Odor-Free Tank Maintenance with RV Products - The Great Tank Debate: Part 2

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Odor-Free Tank Maintenance with RV Products - The Great Tank Debate: Part 2

Monday, February 10, 2020


These are my favorite RV specific products for keeping our RV clean and maintaining our tanks!

Last week, my friend Christy Rogers, shared about using the Geo Method for keeping RV tanks clean and odor-free.  Tank maintenance is a highly debated topic between she and I.  RV specific products are my preference for keeping our tanks clean.  Today, I'm sharing the product I use and why these are my preferred method.  My strategic method may end the great tank debate.


Odor-Free Tank Maintenance with RV Products- The Great Tank Debate:  Part 2

I know that some people will argue that RV products are both expensive and a rip-off.  Sure, I could save money on DIY methods with regular home cleaning products.  But, my instinct has always been to do things by the book with our RV.  Sometimes, money-saving methods can cost you more money over the long haul.  And, it is for this reason alone that I only use RV products to maintain our tanks.  

My first rule of thumb is to completely and totally avoid bleach at all costs in an RV.  I have read social media posts and some articles that say you can use bleach in "safe" and diluted amounts.  RV's have specialized equipment and parts with rubber seals and pieces that I believe chlorine bleach can damage over time.  I am just unwilling to roll the dice with this product.

Second, bleach can kill bacteria in your tanks.  And, there needs to be a certain amount of bacteria to break down wastes.  This product can remove the necessary bacteria for a balanced ecosystem in your tanks.

Thetford Aqua-Clean is a favorite all-purpose cleaner.  I use it for cleaning everything and it won't damage my RV.
RV specific products have been chemically formulated to safely work in your tanks every time.  Combinations of chemicals like bleach and other ingredients that you mix could yield harmful gasses and cause unwanted reactions in small spaces.  Leave the chemistry to the real chemist and buy products that are specifically formulated for your specialized environment.  RV Specific products won't negatively interact and react in your tanks.

Both Thetford and Camco make products that you can use to clean and maintain your RV tanks.  I have used both of these brands effectively over the years both in our pop up camper and travel trailer.  I use two main products to keep our RV odor-free.  Grey Water Odor Control and Aqua-Kem Drop Ins help maintain our grey and black tanks.

I believe that consistent and proper use of these two products delivers safe and effective results.  Before your first RV trip, add 2 tablespoons of greywater odor control to each of your grey tanks with about 2 quarts of water.  If you are using a portable grey water holding tank, place this product in that container.  In your black tank, add a black tank drop in with about 1 gallon of water.  These steps will start the process to control odor and break down wastes.

Use Grey Water odor control in your drains for both the bathroom and kitchen to keep odors at bay.
At the end of our camping trip, I dump the black tank first by opening the black tank valve. Next, I dump the grey water tanks.  We have 2 grey water tanks on our RV.  Last, I hook up a black tank flush hose to our black tank flush and set the timer for 15 minutes.  I turn off and let it finish draining.  I then turn on the black tank flush again for another 10 to 15 minutes and flush a second time.  The goal is to thoroughly flush with clean water and allow everything to completely drain.  Close the tanks, and done!

After everything is drained and the water is running clear, I repeat the process of adding a couple of quarts of water to each drain along with 2 tablespoons of greywater odor control product to the p-traps.  Next, add a black tank drop in and a gallon of water to the toilet.  And, I am done.

Occasionally, it is wise to do an overall tank clean.  To clean everything out, I use Thetford Tank Blaster.  This powdered product can be added to the grey and black tanks the night before you leave your campsite.  Allow everything to sit and work its magic overnight.  The next day, flush everything as you normally would.  This product provides a foaming action to clean off the sensors and tanks.  It also just gives an extra seasonal clean to your tanks after heavy use.

Tank Blaster is an excellent way to keep the sensors clean in your tanks.  We use this product occasionally to clean our tanks out well!
One thing that also makes a difference is that we only use RV toilet paper.  I know that it is also more expensive, but it is also designed to breakdown and work in an RV system.  Your RV manual will most likely recommend only using RV specific products (including toilet paper) for a reason.  That is some of the best advice you could receive.

Only use RV Toilet Paper in your toilet.  And using some high-quality drop-ins work great to break down wastes and control odor.
The results are clean and well-maintained tanks.  We 100% don't have funky smells coming from our tanks.  And, everything works properly all the time.  I'm not worried about stripped and dried out gaskets and seals in our plumbing.  I feel like I'm protecting our investment safely with good decisions.  

Christy may be rolling with the Tide, but she is also rolling to dice on causing big damage to her tanks and RV plumbing.  I didn't need an engineering degree from my alma mater to tell me that you should always use the right products to do the job.  Until she comes around to my method of genius, we can still camp together and know that I am right.  (wink wink)

Who let the dawgs out?  I did!  And you can too.  Out with bad odors and harmful chemicals.  And ring in a winning season of camping when you choose to use RV specific products for maintaining your tanks.  Maybe one day Christy will roll on over to the best way to maintain her tanks too.  Until next time, Hail State and...

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