Saturday, September 30, 2023


Have you ever had your RV’s black water tank professionally cleaned?

Oh, the black water tank—the pit toilet of RVs. Actually, they are more like a pit toilet than a home toilet, where you flush and whatever is in the toilet begins an underground journey to the local sewer treatment plant.

With an RV toilet, you flush and the contents drop straight down, or through a plastic pipe that descends slightly and eventually deposits the contents into the black tank. When the tank reaches a certain level, you head off to a dump station, attach a special waste hose to a disposal valve, open it, and the contents of both the gray and black tanks flow into the RV park’s sewer system. It’s just like magic! Well, sort of…

But sometimes there’s a problem. Not everything in the black tank flows away. It gets stuck. It attaches to the bottom or side of the tank. You can flush it out with various devices made for that purpose, but they are not 100 percent effective. And if the situation gets bad, the tank can get plugged! And, no, putting ice cubes in the black tank and then driving your rig over bumpy roads is not effective—contrary to what YouTube experts say.

That’s when you summon the local RV waste expert. He has the high-powered hose and other equipment to clean the tank so clean that you could eat off it. (Yuck! We’re kidding about that, of course!)

So, our question today is, have you ever had your black tank professionally cleaned?


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Bob W
6 days ago

Had the trailer 6 seasons and never used the black water tank. They always have at least pit toilets at the campground. These are just fine and saves the headache and inconvenience of dumping and cleaning.

16 days ago

I have cleaned my own using a power wand but never paid for a so-called professional clean it. I was among the first ones to buy the Tornado® tank flush system. What sold me was it has a spinning head to spray the tank sides, not just a water inlet like most of the manufacturers use.

Thomas D
17 days ago

No, I’ve never had it cleaned
When the weekend is over I fill the tank with water and add Rid X
Then it sets until we need the camper again
I have macerating pump and pump into my sewer almost as good as new

Neal Davis
17 days ago

I hope to have this done in three or four years. No need to do it yet. Our RV is only 13 months old.

17 days ago

I had mine cleaned a couple years ago after having an odor problem noticeable inside our coach. I had replaced the air admittance valve under the sink but the odor persisted at times. Afterwards I discovered that the valve stem for the black tank drain valve was seeping at times…..replaced both grey & black valves & the issue seems to have been solved.

Chris Nintzel
17 days ago

The tank flushing input systems are invaluable. Just relying on tank drainage is frustrating. I wish my basic black tank could be modified with an upper rear hose connection to better rinse and clean.

Bill D Doyle
17 days ago

Funny! I just had mine cleaned 15 minutes ago. Lots of stuff came out when they cleaned it.

Mikal H
17 days ago

Years ago I bought a small used TT for my daughter and her husband. The one issue I noted on inspection was the owners had it in a permanent site and just left the black tank valve open. I bet at least a third of the depth of the tank was solidified u-know-what! After purchasing the unit at a very favorable price the first thing I did was to fill the black tank with water and add Travel Jon waste digester. I let it sit two weeks and flushed it out. The tank looked like new inside.

Now, full timers can’t do this, but then if tanks are managed this kind of extreme example doesn’t happen. In 45 years of RVing as an adult, I’ve not experienced tank issues, not including inaccurate sensors from time to time.

Side note…they used that little Jayco TT for over 15 years!

Sven Yohnson
17 days ago

In 40+ years of RV ownership I have never had a black tank “professionally” cleaned. Black tank buildup is caused by: improper flushing, using the wrong type, and too much T-P, and delayed emptying (#1 cause). Emptying the waste tanks is an unpleasant task, so it is often delayed. To avoid sludge buildup it is a necessary to empty, and flush frequently. Don’t wait until it is full, and NEVER leave a partially filled tank between outings. Also; a potty-wand is a lot cheaper than hiring it done.
But I suppose if you can afford to have someone wipe your @$$ for you, why not?

Susan Dooley
17 days ago

Yes one time, more out of curiosity. I also had it done at a Tiffin rally. Kleen Tanks is a franchise that is expanding. I got a “B” on my cleaning.

Bob P
17 days ago

I’ve always put enough water in the tank to make sure everything floats in the water and doesn’t have time to dry and harden. I may have to dump a day earlier but most comes out. I also leave the black tank flush run several minutes after the worst is over.

17 days ago

We had ours done professionally last year. It was very expensive but probably worth it. There was a lot of “calcified” gunk in there that was preventing us from getting clean tanks.

Mickey T.
17 days ago

I answered yes because I do the cleaning my self. I have purchased the necessary equipment and perform this task 2 times a year. Dirty job but I feel satisfaction when it’s completed.

Bob Salmi
17 days ago

I have found that “professional “ only means you paid for it. Sometimes I can do as much good cleaning the tanks .

Diane McGovern
17 days ago
Reply to  Bob Salmi

Hi, Bob. That reminds me of 60+ years ago when I worked weekends and summers (when I was in junior high and high school) at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle as a “professional cotton candy maker” (among other things). I figured I was a professional at it because I got paid for it ($1.10/hr.).😅 Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at

Jim Johnson
17 days ago

No, have not had a professional cleaning, not that I haven’t considered it. I have instead invested in the chemicals, tools – and most of all, time, to do serious black tank cleaning. I’m not done unless the sensor reads Empty.

Nanci Dixon
17 days ago

We also had ours professionally cleaned at a Tiffin rally. I watched. YUCK! The upside of watching and asking questions was learning to do it myself. Check out this article in RVtravlel for the method and what I learned. I now do a deep flush 2x a year.

17 days ago
Reply to  Nanci Dixon

IMHO-Yes, this can work, but not as good as the high pressure wash and rinse. The high pressure Cleaning will provide a better job than a garden hose pushing water up the outside drain. Drain cleaners, vinegar, and other additives take time to work. Yes, it’s costly, but worth it annually or semi-annualy depending on usage. Especially if you have inside tank sensors!

17 days ago

I had my black tank professionally cleaned while at a Tiffin Rally a couple years ago in So. Ca. I flushed prior to having it done, and all was clear. However when it was power cleaned, there was obviously more in there!
I have looked and can’t find anyone locally that does this (or in a reasonable distance). Wouldn’t it be nice if we can all pool our heads together (no pun intended) and get a list of places that do this? Please don’t let this go away, since I can’t get more info through the old “extra Comment feature”. Thanks in advance!

17 days ago
Reply to  Ran

Agree wholeheartedly-my co-pilot lives for someone to do this. The better half has scoured FB, searched online, made calls and cannot find a source here in Central Indiana to do a deep clean. And until we do find someone, it will not be ‘pleasant’ 🙂 for either of us. A resource guide would be fantastic!

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