How to Treat Your Black Water Tank Right 1929

I know this isn’t the sexiest topic, and it’s going up on Valentine’s Day, but it’s one of those things that’s pretty darn important. A black tank that isn’t well taken care of is a horrible thing. It can cause unfortunate smells, leaks, and more. In order to ensure that your black take is functioning as it should be, it’s important to do all of the right things.

What Your Black Tank Does

caring for your sewer hose

Most RVs come with two wastewater tanks. There’s a gray water tank for your used sink and shower water and then there’s another tank known as the black tank for everything that goes down the toilet.

The black tank holds all the waste and wastewater so that you don’t constantly have to be hooked up to a sewer connection. It lets you essentially store your waste until you’re ready to empty the tank into the proper sewer dumping system.

How You Can Keep It Functioning Well

Photo Tripping America - Handle the Dirty Work - Camping World

As you can imagine, the last thing you want is for your black tank to not operate as it is designed to. The best way to ensure it does what it’s supposed to do is to keep your black tank in good condition. Here’s how:

Be Careful of What You Flush

The best steps you can take to ensure the plumbing to and from your black tank doesn’t get clogged is to watch what you put down your toilet. Use RV toilet paper or toilet paper you know to be safe for RV use.

Also, never flush feminine hygiene products or the various types of self-cleansing wipes down the toilet. These types of things do not degrade in the black tank and can cause a blockage that can be difficult or at the very least not fun to clear. The only things that should be going down your RV’s toilet are human waste, water, and toilet paper.

Use Proper Chemical Treatments

Using a designated black tank treatment will help keep odors under control and it will also help ensure solid waste is broken up properly so that it will exit the tank when you drail the tank.

There are a variety of black tank chemicals out there to try. I’d suggest trying a couple before settling on any particular one. This way you can find the one that works the best for you and your rig.

Clean Your Black Tank

The next thing you can do to ensure your black tank functions as it should is to clean it from time to time. Some RVs have black tank flushing systems installed on them already. Others you’ll have to do the flushing yourself. The most basic procedure for cleaning your black tank goes like this.

  1. Drain your tank.
  2. Remove any buildup in the system thoroughly. 
  3. Add some water to the tank. 
  4. Add a good black water treatment. 

Obviously, the key step here is step two. This can be done by purchasing a tank sprayer that you insert into the toilet to spray out the inside of the tank, use the RV’s already installed tank flushing or spraying system (not all RVs have this), or install a flush valve or a macerator to your RV. These all do the same job. They spray the inside of the tank in the hopes of removing any buildup. From there, it’s a matter of using the right black tank treatments.

Lastly, a note on dumping. Don’t dump your black tank unless it is at least mostly full or all the way full. When I say partway, I mean like two-thirds of the way full. The reason for this is because if you drain the system when it’s not full or at least close to it, you may not wash away all of the solid waste inside the tank. This can lead to odor issues or future blockages.


Do you need supplies for the care of your black tank? Check out Camping World’s selection online!

How to treat your black tank right

1 Comment

  1. About to become a newbie to the RV scene. However, from the photos for dumping I would rather have the clear plastic at the RV not the dump site.

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