact time varies depending on the cleaning agent and the size of your water tank. Maybe you want to use the waiting time to find travel inspiration in our blog articles or plan your next trip? 🙂
6. Empty the water tank: At the end of the soaking time, open all the tapping points again to rinse the liquid from the fresh water tank into the grey water tank. It is best to leave the water in the waste water tank for a while. Then drain everything at a service station or into the manhole cover at home.
7. Rinse through with fresh water: Rinse everything through one last time with fresh water to remove any residue and drain the water completely.
8. Yaaaay! 🎉 You have successfully cleaned your water tank and can fill it as usual - and enjoy hygienically clean water on your journey.
Wohnmobil Frischwassertank reinigen: Eine Person in Jeansjacke leert den Wassertank bevor sie ihn reinigen kann.

Cleaning the motorhome fresh water tank: Our conclusion

After these tips, hopefully you are now well equipped to effectively clean the water tank of your home on four wheels - so that you can enjoy and use fresh water on your next journey, wherever it takes you. Instructions on how to clean a chemical toilet properly and everything you need to know about camping showers can also be found on our blog.
And last but not least, we have a few tips for you on how to avoid contamination in the water tank in general:
  • Empty the water tank completely after every journey if you don't intend to use your motorhome for a longer period of time. This gives bacteria less chance to accumulate in the tank. Important: If you are not a fan of camping in the cold season, it is also necessary to empty the water tank completely in winter anyway to prevent frost damage.
  • Replace your fresh water regularly to prevent contamination in the water tank. Fresh water that you have filled up at the campsite can be left in the tank for about a week without hesitation, water from rivers or lakes should only be used for a few days, if at all.
  • BUT: Although these measures help to keep the water tank cleaner, biofilm is a stubborn fellow and usually creeps into your water tank after a while - so cleaning the water tank is essential! 🧽

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