Dave Solberg

How to Sanitize Your RV Waste Holding Tank

Dave Solberg
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Over time the RV waste holding tank can begin to smell. This is caused by a build-up of bacteria and other waste products left in the tank after dumping. Even if you properly dump your RV waste holding tanks and use the appropriate cleaning chemicals in the tanks, it is still important to take the time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the grey and black water tanks. It is a good idea to do this every now and then, especially before putting the RV in storage.

The best way to clean and sanitize your RV waste holding tanks is to fill the tank with a bleach and water solution. To make the solution, mix one-quarter cup of bleach with one gallon of water. The total amount of bleach-water solution you will need depends upon the size of RV waste holding tanks you have. For most, eight gallons of this cleaning solution should be enough.

Completely fill the tank with the solution and leave in the RV waste holding tank for at least eight hours. It will be best if you are able to fill the holding tank with the solution before going on a long drive. This way the fluids can swish around inside the tank, breaking up any residue left behind. Doing this will clean up and sanitize any pathogens left inside your RV waste holding tank. The bleach-water solution used to clean the tank is safe to dispose of at a dump station. Completely drain the holding tanks into an approved dump site.

If you plan to put your RV in storage or do not plan to go out on the road for a long period of time, take some time to clean and sanitize the holding tanks. This will kill all of the bacteria and ensure you have a cleaner, nicer smelling holding tank when taking your RV back out on the road.

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12 Responses to “How to Sanitize Your RV Waste Holding Tank”

  1. Terry Leist

    Black tank smell

  2. Brad

    how do i get rid of gnats?

  3. Michael J Pomante

    You CANNOT SANITIZE AN RV HOLDING TANK...BLACK, GRAY, OR OTHERWISE!!! Duh!!! Retired Mortician/Undertaker/Embalmer

  4. Ramona

    I have heard bleach ruins your seals.. Is this true?

  5. Mike

    I work in the water/waste water business and I am very familiar with the dangers of bleach. There for I don't use it. I use a box of baking soda and vinegar. This will do just as well and make everything smell fresh and not "bleachy". Hope this helps.

  6. Terrence

    I was told by an RV shop that bleach can damage pump seals. Also, what is the best way to "refresh" a holding tank that has odor? I've heard that adding baking soda is a good method.

  7. Tom

    Thank you for the useful information. However I would like o point out something about your comment on bleach and arsenic in a well. Arsenic is a heavy metal, and bleach has no affect on it in any way. Bleach will shock a well and help eliminate bacteria, just not arsenic.

  8. Chris

    The video said usually 8 gallons will be enough to sanitize your holding tanlk but it also said to fill the tank. My tank is 40 gallons. I don't understand why it said 8 gallons is enough and then they said to fill the tank?

  9. Val

    I read a story a few years ago about someone putting bleach in their holding tank not knowing there was a bit of waste left in it. I'm not a chemist but I guess urine will turn into ammonia after a few days of sitting. When this person put bleach down their toilet it mixed with the "ammonia" and caused a very foul smelling bomb that blew out the exhaust vent and rained down on their RV. I have never put any bleach products in my toilet since reading this!

  10. Steve Korsvall

    My profession is hydrocleaning holding. I have special jetters that scour out the tanks.

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