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Open Roads Forum  >  Beginning RVing

 > How often and how to clean black tank

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mbopp

Henrietta, NY, USA

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Posted: 08/28/20 08:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I also have the luxury of being able to dump at home.
I'll empty the tank at the campground. When I get home I have a clear elbow and will let the on-board flush run until the water is clear. Then I'll use my home-made toilet wand and keep rinsing until the water runs clear again and the sensor reads Empty. It's surprising how much more "stuff" comes out using the toilet wand after the tank rinser.


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rvshrinker

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Posted: 08/28/20 02:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i don’t dump into a septic so a little bleach should be ok. It’s the same hole I backflush my pool filter, which is chlorinated water.

Is this what you mean by toilet wand:

Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve- Creates Powerful Cleaning Action that Dislodges and Flushes Stubborn Waste Deposits and Combats Odors (40074),55-1/2 in. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006IX7YC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_ZowsFb844WGN5

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Posted: 08/28/20 05:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dude, just dump it, put a little water back in. Big ole squirt of dish soap. It'll be on the "wash" cycle on your next trip. Or if you have an auto flusher, use it and dump at the house. Not a big deal.
If you're actually driving the thing around and agitating, everything is fine. It's parked poopers that can have pyramidic issues!


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spoon059

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Posted: 08/29/20 09:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

“then there is an inadequate amount to drive biodecomposition.”

RVs have holding tanks. While breaking up “chunks” for easy dumping is a good thing RV tanks are not made for decomposing.

I came here to same the same thing. Your black tank isn't a septic system, its a holding tank until you can dump.

Don't dump your black tank unless its reasonably full. You want sufficient water to help move along the solids. If you empty your black tank without sufficient water, the solids won't be pushed out and will stay behind, leading to smells and potentially other problems. If I have a full hookup site I will hook up my black tank flush and flush for a couple minutes every trip. If I am at the dump station and there isn't a backup, I will flush for a couple minutes as well. I'm probably doing it excessively, but its worked for me.

I usually keep the black tank flush on while dumping the black tank to help move along the solids, then I'll close the black tank for 2 or 3 minutes to build up the water level in the tank, then open the black tank again. That "surge" of water coming out helps to clean up most of the solids. Then I make sure to leave a couple gallons in the tank after I close the black valve again.

You don't want to leave the tank dry.

Also, remember that this is a tank to hold poop. I watch some people at the dump station that are cleaning the tank so they can eat out of it. That's not the point. Clean out as much of the solid waste as you reasonably can and leave a couple gallons so any remains don't get stuck to the bottom.


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spoon059

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Posted: 08/29/20 09:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tvov wrote:

If the black tank isn't thoroughly rinsed out and sanitized it will stink up the camper.

Either you need to inspect your diet or your camper. Your toilet has a water seal that prevents smells from coming back inside. Your tank has a vent tube that prevents gases from trying to find another avenue of escape. If you are getting smells, you've got problems. A properly working RV black tank system shouldn't smell. 10 years of camping, the only black tank smells are when someone forgets to turn off the Hengs vent fan while flushing. The fan creates enough pull to pull tank odors when the toilet drain is open.

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Posted: 08/29/20 10:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have always carried some water in fresh water tank so that I can flush some Dawn and a few gallons of water into black tank after dumping.
It's just the wife and I now so no real need to look at fill guage for anything under a week.

It's also important to have water in toilet at all times as I've found those seals to degrade rapidly when dry.

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Posted: 08/29/20 11:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

spoon059 wrote:

Tvov wrote:

If the black tank isn't thoroughly rinsed out and sanitized it will stink up the camper.

Either you need to inspect your diet or your camper. Your toilet has a water seal that prevents smells from coming back inside. Your tank has a vent tube that prevents gases from trying to find another avenue of escape. If you are getting smells, you've got problems. A properly working RV black tank system shouldn't smell.
X2.

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Tvov

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Posted: 08/31/20 05:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

spoon059 wrote:

Tvov wrote:

If the black tank isn't thoroughly rinsed out and sanitized it will stink up the camper.

Either you need to inspect your diet or your camper. Your toilet has a water seal that prevents smells from coming back inside. Your tank has a vent tube that prevents gases from trying to find another avenue of escape. If you are getting smells, you've got problems. A properly working RV black tank system shouldn't smell. 10 years of camping, the only black tank smells are when someone forgets to turn off the Hengs vent fan while flushing. The fan creates enough pull to pull tank odors when the toilet drain is open.


I don't think it is just my camper or my diet... many friends with campers have said that if their tanks aren't thoroughly rinsed, their campers will smell after sitting in storage or just sitting unused for extended periods.

Try dumping your black tank, but don't rinse it or use toilet chemicals afterwards. Let your camper sit unused for months.

I would be impressed and surprised if your camper doesn't end up getting that "black tank smell". May not be over whelming, but it is there.

If you can store your camper without rinsing the black tank, and have no smells after an extended period, keep doing whatever it is you are doing!

It is possible we are thinking of the same thing, but using different terminology.


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spoon059

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Posted: 08/31/20 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tvov wrote:

I don't think it is just my camper or my diet... many friends with campers have said that if their tanks aren't thoroughly rinsed, their campers will smell after sitting in storage or just sitting unused for extended periods.

Try dumping your black tank, but don't rinse it or use toilet chemicals afterwards. Let your camper sit unused for months.

I would be impressed and surprised if your camper doesn't end up getting that "black tank smell". May not be over whelming, but it is there.

If you can store your camper without rinsing the black tank, and have no smells after an extended period, keep doing whatever it is you are doing!

It is possible we are thinking of the same thing, but using different terminology.


For 10 years I've rinsed and left water in the bowl, never had any sewer smells in my camper. One year my wife was pregnant and very sick, we didn't camp at all that summer. No special arrangements made and zero sewer smell in my camper. Clean it properly and maintain it properly and it will not smell. Fail to either clean it or maintain it and it will smell. You can fill the tank full of bleach to mitigate other problems, but it won't solve those other problems.

If you have to sanitize your black tank (literally, clean it to make it sanitary, thus no traces of human waste) to prevent smell then you have something else going on. The systems are designed to hold human waste and not smell inside the camper. If your camper is leaking sewer odors into your camper, it is potentially dangerous and clearly not working as designed. You should look at getting that fixed, rather than masking it with sanitizers.

Guy Roan

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Posted: 08/31/20 01:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As far as I am concerned if you use chemicals in accordance with their instructions and after every time you dump the tank rinse it with about ten gallons of water, you should never have to clean it.
In twenty years and three different trailers we have followed that criteria and never have had a problem.
We, (my wife and I) have snow birded for the last ten years and I follow the above criteria and dump the tank every seven days.
Also, for what it is worth, we use regular supermarket toilet paper

Guy

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