How often do you clean your motorhome

Tips and tricks for a clean fresh water system

That has probably happened to every camper: Before the summer vacation, you fill up the water tank of the motorhome or caravan with clean drinking water. But just one day later, black "flanks" came out of the line.
These residues of the biofilm build up in the pipe, dry in winter and slowly rinse out again when the water system is reused.


To prevent this from happening to you, we provide tips on cleaning and maintaining the fresh water system. Clean fresh water in the caravan or mobile home is a prerequisite for a relaxing holiday. However, filling the water tank with the cleanest spring water is useless if the fresh water tank and various lines installed in the recreational vehicle are dirty or misplaced. On vacation it is often warm and the water often stands motionless in the tank for days. Over time, the hoses and the interior of the tank become slippery because a biofilm forms. This is a logical and natural process in which microorganisms and bacteria multiply. Another problem that we all know from home is limescale deposits. To prevent this from happening, the tank must be cleaned regularly. We recommend at least once a year.


cleaning supplies

In principle, we differentiate between agents for tank cleaning and agents that are added to fresh water to disinfect or preserve it. The latter have nothing to do with tank cleaning and do not replace it.
We just want to go into more detail about tank cleaning:
We also keep hearing from campers that they never clean the tank and still have no problems with dirty water. Then there are those who clean with organic home remedies such as citric acid, lemon juice, vinegar or even baking soda. Vinegar dissolves lime, but it can be too aggressive for seals. Citric acid dissolves lime, but it should not be heated.
There are also denture cleaning tablets, which are also often used for tank cleaning because they are relatively inexpensive. The abrasives contained therein can, however, build up as sludge deposits on the tank bottom or in the pipes.
If you want to be on the safe side, you can buy special tank cleaners in stores. We bought some of them and tried them out.
Read more about this in our Camping Revue 6/2019.


The manual pre-cleaning is not prescribed by the manufacturers of the tank cleaning agents, but it is in any case advantageous. However, it is often a tedious undertaking, as the tanks are often difficult to access because they are hidden under benches, beds or elsewhere. Sometimes acrobatic contortions are necessary in order to reach all walls and corners with a sponge, brush or rag through the narrow service flap of the tank. You should never leave out the water filler neck and the hose up to the tank. It can only be accessed with a brush.


When it comes to use, the cleaners available on the market hardly differ. While some cleaners take care of the biofilm or only lime, there are so-called "all in one" cleaners against lime, odors and biofilm. They come as a powder or a liquid and are always added to the tank. This is then filled with more or less water, the taps turned on so that the agent is distributed in pumps, hoses, pipes, fittings and connections. After an exposure time of between a few hours and several days, the tank is drained and the system is flushed through with clear water. Certain agents are previously dissolved in water and then poured into the tank, others go straight into the tank. The differences are evident in the composition and mode of action. In terms of dosage and price, we always assume a tank volume of 100 liters.

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