Throw away your RV tank additive; use this instead

Want a solution to your RV’s holding tank woes? Read on to see how you’re likely causing your own problems and how you stop — and reverse — the problems for once and for all.

 We get it. As an RVer, you’re looking for a dump-and-forget solution to your holding tanks. Something that will (hopefully) get (and keep) tank sensors reading accurately again. Something that will eliminate (or, at least, reduce) odors from your holding tanks. And maybe even something that seems to make emptying of your tanks easier, faster, and more complete.

We get it. As RVers, we want that too.

Your tank solution is not helping matters

That’s right. Whether you’re putting in an enzyme solution, some mystical mixture of chemicals, or — hopefully not — a formaldehyde additive, what you are adding to your RV’s holding tanks is actually making situation in them worse.

You see, that tank solution is doing exactly what it was designed to do: Digest, breakdown, or otherwise change the consistency of the solid waste in your holding tank to something more liquid. The problem is, that liquid is more like a pancake batter — thick, sticky, and likely to be now fouling up your holding tank’s sensors.

And besides misreading sensors, that sticky mess never truly drains out of your black holding tank. Some of it stays behind, in your tank, each time you pull the tank valve release. Over time, more and more builds up, causing more and more problems.

Think of it this way: What would exit a holding tank quicker and more completely? A tank full of thick, sticky pancake batter-like waste or a tank of water with solids floating around in it? The second situation, of course.

How do you stop the cycle?

First, stop using that digesting tank solution you’ve been using. Then, schedule a service for a professional tank cleaning with Kleen Tank. That’s the only way you’re tanks will get truly “factory clean.”

Practice good tank care by following these additional recommendations:

  • Only empty your holding tanks when they are 90% to 100% full. If you have to empty them before that point, add fresh, clean water to raise the level in your tanks.
  • Flush your holding tanks after they are empty by using the Valterra Flush King Back Flush Valve. It works on both your black and gray tanks and will help keep your tanks clean.
  • “Prime the system” after empty the tanks by adding three to five gallons of water (depending on your holding tank’s capacity) before using your RV’s waste system again.

And now, the special recipe

If you want to use a tank additive, we recommend the following:

  • Use a clean, empty one-gallon plastic jug or bottle
  • Measure 40 ounces of Pine-Sol (or similar pine oil cleaner) into the jug or bottle
  • Add eight ounces of Calgon Bath Pearls to the jug or bottle
  • Slowly add water to the jug or bottle. The contents will foam, so be patient.
  • Put the cap on the jug or bottle and shake
  • Every time you’ve emptied your holding tanks, add 1/2 cup of this solution (to both tanks)

What’s this solution do?

Remember, your holding tanks are not a septic system. You do not want anything breaking down in them. The key ingredient here is the Calgon. It’s a surfacant, breaking down the surface tension of water or liquid in the tank and making the tank’s surfaces slippery. It will help waste from sticking to the inside of the tank.

The Pine-Sol is a strong disinfectant and has an odor-masking quality. Note that you can use other brands of pine oil cleaner than Pine-Sol.

Follow this recipe and you can make a gallon of tank solution for about $10. That’s 25 tank treatments! If you see us at an RV rally you’re at, ask us for a sample bottle of this solution. We’ve got plenty and love to hand them out to fellow RVers.

Jim Tome, Owner

Jim Tome, Owner

Hi, I'm Jim Tome and, along with my wife, Debbie, the owners of Kleen Tank LLC, the national leader in RV holding tank cleaning service. We've been RVers like you since 2004 and have traveled all over the U.S. in our Airstream travel trailer. We started the business about twelve years ago and have cleaned tens of thousands holding tanks in thousands of RVs. From tiny weekend travel trailers to monstrous fifth wheels to luxurious motorhomes, I've seen just about every situation there is with RV holding tanks and waste systems. I hope you enjoy our articles; I try to post at least one per week and we've got a great library of them to cover just about every problem. Enjoy!


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