Last updated on May 22nd, 2023 at 08:56 pm
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It’s time to treat your RV’s black tank, every RVer’s favorite activity! Just kidding…
But what if it is your first time treating your black water tank, and you have no idea where to begin? Did you even know that treating your black tank is highly recommended and even necessary?
Thankfully I’m here with my handy shopping guide for RV black tank treatments, as well as plenty of information on how to choose the treatment that is right for you!
Treating your RV’s black water tank is a necessary evil of RV ownership, but it is easier than you might think.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know about treating your black water tank but if you want to skip ahead and check out our favorite treatment products you can see them here:
- Easy to use
- Works well in hot and cold weather
- Environmentally friendly
- Efficient concentrated liquid
- Three in one product
- Multiple styles and sizes of product available
- Easy to use drop in capsules
- Fresh citrus scent
- Reliable Camco brand
- Various scents and sizes available
What Is A Black Tank On An RV?
An RV black tank is an essential piece of your RV puzzle. It is a holding tank, meant to hold any and all waste from your RV’s toilet. Yep, it is indeed exactly what it sounds like, and not quite the same as your sewer system at home!
All RVs have a black tank if there is a toilet inside of the rig. Some RVs are made with a more advanced composting toilet option, but the majority of manufacturers make RVs with black tanks. You can even find a few with portable waste tanks, too. These days, most consumers want functioning bathrooms in their RV so even some of the smallest RVs have a bathroom and of course, a black tank to go with it.
A black tank is made to hold your waste from one campsite to the next, designed to be emptied by you, the RV owner, whenever it is full. There are locations called dump stations where you can, you guessed it, dump whatever is in your holding tank.
While a black tank doesn’t sound luxurious or magical, it is indeed a necessary piece of your RV. Unless you can be hooked up at all times to a sewer line while you are RVing, your black tank must be in operational order to camp safely and sanitarily.
A black tank is merely meant to hold whatever waste gets put into it. There are no advanced pieces of equipment inside the tank that allow for the waste to be processed. It’s basically just a plastic tub, found in varying capacities depending on the size of your RV.
So what does this mean for you, the RV owner?
How do you properly dispose of the waste found inside your black holding tank? Let’s take a look at what a black tank treatment is, and what it should be used for.
What Is A Black Tank Treatment Used For?
RV holding tanks are not complicated once you get to know them. Knowing that you are filling up a tank with both liquid and solid waste, it would follow that many black tanks are prone to clogging and other undesirable behaviors.
The bane of most RVers’ existence is their black tank clogging or filling up with no way of emptying it. Since the tank is located underneath your RV, you can’t exactly take a plunger to it.
So what can you do when your black tank is full and clogged with toilet paper and solid waste? All RVers should get to know various black tank treatment options, and what products work best with your particular RV.
Black tank treatments are essentially chemical concoctions made to break down both human waste and paper waste. These chemicals vary and come in different forms depending on your budget and desired convenience level.
Black tank treatments are lifesavers for every RV owner, not just the owner who camps on occasion. You will no doubt notice the variety of smells possible coming from your black tank if you are new to RVing. And trust me, you will definitely not enjoy these smells on a hot day!
A black tank treatment is also naturally designed to deodorize and eliminate the most foul-smelling odors that can emanate from your black tank. These treatments are one of the best ways to clean, deodorize, and sanitize your black holding tank!
What Are The Different Types Of Black Tank Treatments?
There are various types of black tank treatments, and familiarizing yourself with all of them is a good idea. Your specific RV may have a type that suits it better, or even a type that isn’t recommended for your tank depending on the manufacturer and the tank size.
Here are the different types of RV black tank treatments available on the market today.
Liquid Treatment And Concentrate
Arguably one of the most common methods of treating your RV black tank, liquid tank treatments are often highly concentrated and powerful. Depending on the size of your tank and the amount of odor you need to eliminate, liquid treatments are useful and quite effective.
The instructions are usually simple and easy to follow, printed right on the bottle. Most of the time, the instructions will tell you to add the chemicals to your toilet bowl and add water before flushing into your RV’s tank.
Liquid treatments usually always want you to add water to them, so this is something to keep in mind should you be boondocking and reaching your tank’s maximum capacity. It may not be able to handle an additional gallon of water!
These liquid solutions are often found in a variety of scents and concentrates, but they are always toxic to humans and pets. Keeping them in a cool, dry place away from kids is recommended.
Powder treatment is also a popular variety of black tank treatments. It comes in powdered form and is designed to be sprinkled down into your black tank. This option is usually most popular among RVers with large black tanks.
This is because the powder does not have to be mixed with water and you have the ability to pick and choose how much you may need to tackle whatever waste is currently in your black tank. Plus if you find that you have not used enough of the product, it is much easier to add in more after the initial treatment.
Powder treatment is often fairly cost-effective, but just as harmful and poisonous as any other treatment. It is important to pay attention should you happen to spill any of the powder while you are in the process of treating your black tank.
You may also prefer a different product over powdered treatments because of the amount of space that powdered treatment takes up. However, if you have a large tank that needs treating regularly, powder treatment may be your best bet.
Pods And Capsule Treatments
Just like the surge of laundry pods sweeping the nation, RVers also have the option to use a pod on their black tank. These pods are full of highly concentrated chemicals designed to break down and deodorize your black tank.
If you have the budget for them, pods and chemical capsule treatments are convenient, mess-free, and take up significantly less space in your RV. However, as I mentioned, your budget will take a hit every time you need to purchase this necessary product, and you may find it not as cost-effective overall should you need to deodorize your black tank regularly.
If you are a casual RVer and have a modest black tank, these pod and caps elections might be best for you. However, keep in mind that you do not have the option to customize the amount of chemicals that you are putting into your tank. It may lead to more product waste in the long run as well!
Tablet treatments are just like capsule or pod treatments except they use the powdered version of these chemicals. They are compact and easy to use but are similar in that you will need to have the budget for them and they are less customizable than simple liquid or powder treatment options.
However, tablets have the option to be broken in half while pods and capsules do not. While I don’t recommend touching these dangerous chemicals without gloves or other safety gear, it is nice to have the option to utilize only half of a tablet rather than a full tablet.
Plus, tablets arguably take up the least amount of space out of all of these products. If you have a small tank or don’t plan on camping very much in extreme weather, tablet treatments may be the right choice for you!
What To Consider In An RV Black Tank Treatment
While the overall treatment and maintenance of your black holding tank are relatively clear and easy, what you should consider in an RV black tank treatment is a bit more complicated. Here are my top recommendations of things to keep in mind while you are shopping for an RV black tank treatment.
No matter what, your budget should be at the forefront of your mind. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a full-timer, black tank chemicals can get expensive very quickly. The average package of black tank treatment can range from $10 to $20, and this supply usually lasts a month on average.
Of course, this depends on how many people are staying in the rig and for how long, as well as the weather. I always use more deodorizing treatments in the summertime! But no matter what, only you know your budget and what you can afford.
Keeping an eye out for holding tank treatment options that are environmentally friendly is a good idea. You bought your RV to no doubt see the natural beauty around you; why not buy products that keep the natural environment safe!?
While all tank treatments aren’t safe to ingest, there are treatments that are safer for the environment overall. For example, keeping an eye out for labels that state that their products are biodegradable is a good idea. Harmful chemicals on the market may adversely affect groundwater and other natural environments should they spill or be disposed of improperly.
While environmental friendliness may not be at the top of your list, many companies these days are utilizing a more biodegradable and environmentally friendly product. While these products are not always the most affordable, there are a decent amount of options to suit any budget.
Amount Of Treatment
If you are new to RVing, it may take some practice to figure out how much of a bottle of black tank treatment you will use in one go. The last thing you want is to run out of this vital product, but you may not enjoy how much storage space it takes up.
Depending on the size of your tank and how often it needs deodorizing or emptying, You may find that you go through your thanks treatment product faster than you expected. While it is a readily available product in many stores, it’s never a good idea to run out of it should you need it. The last thing you want is to have a clogged black tank when you go to dump at an RV dump station!
The amount of treatment you use in each individual dose will also vary depending on your needs. Every black tank treatment has specific Instructions to suit many uses and tank sizes, but you may find your own measurements that best suit your own tank and needs.
As I have already outlined, choosing the type of treatment that best suits you and your RV will take some time. I highly recommend trying various options depending on your tank size and budget. No doubt a winner will emerge in time after utilizing many products at many points in your camping adventures.
While powder and liquid treatments may be more cost-effective, they take up a lot of space in your RV and can become really messy. Capsules, pods, and tablets are convenient and quick to use, but they may be outside of your price range.
Efficiency Of The Product
While all of the products on this list of black tank treatments are efficient and highly recommended, you may find that some products are more efficient than others. For example, if you have a large tank and anticipate one pod of treatment as not being quite enough, a more efficient option might be liquid or powder chemicals.
You will only know how efficient a product is once you start using it, and some products may boast that they are highly efficient in certain temperatures or weather. This is something to keep in mind should you be planning to camp during very cold or very hot times of the year.
Safe To Use On Your Tank
While it may be rare, there are certain manufacturers that don’t advise using certain black tank treatments on their installed black tanks. This is something to keep in mind especially if you own a vintage or otherwise older rig. While black tank treatments have been around for a long time, there are some RVs that simply can’t handle certain chemicals.
While the cost of certain black tank treatments may seem high, purchasing a more specialized option for your picky tank may be the right way to go. The worst-case scenario would be to buy a cheaper product and end up with a cracked or disintegrated black water tank because of it!
The Best Black Tank Treatments For Your RV
Have you narrowed down your needs and wants when it comes to a reliable black tank treatment product? Great! Let’s take a look at some of the best black tank treatments available on the market today for your RV!
Best Overall: HAPPY CAMPERS Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment
- Easy to use
- Works well in hot and cold weather
Not only is Happy Camper one of the most effective odor neutralizers on this list, but it’s also one of the most cost-effective products on the market. Happy Camper’s highly concentrated water-activated mineral blend eliminates odor without covering it up with perfume like many other chemical deodorant treatments. This is crucial for me as I want bad smells to be dealt with and not just covered up!
Happy Camper works most like an enzyme or bioactive treatment but is not affected by residuals (previous tank treatment chemicals). And, unlike enzyme treatments, I don’t need to regularly add more treatments, saving me time and money in the long run. When I’m faced with a particularly stubborn holding tank issue, Happy Campers has the ability to break down waste within a just few hours of treatment.
I can also use this treatment to get rid of clogs in my kitchen sink and shower drain without worrying about damaging my RV plumbing. I like that Happy Camper’s performance is not affected by extreme hot or cold temperatures and isn’t harmful to the environment, as I like to be as environmentally conscious as I can.
This product is biodegradable, and as it’s a highly concentrated monohydrate blend of minerals and micronutrients, it has enough waste-treating power that I need just one scoop to treat a 40-gallon black tank. I can add a scoop into my gray tank too to help keep it clean and fresh.
While many don’t love that it’s a concentrated powder, the biodegradability and overall efficiency of this product make it my overall top choice. I would advise making some room for this product before it arrives, however, as this bucket is pretty sizeable! There are different size options available, depending on the space you have, but these may not be as budget-friendly.
You can read all the reviews and check out today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Editor’s Pick: Aqua-Kem RV Holding Tank Treatment
- Environmentally friendly
- Efficient concentrated liquid
- Three in one product
- Multiple styles and sizes of product available
As a full-timer, I always need a reliable black tank treatment, and for my budget, frequent need, and ease of use, I found that a gallon of liquid Aqua-Kem was the way to go for my rig. Aqua-Kem boasts the most powerful odor control available, and as a long-time user, I know I can attest to this as well.
It is designed to liquefy waste and break down tissue fast to prevent clogging, and as it’s a powerful detergent, it cleans my tank walls and drain lines, helping prevent future blockages. This product also works around the clock in all weather conditions; I used it both in freezing temperatures as well as over 100-degree weather. Aqua-Kem also offers a complete lineup of convenient forms of this particular product for maximum ease of use!
The environment matters to me, especially as an RVer. For that reason, I really wanted a biodegradable product. This 100% biodegradable waste holding tank treatment is safe even for septic tanks. Formulated as a 3-in-1 product, this formula holds a powerful deodorant, a waste liquefier, and a detergent, eliminating odors, breaking down waste, and cleaning my tank, all in one convenient product.
While this is a lot of concentration to keep around in a small rig (living in 19 feet isn’t easy, but I always make space for this product!), I know it is worth it for my own lifestyle. Plus, Aqua-Kem offers smaller bottles of this product, as well as different non-liquid forms. All in all, Aqua-Kem is a well-known brand and will no doubt meet your black tank cleaning needs.
Best Pod Or Capsule Treatment: Camco TST Ultra-Concentrated RV Toilet Treatment Drop-In
- Easy to use drop in capsules
- Fresh citrus scent
- Reliable Camco brand
- Various scents and sizes available
Whether you’re new to RVing or an absolute pro, there’s no doubt in my mind that you have already heard of Camco products or are about to know everything about them! Camco is the most popular and common manufacturer of various RV products, from sewer hoses to stabilizers to outdoor furniture. As Camco products are tried and tested, I’m confident in trusting the brand with my RVing needs.
Camco is there for me when it comes to a clean black tank as well, making powerful and potent pod treatments. I like that there’s a variety of scents to choose from, giving me the freedom to pick the smell I want when using the product. These little pods are convenient to use as well as powerful, two of the things I look for when choosing RV tank treatments
Camco’s TST Orange Drop-Ins are essential for helping control (not masking) odors, as well as breaking down waste and tissue in my black water-holding tank. This is essential for me as I don’t want odors to simply be covered up by chemical smells, I want them banished from my RV as quickly as possible!
Safe for all septic tanks and completely biodegradable, these drop-ins are made with an ultra-concentrated formula that doesn’t contain the toxic, formaldehyde-releasing ingredient bronopol. As I like to keep things as natural as possible in my rig, I like that no nasty chemicals are hidden in this product.
I find it convenient and easy to use, I simply drop one drop-in down my toilet and flush. One single drop-in is all it takes to treat up to a 40-gallon tank—stopping odors for up to seven days, so I know my rig will smell fresher for longer. This particular product is a fresh citrus scent, and the package includes 30 drop-in capsules; certainly more than enough to keep me going on the road for a while.
You can read more and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Liquid Treatment: Camco 41197 TST Ultra-Concentrate RV Toilet Treatment
- Highly concentrated liquid formula
- Distributes evenly in black tanks
- Easy to dose
- Fresh citrus scent
Did I happen to already mention how great Camco is? Well, I’m not done doing that yet, because there’s yet another Camco product on this list! While Aqua-Kem is a reliable liquid product, there’s another runner-up to include on this list: Camco’s liquid concentrate, in the same magical orange scent as their previously listed capsules.
Citrus has been used for a long time in cleaning products, so I’m comforted that Camco has harnessed the power of citrus to stop odors and break down waste in my RV black tank. This is a gallon-sized version of their liquid treatment, and it is an ultra-concentrated formula that will need considerable space to be stored, but I just need 2 ounces to treat a 40-gallon tank! When you look at the cost of a gallon of this stuff and know you only need to use two ounces at a time, it makes it a very cost-effective deal.
While I don’t find this product as convenient as its Camco drop-in cousin, there’s a lot to be said about the benefits of liquid products. A plus side is that the liquid integrates better in water and distributes more evenly inside my black tank, getting to all the hidden places a powder might miss.
Another important consideration when it comes to liquid black tank treatment options is knowing that you’ll need the storage space for it, but in all honesty, I would regret not having a black tank treatment on board, as blockages can come out of nowhere! I would prefer the bottle material to be a bit stronger as I worry about this product breaking or leaking, that’s why I would advise keeping the bottles in a plastic bag or contained space so you’re covered if a leak was ever to happen.
Read more reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Powder Treatment: Unique RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment
- Eco friendly
- Easy to use
- Made in the USA
- Easy to store size
A good runner-up to our top choice powder treatment from Happy Campers is this powder treatment. This Unique RV Digest Tank Treatment is an advanced blend of bio-enzymatic cleaners that work quickly to eliminate disgusting odors created by solid waste and urine inside my RV holding tank.
This powerful blend of activated cleaners uses the power of enzymes to break down and digest solid waste (human waste and all brands of toilet paper) inside of my tank, preventing clogs, backups, and misreading sensors in a safe way. I love the convenience of the scoop that comes included in the product. I simply take a single scoop and a gallon of water to my toilet bowl and flush it down.
For the best results, I would advise using this product only as recommended, as it does contain complex enzymes. Unique RV uses a proprietary blend of activated bio-enzymatic cleaners to break down waste and eliminate odors. These cleaners need a food source to survive and although it sounds gross, the waste inside my holding tank is a perfect food source!
Once the activated cleaners encounter that food source (solid waste, urine, and paper), they begin to eat and produce subsequent enzymes. These enzymes help break the waste into more easily digestible portions for the bio-enzymatic cleaners so they can completely digest the waste, leaving me with clog-free, odor-free tanks.
This particular product contains no formaldehyde or bronopol, which means it is safe and beneficial for septic systems at home or at campgrounds, and gives me the peace of mind I need when it comes to using chemicals and new products in my rig.
It complies with all state dumping laws and is a trusted choice that I feel confident using around my family and pets. With no overpowering fragrances and no outdated chemicals, I have zero worries about my next camping trip with friends!
Read more reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best On A Budget: Walex CMDOBG Commando Black Holding Tank Cleaner Drop-Ins
- Easy to use
- Effective cleaning capsule
- Deep cleaning product
- Budget friendly
Luckily, I don’t experience clogs very often, but I still want a powerful tank cleaner able to handle the built-up waste. That’s why I’ve included this budget-friendly Walex Commando Black Tank Cleaner, as it helps gets rid of residual waste buildup on my holding tank walls and sensors, meaning my tank can get clean and fresh once again.
Using Commando Black Holding Tank Cleaner removes odors and sensor buildup in as little as 12 hours, so I can use the product and simply leave it alone to work its magic.
The concentrated, scientifically developed formula is filled with natural enzymes to penetrate the walls and sensors to break down waste and paper buildup in my tank. I love that this formula is concentrated enough that I only have to use it every three months or so, although I might use it a bit more often if my whole family joins in on the RVing experience!
The instructions from the manufacturers are easy enough to follow, I simply empty my black holding tank and close the valve, before dropping in one Commando packet into my toilet and flushing it away. I find it’s best to fill the holding tank with water until my sensors are completely covered to ensure a thorough clean. I can then let the product sit in the tank for 12 to 24 hours, and as one Commando packet will treat a holding tank capacity of up to 50 gallons, I know my tank will be sparkling!
The manufacturer also recommends driving with the capsule and full tank in place which is a great idea for tanks that are really blocked up the contents need helping along. Driving to agitate the tank can help speed up the process, but I don’t think it’s required for a nice deep clean unless your tank is in a bit of a mess.
I find that 12 hours is sufficient to break down most waste and paper, but for bigger clogs, I prefer letting the tank sit for 24 hours so the product can penetrate and clean residual buildup off the walls. It can be a bit frustrating waiting up to a full day for the tank to have a good clean, but I will take a clean tank over a smelly one any day!
Learn more and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Smelling: Green Gobbler Holding Tank Deodorizer and Treatment
- Easy to use capsule application
- Awesome odor elimination
- Commercial strength
- 30 day money back guarantee
No one likes the gross smells that come with toilets. And when those smells are circulating in a tiny area, it can be unbearable. But thankfully, I can get rid of nauseating odors with Green Gobbler’s long-lasting, odor-eliminating pods!
Along with eradicating bad smells, I can also prevent annoying clogs with Green Gobbler’s RV, Marine & Porta Potty Treatment. Instead of scrunching up my nose in disgust, I can just drop a pre-measured packet into my toilet or holding tank and let it work its odor-eliminating magic – no more repulsive toilet smells for me!
This particular product is made using commercial-strength technology that dissolves waste and delivers long-lasting odor prevention for all RVs, marines, and recirculating toilets. I enjoy that these water-soluble pods will destroy any matter that clogs my system and combat even the most stomach-churning odors! I’d advise applying this treatment regularly to maintain a pristine toilet condition and to keep everything clean and operational.
This can be a bit frustrating as other cleaners only need to be used every few months, but it’s not too much hassle and the method of using this Green Gobbler treatment is straightforward. All I need to do is flush one pod down the toilet, or throw one pod directly into the holding tank for it to begin working its magic! Although not having a specific dosing option can be a pain.
Learn more and check out today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Long-Lasting: Just Science TankTechsRx Probiotic RV Tank Treatment (32oz)
- Campground Safe
- No smell during use
- Can be used in gray and black tanks
- Safe for use in septic tanks
I like RV products that will last me a long time, after all, I don’t have a money tree growing next to my travel trailer! That’s why I’ve included this long-lasting Just Science TankTechsRx Probiotic RV Tank Treatment in this list. I love that I can use it both for my gray and black tanks, as it means I don’t need to purchase an additional product, saving me time and money in the long run.
The ability to use whatever toilet paper I desire is a huge benefit, as sometimes I want to buy the extra soft stuff and not just RV toilet tissue all the time! If this TankTechsRx is used properly, I can use any toilet paper, as the ingredients will break it all down. As this bottle can last up to 3 years, I know I’m covered for the future, whenever a blockage or clog in my system may occur.
I enjoy how easy this TankTechsRx is to use, I simply leave around 1 inch of liquid in my tank to help maintain cleanliness and add 1/2 oz of the product in. Leaving some liquid is vital to help the microorganisms do their job while I’m out making memories in my rig. The use of microorganisms is talked about more in-depth in the video below:
The only thing to watch out for is storing this treatment in colder weather, as it can freeze. Although it isn’t the end of the world if it freezes, the effectiveness may be reduced, so this is something to be aware of when temperatures plummet during winter.
It’s also not best to use this treatment directly after using antifreeze in the tank as it won’t aid the bacteria the product is composed of at all! I just make sure to give my tank a thorough rinse before using it.
Best Treatment And Deodorizer Option: Black Diamond Stoneworks GET SERIOUS RV, Boat, Camper Chemical Toilet Holding Tank Treatment And Deodorizer
- Eliminates Odors
- Doesn't contain Bronopol
- Digests all brands of toilet paper
Bacteria is an effective way of getting rid of smells, and clogs in RV waste holding tanks, and boasted to contain billions of live bacteria, I had to include this Black Diamond GET SERIOUS RV Holding Tank Treatment and Deodorizer in my list. I’m all about multi-tasking and getting things done as efficiently as possible, so the fact that this treatment does a great job of treating my tanks and deodorizing them makes it a superb option in my eyes!
Blue Diamond promises this product is safe for RV plumbing and septic systems, something I want out of a cleaner as the last thing I want to experience is any issues with plumbing pipes or lines. As I’ve mentioned before, safety is paramount for me, and I want my RV to be a safe place where harsh chemicals are limited, especially when my whole family comes to visit!
That’s why I love the fact this treatment, like several others on our list, doesn’t contain bronopol and instead relies on natural bacteria and enzymes to do all the hard work. It also gets the job done quickly, as the bacteria start to digest solid waste from the get-go, getting rid of clogs and smells efficiently and speedily.
For particularly smelly tanks with large, solid blockages, I would advise using a substantial amount of this product, but still following the recommended instructions, as this will make for the best results. There are a few different sizes available, but to get the best bang for your buck, and if you have the space, I’d opt for the 4-gallon option that will last you long into the future.
Pros And Cons Of Black Tank Treatments
While I consider RV black tank treatment products to be necessary for any RVer, there are many pros and cons to these products. Let’s go over them now so that you can make your own informed decision regarding what product will be best for you!
Pro: Minimizes Odor In Your Rig
One of the biggest perks to utilizing a black holding tank treatment is the elimination of most odors present. I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you that black tanks get smelly, but if I am, you are in for a real treat!
Black holding tank treatments are designed to both break down any solids found in your black tank as well as deodorize. This is a huge perk for RVers, especially if you have a small RV and are camping in the heat.
Depending on the product you buy, there are various scent options as well as different levels of deodorization. Some products do not break down any solid waste and are only meant for keeping the various black tank smells at bay. Keep an eye out for products that mention deodorization only, as this may not be exactly what you are looking for.
Con: It’s Always Stinky While The Product Is Working
How do you know a black tank treatment is working? You’ll no doubt be able to smell it! While some products advertise that they can eliminate all odors no matter how smelly, ninety-nine percent of the time there will still be some odor while the product is breaking down whatever is found in the black tank.
This usually occurs for a short period of time, but it is something to keep in mind should you not want the smell to disturb anyone. It’s definitely never pleasant, but thankfully it is short-lived!
Pro: Breaks Down Your Waste And Paper Products
You know that RV black tank treatment products break down your solid waste, but most of these products also break down toilet paper and other paper products found in your tank. If you have ever shopped around for RV-safe toilet paper, you will most likely not enjoy the prices found on these products.
However, purchasing a black tank treatment makes virtually any toilet paper RV safe! These chemicals can break down any septic-safe toilet paper, and that will include most toilet paper products on the market today.
While paying for a black tank treatment is an extra cost, it is a cost worth paying considering all that you get from treatment as well as the ability to buy more affordably priced toilet paper.
Con: Can Be Expensive Over Time
If you are a full-timer or someone who camps regularly, you may find that RV black tank treatments can get expensive. This is something to consider, especially if your budget is a high priority.
While there are many affordable options on the market today, you may want to consider various home remedies or other more affordable tank treatment options before you decide on a more expensive black tank chemical treatment.
Pro: Easy And Effective
The last thing any RV owner wants to do is spend hours attempting to clean their nasty black holding tank. Thankfully, RV chemical treatments for your black tank are easy and more effective than attempting to clean your tank in any other fashion.
Depending on the products you get, the convenience may be even greater. For example choosing capsules, tablets, or pods over liquid or powder options may be even more appealing to you should your budget allow for it.
Con: Chemicals Are Harmful To Humans And Animals
Even if you strive to purchase a biodegradable backspace treatment option, these treatments are not safe for humans and animals. If you have a nosy dog or child traveling with you in your RV, you may consider keeping your black tank treatment in a safe and secure location.
While biodegradable and organic options are better overall, they can still harm humans and animals. If you purchase a more heavy-duty black tank treatment or one that does not advocate organic materials, it can even be lethal to ingest.
Keep this in mind while shopping should you know that the chemicals can be accessed by either animals or children aboard your RV!
Pro: Helps Keep Your Tank Clean
Regularly treating your black tank helps keep the tank cleaner for longer. While there are also black tank cleaning options on the market, buying treatment and utilizing it regularly can be one of the best ways to keep your tank clean! At the very least, these products will help keep your black tank smelling better!
Con: Takes Up Valuable Space In Your Rig
One of the biggest woes of utilizing black tank treatment options is the notion that you have something else to store aboard your RV. If you are traveling at full capacity, or are a full-time RVer that hasn’t made space for this necessary chemical, you may consider the cons of storing these treatments.
While some options take up significantly less space than others, your budget may not allow for the regular purchasing of this product. And no matter what, it will still take up valuable space in your RV, especially if you need to keep the chemicals away from any animals or children.
Are There Alternatives To Black Tank Cleaners?
Unsure if an RV black tank treatment is the right call for you and your family? Here are some other options for treating your black water holding tanks that don’t involve any harmful chemicals!
Snakes Or Hoses
Did you know that you can clean your black holding tank with just water? There are many products on the market built just for RVs that can clean or otherwise power wash away the inside of your black tank. For most folks, I recommend the Camco Swivel Stik which you can see on Amazon by clicking here.
Cleaning your holding tank is important because it keeps holding tank sensors clear and operating effectively. It also helps prevent unwanted odors from lingering in the tanks after you have emptied them.
This Flexible Swivel Stik from Camco is best used in RVs that have the holding tank mounted at an offset or away from the toilet. It easily attaches to any standard garden hose and has a flow-through body. The powerful rotary cleaning action sprays water onto the sides of the holding tank, helping to dislodge waste that remained after emptying the tank.
While this product may not work for everyone’s black water holding tank, it may be a great alternative for those of you who are nervous about using too many harsh chemicals in your rig. Keep in mind that this device is made to be used when your tanks are emptied, so it is not ideal for breaking up any clogs.
Sewer Hose Attachments
If you are a full-timer or anyone looking to have your black tank regularly cleaned without much hassle, I highly recommend this product from Camco. This product attaches to your RV sewer hose so that you can utilize it when you are fully hooked up to a sewer line.
The Rhino Blaster Tank Rinser latches securely onto your RVs sewer outlet. The 45-degree angle allows water to blast directly into the outlet, rinsing out residue. The Rhino Blaster Tank Rinser features a clear elbow to see when the water runs clear. A vacuum breaker prevents backflow into the water hose.
Again, this product is designed to be used when your black tank has already been emptied. However, I know I used mine to break up clogs while my tank was full. While you shouldn’t expect the best results when using the product in this way, it can definitely come in handy should you be in a tight spot with a clogged black tank!
There are a few home remedies that I have utilized while being a full-time RVer. These remedies are useful for breaking down potential clogs as well as cleaning your tank. However, most of these remedies do not deodorize very well. This is something to keep in mind should you be hoping for a tank that doesn’t smell.
Drive With Ice In The Black Tank
Put a bag or two of ice into your black tank and drive around. This is a common RVer trick to break down any solid waste you may have in your black tank, as well as loosen up any potential clogs. The ice will slosh around as you drive, leading to more broken-up waste particles as well as more water in the tank for when it comes time to drain it.
Baking Soda And Vinegar
These two products have a unique chemical reaction that allows for more solid waste to break down inside your black tank. While it will not smell the best, this chemical reaction may be a much cheaper and more effective alternative to other chemical-based black tank treatments.
Use Vaseline, Dish Soap, Or Laundry Soap
Using any of these lubricating methods on your black tank will prevent any solid or paper waste from sticking to the walls of your tank. It may take some trial and error to figure out how much of any one of these products you need, especially depending on the size of your tank, but many RVers report utilizing these methods to keep the walls of their tanks clean.
Is A Black Tank Different From A Gray Tank?
You may have heard about both black tanks and gray tanks. But what are they used for? And how are they different? This video does a good job of getting you up to speed:
A black tank is designed to only be used in conjunction with your RV’s toilet and sewer system. A grey tank is designed to hold any other liquid that is involved in your RV’s plumbing system. For example, if you wash dishes, all of the water used in that process will be funneled into your RV’s gray tank rather than your black tank.
It is valuable to have the tanks separated for the overall capacity of both tanks as well as the safety of whoever needs to empty the tanks. If you know you have only used the gray water, you don’t need to worry about messing with the yucky black tank right away!
It is important to note that not all RVs have both gray and black holding tanks. If your rig does not have a bathroom, it will not have a black holding tank. And some RV manufacturers have streamlined the tank process so that there is only one central holding tank for both black and gray waste.
However, most of the time there is only one large tank found on smaller RVs. Some RV manufacturers assume that smaller RV houses mean fewer people, therefore leading to less tank waste overall. While this means that you only have one tank to worry about, it also means you only have one tank to worry about!
I mention that only smaller RVs have just one tank rather than two, and I find that most RVers don’t think this is beneficial. This is most likely due to the fact that one tank fills up much faster than two, and the last thing you need is a full tank while you are camping!
If you are still shopping around for an RV, I highly recommend asking about how many holding tanks are found on each rig, as well as if there are separate black and gray holding tanks. The last thing you need is for your one central tank to fill up long before you are ready for it too!
How Often Should I Treat My Black Tank?
When it comes time to treat your black holding tank, you may be wondering how often you will need to do this important but gross RV maintenance. The short answer to this question is that you will need to treat your black tank depending on how often you use it.
If you are camping with a lot of other guests staying in your RV as well as camping for an extended period, you should anticipate needing to treat your black tank during this time. However, if you are just camping for a brief amount of time with fewer people, you most likely won’t need to treat your tank during the trip.
An important factor to consider when it comes to figuring out how often you should treat your black tank is the weather. Most extreme heat and cold will adversely affect your black tank, as it is found on the underside of your RV, exposed to the elements- unless, of course, you’ve got heavy insulation on the underbelly of your rig.
Cold weather more often than not freezes or otherwise locks up your black tank. And hot weather can do the same, as the liquid is more prone to evaporation. Hot weather will also make your black tank smell a lot worse than if the weather is milder.
If you are concerned about the elements and the way they will affect your holding tanks, I advise you to look at the various tank heater options available on the market today. Your RV may also have tank heaters, but this is often a non-standard feature made for cold-weather camping.
When you return home from your camping trip, I always recommend treating your tank at this time. However, this is only a good idea if you have a way to dump your tank near your home. The best of both worlds is to treat your tank the morning of your departure and dump its contents before you hit the road!
Using a reliable black tank treatment for your RV doesn’t have to be a pain. No matter the product, maintaining a clean and pleasant-smelling black tank on your RV should be a priority!
Hopefully, some of these products have met your list of musts as well as fit in your price range. There are also many other alternatives to black tank treatments, including home remedies.
Are there any home remedies I have missed that you have found effective in treating your black tank? Let me know in the comments below!