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The A to Z of Cleaning RV Black Water Tank

An RV life offers more freedom, a scope to travel across the country, so many other perks. You have pictured camping by a quiet lake, eating beside a campfire, waking up in the morning listening to the chirping of birds. But, the realities are not all about sunshine and glitter. Most new RVers and some veterans too dread one thing, RV black water tank.

Your recreational vehicle has two types of waste management tanks: a black and a gray water tank. The waste materials from the RV toilet go to the black tank while the gray one collects water used in the RV shower and sinks. Both tanks drain into the same outlet but use different valves. Some RVs have one large tank for both waste types, but most units use separate tanks.

An RV black water tank is supposed to contain toilet waste until you hook it to a sewer hose stored in the rear bumper of the vehicle.

How Often To Dump Black Tank

It depends on two things: the size of the tank and the number of people use the toilet. Dumping once a week is enough if only two people using the toilet.

The general rule of thumb is to clean the tank when it is around two-thirds full. It makes the disposal more convenient by creating a better flow than when the tank is full.

rv black water tank
Dispose of the waste at least once per two weeks

Some vehicles are equipped with a meter or gauge that shows how full the waste tanks are. It helps you to stay on time with the waste removal schedule. However, the meter may show incorrect readings sometimes caused by solid waste or toilet paper sticking to the sensor. The best way is to stay aware of your water waste and predict the approximate dumping time.

RV Black Tank Flush System

Cleaning the tank on a regular basis is important. Otherwise, it will cause a clog in the plumbing system and be a breeding ground for foul-smelling bacteria. It can also create other plumbing issues and demand expensive repairs.

This is how you clean the RV black water tank:

1. Ensure Your Protection And Hygiene

The wastage in the sewer hose is toxic. So, it is necessary to protect yourself with rubber hand gloves, protective glasses, and shoe covers at the time of the cleaning process. Keep a liquid soap bottle and a roll of paper towels for washing and wiping whenever necessary.

dumping rv waste

2. Dump The Waste

Dump the waste into a sewer outlet in a dumping station or campsite. The valves on the outside of the RV are likely to have ‘black’ and ‘gray’ labels. Hooks the sewer hose to the black-labeled valve and attach its other end to the sewer opening.

Make sure that both ends are secure before pulling the valve. Now, open the valve of the RV’s sewer tank to let the waste materials go into the sewer outlet. Close the valve when no more liquid is coming through the hose. Check again to see if the valve is closed completely.

Fill the tank with fresh water. Open the valve and dump the liquid again. Do this for a few more times unless water coming out of the hose looks clear. Use a transparent hose adapter will allow you to see if the water is clear or not.

transparent hose adapter

Flush the gray tank after flushing out the black tank, as it will help to clean the solid materials stuck inside the sewer hose. Some RVers keep the gray tank valve open all the time, which is a mistake. It will drain the tank, leaving with no water to clean the hose after flushing the black tank.

How to Clean out RV Black Water Tank

Most people think that flushing the RV black water tank regularly is enough but you need to deep clean it at least bi-weekly. After flushing the black tank, follow these steps:

Fill two-thirds of the tank with a mix of fresh water and two cups of liquid bleach. Close the toilet lid and let the mixture work for at least ten minutes.

Drain the tank and drain it again after filling it with fresh water. Repeat this for a few times until the water coming out of the hose connector contains no debris. It makes sure that there is no bleach residue to damage the plumbing system.

Dumping Black Water Tank At Home

It is possible to dispose of the rubbish at your home. You can use the bucket method for disposing of a small amount of waste or the macerator pump method for dumping the full tank.

The bucket method involves releasing the waste inside the RV tank into the bucket and discarding the liquid into your toilet. Repeat this until the tank is empty and then wash the bucket.

For the other method, buy an RV waste macerator pump, CDFJ adapter, hose adapter, and water hose. To empty the holding tank, connect the hose adapter to your waste outlet and then attach the macerator pump to it. Plug the pump into the RV batteries.

macerator pump

Use the CDFJ adapter to connect the garden hose to the macerator and stretch the hose to the toilet at your home. Open the holding tank’s release valve and switch on the pump.

When the waste is released, run clean water through the system to clean out everything. You may have to repeat the clean water washing a couple of times to make sure that the hose and tank are completely clean. Just switch the pump off and disconnect everything when the task is finished.

Some Effective Tips For Easy Cleaning

There is no way to skip cleaning the dreadful RV black water tank, but following some rules can make the process easier.

  • Use single-ply toilet paper instead of two-ply sheets to avoid the risk of clogging.
  • Use an RV black tank cleaner to break down the tissues and solid waste. It prevents clog, foul smell, and makes the cleaning easier.
  • Flush regularly.