Can You Put Bleach in RV Black Water Tank

Can You Put Bleach in RV Black Water Tank | Fully Explained

Last Updated on May 25, 2023

Do you want the RV black tank system to be susceptible to bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause bad odors? As a result, people wonder whether they can clean it up with bleach.

To do this properly, you should learn first how can you put bleach in RV black water tank. The black water tank in an RV is designed to hold solid waste. It has a black tank valve for the drain at the bottom so you can dump out the contents periodically in the dump station.

The problem with this system is that it doesn’t remove odor or bacteria, so if you don’t empty it often enough, your family will be subjected to unpleasant smells and health risks.

The only way to solve this problem is by adding bleach into the tank before each dumping session. Adding bleach will help kill bacteria and neutralize odors – giving your family a much more pleasant experience while camping!

Types of RV Holding Tank

Types of RV Holding Tank

There are essentially three types of RV holding tanks such as:

01. Freshwater Tank

This tank is used to hold fresh-water you use for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. All RV’s have a freshwater system separated from all other tank systems.

02. Gray Water Tank

The grey water tank is used to hold wastewater from sinks, showers, and laundry. Gray tank contains a variety of contaminants, including food particles, grease, soap scum, organic waste, and other pollutants that can cause foul odors.

03. Blackwater Tank

This tank (A.K.A. septic tank) is used to hold sewage and all the solid waste from the RV toilet, urinals, and the kitchen. It has a limited holding capacity of about two weeks for a small RV and up to six weeks for a large motorhome.

Why is RV Black Tank Important?

Why is RV Black Tank Important

A Blackwater tank is essential because it contains all the RV bathroom or toilet, urinal, and kitchen waste. In urine, ammonia is present, and ammonia and bleach produce chlorine gas. If this waste isn’t dealt with properly, it can cause bad odors and health risks.

Moreover, the chemicals within this tank are corrosive and can damage your RV if they aren’t treated properly. Also, there are various health hazards to humans and the environment.

So, if you want to maintain a safe and healthy environment for you, your family, and the environment, make sure that you treat this tank with care. Also, remember to never dump anything other than human waste and RV toilet paper into a blackwater tank.

As a result, keeping the RV black water holding tank clean and sanitized regularly is imperative. Therefore, people believe it is possible to clean a tank with bleach.

Can You Put Bleach in RV Black Water Tank – The Explanation

Adding bleach to the RV black tank is a great way to kill bacteria and neutralize odors. By doing this, you’ll be able to keep your RV smelling fresh and free of contaminants.

Most people believe that you should avoid putting bleach into the RV black water tank because it is so harmful to humans and animals. But, this isn’t entirely true.

Choosing Bleach for Cleaning Black Water Tank

You can use chlorine bleach or sodium hypochlorite to clean your black tank. It will be effective in killing harmful germs and viruses and neutralizing odors.

But which type of Bleach should you use to treat your black water tank. There are several types of bleach to use in your tank.

01. Chlorine Bleach

Chlorine bleach is the most popular choice for cleaning your RV’s holding tanks. You can use it with confidence because it works excellent on odors and kills germs and viruses effectively.

02. Sodium Hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is the second most popular for cleaning waste tanks. It works well in eliminating germs and killing harmful bacteria while neutralizing bad odors.

However, this type of bleach can deteriorate rubber parts, so you must be careful when using this.

03. Sodium Percarbonate

Sodium percarbonate is safer for your dump tanks because it doesn’t contain chlorine. As a result, this bleach isn’t as effective as the other two aforementioned types without thorough rinsing before and after use.

The best way to use these bleaches is by pouring them directly into the black water holding tank, flushing, and then adding water to the water system to rinse thoroughly. But make sure you dilute it before using it in your tank.

Using Diluted Bleach To Sanitize The Black Tank

Using Diluted Bleach To Sanitize The Black Tank

One way to sanitize the black water tank is by using diluted bleach. By doing this, you’ll be able to kill harmful germs and neutralize odors. You can use chlorine mixing bleach or sodium hypochlorite to clean your black tank.

In an RV, a diluted solution of bleach is an excellent way to clean and deodorize the black and gray water tanks

However, this type of bleach is corrosive, so you must rinse thoroughly before and after use. Here’s the way you can add bleach mixture to sanitize the black water holding tank:

Step 01. Measure The Tank Size

Before you add the bleach, measure the size of your tank. You should use a measuring cup to get a rough measurement of how much bleach to add.

Step 02. Prepare The Solution

Mix a bleach chlorine solution of one part bleach and about nine parts water(in liter), or 1/4 cup of bleach for one gallon. Use a funnel to pour the mixed solution into a garden watering can, so you can carry it more easily.

Measure accurately before using this method to avoid damaging your tank by adding too much bleach.

Step 03. Add The Solution Into Your Tank

The watering can carefully add the liquid solution into your RV’s black tank. But make sure to do this through a sewer drain outlet so you won’t expose yourself by leaning over the tank opening.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes before draining the tank again. You can use special sprayers for spraying the solution into the tank.

Step 04: Add Water In the Tank

Using a garden hose or any other water hose, fill the tank until it reaches about 2 inches from the top. The water should cover any bleach residue at this point. Keep adding water until the tank is full before using the RV again.

Step 05: Drain The Water And Bleach Solution

Once you’ve added the water fully, let it sit for 30 minutes before draining all of it out again using an RV sewer hose. You can now use your black tank usually.

So there you have it. This is what you need to know about using bleach in your black tank. You can use bleach.

Remember that chlorinated bleach is corrosive, so rinse entirely before and after using this type of solution to avoid corrosion on any rubber parts inside your tank.

Using Bleach In Your RV Black Tank – Pros and Cons

Using Bleach In Your RV Black Tank

Using bleach to clean and sanitize has some pros and cons consequential such as:


  • The bleach is a surefire way to deodorize and sanitize the tank.
  • It’s easy to use and inexpensive.
  • You can put it in through a drain to prevent leaning over the tank.


  • It can damage rubber parts of your tank.
  • Health hazards related to exposure to chlorinated bleach.
  • Chlorine bleach will deteriorate rubber parts of the tank, so you must be careful when using this type of bleach.

Alternatives to Bleach for RV Black Tank

If you’re looking for an alternative to bleach, consider using sodium percarbonate. This type of bleach is safer because it doesn’t contain chlorine. As a result, it’s not as effective as other types of bleach without thorough rinsing before and after use.

You can also use vinegar to clean your black tank. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and will help eliminate any harmful germs and neutralize odors. However, vinegar is also acidic and can corrode metal parts in your tank over time.

Another option is using baking soda. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help to get rid of any bad smells in your tank. It’s also non-toxic and safe to use.


Some of the most frequently asked questions are:

01. Is Bleach Bad for RV Water Heaters?

Yes, too much bleach is bad for your water heater. But if you need to use it, don’t leave the water in a while using bleach. Just flush it out after use and refill with water again before putting the heater back into service.

02. Can I Use Bleach in an RV Fresh Water Tank?

Bleach is not recommended for use in a freshwater tank. However, household bleach can be used to clean these holding tanks. To do this, you should use one-quarter cup (4 ounces) of bleach per fifteen (15) gallons of water in your tank.

03. How do you deodorize an RV black tank?

RV tanks are more challenging to deodorize than a standard toilet due to their size and limited ventilation. However, there are several things you can do.

Adding regular bleach or sodium percarbonate tablets (Oxiclean) into your water tank and letting it sit overnight before draining will help with the smell by reducing harmful bacteria in the tank.

04. Can I Use Dish Soap In My RV Black Tank?

You can use dish soap in your RV water tank, but only if the label specifies that the product is safe for septic tanks. You can find a variety of dish soaps available on the market suitable for cleaning RV holding tanks.

Final Words

There are many options available when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing an RV black tank. However, if you’re looking for a surefire way that’s easy and inexpensive, then bleach is the way to go!

By reading this article on can you put bleach in RV black water tank, you will probably be aware of the type of bleach used in RV black tank. Bleach will deodorize your tank without any negative side effects on rubber parts or metal corrosion.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top