Can You Mix Bleach and RV Antifreeze? (Flushing Out Antifreeze)

Can you mix bleach and RV antifreeze

Have you ever wondered if you could mix bleach and RV antifreeze?

As you may well know, RV antifreeze, or antifreeze in general, is never going to be a good sanitizer. This means that it is not going to clean any bacteria and the like in your pipes.

As a result, a lot of people also consider adding bleach into the mix. So, does this work? On this page, we are going to answer the question.

Can you mix bleach and RV antifreeze? Yes, you can mix bleach and RV antifreeze however, it will do more harm than good. In fact, you should be using the two of them at different times. At the begin of the RV season you should use bleach to help to flush out any bacteria inside of the RV’s pipes. The RV antifreeze, should be used when you are winterizing the RV.

Can You Mix Bleach And RV Antifreeze?

While you can, it probably wouldn’t do any good to mix the RV antifreeze with bleach. Some people believe that the bleach will stop algae from forming in the water pipes when it isn’t being used.

It won’t. Chances are that the RV antifreeze will probably dilute the bleach too much for it to really have an impact on anything too.

If you are going to be using bleach in your water system, then do not mix it up with the RV antifreeze at all.

The RV antifreeze, as the name suggests, should be used when you are winterizing the RV.

The bleach should be used at the start of a new RV season i.e. just before you start to use your RV again after those long, winter months.

This will help to flush out any bacteria that may be lurking inside of the RV’s pipes that managed to build up over the winter.

This means that you get nice and fresh drinking water coming out of your taps!

Read also: Can You Put RV Antifreeze in a Water Heater? (FACTS You Need to Know)

Is It Dangerous To Put Bleach Into The RV’s Pipe System?

Not if you only use a little bit and flush it out properly.

Obviously, drinking bleach is not going to be a good thing. However, that is only really if you drink it without it being heavily diluted.

If you add it to your RV’s pipe system to help clean out any bacteria and the like, you should be fine. You will need to run water through once the bleach has gone through the system, but that is all that you need to do.

Now, we do want to point out that there may be a small bleach taste in the water for a short while after you have flushed the system out.

However, we promise you that this is going to be completely safe. It will likely disappear within a day or two.

Read also: Does RV Antifreeze Go Bad or Expire? Shelf Life of Antifreeze

Adding Bleach to the Water System

While there are some people that will hire a professional to add bleach to their water system, there isn’t really any need for you to do this.

The job can be accomplished on your own with a few simple tools. These are probably going to be the same tools that you used to winterize your system.

As we said before, you should really be adding bleach to the water system at the start of a new season.

You can add it to the system before you add your antifreeze, but we doubt it will really do any good. At the start of a new RV season will ensure that your water system is nice and fresh for you!

1. Which Bleach Should You Use In Your Water System?

You should just be using normal bleach for this job. Do not use a gel bleach. This will not flush through the system properly.

You should also ensure that you do not use a bleach with a fragrance that has been added to it.

If you do, then that fragrance is going to linger in the pipes and this is going to result in the water that you drink tasting repulsive and having an odd odor to it.

Basically, buy some cheaper bleach. It doesn’t really matter the quality of the bleach.

It is all pretty much the same. Cheaper bleach is also much more likely to meet these requirements of not being gel or fragranced anyway. 

👉 Purchase: I really like this Clorox Splash-Less Liquid Bleach. It’s not terribly expensive but gets amazing reviews. Just follow the link to Amazon where you can see current pricing

2. How Much Bleach Should You Use?

This is going to be dependent on the size of your water tank.

Most people seem to suggest that a 1/4 cup of bleach per 16-gallons of water in a tank should be more than enough.

3. Empty the Freshwater Tank  

If you are using bleach in the system at the start of a season, then you probably won’t need to do this. It would be wise to wash out the antifreeze beforehand, though.

If there is any water in the freshwater tank, then you will want to flush everything out.

While a small amount of water probably won’t hurt too much, it is important that the water is as clean as possible when adding the bleach, so try and get all of it out anyway.

Remember, when you are emptying the water tank, you will need to ensure that the water heater is switched off and completely cooled down!

4. Preparing The Bleach

Before you add the bleach to the fresh water tank, you are going to need to dilute it. For this, mix the bleach up with two gallons of water.

5. Add The Bleach To The Freshwater Tank

Use a funnel for this job. 

You can then add the bleach mixture to the tank.

6. Fill up the rest of the freshwater tank

Now fill up the freshwater tank to its maximum capacity. Again, you will need to use the funnel for this. 

7. Turn on your faucets

Now, starting with the faucet furthest away from the fresh water tank, turn each faucet on individually.

As soon as water starts to flow from the faucet, then switch it off right away. You do not want too much of the bleach system flowing out of the faucet.

8. Leave the water tank alone for a day

Now, you will need to let that water system sit for a full 24-hours.

This will help the bleach clean the inside of the pipes and the fresh water tank.

Some people will leave it alone for about half a day, but we prefer 24-hours, unless we are in a hurry. It will give the system a far better clean.

9. Drain the system

After 24-hours, it is time to empty the system. This means turning the faucets on and emptying the tank. There should be absolutely no water left in the system.

10. Refill the tank 

Now, you will need to refill that tank. 

Empty the tank again by turning on all of the faucets. 

You may have to refill the tank several times. The water is still not drinkable at this point.

You will need to keep flushing the system like this (i.e. constantly refilling the tank) until you can no longer smell any bleach coming out of the faucets.

And that is it! Your system should now be completely clean inside. You may taste trace amounts of bleach inside of your water for a short while.

However, as we said before, this isn’t going to be dangerous.


You should not be mixing RV antifreeze with bleach. It is just a waste of time, and there is a chance that neither of them will work correctly at all.

Try to get into the habit of using RV antifreeze during the winter months and bleach at the start of a new RV season. 


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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