Friday, February 3, 2023


Will beach sand be a problem in the gray tank?

Here’s a question from a reader of about boondocking. Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .

Hi Bob,
We do a lot of camping at beaches.When the kids take baths, lots of sand gets washed in the shower. Should I be concerned that there will be too much sand in the grey tank that one day it will cause a problem? Thanks. Robert

Hi Robert,
A problematic buildup of sand in your gray tank is unlikely, though possible. However, the following tips may not only keep the problems at bay but will also give you more peace of mind.

Sun Shower

(1) Rinse off the beach sand from your kids (and dog) with your outside shower before they enter the RV shower. If you don’t have an outside shower, a Sun Shower (photo) will work. This will get rid of most of the sand. And don’t worry about the scouring effect of sand — it would need higher pressure than gravity to act like sandpaper.

(2) Only dump your gray tank when nearly full. The pressure of the outflowing water will carry the sand and other debris with it.

(3) Every few months or at the end of beach season dump about two buckets full of water and a bag of ice cubes in the gray tank and let it slosh around in your tank while you drive to the next campground or dump station. The ice cubes will break up the more solid components of your tank and will then melt to be easily dumped at the next dump station. This will also help break up other solids that enter your gray tank from the kitchen sink.

(4) If you still question whether your gray tank is getting a buildup, it may not be the sand but kitchen waste. If so, do number (3) above but also add about a half cup of dishwasher detergent to the tank. This will help to break up those nasty (and smelly) kitchen odors. After you dump this mixture, fill the tank with fresh water and drain again to get rid of the soap and whatever is left.

Read more about boondocking at my blog.
Check out my Kindle eBooks about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .

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5 years ago

A dishpan full of water on the ground at the entrance to the RV is a great place to wash off the sand on your feet (dunk) before entering.

George B.
5 years ago

Jeez Bob, don’t you hate when that happens. I too sometimes don’t quite get my brain into gear all the time. I’m glad I’m not alone. It just proves we’re all human.

RV Staff
5 years ago
Reply to  George B.

And this proofreader just took the expert’s word for it. What do I know? But I kinda wondered about it — should have trusted my gut instinct. Oh, well. Live and learn. 😀 —Diane at

Brian J
5 years ago

I. believe you could push a water hose into the tank from the dump port and get most of your buildup out of the gray water tank.

Sherry Dawson
5 years ago

Prevent bringing in the sand by sprinkling baby powder on sandy parts (especially feet and legs). Then flick it off with a rag or towel. You’ll be amazed at how well this works! You might not even need to shower if you weren’t swimming in salt water. Similar products, like Burt’s Bees Body Powder work also. Adults might prefer not to smell like a baby. . .

5 years ago
Reply to  Bob Difley

Hi Bob,

You should read this and watch the video- very entertaining.


Steve Morrison
5 years ago

Through which opening in the grey water tank does Bob suggest we toss the bucket of ice cubes?

5 years ago
Reply to  Steve Morrison

My thought exactly and there is a youtube video on this ice cube cure for the black tank that exposes it to be a myth.

Tommy Molnar
5 years ago
Reply to  Steve Morrison

My question as well, as soon as I read this. Where is the ‘big’ opening to the grey tank?

5 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I agree with where is the big hole. The ONLY place I can think of is the vent on the roof, but it way not go directly into the gray tank! Looking forward to what Bob has to say!

2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Morrison

Snowbirds can just drive through Canada in April/May on yer way home, should be enough ice in the tanks to do the job nicely!

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