Mar 04, 2018

Need your input on a dark and deep matter

The time has come.  We need to make a change.  Our black tank treatment which we changed two years ago after cleaning out our tanks professionally is no longer doing what it should be.  The 100% biodegradable treatment we started to use is no longer effective.  Tank Techs RX worked well for two years but now the odor we have when we dump is not pleasant at all.  The previous tank treatment we had used worked great but was discontinued.

So now I need your help.  Seriously, I want the input of all the RVers who read this blog post.  It won’t take but a moment or two for you to make a comment or even email me on what you use to treat your black tank.  Or do you even use anything?  I know that many do not.  Please make a comment as this will help not only us but many others who read my blog.

I ask you again to please make a comment as we really need your input.  We are even getting smells out of our stack before we need to dump.  The RV tech here told us that it was possibly the enzymes eating the you know what stuff 😳   We aren’t sure about that.  Please help us out and give us some advice.


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55 responses so far

55 Responses to “Need your input on a dark and deep matter”

  1. Jean-Guy Fournier says:

    I poor in 1/2 a cup of Javex in the tank after dumping and we don’t have any more odors.

  2. Don & Kathy says:

    Glad to add our 2 pesos worth. We have been using the Walex Porta-Pak drop in, formaldehyde Free packs. They seem to work fine for us and when we are in one location for a long time we dump once a week. The only time we have smells is when our Dometic ceramic toilet flap does not close all the way and despite trying to keep the seals really clean the flapper does not work unless you let the foot pedal slam shut or lift up on the pedal after flushing. Have also used the Camco TST pucks which also seem to be OK. I know there are a lot of products out there. Here is what one reviewer said (and your product is #5):
    Top 5 RV Holding Tank Treatment Reviews
    1. Happy Campers Organic Holding Tank Treatment – 64 treatments
    2. ?Unique RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment 128 oz. – 64 Treatments
    3. ?Unique Natural Products Marine Digest It Holding Tank Treatment, 32-Ounce?
    4. ?Camco 41197 TST Orange Holding Tank Chemical – 1 gallon?
    5. ?TankTechsRx – RV Holding Tank Treatment & Cleaner???? ?L?????arge 68 ?T?reatments

    • contessa says:

      Thanks for the very thorough comment. We also have a ceramic toilet but the odor comes form when we dump.

  3. Suzanne says:

    I use #1 on Don & Kathy’s list, “Happy Camper.” I won’t say it completely eliminates all odor, but it certainly minimizes it. The part I like best is that it has none of that sickeningly sweet “blue chemical” smell to mask the odor.

  4. Angela Ritter says:

    Happy Camper is the best! We have started using a little in our grey water as well and it has made the grey totally odor free ( you know those times when you forget and it comes up in the shower!) We have also noticed that since using it in the grey that the gate is not longer sticky and moves smoothly.

    Welcome to the comment section of the blog.

    • contessa says:

      I am so glad I did this post as we are learning so much. We have only ever had the grey come up once in the shower and that was enough. I actually mark on the calendar that we should dump every so many days.

  5. Neil Hendren says:

    We use nothing…..just lots of water per flush……and add some diluted bleach
    Every three or four dumps add Dawn dish detergent (blue) and Calgon water softener…..Geo method ….to keep the sensors clean
    When dumping use back flushing to clean the tank

    • contessa says:

      Yes we do use the back flush everytime that we can. Thank you so much for taking the time to make a comment.

  6. Contessa you didn’t say if you are using a fresh water flush every time you dump. Sitting put for the whole winter is probably the cause of the problem. In an article we have read it was suggested that once a tank is caked up to fill it 1/3 with water and a cup full of Dawn dishwashing liquid while driving home. Of course not using it in the duration. The washing machine action should clean the tank. You might try it, at least it won’t cost you anything.

    • contessa says:

      Each time we dump here we flush both the black and the grey for at least 30 -60 minutes each time. We have been using this black tank treatment for two years with no problems until this last month so I just wonder if it stopped being effective.

  7. Al McClughan says:

    Not a suggestion for treatments but another comment..

    Like you, we sit in one place for a while (3 months). This year for the first time we had odours and “burping” when flushing, it was caused by a build up of solids in the tank, probably caused by using not enough water when flushing and not waiting until there was sufficient liquids in the tank to ensure that the solids got flushed out.

    I note this problem happens, in Yuma there is even a service person that comes by to clean tanks for you (a job I wouldn’t want!).

    We solved the problem as we are back on the road, a bag of ice cubes put down the toilet solved the build up problem, no more burping!

    • contessa says:

      We only have burping it the tank is very very full. We only dump when full, about every 10 days, but because of the recent odor issue we have tried every 7 days BUT have not made sure that the black tank was full before dumping.

      You might have missed that link at the beginning, we did have both the black and grey tanks cleansed professionally just two years ago. We tried several years ago to cleanse our sensors with ice cubes but it did not work. Even the professional we paid two years ago only got the grey sensor cleared. The black used to show 2/3 when empty and now shows 1/3.

  8. Henk says:

    I am one of those people who use nothing… I have learned to make sure I rinse the tank after dumping
    I have on occasion though used laundry soap a cup or so that seemed to work well
    If the smell usually comes when you dump make sure there is lots of water in the tank when dumped.
    Is your seal in the toilet keeping the water in after flushing? That should keep the smell in
    Sometimes a smell has come from the washer dryer.. check that
    I have a Monaco Windsor, I have a fan I can put on that circulates air.. sometimes when on that sucks the smell out of either the toilet or washer. not sure. and when I turn that fan off .. smell goes away
    You need to experiment
    Hope this helped a bit

    • contessa says:

      We don’t have a washer/dryer in our RV. The smell is only happening when we dump. We have always has a bit of odor but of late it is foul.

  9. Janet Ashworth says:

    Happy Camper!

  10. Croft Randle says:

    We normally don’t use anything. When we are hooked up we use lots of water and dump maybe once a week and rinse out (purge) the tank maybe every three weeks using the hose and bleach. If we notice a smell when we cannot dump we add one of the orange tabs we buy at Walmart. One bag of those tabs lasts us at least a year so we do not need them often.

    To purge the tank, add 2 – 3 cups of bleach, fill the tank with a hose on full blast to agitate as much as possible. Fill the tank right up until you can see water in the bowl and then drain completely. We normally then “chase” the bleach water out with another load of fresh water as the bleach is probably not good for the system, specially the hose.

    • Croft Randle says:

      As others have pointed out, it is important that the tank be full when you dump as this helps “suck” the waste out.

      Also never, ever leave the drain valve open for extended periods on the black tank as this only drains the liquids and allows the solids to build up and turn into a solid mass that will clog your holding tank and is very expensive to have professionally removed.

      • contessa says:

        I like that first sentence, it conveys an image. Not sure that we are always full full when we dump.

        We never ever ever leave with the black of the grey open. Thanks for your input.

    • contessa says:

      We have never done the purging thing, yet!

  11. Jim and Sandie Dixon says:

    We are the use nothing kind.

  12. Maxx Trails says:

    We use Camco RV Tank Treatment, and have been using for the past eighteen years with no problems. You can buy it almost anywhere but we always stock up at Walmart in the States before we go home as that is the cheapest place we find it.

  13. We add Fabuloso to our tank. I think more frequent dumping is required. Dump, fill the black tank with water, dump again and add say a quarter of a tank of water with Fabuloso. Works for us. Using enzymes isn´t required as it is not a permanent tank or septic. It´s a holding tank and the adjective describes it perfectly. We´ve never had an odor issue.

  14. Upriverdavid says:

    Just Dawn Ultra dishwashing Liquid…..A few squirts into the potty always…..14 years with the Class “A” and 10 years with a TT….Never any odors at all…ever….
    Whenever you see a Duck, they are always clean; and if you get close enough they always smell sweet, and soft…….Every Duck I’ve met has always seemed quite happy also…..especially if I have treats….

  15. Upriverdavid says:

    Now that I have read the other comments, I don’t think using bleach would be a wise “movement”…get that?….I may be wrong butt….I do think the seals would find things a bit rough…
    What do I know?….{:+)……

  16. Joan Austin says:

    Happy Camper works for us! I have heard people mention Doctor Drain also but have no personal experience with it.

  17. Dave Davis says:

    I don’t understand. You say the smell comes while dumping the tank?. I don’t know anyone who can dump a tank with no smell. Many times it’s not the black tank, but the grey tank. I know ours smell more than the black tank.

    Our black tank, after we dump, we prime with 2 cups of fabric softener, 2 cups of bleach, and a cup of dish soap. We mix this with 3 gallons of warm water. Our black tank never smells. When we are outside dumping of course you can smell it.

    Grey tank, before you leave about 1 or 2 days immediately after dumping, pour a container of gel drain cleaner. Get about a day or 2 of waste water in it and drive to you next destination, then dump it.

    • Contessa says:

      Yes of course there is an odor when dumping but suddenly in the last month the odor is off the charts so to speak. It comes into the RV and all around the RV park. The grey tank barely used to smell but now more so. Thanks so much for your input.

  18. SandyM says:

    For the last few years we have used Pine Sol in the Black Water tank – why – our biologist friend say that is all you need. Some of the commercial treatments have such an odor themselves – one my nose can’t take. Interesting comments.

    • Contessa says:

      Pine Sol, eh! That is a first. We are going to have fun figuring this all out. So glad to have all this input.

      • Sandy says:

        Hi Contessa and Colin.
        Hope all is well with you. This is what our friend responded with when I asked why Pine Sol for the Black Water Tank.

        Subject: pine sol response

        I got a kick out of your PineSol question. I originally used it because pine oil is strongly aromatic, a reasonable disinfectant and not as tough on the environment in case of having to
        “jungle dump”. It’s also cheap. Much of the stuff sold for black water tanks has formaldehyde
        (a known carcinogenic) in it. But now I notice that PineSol no longer has pine oil in it. It still seems to work for us so I’ll continue its use.

        So until it no longer works for us we will continue using it, too – we have never jungle dumped.

  19. Neil Hendren says:

    Maybe your under counter vent pipe valves need replacing…..screw ons
    Located under each sink………bathrooms
    They can stick open and release an door
    If tanks are super full and releasing on the roof vent….any ceiling vent fan can draw in the odor?

  20. Karen Stewart says:

    Hi – it’s been a while. Taylor & I use a Canadian product produced in Barrie Ontario called Mr. Green RVM by the company SciCorp International Corp. Their toll free phone number is: 1-800-897-2053. It can be ordered online & the last time we bought it we ordered it by the case (12 bottles) & had it shipped to us. We’ve been using it from the beginning of our RV days & love it. There has never been a smell coming back into the unit even when the tank has backed up into the shower. We even use it in our outhouse. Please say hello to Colin for us. Blessings

    • Contessa says:

      Wonderful to hear from you again. Hope that all is well in your world.

      Nice to know there is a Canadian company out there that has a great product. We will look into it.

      • Karen says:

        All is well with us. We’re looking forward to spending the summer on Galiano again & I’m still co-ordinating Healing Touch classes. Good luck with all your research. Blessings

  21. Angela says:

    I forgot to mention yesterday that Happy Camper also makes an Extreme Cleaner that can be used to clean your tanks. If you haven’t done so already check out their website for more information, it really is a great product.


    • Contessa says:

      Noted. I did actually see that product on their website. Looks like it might be a good thing to work along with the Happy Camper additive.

  22. Doreen lefler says:

    We use a liquid product called RV Boss it’s made in Quebec but not too many RV dealers sell it we get ours from Travel Homes RV in Langley. Also if you put bleach in your tank it will kill the enzymes that is in the product. When we don’t have RV Boss we use Walex Porta-Pax which we buy at camping world.

  23. Dee Tillotson says:

    Contessa, Beach and I use Liquid Gold. Add 4 ounces directly into waste holding tank. Then add 1 quart of water. Agitate while you are on the road to mix.

    Add 8 ounces for tanks over 40 US gallons. Then add 2 quarts of water. Agitate while you are on the road to mix.

    Avoid contact with skin or eyes. Works for us, but we don’t stay on the road as much as Colin and you and we only have a 35-gallon black water tank for a 26-foot RV towable.

    • Contessa says:

      Never ever heard of Liquid Gold. I like the sound of it. Will add that to the list of products to look into.

  24. Rod & Sylvia says:

    We use a Camco product we get at Wally World, and haven’t had any issues. We also have a rinsing system, and use that fairly often.
    Friends of our use the Mega sized bottles of Pinesol in their tank every once in a while, and pour a few in the tanks the day before they dump at the end of the season. We triedthat last spring, and it didn’t do any harm.

    • Contessa says:

      Well we flush very thoroughly each time. I think our problem is the additive. That will change soon and you can be assured that there will be a post about it.

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