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4 Best Ways to Clean a Food Truck Water Tank

A good number of food trucks have their water tanks attached to the truck roof or wall, giving room for gravity to deliver water directly to the faucet.

Same as with all work equipment, water systems can get contaminated after frequent usage, so it rests on you to always clean and sanitize your water tanks. Cleaning the fresh water tank is very necessary because the water is used to prep and make the meals you sell to people.

You have to understand that thoroughly cleaning the tank helps to stop/slow down the development of microorganisms. The recommended frequency to clean your food truck tank will most often depend on how often you use it and the quality of the water you put in your tank.

For many food truckers, a cleaning before/after the holidays will be adequate, while for those who make use of the truck year-round, monthly cleaning may be necessary.

How to Clean a Food Truck Water Tank

There are many different ways to clean and purify your food truck water tank. The ideal one for you will depend on your preference and the resources you have available. Nevertheless, here are the top options to consider;

  1. Using Chlorine Solution

This is one of the most common ways food truckers clean and purify their water tanks. To utilize this method, you will first have to prepare a chlorine solution by using one gallon of water and a ¼ cup of household bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite solution).

It is recommended you don’t make use of any scented or enhanced bleach, do not also mix the bleach with ammonia or other cleaners. Start by emptying the tank, then pour chlorine solution into the tank. Use one gallon of solution for each 15 gallons of tank capacity.

Afterward, complete the filling of the tank with freshwater and give it around 3 hours to stand. Then drain and flush with potable fresh water. Note that any residual chlorine odor will dissipate naturally.

  1. Using chemical tablets

If you can use a chlorine solution, then you should consider water treatment tablets because they have long been used to disinfect water and tanks.

These tablets are very common, especially among RV owners and hikers. They are available in different sizes and are made to treat specific amounts of water. Chlorine dioxide tablets are known to kill germs, including Cryptosporidium, if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions correctly.

It is advised you avoid Iodine tablets because they are not safe for pregnant women, people with thyroid problems, or those with known hypersensitivity to iodine. It’s as well not meant for continuous use—don’t use it for more than a few weeks at a time.

  1. Ultraviolet Light (UV Light)

This is indeed another viable option to consider especially since it has been proven to kill some germs. It is possible to find portable units that deliver a measured dose of UV light that will work to disinfect your tank and the clear water therein.

UV light does not work well on cloudy water since small particles might very well block germs from the light. If the water is cloudy, it is recommended you first filter it by using a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter OR allow it to settle.

Then, draw off the clear water and disinfect it using the UV light. Remember to always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  1. Solar Disinfection

In times of emergencies, you can utilize this method to properly clean your tank and improve the quality of water. Keep in mind that this method will reduce some germs in the water. To disinfect water using the sun:

  • Ensure to completely fill your tank with clean and clear water. This cleaning method won’t work so well on cloudy water especially since small particles might block germs from the light.
  • If the water is cloudy, it is advised you first filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter or allow it to settle. Afterward, draw off the clear water and clean the tank using the sun.
  • Lay your water tank down on its side and in the sun for 6 hours (if sunny) or 2 days (if cloudy). Laying them down ensures that the sun’s rays can clean the tank and disinfect the water inside more effectively.
  • Putting the tank on a dark surface will also ensure the sun’s rays will disinfect it and the water inside more effectively.


Cleaning your food truck water tank can prove to be quite daunting. Nevertheless, as a food truck business catering to the nutritional needs of patrons, you should always seek to regularly clean your tank, almost monthly cleaning. This will limit the formation of biofilm which requires a lot of elbow grease and rinsing.

The other solution is to purify the water upstream of the filling, to avoid having particles in the tank. Aside from that, it is realistic to purify the water inside the tank, as this will restrict the formation of biofilm, and the development of bacteria and inhibit viruses.