Skip to Content

Dumping & Cleaning an RV Black Tank

Dumping & Cleaning an RV Black Tank

We demonstrate how to dump RV waste water holding tanks and thoroughly clean the black tank. Keeping your sewage tank super clean requires following a few simple procedures which will make it stay odor-free.

To view our “express” version of this procedure watch:

RV Holding Tank Dumping 1-2-3

Lots of RVers think their black tank is clean when they just empty it and flush out the sewer hose with water from the grey tank.

Even those RVers who use a black tank flush system often don’t utilize the most important piece of equipment necessary to monitor the cleanliness of the black tank: a clear sewer elbow.

And even using a clear sewer elbow on your camper isn’t enough. As we demonstrate, using a black tank flush connection, and plenty of water STILL won’t do the job. Using the proper technique is essential for maintaining the black tank and keeping it clean and odor-free.

We go through the step-by-step instructions for making sure that your RV holding tanks stay clean and fresh, making your motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel a nicer place to be.

We’ll also cover a few basics about sewer connections, flush valve use, toilet chemicals and special techniques for cleaning and deodorizing a problem sewage holding tank. In addition, we’ll review some details that every RVer should know about when and where to empty their black tank.


Recent & Related Videos:


Featured & Related Products:

We'd Love It If You Shared This!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Michael A Deehr

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

Great video, I am new to this and did not realize the black tank valve doesnt need to be open all of the time. I do have a question? How do you do this if you do not have the cleanout hose connection?

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

Hi Michael. Yes... it's very important that you leave the black tank valve closed all the time. If you don't, the liquids drain out and leave the solids behind... which pile up into a pyramid beneath the toilet and can solidify. It's a real problem and can be difficult to fix.

If you don't have a tank flush system built into your RV, you can use a third party wand like this one: https://amzn.to/3ywecpX When dumping your tanks, you'd attach a second hose to the wand and feed it in to the bathroom. Step on the pedal to open the toilet gate valve and insert it down into the tank. Of course, you'll only want to do this if you're at a full hook-up campground, and not when you're at a dump station, since this process takes a little while and you don't want to hold up the people behind you.

Gary Woods

Sunday 27th of January 2019

When I remove the cap that seals the pipe for traveling there is black water in it and it spills on me and everything else when I take it off to drain the tanks. My black water gate is closed so there must be the valve is a little open so how do I fix that?

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 27th of January 2019

Hi Gary. You almost certainly need a new blade valve on your black tank. You'll likely need one of these, either of which should work fine: https://amzn.to/2MAdYqj or https://amzn.to/2Th2eeZ You'll want to empty and thoroughly flush the black tank out before starting the job, then four bolts get removed. Wiggle the old valve out and install the new one. We had to replace ours about 8 or 10 years ago, and it's never leaked since.

Andrew

Wednesday 19th of September 2018

I have a 2003 komfert 5th wheel, I’m seeking info of how, and best way to completely clean out black water tank? I’m in a park and live aboard, since I bought unit in 2015 tank sensor has read no less then 2/3 even after dump, but now within last 6 mos, or so I’m getting odor inside RV! I’ve used the store bought enzymes ,helped with odor, but still reads 2/3 in tank. Is there anything to safely use on pvc plumbing, that will revive the workings of tank sensor,,,as well as odor, and completely clean out tank and keep that way,,also how often for tank dump,,just me living here , seldom one other..

Thank you

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 19th of September 2018

Hi Andrew. Sorry to hear about the problem you're having. Have you tried any products that are designed to super clean the black tank and break down sludge, such as Happy Campers Extreme Clean? If not, we'd suggest that it's worth a try before you go hiring a pro to power wash out your black tank (which would be the next step). You can find Happy Campers Extreme here: https://amzn.to/2DoczlV We don't have personal experience with it (we just use their regular tank treatment, which we like), but many people give it good reviews. As far as how often to dump... we suggest doing it whenever the tank reaches about 2/3 - 3/4 full... which you will hopefully be able to tell once your tank is back in ship shape!

Kristen

Wednesday 13th of June 2018

What is the water softener that you are referring to about cleaning the black tank? Is it water softener salt? Thanks, Kristen

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 13th of June 2018

Hi Kristen! We usually use 20-Mule Team Borax or Calgon, which you can find in the laundry product aisle at most grocery stores.

Roger

Wednesday 2nd of May 2018

This is an awesome video. I knew what you was going to do before you did it when you reached down and closed the drain valve while the tank flush was still spraying water into the tank. I learned that one on my own. One day while draining my tank, I thought to myself, " If I closed the drain valve and let the water spray into the tank, It would ad water and stir things around. Well I was right. It sure did and there was more brown stuff came from the drain. I do use the clear elbow so I can see whats going on while dealing with this situation. I've been full timing sense I was in my teens, and I'm now 62, so I've learned a few things over the years... So, Thanks for helping others learn the proper way to drain and clean their black tanks. Thumbs UP !

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We participate in the Amazon affiliate program, which provides a means for us to earn a small commission by linking to products there. But our opinions are our own and we only link to products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence.