RV Newbies

Black Tank Tips

This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Norma 4 years, 3 months ago.

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    Just a few tips for the newbies on maintaining the black tank and preventing clogs. When I first started out I bought all the fancy toilet paper and chemicals and measured them out, using then after every dump. Three years later I use mostly just water and cheap toilet paper from Walmart, and you know what? Not much difference, except my wallet is fatter.

    If I do use anything it is a half cup of borax detergent and some water softener once and a while to clean the tank. Also use it on the kitchen tanks as well. I find most times the kitchen waste tank can become smellier than the black.

    Tips:  :mail:

    • Use lots and lots of water if on full hookups, it will help the waste breakdown better and reduce any odor
    • Only dump the tank when it is near full to get a good flushing action
    • Never leave the black tank valve open, you will create a dry poo pyramid that is hard to get rid of
    • Use only 1 ply toilet paper that says septic safe. Never mind the special RV stuff, just go to Walmart and buy regular 1 ply septic safe. To test it put a sheet in a glass of water , it should break into peaces pretty quick.
    • Add a few gallons of water after dumping to keep the bottom of the black tank wet and primed to receive the next packages


    The only time I use commercial chemicals is if boondocking in hot weather and trying to conserve water.

    If you do have a consistent odor issue check your vents, if they get clogged the tanks don’t get proper ventilation and can get very smelly. They are located on the roof and are usually just pipes down into the tanks.

    Here is a link to my sewer dump procedure -http://www.loveyourrv.com/rv-sewer-dumping-the-straight-poop-on-the-poop/ 

    Everyone feel free to chime in with your tips.

    RVHH Chief Cook and Bottle Washer - LoveYourRV.com



    so true, we kept having people tell us about hi dollar fancy toilet paper, and did like Ray we started using stuff at walmart, just dont use so much and lots of water and allthat he said.  Someone used the walmart and had problems but thye didnt use the camper much and not enough water.  Would love to have Eddies dads chopper uupper that would be great, oh thats part of that pot of gold we all need.ha ha ha aileen


    I saw a comparison test a while back with 7-8 brands and Scott’s 1-ply was the winner.  I’ve also heard Costco’s Kirkland brand was good.  I still have about 12 rolls the the official RV stuff the previous owner had squirreled away (still in plastic, thank you very much!)

    1996 Honorbuilt Eldorado C320 "Lurch" | Chewbacca is my co-pilot


    I always use built in tank sprayer ,also dump tank only when full. So  far gauges are still working .Then dump 5 gal water into black tank ,so its never dry, good tips Ray.



    Thanks Larry, I usually add a few full bowl flushes to the tanks after dumping, too. I added that to the tips list.

    RVHH Chief Cook and Bottle Washer - LoveYourRV.com


    It  is Scotts that we use, has to say septic safe, been using for quite a long time, and it is the best for us so far. aileen



    Turn off the bathroom exhaust fan before flushing, it will pull black tank miasma into the trailer if you don’t.


    Good tips all!  Roger’s tip we learned the smelly way!  :wacko: One tip that we always employ is to dump the black first then follow with the gray water tank to help clean the black out.  We have a built in black tank sprayer that works really well when we have hook ups!

    Don't give up on your Dream!



    The only thing I didn’t think of was adding some water after dumping. Question, what do you do during cold winter storage? Thanks for the hints!



    Spirit, I drain my tanks completely and add a gallon or two of the pink RV antifreeze.

    Here is what I did last year when I had to quickly store the fifth wheel for a few months in freezing weather.


    Work well, no cracked or damaged piping or tanks.

    RVHH Chief Cook and Bottle Washer - LoveYourRV.com


    We do that with our Class C also, but we would rather be following the warm weather! – Nancy :?

    Don't give up on your Dream!


    Since this is the noob forum, I’ll fess up tell you a tale that did could happen.  If you have an older rig and your air ride system is a tad leaky, no matter how well you level at the beginning, if you sit long enough you’ll be lower at the back end of the rig.  Not too much.  Not enough to make the fridge notice.  But if you aren’t deploying your Slunky then your hose could be on a backwards downhill flat plane that is not too good for sending said packages home to mama wherever.

    When the black tank didn’t seem to be fully emptying, I began to investigate.  Attempting to lift the hose was like, well, like lifting a hose full of water.  And other possible, er, stuff.

    Also, Lurch is old, so the outlet for the tanks is on the underside of the rig…which puts a kink in my plans.  Would love to have it at waist height like those fancy class As and 5ers have, but well you work with what you got, right?

    I pulled out the Slunky and put er to good use, even tho she’s only 20′ and it’s about 25′ to the hole.  A few boards helped with the remainder.

    Now we turn on the black tank flusher to refill the liquid part of the tank.  Fill the grey tank too for more hose-flushing fun!  Keep a weather eye on those tank gauges as we don’t want another Black Bellagio incident in the loo.

    After a few rounds of this, black tank reads a quarter full.  Hose is light.  I’ll go by Wally tomorrow for some Calgon and Borax and do a few more fill/flush rounds and I should be good.  Somewhere in here, I’ll pull the rig up and put some stuff down to level it up.

    Thank you, Lord, for making me check on things before I got to see the “pyramid.”  Wasn’t quite what I had in mind on my bucket list, as I’m sure you know.

    Poor Lurch.  He deserved a more experienced owner than me.

    1996 Honorbuilt Eldorado C320 "Lurch" | Chewbacca is my co-pilot


    it will pull black tank miasma into the trailer if you don’t.

    HAHAHAHA, Roger, you’re a card….

    1996 Honorbuilt Eldorado C320 "Lurch" | Chewbacca is my co-pilot



    Note to RV manufacturers: just for s***s and giggles, lets put the black tank vent right beside the bathroom roof vent! This way they won’t know if it’s coming or going!  :yahoo:



    “Poor Lurch.  He deserved a more experienced owner than me.”

    And how did you think experienced owners became experienced?

    Suggestion, if you bought some jackstands, air up Lurch, and then put them under the frame so they don’t quite touch, Lurch would settle onto the stands and sag no more!

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