How long does the water in an RV last? (7+ tips to save water)

In this article, we will solve the following question: How long does the water in an RV last? We will tell you how to refill, clean and disinfect the RV’s water tank, but also leave you a few essential tips to save water while travelling on your motorhome. 

How long does the water in an RV last?

The freshwater tank in an RV will last for about three days, depending on the number of persons that are using it. As its name suggests, this is the tank that stores the clean water that we use daily in the bathroom and in the kitchen to wash our hands, teeth, to bathe, to wash fruits, vegetables and dishes, etc.

How long the water in the tank lasts will completely depend on the use of the water. According to the WHO, the average consumption of water per day for a person is around 100 litres per day. 

However, it would be unfeasible in a mobile home to carry so much water, so it necessarily makes us much more aware of the use we give it. Speaking of generalities, we can summarize the following:

  • Shower for two people – 20 litres
  • To wash dishes from  – 5 to 6 litres per day
  • To cook –  3 litres per day

Average daily consumption of fresh water in an RV for two people: 60 litres.

Where to refill the freshwater tank of an RV?

Here is a list of places where you can recharge the freshwater tank of your RV, however, DON’T FORGET TO ASK IF THE WATER IS DRINKABLE!

  • Service stations: It is the first option. Most of them have taps available with drinking water and allow you to recharge the water from the tank, but there are others that do not. I suggest you always ask the beachgoers.
  • On the street: Any neighbor watering her garden is not going to deny you in exchange for a friendly chat. I suggest that you always ask and ask for permission and do not recharge from any tap that you see on the street, since in many localities there is irrigation water (which is not drinkable) and drinking water in a different place.
  • iOverlander: This mobile application is very complete and we recommend it, along with other traveling Apps in this note. It has marked several points where to load water and they are quite up to date.
  • Volunteer firefighters: They are always a good option, they surely have water and never hesitate to help you.
  • Water pump: If you are the type of trailer that likes autonomy and wild places, then it is a good idea to have a small extractor pump to recharge your tank directly from a water course such as a river or a lake. In these cases it is advisable to put a filter to prevent algae or small stones from entering. 

Filter example: At the end that goes into the water, place a plastic bottle punctured with needles with finite holes to submerge and tied to 2 others filled with floating air. Another even simpler is a clean sock.

Tips for replacing the fresh water in an RV:

  1. Always carry a pacifier and/or several adapters as the bobbins have different tips, ½ inch, 1 inch, etc.
  2. Have a 1/2 inch hose of at least 10 to 20 meters, in general the faucets do not have a hose or are not as easy to access.

Is it possible to consume the water in the RV tank?

Let’s say the answer is YES, but with caution. Most of the trailers we met and consulted choose to buy drums of drinking water. They use the water in their tanks only for bathing, washing dishes, fruits and vegetables. In this way they ensure the quality of the water they consume, they save themselves from maintaining the fresh water tank or the problem that is stagnant due to lack of use or bad taste due to high temperatures.

However, there are those who consume it, for this they take some additional precautions such as adding domestic microparticles and activated carbon filters to add a level of security to the water that comes from your tank. 

However, these filters do not protect you from any bacteria that they may contain. The foolproof but unfeasible option in a motorhome would be a reverse osmosis filter. The obvious advantage is that it saves you from buying drinking water, the space of the cans and the logistics that it entails. However, it is essential to ensure that the water that is recharged in the tanks is drinkable.

The truth is that with good water tank maintenance and additional filters it is a totally viable option. We recommend doing a tank water analysis to rule out any of these theories.

How to save RV water so that it lasts for more days?

The key is to rationalize the water. Because in addition to the logistics of looking for where to recharge and having to move the house to do so, valuing water and saving its use should be a habit that we adopt in our daily lives, even in our fixed house.

In addition to consumption (for those who choose to do so) the water is used for cooking, washing and bathing. Therefore, it is in those actions where it can be optimized. Here are some tips:

  • Use external facilities: The campsites, some service stations and even hostels have a shower service for bathing, although they generally have a cost. An alternative is to use these toilets instead of showering inside.
  • Filter on the faucets: They are placed at the end of the faucet and help reduce the flow rate and the water output.
  • Replace the water pump: A high flow water pump logically consumes more water. With a 3 litre per minute pump, it should be more than enough for all your needs.
  • Reuse grey water: Make it circulate from the tank, to reuse it in the toilet (black).
  • Use bath wipes: In an emergency, it is a good way out. They are wipes that you wet and wash with them. They do not need rinsing and it is antibacterial. They are often used to sanitize immobilized people or the elderly. They do not consume water. They come in a pack of 10 clothes and are easily available in pharmacies.
  • Optimize the washing of dishes: We leave you a technique to save water when washing dishes: Use two containers with water. In one of them, the detergent and the first rinse are passed and in the second it is rinsed with clean water. You can do it inside or outside the home and avoid letting the precious water run unnecessarily.
  • Optimize the water in the shower: First, you get wet and turn off the water. You soap yourself up and then open it to rinse off. Taking care of the water in this way during the shower, an average of only 8 liters per shower could be used in summer and 10 to 12 liters in winter.

RV clean water tank maintenance

Although this is the least scary of all tanks, it also needs maintenance from time to time. Even fresh water can develop bad odours. Remember not to leave water unused or unreplaced for too long as it can turn into stagnant water. If the tank begins to smell musty, it may be contaminated. 

For that you can clean it with common bleach, like the one you use at home in these simple steps:

  1. Make ¼ of a cup of bleach for every 50 litres of water in your tank
  2. Turn on the water tap until you start to smell bleach
  3. Let the water run until all the water with bleach is gone or you can also drain it manually with a small thread under the tank.
  4. Let your water tank rest for 24 hours
  5. Refill your tank and let the water run until the bleach smell goes away.


In dreams and fantasy, a life travelling might not include any of the above processes but it is actually part of everyday life. In this guide, we gave you information tips and advice so that you can precede some situations and your experience is more pleasant. 

We would like you to tell us your habits loading, draining and maintaining the water tanks by leaving your comment below. 

FAQ on How long does the water in an RV last?

How to clean the clean water tank of an RV?

To clean the clean water tank of an RV, follow this guideline: to each litre of water, you must add 2 drops of 5% chlorine. If you do, your water will be much more drinkable and clean, eliminating the risk of acquiring different diseases. At we have many years of experience renting and improving your caravan.

Where does the grey water come from? 

Gray waters are all those waters that are collected from the bathrooms of the buildings, except for the waters of the toilet. They are collected from the bathtubs, showers or sinks of any building that contains these elements.

What is a black water tank?

The RV’s black water tank is the tank that stores waste. It’s where your toilet water and waste go, and if you don’t have a grey water tank, it’s where all the drain goes.


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