Sunday, March 26, 2023


How disgusting is dumping your RV’s holding tanks?

Poke around the internet much and whether you’re reading websites, blogs or social media, or watching videos, you’ll often come across the subject of dumping RV holding tanks.

Some RVers dread the process — “Oh, it’s disgusting,” they say. Others say “piece of cake — no problem!”

What about you? Is dumping your holding tanks disgusting or just another chore like taking out the garbage? We’re talking here about dumping gray water (sink, shower) and black tank (toilet) at a dump station where you pull up, attach a special hose, pull a handle or two, and “thar she goes” — soap, suds and all the nasty stuff from the toilet down a drain.

So is dumping your holding tanks a task you would rather avoid because it’s not the most pleasant thing in the world, or is it no big deal?

Inquiring minds would like to know. Please leave a comment.


At last! A directory of where to camp on public lands!
The Bureau of Land Management Camping book describes 1,273 camping areas managed by the BLM in 14 Western states. Details for each camping area include the number of campsites, amenities, facilities, fees, reservation information, GPS coordinates, and more. You’ll want this book if you camp or are interested in camping on BLM land. Learn more or order.


4.5 12 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeff Craig
27 days ago

When it comes to my black tank, an ounce of prevention is worth 42 gallons of smelly mess. Have a routine and a checklist, then follow it, and you won’t have a mess.

27 days ago

Just some suggestions

Have your hoses etc ready when you pull up to the dump station

If it’s possible, pull forward after your done to put your gear away. This will allow the next camper to pull forward

The water hose at the dump station is not for filling your potable water tanks

Filling and flushing your black/grey tanks three or four times, while there is a line of campers waiting in line is a no-no

We all make mistakes. So if your hose blows out or comes disconnected, please at least make an attempt to clean up. Please don’t just drive away and leave your mess for others to deal with.

I know this one is controversial, but its probably best to wear rubber or surgical gloves to protect yourself. Then again if you don’t want to wear them, then don’t, it’s that simple. We don’t need to beat this one to death.

1 month ago

Not disgusting at all having crawled thru city sewer systems or unclogging sewer lift station pumps. Yep, people do that for a living, just for you.

Bob p
1 month ago

Not nearly as disgusting or gross as the “honey bucket” detail in Vietnam.

1 month ago

My first motorhome came with a Waste Master sewer hose system installed, and I never had any problems. It is clean and easy to use. I have often wondered why other people complain about dumping their tanks.

1 month ago

Growing up on a farm with cows, hogs and chickens, especially chickens, leads to little disgust in hooking up a hose and opening a couple valves.

1 month ago
Reply to  Thomas

Yes, especially chickens.

Steven N
27 days ago
Reply to  Thomas

I’ve made this very comment to people when talking about RV things. I grew up working on farms, there just isn’t many things that will gross me out! Always check the connections with a little grey water first and everything should flow smoothly.

1 month ago

Since I got the Sewer Solution it’s so much cleaner to do and works so well, No I don’t get $ from them I just like the way they have a set up and how it works. Wish some one would write about it when writing about sewer situations.

1 month ago

I’ll have to ask my wife? BRB

27 days ago
Reply to  Cancelproof


Richard Chabrajez
1 month ago

Robin William’s poop hose scene still gives me a laugh every time I watch it. Even more so since we went full time.

1 month ago

I don’t find it disgusting – my wife does and she only has to hold her foot on the outer end of the hose to insure it doesn’t jump out of ground tank connection. Buy the right equipment and know how to properly use it. (I do have screw in adapter(s) also, however many parks do not accept those – creating an unsecured hose attachment). If others are waiting in line to use the station, I will hold off flushing the hose with water until I get home and then flush it into a bucket and pour it down our toilet. (Just keep both ends of the hose capped!).

Last edited 1 month ago by DW/ND
1 month ago

Not disgusting. Pretty easy with the setup in my RV. Now you want disgusting, making up TDU cans, then stuffing them and compressing them, then loading them into the TDU on the submarine I was on, that often got gross.

1 month ago

As a newbie I’ve found it isn’t anywhere near as disgusting as some people make it out to be. I’d read many articles/comments about dumping techniques on sites like this, purchased the recommended equipment and knew what to expect. I do like the idea of plumbing my second gray water tank into the main valve, much more convenient than making that second connection. Thanks to all that share their knowledge and experience.

1 month ago

17 years full time. We have a Sani-con macerator system. Never been dirty.

1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Love my Sani-con macerator. 👍👍💯

1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

It was the first thing we had installed when we bought our used motorhome. I had travelled in a friend’s motorhome and realized how easy it was and less messy than the alternative. We had a ton of other RVers come by to ask about it. Best money spent ever.

1 month ago

So much easier with a knife valve at the end of the discharge tube, as well as a “Y” connection with individual shut off valves for fresh water fill and black water rinse. Now I only need to keep one hose connected to do both chores. Easy peasy!

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Long ago, my boss rented an RV for a week. When she returned to work, she said she’d never consider doing that again because dumping the tanks was so disgusting. Consequently, I lobbied my father-in-law to help him dump the tanks when we RVed with him. I didn’t find it disgusting; unpleasant perhaps, but far short of disgusting. Seven years of RVing later and it is one of my jobs, but hardly one that I mind.

Aside: The macerator in our new RV is so much more powerful in ejecting its contents that I get back-flow at the sewer connect at home. The old one never did, but the sewer access has a turn so near the top that it now causes backflow. Oh, the vicissitudes of RVing! 😎

Last edited 1 month ago by Neal Davis
Gene Bjerke
1 month ago

For me, the worst part of dumping was getting the stiff hose (we have a macerator) back under the rig. Changing to a new, lighter hose made the whole process less of a chore.

1 month ago

Try just using just about any C-store bathroom if you want to define disgusting…

1 month ago

I’ve done worse, quite often. Actually very easy compared to many other things* I’ve done.

* don’t try this a home I’m what you call a professional

1 month ago

No problem. I installed a composting toilet in our 35′ 5th wheel. We have never used our black tank. I have installed a valve to combine my black tank and gray tank doubling capacity. After the stories I’ve heard about black tanks, dumping and all the problems, I will never use a black tank.

Jim & Deanne
1 month ago

It’s not disgusting until, yes I mean until, and if you don’t no until thank God.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.