Saturday, April 1, 2023


RV sewage dumping: Gloves or bare hands?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

One of the first things a new RVer learns is how to dump the holding tanks. That’s a subject that’s been discussed at great length, but here’s a related question: Do you wear gloves when dumping tanks or do you ‘bare hand’ it?

dirty handsMany RVers don’t wear gloves because, they say, it’s just too much bother and they can’t see much advantage to it. The reasoning usually runs, “The stuff stays in the hose, so what’s the big deal?” In a perfect world it’s a good line of reasoning. But since we’re not living in a perfect world, the ‘stuff’ doesn’t always cooperate and stay in the hose. Pinhole leaks can occur and a misaligned bayonet fitting can pop off, unloading an unholy amount of stuff. File that under, “Been there, done that.”

“So you get a little doo-doo on your hands, just wash it off,” is the next comment. Good idea, a thorough washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Meantime, make sure none of it gets off elsewhere and ends up in your mouth or nose. And hope in the meantime that you have no minor breaks in your skin. What can happen with a bit of misplaced sewage bacteria? Here’s the short list:

  • Gastroenteritis, characterized by cramping stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting;
  • Hepatitis, characterized by inflammation of the liver, and jaundice;
  • Infection of skin or eyes.

Not sure of any RVer who’d like to have a bout of any of those manifestations. In our rig a pair of heavy neoprene gloves is the order of the day when handling tank dumping duty. Washing up even when using the gloves is a good idea, and an outside “shower” unit that many RVs are equipped with is just great for it.

Why not throw-away gloves? They typically tear easily and if one of the support wires in your sewage hose gets loose (not an uncommon event) it’ll easily rupture your “safety” net.


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Dave Greer
6 years ago

One of the worst things I have seen, people using work gloves. While they may protect your hands the first time, they are a breeding ground and will contaminate your hands when you use them again and again. Wash your hands with a good disinfecting soap and if you are going to use gloves get the highest quality disposable glove you can find, be careful removing them otherwise you get a false sense of security, and NEVER reuse them.

David Scheeler
6 years ago

Good quality “throw away” gloves are a much better option than the re-usable neoprene gloves you are using. Unless you thoroughly disinfect the gloves, the bacteria that you are trying not to come in contact with is on the outside of the gloves and you will no doubt cross contaminate your hands when taking off or putting the gloves on, thus making your “safety” net ineffective.
No matter which glove you use, hand washing after use is a must.

6 years ago

I always use medical gloves. I worked for Emergncy Medical Services for 11 years. I learned a lot about contamination and the human body.. So please wear some type of protection.

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