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Aqua-Magic Bravura RV Toilet

Aqua-Magic Bravura is a stylish, comfortable, and lightweight toilet, suited for all RV types. The toilet’s elegance can be found in its sweeping lines and attention to details.

Available in: High Profile, Low Profile, and Parchment or White.



Bravura’s elegance can be found in its sweeping lines and attention to details, including:

  • Large and convenient single-pedal flush
    – Press the pedal halfway to add water to the bowl
    – Press the pedal all the way to open the valve and flush the toilet
  • Universal floor flange, mount on any flange
  • Attractive styling that’s easy to clean
  • Pulsating flush provides superior, near instantaneous full-bowl washdown
  • Front shroud pulls off for easy access to mounting bolts and pedal mechanism
  • Taller for a built-in higher comfort level
  • Easy-off seat and cover Pod for easy cleaning or service
  • Water-saving hand sprayer can be installed

Caution: Do not use stiff brushes or homemade products to clean or lubricate the valve and seal of your RV toilet, as these will damage the seals and surfaces, causing odors to escape from holding tanks. Thetford recommends using Aqua-Clean and toilet seal lubricants.

Product SKUs: 31082, 31084, 31104, 31100, 31083, 31085, 31105, 31101, 31120, 31086, 31122, 31102, 31119, 31087, 31121, 31103




Further Information

Thetford RV Toilet User and Installation Manual

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Having a clear black tank is an essential part of your RV. A clog in the black tank can spell the difference between a great vacation and an adventure that smells worse than that container that’s been in the back of the fridge for who knows how long.

The problem is there seems to be a load of tips out there suggest one trick or another that’s “guaranteed” to fix your problem. Some of the tips are true to their word others are more harm than good. So let’s start by going through the dos and don’ts of black tank maintenance.

Dos and Don’ts of Unclogging Black Tanks


There are some methods that are tried, tested and true. Let’s get into the icky details to get your black tank unclogged.

Boiling Water

This solution is one of the most cited solutions for clearing your black tank, and it’s easy to see why. The solution doesn’t take a lot of effort and it’s completely free, but despite how it may seem too good to be true this method actually holds up.

So how does it work?

All you have to do is turn off the water connection to the toilet then boil water and then pour it down your toilet. Do this two or three times. If your toilet itself is clogged you may have to wait so you don’t flood the bowl. The hot water should loosen any material that is stuck in your toilet and then you should be able to flush your problems away.

When dealing with a clog in the black tank, and not necessarily the toilet itself, you can further the effect of this cleansing system by driving around with the water already in the black tank. This will shake up the water and the contents of the black water tank helping to pull off any material that might try clinging to the walls of the black tank.

There are two reasons this solution works so well. First, RV toilets use a low amount of water when compared to a stationary toilet. By adding more water you make it easier to flush away any unwanted materials. Second, the heat of the water will loosen those materials more than cold water will.

It is the second reason for this solution that makes it a good idea to turn off the water connection to the toilet. That way you don’t have cold water mixing with the boiled water.

This is by no means a miracle drug solution. Sometimes the clog will be too much for hot water to take care of. If that’s the case then you will want to employ some of the stronger solutions, listed below, to scrub away at the clogs in the black tank.

There is also an unmerited fear that using boiling water will melt your toilet. Don’t fear your toilet won’t melt from boiling water, so you’ll have no issues pouring boiling water into it.

To see a demonstration of this whole process check out the boil water trick video below.

Chemical Cleaner

A little stronger than just boiled water is using chemicals. Chemicals will often contain acids and bacteria with greater capabilities to break down the excrement and excess toilet paper that clog your black tank.

There are several options to use here. I even heard of someone suggesting using liquid dawn dishwashing detergent. There are better options out there, so I would avoid using your dishwashing detergent on your black tank but if it’s the only option you have it may just work for you.

If you are looking for some quality chemical cleaner for your RV’s black tank then you are in luck, because Amazon has a great selection from some of the best known and highly rated tank cleaning brands out there.

RV DIGEST-IT – Holding Tank Treatment is an eco-friendly solutions to your waste problems RV DIGEST-IT will be able to break down any clogs while preventing terrible odors from coming out of the black tank. A great option to keep your black tank clog-free while not harming the environment.

Extreme Cleaner by Happy Campers is great at dissolving waste and clearing the sensors that you have in your black tank from the waste. The Extreme Cleaner will get the job done fast, and set you up with an easily rinse-able black tank to get rid of the now loose waste.

Unique 41H-1 Holding Tank Cleaner is another eco-friendly option the Unique 41H-1 is focused on making the waste disposal process as easy as possible. There’s no need to even drive around, as some chemicals require, to spread this cleaner around. Just give it 24 hrs to do its thing and you’ll be good to pour out the waste.

Camco TST Ultra-Concentrated Orange Toilet Treatment – With no toxic materials in these drops you’ll not have to worry about what’ll happen when you dump your waste. And whats better than preventing scent? Replacing it. The orange scent replaces the odors the drops eliminate.

Zaal Noflex Digestor is a quick and easy solution. There are no fancy tricks or scents involved with the Zaal Noflex Digestor. It eliminates the odor and clears your black tank. It’s simple to the point digestor.

Toilet Tank Wand

It is not easy to find the right tool when concerned with cleaning your RV’s toilet. Most toilet devices aren’t expecting the toilet to be connected to a large black tank and so the tool doesn’t translate well to an RV’s toilet.

The toilet tank wand is designed for RVs and while there are several options out there are a few that stand out among the others.

Valterra A01-0184VP Master Blaster Tank Wand with Power Nozzle. This device allows you to hook a hose up to the end of the device and send pressurized blasts of water into the pipes below.

This is especially useful in those situations where your tank’s sensor is covered by something in your pipes. It’s a common problem of RV owners to have their tank’s sensor claim that it is full or close to being full just because something is covering the sensor.

The Blaster tank wand is perfect for spraying away from the gunk that is clogging that area, and it’s an inexpensive option to help keep your pipes clean.

Another option is the Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve. The one downside to the Valterra Master Blaster Tank Wand is that it is a solid PVC pipe that is connected to a nozzle. Which means you don’t have to stick your hand in the toilet, don’t get me wrong that’s certainly a perk, but you have little to no flexibility.

The Camco Swivel Stik is flexible. You bend it to your needs and getting down the pipe in whatever shape fits best. The downside is that it is a little more expensive but for the versatility that it provides, I think it’s worth it.


While there are some great methods, you have probably read up on some of them. Here are some things that you should not put your black tank through when trying to unclog it.

Ice Cube Method

Opposite the boiling water trick’s thought process, you have the ice cube method. The idea behind the ice method is focused on physical force, and using that to shake up whatever is clogging your black tank.

So you load up your black tank with some water and a fair amount of ice and then drive around to shake the ice around as much as you can. But this isn’t really all that effective. Ice isn’t all that rough a substance, to begin with, it’s kind of known for things slipping off of it.

Well, that means it’s not the best material to jostle around while trying to scrub those hard to reach places in the black tank. There is a rather minimal scrubbing effect that you’ll get from the ice cube method but it is not really worth the ice and gas needed to use this method.

If you were surprised by this methods appearance on the Don’ts list or would just like more information than check out thefitRV’s article on the topic.

He does a great job looking into this method. If you don’t want to read the article then you can watch his video of the experiment with the ice cube method below.

Self-Power Washing

When it comes to power washing there are plenty of services out there that will wash your black tank for you, but when you are contemplating taking the task on yourself I would urge caution.

Using high pressured water in a black tank can lead to breaking the tank causing even more problems through leaks than you had in the first place.

There is a lot of back and forth on this topic in the community with some people even taking power washing as a first step. It will clean your black tank the issue is sometimes it does too good a job. So steer away if possible.

Pressurized Air

Pressurized air is one of the worst options for your RV’s black water tank. Air is not nearly as effective at cleaning as water is, and you still have the problem of too much pressure in your black tank leading to potential damage.

Pressurized air more often then not leads to the pushing the refuse in the black water tank into the even harder to reach corners that will be harder to take care of later. Overall, this will make your job harder when looking to clean your black water tank out in the future.


The plunger is just about everyone’s going to toilet clog clearing friend, but not in an RV’s toilet. The issue here is that in an RV’s toilet you open a valve and gravity does all the work. So there is really no point in using the plunger.

Some people have even noted that they have damaged their RV’s toilet by using a plunger. Since there is a seal placed around the valve that is closing and opening the toilet you can often harm that seal by using the plunger.

So, unfortunately, you’ll have to ignore plungers when you have plumbing problems in your RV. Trust me its for the best.

Preventing Clogs

The main reason that we face toilet issues in an RV is that we are so used to the stationary toilets in our homes that we don’t really know how to transfer our bathroom habits to what best suits an RV.

For instance, using regular household toilet paper can be really hard on an RV because RV toilet’s use less water than your toilet at home uses, as such using as much toilet paper as you are used to at home can cause clogs.

Below I’ll talk about ways to prevent clogs.

Use RV Toilet Paper

RV toilet paper is biodegradable toilet paper that will dissolve with the low amount of water that an RV toilet flushes. This will prevent the build-up of undissolved toilet paper that plagues many black tank clogs.

Now there are some specialty toilet paper brands that some recommend as the best and only option for your black tank. In truth, there are many different brands and kinds of toilet paper that may work just as well if not better than some RV toilet paper.

To learn how to test your toilet paper check out the Gone with the Wynns video below. This RV owner shows you how to test any type of toilet paper to see if it’s up to the task of serving in your RV.

In short, your best options will likely be RV toilet paper and the next best option is toilet paper that is marked as septic safe. But, you can always test your preferred toilet paper with the above method.

A great option that I prefer to use is the Thetford RV/ Marine Toilet Tissue. It breaks down well in low amounts of water.

Keep the Tank Clean

If your tank is clean then there won’t be any clogs or build-ups. So keep it clean. There are many methods described above for cleaning the tank when it is clogged you may use those methods when normally cleaning your black tank if you want, but normally I stick to using a chemical agent that will break down clogs reliably.

This way I can buy in bulk and never have to work about not having the chemicals I need.

I suggest using RidX for this. It’s a chemical that contains enzymes and bacteria that will eat away and break down any toilet paper and refuse that you have in the black tank.

Whichever chemical or cleaning process you choose to use, you’ll want to clean your black tank frequently. Cleaning it weekly is the best option but at least clean it every other week that way you don’t have to worry about build-ups in your black tank.

Frequent Flushing

Since RVs use less water than your stationary toilet back home you can try to rectify this issue by using more water. Some RV owners even suggest flushing twice.

I don’t personally feel flushing that often is necessary but it’s not a bad habit to develop. So flushing an extra time every now and then can lead towards a cleaner happier black tank.

More important than flushing extra after you go to the bathroom is flushing before it. You never want your black tank to only have waste in it. This will help with other things, like the smell, but doing so will keep the tank in a much cleaner position.

To fill the tank with water just fill the toilet and flush. Some owners suggest adding 7 to 10 gallons of water but normally one full flush should keep you pretty safe from clogging. If you find yourself still getting clogs though you may want to increase the amount you start off in your tank initially.

Don’t Flush Toilet Paper

One solution that some suggest, though personally, I feel its a little extreme, is to not flush your toilet paper at all. When doing this you’ll want to have plastic bags, like large Ziplocs or grocery bag to wrap up your waste.

So instead of flushing the toilet paper you just put it in those bags instead. Do this and you’ll never have to worry about toilet paper clogging your black tanks, because there won’t be any toilet paper in your black tank.

The extra benefit of this is it doesn’t matter what toilet paper you use. Nothing gets flushed so there is nothing that is going to get clogged. So you can use whatever toilet paper, or wet wipes you want, so long as you don’t flush them.

Fixing a Stuck Black Tank Valve

Sometimes the issue isn’t clogs within the black water tank but a sticky black water tank valve. These can occur quite frequently as the valves aren’t really designed to slide in and out with precision.

Add to that the large amount of waste that is being pumped through the pipes and you have a frequent cause for a problem. So how do you fix it?

It’s not the easiest thing to fix your best bet will be to prevent it. So if you aren’t facing this issue yet and you want to continue to avoid the problem then consider adding more lubricant of some kind to the black water valve.

Preventing a Stuck Black Tank Valve

You have several options to use as a lubricant. WD-40 works great, but others suggest Vaseline as a good option, and there is always lubricant made specifically for black water tank valves like Thetford RV Drain Valve Lubricant.

As a word of caution, some have suggested using oil, such as common cooking oil to lubricate the black tank valve. Don’t do it. Cooking oils will eat away at the seals around the black tank valve. Since you want to avoid replacing them as much as possible stick to the less corrosive options.

If you feel, whether from age or bad lubrication, that your black tank seal needs replacing or that it is a lost cause to try to fix the constantly sticking black water valve then there is no need to worry, you can just replace it.

Waste valves are not all that expensive so don’t suffer through a bad valve if you don’t need to. Having the right valve can make all the difference. No one wants to need to clear their tanks and find that they can’t because the valve is stuck. So make sure you are doing the maintenance necessary to make sure that never becomes a problem.

Troubleshooting a Stuck Black Water Valve

What if it’s too late? The valve is already stuck and your RV needs to go what now? Well, there are a couple of tricks that can be used to address the problem immediately. I wouldn’t consider any of these permanent fixes, and if you find your black water valve constantly getting stuck then it’s time to get a new one.

Try adding some lubricant inside and outside the black tank valve. This can work with official lubricants or with some homebrewed solutions. using Vaseline is a good option, as well as dishwashing detergent. Both will clean up the tank’s inside as well as provide some lubrication for the black water valve.

For the Vaseline take a handful of Vaseline and add in about a quart of warm water and then send it down the toilet. You may want to drive around a bit to help spread the Vaseline get all over the black tank so that you can get as much of the lubricant as possible onto the valve.

For the detergent pour the whole container into the toilet. You should have plenty of liquid from the detergent alone but you can always add more water if you don’t feel like what you have is enough. But you don’t want it to get too bubbly as that can make it hard for the lubricant to reach and stick to the valve.

If you aren’t seeing any progress, you can always try tapping the valve with a hammer to try to use the vibration to clear off any excess refuse that has gathered around the valve.

If all else fails then you’ll need to take it to an RV technician. Black water valves can be frustrating to deal with but luckily they aren’t that expensive so it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to fix your problem.

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How to Clean Black Tank on RV? Apply These Secret Techniques To Clean

Every RV owner usually learns to be conversant with maintenance, and one of the most unpleasant maintenance tasks you will have to tackle has to do with the black tank. It is crucial to clean and rinse the black tank regularly to keep it in its best condition. You might think that dumping the tank is enough, but this is not the case. Trust us; you don’t want to find this out the hard way, especially if it becomes clogged. In this article, I will tell you how to clean the black tank on RV. 

Processes ofHow to Clean Black Tank on RV

How to Clean Black Tank on RV

Prepare to Clean the Black Tank on RV

If you just bought a new RV and have never cleaned your black tank before, this will be of great help to you. Even if you are a long-term RV owner, a review will not hurt, but before you start work, you need to prepare some things

Clear your Schedule

It is probably obvious, but you need to make out at least a few hours to complete this task so expect to stay at the dumping station for a while. Your tank needs to be dumped before, during and after cleaning. 

Protect Yourself 

I hope you always wear gloves when dumping your tank, but if not, you should start immediately as you don’t want your skin to be exposed to any bacteria or chemicals. 

Get a clear sewer hose Adapter

Camco 39572 5' Clear Sewer Hose Adapter
Camco 39572 5" Clear Sewer Hose Adapter
  • Attaches directly to the RV outlet connection
  • Allows to extend the connection out for easier hookup
  • Clear adapter allows to see when tank is fully rinsed
  • 5" straight adapter
  • Made of unbreakable polycarbonate

It is a useful tool because it allows you to see everything flowing from the black tank. No matter how disgusting this sounds, it will give you an advantage. Once the water flowing out of it is clear, you can be sure that the black tank is clean. 

Get Rid of Clogs

You must get rid of the clogs first because cleaning and flushing the water tank will not necessarily remove clogs. Before performing regular cleaning, remove blockages in the tank or waste pipe. It’s also best to get products made especially for dissolving clogs as treatments designed for normal tank maintenance will not be completely effective.

What you Should Avoid

Certain things should be avoided when cleaning the black tank. Certain cleaning methods you may have heard of (or even tried) can also be dangerous. When cleaning and flushing the water tank, you don’t want two things to happen. The first and most obvious point is that you don’t want the tank to be damaged in the process. Second, you don’t want the black tank’s contents to flow to where it shouldn’t. These potential disasters can be avoided by following these tips:

Research new DIY Techniques

Don’t rush into trying out DIY techniques without researching them first. For example, you may have heard of the ice trick where you fill the black tank with ice and drive around to clean it. The reality is that this may not apply to everyone. Also, always use an RV black tank pressure washer rather than high-pressure equipment that involves air or water use. You can get the Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik.

Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve -...
Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve -...
  • Powerful rotary cleaning action dislodges and flushes the stubborn waste deposits and odor-causing particles left after holding tank is emptied
  • Solid section including handle measures 24" long; the flexible section measures 34" long with a 2" diameter nozzle
  • Flexible section is perfect for use with holding tanks that are offset from the toilet
  • Easy grip handles with a standard 3/4" female garden hose connection

Don’t use devices that are not specifically designed for the RV black tank. Sandblasting the water tank with a power washer may clean it, but unfortunately, you may also end up cracking the tank hence getting waste everywhere.

Remember, your RV sewage system is different from a residential system. Do not use drain cleaners or other solutions that are not meant for RV black tanks? Some of these powerful corrosive substances can damage your pipes or water tanks. 

Read Related Post: How to Clean the RV Toilet?

Step by Step Process on How to Clean Black Tank on RV

Dump your Black Tank 

how to clean the black tank on RV

Before starting to clean and rinse, the black tank should be as empty as possible. If you just dumped the water tank, you can skip to the next step. If you have not already done so, you must solve this task first.

If you are a novice or have had an RV for a long time, let us briefly introduce the basics because it is good to refresh your memory on the correct dumping methods now and then.

Don’t empty your black tank immediately; your tank sensor tells you that it is almost full. When the black tank is empty than full, emptying it will make it dry out like the trash in it will eventually stick to the wall or bottom of your water tank, which you don’t want. You can pour the water from the toilet into the water tank to fill it up. Once it gets to a minimum of half of its capacity, it can then be discarded.

Also, it is always best to discard the black tank first. This way, when you discard the gray water tank, the RV black tank flush system will flush the sewer pipe. However, you still need to rinse again for additional cleaning. Nevertheless, dumping the gray water tank afterward will also remove most of the waste. 

Clean out the Waste Pipe

how to clean the black tank on RV

If you want to clean and rinse the black tank, don’t ignore the waste pipe, as this can make it have pyramid plugs over time. These pyramid plugs are solid deposits of waste, which can cause blockages in pipes. You want to get rid of these before dealing with the black water tank. This pipe is the entrance by which cleaning and maintenance products reach the water tank, so it needs to be as neat as possible. You will also save yourself the energy of having to do this work in the future. Why clean the pipe later, thereby getting waste in the newly cleaned tank? 

Go to the RV toilet and put on gloves. You may also want to protect your eyes because you will be near the toilet. You can use a normal toilet snake (auger) or a motorized RV black water tank cleaning wand. If you choose to use the latter, make sure it is RV friendly.

Put the snake or wand into the toilet and start moving it around. Depending on how your pipe is, this may need some effort. Continue to rotate and clean until you feel the pipe is clean. Be careful not to pull the toilet wand completely out of the toilet when it is on to avoid a backsplash. 

Clean out your Tank using Good Cleaning Products

Like regular tank maintenance products, black tank cleaning process are divided into two categories; Natural and chemical products. You can buy either of these but make sure only to buy products suitable for your RV. You can as well opt for RV holding tank treatment homemade solutions.

For the best results, some of these cleaning products will have to stay in your tank overnight. Others require you to take a ride in the RV to agitate the solution. Please check the product description before buying as you want to purchase one that suits your needs.

Natural Cleaners

Natural black tank cleaners usually use biological organisms. These enzymes or bacteria work by breaking down the waste in the black tank. There are even natural cleaners that make use of probiotics. These beneficial bacteria are not only popular health supplements.

Curious about how it works? It’s very simple. Like the probiotics that clean the intestines, the organisms in these cleaners digest the black tank’s waste. A good natural black water tank cleaner should also break down toilet paper, grease and oil stains. It should also have the ability to carry out efficient RV black water tank sensor cleaning. Some of such outstanding products include:

Caravan RV Sensor and Tank CLEANER

Caravan RV Sensor and Tank CLEANER - Fix sensors, clear...
Caravan RV Sensor and Tank CLEANER - Fix sensors, clear...
  • POWERFUL: 95% successful clearing stuck tank gauges and clogs.
  • CONVENIENT: Simply shake, pour, flush and let soak. OK to travel and use toilet while soaking. Agitation (travel), rinsing and longer soak period, while not required will increase cleaning success
  • FAST: Enzymes will immediately begin multiplying. Enzymes break down more complex molecules into something easily digested by the activated cleaners, completely eliminating sewer odor, sludge, blockages, human waste and all brands of household toilet paper.
  • MOST TANKS CLEAR OVERNIGHT, but older or poorly maintained tanks with heavy buildup will take longer.

Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment – 64 Treatments

HAPPY CAMPERS RV Holding Tank Treatment - 64 Treatments
HAPPY CAMPERS RV Holding Tank Treatment - 64 Treatments
  • ODOR FREE: Eliminates odors in the RV holding tank. Absolutely no chemical or sewer smell.
  • Septic tank friendly
  • EFFECTIVE: In extreme hot & cold temperatures ( over 100°)
  • EXTENDED DUMP INTERVAL: Keeps on working ( don't have to add more before dumping )
  • LIQUIFY: Waste solids & most ordinary household tissue ( no expensive special tissue needed )

Thetford 96527 Blaster Holding Tank Cleaner Pouches

Thetford 96527 Blaster Holding Tank Cleaner Pouches,...
Thetford 96527 Blaster Holding Tank Cleaner Pouches,...
  • The first 2-in-1 tank cleaner specifically formulated for black/gray water and portable tanks
  • Cleans overnight - then just dump and go
  • Micro-foam action improves surface contact to vertical tank walls
  • Active enzymatic blend blasts crud and attacks tissue, waste, and grease
  • Formulated safe for RV/Marine tanks, plumbing, seals and surfaces

Chemical Cleaners

The best RV black tank cleaner in the form of chemicals have more varieties than you might think. You may be scared of buying products that contain certain chemicals (such as formaldehyde). However, some tank cleaners do not contain formaldehyde and are still very much efficient.

Odorlos V77012 Holding Tank Treatment is one of the best RV black tank cleaner. If you don’t have it you can get it right now.

Valterra Odorlos V77012 Holding Tank Treatment (6lb...
Valterra Odorlos V77012 Holding Tank Treatment (6lb...
  • Provides naturally occurring bacteria with a continuous supply of the best alternative energy source to pure oxygen - nitrates.  
  • Safe and effective in all RV and marine Holding tank and septic tank systems
  • Effective even in extreme temperatures
  • Accelerates the breakdown of tissue and waste, helping to prevent clogs
  • 100% , formaldehyde free and non-toxic

Clean out your Tank Using the DIY Route

If you don’t want to use specialty products for cleaning, you can clean the black tank using DIY methods. These methods have been tried and successfully used by many RV owners. Another method is the Geo method, where all you need is Calgon water softener and Dawn dish soap.

Calgon Water Softener Powder, 40 Ounce
Calgon Water Softener Powder, 40 Ounce
  • Add to your wash for whiter, brighter clothes
  • Maximum limescale protection
  • Reduce the risk of breakdown and protect your investment
  • One (1) 40 oz package of Calgon Water Softener

Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn Dish Soap Platinum Dishwashing Liquid +...
Dawn Dish Soap Platinum Dishwashing Liquid +...
  • Contains 4X MORE Grease Cleaning Power (cleaning ingredients per drop vs. non-ultra Dawn)
  • Powers away 48-hour, stuck-on food in seconds
  • The Dawn Non-Scratch Premium Scrubber won’t scratch your non-stick cookware and sensitive surfaces
  • Cleansing Refreshing Rain scent
  • Packaging & sponge shape will vary

Pour a glass of Dawn detergent and a glass of Calgon into your black tank. Since Calgon is a water softener, it will not harm your black water tank. Also, don’t overdo it with dish soap as you don’t want a black tank full of bubbles. After that, fill the black tank with water (hot is better, but cold is fine.). Let the solution sit for a few hours, and you are done. 

You can also use diluted bleach to clean the black tank. To do this, add no more than three-quarters of the bleach cup per 15-gallon capacity. Therefore, if your black water tank has a capacity of 30 gallons, you can only use at most one and a half cups of bleach.

Just as in the geo method, let it sit for a while. Never pour pure bleach into the black tank. If you decide to use this method, be sure to rinse the tank thoroughly afterward to avoid leaving bleach residue as it will cause interference with the black tank treatment products. The organism can die before it degrades the waste if bleach is still in the tank when probiotic treatment is used.

Flush out Your Tank

cleaning rv

Once your choice’s cleaning solution has been in the tank long enough, it can then be dumped. Next, you need to flush the water tank. You want to make sure that there are no residues or waste left.

This is when a transparent sewer adapter will be of great help as you will be able to see when the water from the black tank becomes clear, indicating that the tank is now neat. Your RV model may include a built-in flush. This is the rinse system, which is part of your RV. All you have to do is connect the garden hose to the black tank flush inlet. Ask your RV manufacturer how to use this system correctly. If your RV does not have a built-in flusher, you can get a removable flusher. These devices will flush out your blank tank without the risk of backflow or damage.

The rinser is connected to the hose, and the water tank and most are equipped with a vacuum seal, so no water flows into your water pipe. You can use a motorized wand to flush the water tank and clean the waste pipe. Make sure the wand you use fits your tank. You may need to get a straight or flexible one, depending on your RV. 

Finishing Off

Your black tank is finally clean, and you may want to take a shower now, but don’t worry: complete the last few tasks, and you will be free.

Lubricate the Valve 

It would help if you lubricated the discharge valve to keep it in top shape. You can easily simply lubricate the valve, and you only need a drill. Use Thetford RV Drain Valve Lubricant. If you don’t have it get it right now.

Thetford RV Drain Valve Lubricant - 24 oz 15843
Thetford RV Drain Valve Lubricant - 24 oz 15843
  • [VERSATILITY]: Thetford's Drain Valve Lubricant is designed to work with RV and boat drain valves
  • [FUNCTIONALITY]: Coats the plumbing lines for a complete outflow of the tank contents
  • [UTILITY]: Prevents sticky valves, ensuring a smooth operation during the emptying process
  • [CONVENIENCE]: Formulated to work with grey or black water tanks
  • [SAFETY]: Drain Valve Lubricant is 100% biodegradable and safe for all waste treatment systems

Add Maintenance Products 

When you are through, do not leave the tank high and dry. Fill at least one-third of it with water as a dry black tank quickly becomes smelly.

Now you need to start using maintenance products from time to time. Choose a biological or chemical solution of your choice. It is advisable to look for a product that addresses all aspects of your black tank. It should be able to decompose waste and act as an RV black tank sensor cleaner as well. 

Neutralizing odors is also of great importance. If you use thick toilet paper, look for one that can break it down.

How often should I clean and rinse the RV black water tank? 

You already know that almost everything in your RV should be deep cleaned regularly. Your situation dictates how often you should rinse and clean the black tank. If you don’t take out your RV often, please clean and rinse after each trip. You don’t want your RV to sit around with a dirty black tank. Likewise, you should clean and rinse the black tank before putting the RV in storage. You want the black tank to be completely free of contamination before the RV is idle for several months.

If you often take out the RV, you must use your ears (or nose) to decide when it should be cleaned. Frequent use of the tank treatment product is not a substitute for a thorough cleaning as well.

Bottom Line

If you have not thoroughly cleaned the black tank of the RV, all the air fresheners in the world will not cover up the unpleasant smell. That’s because the black tank is equivalent to a household septic tank, and lack of cleanliness will cause the smell of its contents to float back into your RV. To make matters worse, neglected black tanks can cause plumbing problems and multiply dangerous bacteria that can be harmful to anyone who uses an RV.

Fortunately, with the simple steps highlighted above, the black water tank’s deep cleaning is not necessarily a tedious and troublesome task. Also, there is no need to worry about cleaning and flushing the black tank. It may not be particularly interesting, but it is necessary. Deep cleaning from time to time can greatly help prevent problems. Your black tank is part of the RV, and you always want to maintain its full functionality through proper cleaning. I hope you had understood how to clean the black tank on RV. 

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

AuthorMichael J. Branco

Michael J Branco is the Founder & Chief Editor of Easy Trip Guides. Luckily he can work from anywhere, so he goes back and forth between Texas and New Jersey. When he gets leisure time, he goes off camping in Park City, and when he was in the Florida Keys, you can usually find him on the campground either RVING, backpacking or hunting. Recently hiking has attracted him. He got certified a few years ago and “get wet” as frequently as he can. He shares his traveling experiences with you at Easy Trip Guides and tries to let you know about different types of tips and tricks. “Camping is his Passion.” He is now working as a full-time content writer on our website. Michael covers the following category as an expert; Backpacking, Hiking, Survival Camping, Hunting, RV & Camping

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Sours: https://easytripguides.com/how-to-clean-the-black-tank-on-rv/
RV waste valve repair/lubrication

The Best RV Holding Tank Treatment (Review) in 2021

Written By Car Bibles Staff

Published Sep. 17, 2019

Owning an RV is a big responsibility on all fronts. It may be smaller than a regular house but best believe that it takes quite a lot to maintain. This is especially true when it comes to the areas of sewage and septic systems. The whole set-up is not as elaborate as the ones found in regular homes; nevertheless it needs to be well managed to avoid foul smells. RV holding tank treatments go a long way to ensure that waste is broken down resulting in an odor-free living space. With so many options out there on the market, it is important to be able to separate the weeds from the tare. For that reason, here is a detailed compilation of the best RV holding tank treatment options out there.

The Best RV Holding Tank Treatment


Eliminating foul odors is at the core of this incredibly potent formula. Whether the RV in question makes use of a black or grey or any other type of tank, it is just as potent. The Walex TOI-91799 Porta-Pak Holding Tank Deodorizer Drop-Ins are a one way stop to a fresh smelling septic system. This RV black tank treatment comes in little ‘paks’ which are a great avenue for portion control. Even better the enzyme formula within them is eco-friendly and just as effective as any chemical-based one. It begins work once applied and instantly begins to fight against foul odors and breaks down waste. It equally works wonders when it comes to clogs in the pipes, valves and other areas. With it’s a pleasant fresh alpine scent, it does wonders for RV holding tanks.

Key Features

  • It offers up top-notch odor prevention
  • Comes packaged in a zipper bag for easy storage
  • It happens to be Formaldehyde-free
  • Comes in highly biodegradable paks


  • Brand Walex
  • Model TOI-91799
  • Weight 12 ounces


They work efficiently when it comes to eliminating odor and breaking down waste

It is incredibly easy and straightforward to use

It offers up a premeasured amount of formula


It is not as effective on hot weather

Sometimes the paks stick together causing a mess in the long run

They do not do enough on the front of deodorizing


RV black water tank chemicals and tank chemicals, in general, can be extremely harsh. Based on that alone, products like the Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment is a viable option. It gets rid of all bad odors present in RV holding tanks without leaving behind any chemical or sewer smells. What makes it even better is that it is biodegradable. This translates to the fact that it is eco-friendly and also septic tank friendly. So, users can go to town on this RV holding tank cleaner with no guilt whatsoever. It practically liquidizes solid waste as well as the common enemy which is tissue paper. There’s no need to splurge on special types of tissue paper, this formula can break them all down. Topping that is the fact that it keeps on working, users do not have to add more before dumping.

Key Features

  • It has no chemical or sewer smell since it is completely odor-free
  • It is environmentally friendly and biodegradable
  • Works well in both hot and cold weather
  • Has the ability to liquefy waste


  • Brand Happy Campers
  • Model HC-64-oz
  • Weight 4.44 pounds


It is incredibly easy to use

It is really strong at liquefying the contents of the tank

The formula is a great odor combatant


It is messy to use since it comes in powder form

Comes off as dusty

Has the tendency to turn hard like plaster


Ironically, cleaning can be a very messy process. But that does not have to be the case all the time. With formula like the Walex BOI-11530 Bio-Pak Natural Holding Tank Deodorizer, this is a thing of the past. It comes in a convenient form that provides portion control while being incredibly easy to use. So, say goodbye to that normally messy process of cleaning your RV holding tank. Simply drop a pak in, and the rest is history. The formula also happens to be environmentally friendly and starts work instantly. It is also very great when it comes to keeping bad odors at bay quite effectively.

Key Features

  • It deodorizes and breaks down waste easily
  • Comes in a non-staining color
  • Comes pre-packaged for portion control purposes
  • It is septic tank safe


  • Brand Walex
  • Model BIO-11530
  • Weight 12 ounces


Works adequately in both cold and hot weather

It breaks down waste and prevents frequent dumping

It is environmentally-friendly and not harsh at all


It does not deodorize as it is advertised

Still comes off as though it is packed with chemicals

Not great value for money


Getting the best out of a product is one of the main reasons buyers go after it. If it cannot work to the maximum then there is really no use. Thankfully, the Camco 41533 30 Pack Strength TST Ultra-Concentrated Lavender Scent RV Toilet MAX Treatment is one of the best RV black tank cleaner options. The formula itself has been in the market for over 20 years and it ages like fine wine. So, not only does it keep odors at bay, but it also breaks down solid waste and tissue. This results of this potent formula can still be felt for up to 7 days after the first application. Every single Drop-in comes in a granular form embedded in a pouch that dissolves once in the water. That one pouch can easily be used for a 40-gallon tank. Yes, it is quite potent but users can rest assured that it does not contain compounds such as formaldehyde, pesticides or biocides.

Key Features

  • It is ultra-concentrated; one drop is enough for a 40-gallon tank
  • Void of any pesticides, biocides or the formaldehyde-releasing ingredient bronopol
  • Safe for all septic tanks
  • It has a fresh lavender scent


  • Brand Camco
  • Model 41553
  • Weight 3.55 pounds


It is incredibly easy to use

Does not cause any pressure build-up

Keeps the tank clean and pleasant smelling


The Ziploc bag used as the packaging does not stay closed

Users complained that the tank requires more than what the instructions suggest

Odor control is an issue


For a truly green and genuinely eco-friendly option, this is the way to go. Anyone who is not just after a clean tank but a healthy environment as a whole should look no further. The Unique RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment is the ultimate eco-conscious option. It is void of compounds such as Formaldehyde making it safe for humans, septic systems and the environment. In addition to this, it is great at breaking down waste. Once it is applied, it instantly begins to digest solid waste including all brands of tissue paper. In the long run, it actively dissolves compilations of sludge and scum. So, long-time RV users can highly benefit from this. While doing this, it also takes care of the basic stuff like guarding against clogs, cleaning and reducing odors. Then there’s the elephant in the room which is foul odors. Best believe that this highly potent formula deals with that as well. Better yet, it doesn’t matter whether the temperature is high or low, it works just fine.

Key Features

  • It dissolves solid waste and all types of toilet paper
  • Truly degradable and eco-friendly
  • Reduces foul odors in all sorts of varying conditions
  • It guards against clogs and also cleans level gauges


  • Brand Unique Camping & Marine
  • Model 413-az
  • Weight 2.4 pounds


It does wonders on clogs

Ensures that the tank drains faster and cleaner

Maintains the septic system and keeps it working well


It does not battle odors as advertised

Not great value for the money spent

It dissolves black tank weight inconsistently


In an ideal world, everything would smell fresh and scented. Unfortunately, people have to deal with foul smells from toilet systems. The good news here is that the RID-X RV Treatment Liquid can deal with all that. It takes on tank sludge like a champ, leaving it smelling fresher than ever. This can be credited to the natural bacteria in it that can easily break apart tissue and all other forms of waste. In fact, it contains strong cellulase enzyme which tackles the waste head-on. What’s even better is the fact that its gifts are not just privy to RVs. This powerful formula can be used in portable toilets and also in marine toilets. Also, it serves black, grey and other tanks alike. With this RV black water tank chemicals, application once a week is duly enough to give a long-lasting effect. The citrus scent is strong enough to keep everything fresh on the odor front. Equally, the RV holding tank itself will be as clean as ever.

Key Features

  • It is scientifically proven to break down waste and tissues
  • Comes in an easy to use a liquid formula which is up to 8 treatments per bottle
  • It contains patented bacteria and enzymes for the breaking down of waste and paper
  • Has a long-lasting citrus scent


  • Brand Rid-X
  • Model AX-AY-ABHI-55917
  • Weight 1.68 pounds


It is a fast working formula

Cleans tank sensors perfectly

It dissolves and breaks down waste quite adequately


It takes a lot of patience as the enzymes need time to work

It is messy to use

Odor control is a bit on the lacking side


Eliminating foul odor is the least of the duties that this holding tank tackles. It is packed with a variety of features that make it one of the best RV toilet treatment options out there. There is so many users can expect with the Camco TST Ultra-Concentrate Orange Scent RV Toilet Treatment. At the forefront is the fact that it enforces the breaking down of waste and tissue. In addition to this, it can be used in both RVs as well as marine waste tanks. So, it undoubtedly scores some extra points in terms of versatility. Then there’s the obvious fact that it eliminates bad odors through and through. With its strong citrus scent, it is the perfect combatant for any foul odors that RV holding tanks have to offer. What could possibly make an already optimal product better? It does not contain any Formaldehyde and happens to be non-staining. Thanks to these handy features, it is deemed completely safe for septic tanks. To crown it all up, there’s no mixing or prep needed, so its as convenient as ever.

Key Features

  • It breaks down waste in RV holding as well as  marine waste tanks
  • Does not require any mixing or measuring
  • Each bottle can treat up to 40-gallons
  • It is ultra-concentrated


  • Brand Camco
  • Model 41191
  • Weight 3.04 pounds


It helps the sensors start working properly

Tackles odor head on

It keeps black water tank completely order free


The bottle is flimsy and thin

It is hard to wipe up in case of a spill

Users may need more than the recommended amount


Now, this is the septic tank treatment of the 21st century. It is adequately scented, easy to use and most importantly, environmentally friendly. At its core, the Firebelly Outfitters RV Septic Tank Treatment is the number one enemy of waste. The deodorized tablets are targeted at entities that may disrupt the flow of waste. So, thanks to these babies, the flow of wastewater through the RV sewer hose kits among things, is eased. The only thing that can top that is the fact that it is incredibly easy to use. Cut out the time that would have been used measuring or diluting. This formula is conveniently pre-portioned for up to 40-gallon tanks. With the stipulated amount, a nice mulberry scent is sure to win over any foul odor. The cherry on the top here is the triple molecular technology. This goes a long way to provide top-notch and long-lasting odor control.

Key Features

  • It has a fresh mulberry scent
  • It happens to be Formaldehyde Free
  • Biodegradable and Septic safe
  • Happens to be pre-portioned for up to 40-gallon tanks


  • Brand Firebelly Outfitters
  • Model FBO-002
  • Weight 1.35 Pounds


It eliminates odor effectively

Simple and easy to use

It is great at breaking down solids in the tank


It can stain if not cleaned off immediately

More than one packet is needed at a go

The smell is too strong


Anyone in the market for the best RV black tank treatment is definitely in luck. This product offers extensive services on that front and others. So how on earth does the Thetford 24 oz RV Drain Valve Lubricant work? This formula is specifically designed to lubricate all sorts of waste treatment systems. So, the good news is that clogs and the sorts are no match for it. This liquid RV septic cleaner happens to be 100% biodegradable. It will equally do wonders on anything from a black to a grey water tank. Even more in terms of versatility, it is suitable to be used on boats and RVs alike. What it does is to coat the plumbing lines and as such, it guards against sticky valves. So, for anyone who has been having problems with waste evacuation altogether, this is a solid way out.

Key Features

  • It is 100% biodegradable and can be safely used for all waste treatment systems
  • Makes for a smooth operation when emptying tanks
  • Can work in both RV and boat drain valves
  • Guards against sticky valves


  • Brand Thetford
  • Model 15843
  • Weight 1.48 pounds


It is very easy to use

Temporally ensures that valves open and close smoothly

It works well as long as it is properly used


It is only a temporary fix

The price is a bit on the high side

There's a 50/50 chance of it working


More and more, people are beginning to care about the environment. For that reason, RV septic cleaner options like this are becoming the belle of the ball. The Thetford 128-Ounce EcoSmart FF Deod offers up a formaldehyde-free formula which is just as effective. It works by breaking down and liquefying solid waste in order to guard against clogs. It does this while ensuring that foul odors are kept well at bay. In addition to being as multifaceted as they come, this product is incredibly convenient. First, users will be pleased to know that this formula does not stain, it can simply be washed off with soap and water. Additionally, it is not toxic to humans or aquatic beings alike. The environment as a whole has nothing to fear when it comes to this highly effective treatment. All in all, users can rest assured that their tanks will be odor free and squeaky clean.

Key Features

  • It is biologically-based and non-toxic
  • Not harmful to humans and aquatic animals
  • Controls odors and breaks down solid waste
  • It contains limited surfactants that biodegrade


  • Brand Thetford
  • Model 369677
  • Weight 6.5 pounds


Great value for money

It is incredibly easy to use

The liquid is heavy and as such is unlikely to spill


Twice the recommended amount is needed

It does not tackle odor adequately

It is a little less toxic yet a little less effective

Best RV Holding Tank Treatment Buying Guide & FAQ

Sewage as a whole is tricky to deal with, but with the right products, it can become a breeze. The only issue here is that there is a wide range of options available on the market. Then there is the fact that all of them talk a big game. Based on this it is hard to know which option to go for. For that reason, here are some pointers to make the process more streamlined.

What to Consider When Buying an RV Toilet Treatment

These products are not used for the most glamorous of jobs. In fact, their duties are plain disgusting. Based on this, users need to look out for a product that works speedily and efficiently. It should be able to dissolve or unclog as effectively as possible. In addition to this, it should be able to eliminate foul odors coming from the sewage. A product that can do all this is definitely the one to stick to.

It may not seem like a major issue but the best kind of holding tank treatments are biodegradable. All in all, it should not be harmful to the environment. The formula is biodegradable ensures that it will break down naturally. Another important aspect is to check that these products don’t contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients. This is even more harmful than other chemicals.

They may not be the cheapest products out there, but it should not break the bank. Based on that, it should be within the right neighborhood price-wise. Before embarking on the journey of finding the best holding tank treatment, a budget should be established. With a little bit of effort, finding a product that ticks all the boxes should be easy without going above budget.

Holding tank treatments come in different forms. Mainly, there are two types available which are the tablet and liquid form. They two of them are as similar as they are different. The tablet form is a lot less messy to use. Also, it is already conveniently measured. Though the liquid option may involve some sort of measurement and dilution, it has its strong point. Users do not need to wait for them to dissolve, they just pour them in and flush.

Camping in Sagres

Why You Should Use an RV Holding Tank Treatment

When it comes to anything toilet/sewage-related, there’s going to be an odor involved. It is a whole different ball game when it comes to an RV. The best way to ensure that the odor does not become overbearing in the RV is to use an effective holding tank treatment. So, using one of these will ensure the tank is fresh and deodorized.

  • It Cleans out the Holding Tank

Thanks to the enzymes and bacteria present in RV holding tank chemicals, the tanks get a good cleaning out. When using these types of products, users do not need to buy separate cleaning and deodorizing products. With a little bit of research here and there, the perfect product can be found. Even better is the fact that the tank will remain healthy and clean.

Types of RV Holding Tank Treatments

  • Liquid RV Tank Holding Treatments

It goes without saying that these treatments come in liquid form. On their own, they require a bit of work. There has to be some measuring and diluting if the need arises. It becomes tedious at times, but there is still upside with them. It is ready to use once it is put in the toilet. They are just as effective as their tablet counterparts, the only daunting aspect is the measurement.

  • Tablet RV Tank Holding Treatments

A handful of RV owners will agree that these are the more natural ones to use. Their main strong point is that they eliminate the need for measuring. Based on this, portion control is not an issue at all. Users just need to drop the assigned number of tablets in and the rest is history. The main set back for most people is that they have to be left to soak and dissolve before being flushed.

  • Chemical RV Tank Holding Treatments

This is a form of a tank holding treatment that many old-time RV users are conversant with. They make use of chemicals such as formaldehyde to keep the odor at bay. It also goes to town on solid waste making it seem like a suitable option on the surface. Apart from being harmful to the environment, this option also kills all bacteria. This includes the bacteria that help break down the waste.

Toilet tank for the restroom inside a motorhome

Best RV Holding Tank Treatment FAQ:

Q: What is an RV holding tank treatment?

This is a product which basically ensures the breakdown of waste and/or the elimination of odors in an RVs tank.

Q: How do I use my RV holding tank treatment?

  It is usually quite straightforward, first, drop or pour it in the bowl. This is dependent on the type of treatment being used. After that, it should be flushed and allowed to soak.

Q: How should I clean my RV holding tank?

Once it is emptied, the tank will definitely be in need of some cleaning. RV owners should first fill the tank with freshwater and bleach. After that, the toilet lid should be closed to avoid the inhalation of toxic fumes. After about 10 minutes, the tank should be drained out then filled with some more fresh water. The draining process should be repeated until the water coming out is clear.

Our Top Pick

It has got the fragrance and the strength to contend with any given RV holding tank. What makes it especially efficient is the fact that it comes in a quick-dissolving, portion-controlled form. So all in all, on the front of functionality and ease of use, this product is a winner. This product promises to be the best RV toilet treatment out there. It is packed with ingredients that make it effective for up to a week. This leaves users with one of the best RV holding tank treatment options there is on the market.


  1. How to Unclog an RV Toilet – Wiki How
Sours: https://www.carbibles.com/rv-holding-tank-treatment/

Lubricant valve homemade drain rv

How to Drain and Maintain Your RV Holding Tanks

Properly draining and maintaining your RV holding tanks will keep them clog and odor free. Here are the tips and tricks gathered by seasoned RV owners and full-time RV residents.

The most important tip:

When connected to a site with full hookups leave the black  tank drain valve closed until two thirds full, then dump them. Here’s why:

    • If you have your tanks set to continuously drain, the solids will partially dry and form a hard pile which is hard to remove. Solids will collect and stick to every depression in your “stinky slinky” too.
    • Low water flow will cause toilet paper and other solids to collect and stick to surfaces and eventually clog the drain and your tank level sensors.
    • The tank additives that reduce odors and digest solids don’t work if they are flushed right out of the tank.  They need fluids to do their work.
  • You can let your gray tank drain freely but close the drain and let the tank fill before dumping the black tank so it gives your stinky slinky a good gush of rinse water.

rv holding tanks

Tip 2: Don’t put toilet paper down the toilet.

Regular store-bought toilet paper is a major cause of clogs in RV holding tanks. My wife suggests putting the paper in a covered waste basket like the one shown here.

This trash can measures 6.6″W x 14.2″D x 13.3″H – 25″ so it should fit in a camper. The lid can be opened with the foot pedal. $29.99 from Amazon.com.

This covered waste can uses regular grocery store bags as liners so there’s no need to by expensive plastic bags to keep it sanitary.

It should go without saying, but, do not flush paper towels, sanitary napkins, anything else that does not dissolve like medicated wipes, and cooking grease.

Tip 3: Use only RV Recommended Toilet Tissue.

RV/Marine Toilet TissueIf you are going to be putting your toilet paper in the tank use a quick-dissolving toilet paper made for RV tanks.

Thetford RV/Marine Toilet Tissue is formulated to rapidly dissolve in sanitation systems.

Tip 4: Use the best aerobic RV holding tank additive.

rv black tanks additive
Unique, RV Digest-It infuses a blend of naturally-occurring aerobic bacteria into your tank to replace the anaerobic bacteria and quench the foul odors. It does this by breaking down the solid waste inside your tank while giving off only water and carbon dioxide. Unique’s proprietary blend of safe, eco-friendly bacteria is much more concentrated than competitors’ brands and outperforms competitors’ products by breaking down waste faster, eliminating odors better, and leaving behind no residue in your tanks to clog lines, foul up sensors, or degrade seals.

Note: Stopping the Stink

Whichever additive/deodorizer you use make sure to add enough water to cover the bottom of the holding tank. Feel free to use two or three times the recommended amount.

Happy Camper is the most often recommended odor reducer. It works a little differently.

This highly concentrated water-activated mineral blend eliminates odor without covering it up with perfume like many of the chemical deodorant treatments. Happy Camper works most like an enzyme or bioactive treatment but is not affected by residuals (previous tank treatment chemicals) and unlike enzyme treatments you do not need to regularly add more treatment.

The performance of Happy Camper is not affected by extreme hot or cold temperatures and is not harmful to the environment, in fact it’s biodegradable. Happy Camper is a highly concentrated mono-hydrate blend of minerals and micro nutrients.

How to dump your RV/Travel Trailer water tanks:

Everyone develops their own meticulous method of dumping their RV’s tanks but the basics are the same. This is how I do it:

  • Don your rubber gloves.
  • Connect your tank drain to the dump stations inlet with your “stinky-slinky.”
  • Dump your black water tank first. Fill the toilet with soapy water and flush to rinse the tank.
  • Once drained, close the black tank drain valve and open the grey water tank valve.
  • Drain the grey water tank. Fill the sink with soapy water and drain it to rinse out the grey tank.
  • Once the draining is complete and valves are closed add the Digest-It fluid and some water.

Seeing what’s happening

RV holding tanks

Click on image to order from Amazon for $14.42. There are many types to choose from but this is my favorite.

Some folks suggest a clear elbow joint at the dump end so you can see when your dump water is running clean.

My dad always had me run a garden hose into the bathroom of the travel trailer and flush the black tank via the toilet until it was completely clean. Never use your fresh water hose to do this.

The elbow shown securely connects into dump station connection. It fits four sizes of dump station inlets. Elbow is clear so you can see when your sewer hose has finished draining and is clear of debris. The fitting rotates 360 degrees and detaches from 4 in 1 adapter to fit into 4″ square RV bumper.

If your black water tank is directly below the toilet you can get a pretty good view of the inside but there are some areas you can’t see or reach with a hose.

There is a version of this Elbow joint with a hose attachment so you can blast water up into your tank and make sure the drain is well cleaned out.

RV Dump Stations

Finding RV Dump Stations:

See RVer’s Guide to Dump Stations shown here. It’s a list of over 2000 dump stations across the US.

Also see this app “Map of RV Dump Stations“. This app shares the location of dump stations you have found and added. It’s growing and becoming more useful. Here’s another list called “Sanidumps: RV Dump Station Directory.”

List Your RV for Free on RVshare

How to clean a dirty black water RV holding tank:

It’s very important to thoroughly clean your black tank after dumping. If you don’t clean your tank well it will smell bad and your tank level sensors can become hopelessly clogged.

Here are some easy ways you can accomplish the cleaning without too much fuss:

RV Black-Water Tank Cleaning Tip #1:

Take this tip with “a grain of salt.” If your RV or travel trailer is able to be moved without too much fuss dump a 10 lb. bag of ice cubes down the toilet after dumping. Add some cold water and dish soap, then take your rig for a drive. The ice cubes supposedly will dislodge hardened excrement then melt away. This YouTube® video pretty much disproves this method but a lot of people say it works.

Black-water tank cleaning Method #2

The Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve creates a powerful cleaning action that dislodges and flushes stubborn waste deposits and combats odors.

    • Powerful rotary cleaning action dislodges and flushes the stubborn waste deposits and odor-causing particles left after holding tank is emptied.
    • Solid section including handle measures 24″ long; the flexible section measures 34″ long with a 2″ diameter nozzle.
    • Flexible section is perfect for use with holding tanks that are offset from the toilet.
    • Easy grip handle with a standard 3/4″ female garden hose connection.

Watch this video to see how easy it is to use:

cleaning rv holding tanks

Black Water Cleaning Tip #3

RV holding tanks
Unique Tank Cleaner is the most concentrated and most effective microbial tank cleaner available today. Put billions of bacteria to work for you. Enzymes will immediately begin multiplying. These enzymes break down more complex molecules into something easily digested by the activated cleaners, completely eliminating sewer odor, sludge, blockages, human waste and all brands of household toilet paper.

  • UNCLOGS ALL TYPES OF CLOGS including pyramid plugs, compacted waste inside black tanks, and blocked plumbing lines.
  • BREAKS DOWN SOLID WASTE, including toilet paper, poop, and residual sludge – no matter how old it is.
  • Dissolves toilet paper from sensors so they indicate tank levels properly.

Here’s a short YouTube® video demonstrating a simple method to clear a clogged black tank using the gray water in your drain hose to back flush it.

Reusing your gray water:

If you are a full-time RV’r  on your own property you can install a diverter in your drain line to send gray water to your garden and plants. It does need to be filtered properly. Here’s more on reusing your grey water.

If you smell your RV holding tanks while driving your RV:

Opening the front windows of the driving area of your RV will suck air from the back of the RV to the front. If there is no inlet for air in the back of the RV the air will be sucked in the sewer vent on the roof and come in thru the sink drains and toilet.

Here are some things you can do to combat this sewer back-drafting:

  • Pour some water down each drain, sinks, shower, and laundry. This will fill the P-trap that is supposed to normally block sewer gas. The back-draft can be strong enough to bubble past, however.
  • Insure that all of the sink drain caps are pushed closed.
  • Replace the sewer roof vent cover with a Camco, Cyclone Rotating Sewer Vent Cover.
  • Put about an inch of water in the toilet to ensure there’s a good seal. If the water drains away the seal is dirty, defective, and leaking. Add a layer of Vaseline or plumbers grease to create a better seal.

Here’s a manufactures video about installing the Camco, Cyclone Rotating Sewer Vent Cover:

Replacing A Broken Waste Valve for your RV Holding Tanks

Sooner or later the black and/or gray tank waste valve is going to break or jam. Don’t fret. It’s easily fixed. Don your rubber gloves first. Simply remove the four bolts, slip out the old valve, and slip in the new one. Replace the bolts.

It’s simple -if your waste tanks are empty. If your tanks are full you’ll still use the same procedure but you’ll need to get creative in catching the poop water (eeew) that will escape thru the valve area during the exchange.

Sometimes you can loosen the bolts and spray in some lubricant from the top so it drains down into the valve and frees it up.

Occasionally the metal handle unscrews from the shaft. you can, if you don’t have it,  buy just the handle and screw it back on. If the threads on the shaft are stripped grab the shaft with a pair of vise-grips and try to open the valve that way. Replace the valve once the tank has drained.

More pages on this website you’ll want to visit:

For ways to reuse your gray water visit this page.

To learn how to empty your tanks remotely visit this page.

Here’s how to add extra stinky-slinky storage.

Some good info about adding a DIY septic system to your permanent site.

Here’s more about septic systems if you’ll be living full time in your RV.

Kevin is part of the "silver tsunami." He is the founder of Aspen Home Electronics, a low voltage home electronics company in Aspen Colorado. He recently retired and downsized now living in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Tiny Homes and Tiny Living are his passion. Developing the website is a long term goal.

Sours: https://tinylifeconsulting.com/how-to-drain-and-maintain-your-rv-holding-tanks/
RV Dump Valve Repair: Fix your leaky Gray Water or Black Water Valve

There are a wide variety of RV holding tank treatments available, from liquids to drop-in tabs, to powders.

In fact, we reviewed and compared the 5 best RV black tank treatments on the market today.

But, sometimes you just want to do-it-yourself. Maybe to save money, you have the supplies already lying around your house, or because certain treatments aren’t available to you.

Whatever your reason is, we’ll show you the best homemade RV holding tank treatment options and explore how these treatments can help clean and remove foul odors from your tanks.

Types of RV Holding Tanks

The typical RV has two to three holding tanks.

The black tank handles sewage water from the toilet while the grey tank—you may have more than one, depending on the size of your RV—holds dirty water from the kitchen sink or shower. The freshwater tank holds clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

Grey and black RV holding tanks need regular cleaning and emptying to avoid substantial waste build-up, which can cause clogs and foul odors.

Tip: Empty your black tank when it’s at least two-thirds full. This will ensure that you have enough water in the tank to flush away solid waste to help keep your tanks clean. Learn more in our guide on how to clean out an RV black water tank.

The Best Homemade RV Holding Tank Treatment

After you’ve emptied your holding tanks, you should also treat them.

Here, we break down the best homemade RV holding tank treatment options that will keep your tanks clean, functional, and odor-free.

The Geo Method

As an RV enthusiast, Charles Bruni developed this homemade treatment for RV holding tanks in the 1980s. He intended it as a cost-effective method for keeping tank walls, sensors, and bases free of waste.

At its core, the Geo Method imitates the workings of a washing machine. Bruni argued that the interior of a washing machine never gets dirty because the detergent, bleach, and softener clean the washing machine interior while they clean clothes. He then applied this logic to the cleaning and treatment of RV holding tanks.

In the recipe below, Calgon, a water softener, ensures that organic and inorganic waste does not stick to the holding tank walls. At the same time, laundry detergent or dish soap penetrates any solid waste and dislodges it from the tank walls, rinsing it away without scrubbing. Bleach or chlorine acts as an odor controller.

This method is safe to use on both grey and black tanks.


The Geo Method uses a combination of core ingredients to clean and sanitize holding tanks:

  • 2 cups powdered Calgon (water softener)
  • 1 cup laundry detergent or dish soap (surfactant)
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • Bleach or chlorine, as needed (odor control)

Cleaning Your Holding Tank with the Geo Method

To clean your tank using the Geo Method, first dump your holding tanks. Then dissolve 2 cups of Calgon into 1 gallon of warm water and add in 1 cup of laundry detergent or dish soap and chlorine or bleach as needed.

Keep in mind that if you don’t want to kill the beneficial bacteria in your tank, then you’ll need to leave out the bleach and chlorine. While these chemicals effectively eliminate odors, they will kill helpful bacteria, which, in turn, won’t be able to break down the solid waste.

Here’s an excellent video illustration of the Geo Method at work.

Keeping RV Tanks Clean - "The Geo Method"

The Citric Acid Cleaning Bomb RV Holding Tank Treatment

It may seem a little odd (and unsafe) to use acid in your tanks. However, citric acid, a weak acid naturally occurring in citrus fruits, can safely treat your RV tanks as a powerful cleaning agent.

You can also find this common ingredient in commercial black water tank cleaners as it works well for removing calcium build-up in your holding tank.

So, how can you turn citric acid into one of the best homemade RV holding tank treatments? You include it in a homemade citric acid cleaning bomb using the simple ingredients and instructions below.


You’ll need the following components to make your homemade citric acid holding tank treatment:


  • Mix the baking soda, borax, and citric acid in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
  • Slowly add drops of water until the ingredients bind together.
  • Pack the cleaning bombs tightly into silicone molds. You can use golf ball-sized ice cubes to help press them into the molds.
  • Let them dry overnight.
  • Once dry, pop the cleaning bombs out of molds and dry them for 1-2 days.
  • Store in an airtight container until needed.

Tip: To make these bath bombs effective, use just enough water to make everything stick together. Too much water will change their consistency and make them less effective.

Storing the cleaning bombs in an airtight container prevents them from absorbing moisture and losing their cleaning properties.

How to Use Citric Acid Cleaning Bombs

After you have dumped your RV black water tank, pour a couple of gallons of water down the toilet and drop one of these cleaning bombs into your RV toilet.

Let the bomb fizz inside the toilet water, and then flush your toilet. Ensure that you have a sufficient amount of water in your black water tank to allow for thorough cleaning.

If you can, use these cleaning bombs right before you travel, as the driving will move the cleaning bombs around the tank, which improves the cleaning action. These gentle bombs can also treat grey tanks.

The Unique Method

The Unique Method is more of a DIY process than a treatment, but I really believe it’s worth noting here. Why? Because whether you plan on using a homemade RV holding tank treatment or a store-bought one, the process with which you use them is just as important as the treatment itself.

This method prevents clogs and plugs effectively and eliminates problematic tank odors in a non-caustic cleaning action. It does so by using a combination of good aerobic bacteria and enzyme products mixed with some best practices.

The Unique Method advocates for the use of adequate amounts of water to eliminate odors and dislodge liquefied waste. This method encourages RV owners to dump holding tanks more often and use extra water when cleaning and draining the tanks to compensate for odor production. These measures allow aerobic bacteria to thrive and digest solid waste, as they have enough water to survive in these environments.

This method recommends the use of extra water when camping in hot weather. More water keeps your RV holding tanks cool, creating an environment conducive to good bacteria.

Using the Unique Method to Keep Your RV Holding Tanks Clean

To implement the Unique Method, you should:

  • Always fill your toilet bowl with water before using the toilet to help waste flow effectively through the sewer system.
  • Always keep the black tank valve closed, except when dumping the tank.
  • Always treat holding tanks with a high-quality bacteria and enzyme tank treatment, like RV Digest-It, every time you dump your tanks.
  • Flush your holding tanks with a built-in tank-rinse, tank-flusher, or wand for 20-30 minutes every 3-5 dumps to flush out compacted waste manually.
  • Keep adequate water in the RV toilet bowl to minimize foul smells in your RV.
  • Keep holding tank temperatures below 85°F as much as possible. If you suspect that the temperature inside your tank has exceeded 85°F, use more water with each toilet flush to cool the tank interior.
  • Minimize cleaning your toilets with caustic chemicals like chlorine or bleach and use only mild RV toilet cleaners that won’t kill the aerobic bacteria.
  • Try to dump your holding tanks every 4-5 days for the best odor control.
  • Use ample amounts of water when flushing the RV toilet to hydrate the aerobic bacteria inside the holding tank. The water allows them to break down the solid waste and suppress odors.
  • Deep clean your black tank biannually to flush out the system, remove waste and debris from the walls, base, and sensors, and lubricate your seals and valves.

Which RV Holding Tank Treatment Is The Best?

There are pros and cons to each holding tank treatment or process above, so it’s really a matter of choosing the one that best fits your unique needs, camping style, budget, and so on.

The Geo Method works really well if you wish to prevent sensor problems and keep your holding tanks free from residue. However, this method does not suit dry camping, as you’ll need plenty of water to implement it. It also does not eliminate odors very well, especially when you opt to omit chlorine or bleach as an ingredient.

Citric cleaning bombs works best as an all-around maintenance method that you can occasionally use as a preventative measure. They particularly shine when it comes to eliminating foul odors and removing any calcium build-up in your tanks.

The Unique Method, which keeps tank sensors working and eliminates clogs and build-up without the need for caustic chemicals like bleach or chlorine, does require an enzyme product like RV Digest-It (so, it’s technically not a homemade treatment), but the process has been refined over the years and has been proven to be one of, if not THE most effective way to keep your holding tanks clean and odor-free. Plus, RV Digest-It is an all-natural product that actually comes out cheaper per use than any of the other homemade treatments mentioned.

CamperFAQs.com is reader-supported. Buying through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sours: https://camperfaqs.com/best-homemade-rv-holding-tank-treatment

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By the evening I was. Completely exhausted, asked for some food and rest. They poured me a glass of tequila, which I drank in one gulp, before I could put the glass down, I felt a strong blow to. The side.

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