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 in 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?
Had it cleaned by dealer to determine leaking problem. They discovered the cutout, 3″ diameter plastic piece for the toilet install was floating around in the tank and finally lodged in the drain valve….another instance of lack of quality control in mfg that cost Jayco warranty $$$$$$
When I first bought our 1994 wilderness 5th wheel we were parked in a place where we had no sewer hookup, so our in laws who own a port a potty business would come by and empty our port a tank for us. The first time I tried it the tank was so clogged with wipes that it wouldn’t completely dump. So I got out my black tank hose and ran it into the 5th wheel and used it to blast out the tank. It only took 5 times to clear it out.
( Part two next message)
After I got it cleared I started reading YouTube suggestions on how to keep it fresh and clean.
The method I use is 1/2 cup of Boraxo laundry enhancer and 1/2 cup of Blue colored Dawn liquid dishwashing soap mixed onto 4 gallons of water. ( put the boraxo in warm water over night so it will dissolve) Put it in the tank after flushing and when you drive it will thoroughly clean your tank, leave it in the tank and it will dispel the odors. I divide up amongst my 3 tanks this way 2 gal in the black tank and 1 gal each of the other tanks.
Works like a champ! It says you don’t have to put this mixture in every time but I do and I never smell any of my tanks.
Why worry about “professionally” cleaning a tank you are going to use minutes or hours later???? The only way to maintain a clean black tank is to never use it. What is likely a problem cured by cleaning is to get tank sensors to work again. Those sensors that stick into the tank can get fouled an make the 3 or 4 light level indicators fail. The real cure is to install external sensors (marine or Garnett SeeLevel) that can’t be fouled. The only other issue is leaving the black tank drain open, allowing liquid to drain and leaving solids to pile up and turn to rock (your bad).
I am more concerned about my onboard water tank. Incoming water HAS to be clean. Outgoing water just has to be watery enough to flow out!
I recently saw the RVGeeks’ video of their tanks being cleaned and it was eye-opening. Since then I have actively sought someone to clean our tanks. So far, no luck, but I will keep looking. I am convinced that it is periodically necessary.
I use to use a cup of Calgon Water Softener & a cup of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and fill with warm water and let sit overnight then dump. Now I use RidX and let sit for 2 hours. It works much better. I do it at the end of the season each year.
Accidentally the head of the toilet brush came off. After 4 months and 3 unsuccessful professional attempts we were finally able to remove it. The company called Tank Tech not only removed it but throughly cleaned the tank.
Our motorhome had them cleaned out before we bought coach.
Twice, first time good for two dumps, second time 1 light of four went out. If he wasn’t so much bigger than me I would not have paid him.
Professional cleaning once, due to poor sensor readings and it worked.
Self cleaning method: 1 cup powder Cascade dish soap to 1/3 full black tank. 1/4 cup in each gray tank, 1/3 full. Drive to next destination. Empty & flush tanks. Add 1/4 cup Tank Techs to black and 2 tablespoons to each gray tank. Since switching to this technique we’ve not experienced any problems with sensors misreading or bad odor from our waste tanks. We stay between 1 week and 2 months at each stop.
Never had a bit of trouble. Every so often I’d dump,fill the tank with lukewarm water and RidX and let it sit for however long until we left again on our next trip. I always used a clear fitting at the tank and you’d be surprised how dirty it’d be after just sitting while the RidX did it’s work. BTW, it doesn’t have to be finger licking clean. You’re just going to use it again. My next door neighbor NEVER used the toilet in the 9 years they had it. Didn’t want to deal with the yuk.
This does work.
Same here and it works Great!
I had my black tank and both Grey tanks professionally cleaned. My 5th wheel is a 2006 and I thought it was well worth it. My kitchen Grey sensors never register less than full since I bought it 2 1/2 years ago. All tanks now read correctly. The tech told me to use tanktek frequently and gave me a good routine to keep them working.
Very happy with the service.
I voted no, but friends of ours have and they just gushed about the quality of the job the RV Proctologist did
I answered “yes” but I don’t know if it counts. When we first got our present RV we quickly plugged up the tank with paper. The shop where we bought it cleared out the tank and replaced the macerator. In a previous MH we had clogged the tank, but I was able to blow everything out with a high-spray hose. We eventually learned: less paper, more water. So far, so good.
I clean mine every time I travel by starting out with an empty tank and then adding 5 gallons of clean water along with 1 cup of liquid laundry soap (Oxy-Clean) and a cap full of Calgon water softener. The sloshing of the solution while traveling dislodges any solids or toilet paper and breaks it up to pretty much a liquid form. The water softener coats the inside of the tank and makes it slippery so that stuff has a difficult time sticking to it. Once at my destination, I will drain, add about 10 – 15 gallons of water and drain again. I always keep at least several gallons of water in both tanks all the time and use lots of water when using the toilet (water is your friend). This procedure has worked for me for the past 20 years in both my travel trailer and my two different motorhomes. No odors and the sensors work perfectly.
Need to try the Calgon. Thanks
Similar procedure to Ron Lane but no soap – just water and drive down the road to the next stop and dump and rinse again. Been doing this for 15 years – clean tanks – no odors. Sprayers in black tank used to add 5 – 10 gallons also spray around the walls. No matter how clean I might think the tank is I seem to always get more out after a couple hundred miles. Always put some water in the black tank after final rinse – never let it dry out.
We are on our third Class A and have never had our Black Tanks Professionally cleaned. Our first Class A (1997) did not have any type of fresh water Black Tank Flush system. We were very careful to make sure only the proper things went into our toilet. Our last two Class A’s had a bath and a half (2007 and our present 2014) both had a Fresh Water Flush System. Our present DP Class A has a bath and a half. Both toilets are connected to Marine Style Vacu-Flush system that turns any solid waste to a liquid before it enters the Black Tank. That means any time we dump the Black Tank, it is all liquid. And our fresh water Black Tank Flush system is basically a simple rinse for the tank.and will not require any Professional cleaning.
The most important thing with any RV toilet system is to make sure nothing goes into your toilet(s) that is not other than what is described in your user operations manual. If you don’t have a manual, find one on line and read it. Safe Travels
Again, I am amazed at people’s obsession with the black water tank. I suppose it is none of my business what ppl do with their tanks, but some of the ideas and misconceptions are bordering on ridiculous. I have had RV’s for over 35 years. Full-timed (traveling full-timer) for 10 years in 40′ DP and never had a problem with any of my tanks. There is some simple maintenance required. I remember a full-timer at the Thousand Trails near Orlando, FL telling me, and anybody else that would listen, about what a great job this guy did cleaning his black water tank. The process even included before and after pictures of the tank. Several jumped on this bandwagon and had their tanks “professionally” cleaned. Again, I just dont see it. Furthermore, dont get me started on tank sensors; they typically dont work. So, in conclusion, not my circus, not my monkeys, and not my money. Do whatever makes you happy. Oh…FLUSH THE PAPER.
No, didn’t know there was such a thing.
In my case it was a waste of money,