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Is Rid-X Safe for RV Tanks?

Is Rid-X Safe for RV Tanks?

One of the biggest concerns among RVers seems to be the care & maintenance of holding tanks. From keeping them “clean” to preventing backup issues, to easy dumping, to keeping any odors from invading the RV’s living space. One question we’ve heard frequently is, “Is Rid-X safe for RV tanks?”, suggesting that Rid-X is a popular consideration for RV tank treatment. So, today we’re answering that question and providing additional information that we hope will be helpful to our readers.

Let’s get right to it!

What is Rid-X?

RID-X® was originally developed as a septic tank treatment intended to break down household waste in sticks & bricks homes, though the company has more recently developed an RV-specific version.

The original idea behind the product was that by adding it to your toilets, you can help to restore a delicate balance of beneficial bacteria and enzymes required to help keep a home’s septic system operating efficiently.

How Does Rid-X Work?

Rid-X is said to contain billions of 100% natural active bacteria and enzymes that serve to break down waste.

To use Rid-X in your RV, you’d add the recommended amount of Rid-X to your toilet which, in an RV, opens directly into your RV black water tank.

Photo of a person pouring a liquid (Rid-X) into a toilet bowl

Rid-X is very easy to use. Simply pour the solution (or drop a gel pac) into your RV toilet which leads directly to the black water tank.

What Are the Ingredients in Rid-X that Break Down Waste?

According to the Rid-X website, four ingredients serve to break down waste in the following ways:

  • Cellulase breaks down toilet paper, vegetable matter, and some foods
  • Lipase breaks down fats, oils, and grease
  • Protease breaks down proteins
  • Amylase breaks down starches

How Long Does It Take for Rid-X to Start Working?

According to Rid-X, the enzymes in their formulas begin to work when they come into contact with water. Bacteria are said to take approximately two to four hours to germinate, and then they begin breaking down solid waste.

RID-X® states that in around two to four days, the bacteria will have multiplied to the maximum level… if temperature and conditions are favorable.

This is where the question becomes less about the safety of the product and more about the applicability in an RVing environment. More on that in a bit as we continue to explore the question: Is Rid-X safe for RV tanks?

Is Rid-X a Liquid?

Rid-X is available as a powder, a liquid, or in gel packs. All three products have the same amount of active ingredients and are advertised as being equally effective.

Can Rid-X Be Used In All Types of Toilets?

While Rid-X can be used with all types of plumbing, the product is not recommended for composting or chemical toilets, as it can interfere with, or prevent, the correct functioning of their systems.

Can I Use Rid-X In My RV Toilet?

Rid-X now offers an “RV Toilet Treatment”, which is specifically formulated for use in RV, marine, and portable toilets.

Rid-x Holding Tank Deodorizer Pacs, for Rv, Boats, & Portable Toilets, Fresh Scent, 8 Count
  • RV toilet treatment scientifically proven to break down waste & tissue.
  • Combats odors & breaks down waste in RV, marine and portable toilet holding tanks.
RID-X Liquid Holding Tank Deodorizer, 48 oz (Pack of 2)
  • Stop odors instantly and lasts 10 days
  • Also for use on boats, portable toilets and recirculating toilets

Is Rid-X Safe for My RV Black Tank?

Rid-X has formulated a waste treatment specifically for RVs that should be safe for holding tanks. That’s what we want to address in this post…whether the product is safe for your RV’s black tank, and it likely is. We’ve used both types of Rid-X on and off over many years and never had any problems.

Also, many RVers, including us, have had success using enzymatic/bacteriological products like Rid-X.

But there are some who contend that Rid-X and similar products that promote bacterial growth to break down solid waste can actually cause an odor problem in an RV holding tank.

It’s important to remember that an RV holding tank is not a septic system, and this type of bacterial action may not be the best option for an RV holding tank that doesn’t hold waste for long periods of time.

So, is Rid-X safe for your RV tank (or portable RV dump tank, if you don’t have access to a dump station)? Sure.

Is it necessary to use (or even effective when used) in an RV holding tank that holds waste for short periods of time before dumping? Possibly not. But we’ve used many of them and found that they’ve successfully reduced or eliminated odors. In our use… but your experience may differ.

Our success with Rid-X may be due to our general practice of only dumping the black tank when it’s mostly full. With normal use, that typically takes us about 2 weeks, which provides a longer time for the contents to… er… ferment (or brew?) ????

What Could I Use In My RV Toilet as an Alternative to Rid-X?

As we noted in our post on everything you need to know about your RV black water tank, we also like, and use Happy Campers RV Holding Tank Treatment:

Happy Campers RV Toilet Treatment - 18 Black or Gray Holding Tank Deodorizer Treatments for RVs
  • Not for Sale or Shipping to California.
  • ODOR FREE: absolutely no sewer smell

We appreciate that Happy Campers is organic and is not affected by extreme hot or cold temperatures. One scoop of Happy Campers will treat a 40-gallon black tank. One more scoop will treat your RV gray water tank.

Happy Campers is an effective odor neutralizer that doesn’t give off a chemical or sewer smell. Although it may seem as though the containers are a bit expensive, it goes a long way, making Happy Campers pretty cost-effective, especially in the large tub.

Happy Campers RV Holding Tank Deodorizer Treatment - 64 treatments
  • ODOR FREE: Eliminates odors in the RV holding tank. Absolutely no chemical or sewer smell.
  • Septic tank friendly

We also use regular toilet paper (Costco’s Kirkland brand) and have never had an issue with it at all, so we don’t waste our money on special RV toilet paper.

In Addition to My Choice of RV Holding Tank Treatment, What Else Can I Do to Keep My Holding Tanks Clean?

This is a great question because keeping your holding tanks clean also serves to keep your holding tank sensors working to the best of their ability (which we all know can be questionable at times).

There are a number of actions we can take to keep our RV holding tanks as clean as possible.

First, we need to make sure that there’s always some liquid in the tank. Without sufficient liquid, solid matter can stick to the sides and bottom of the tank. This not only causes odors and poorly working tank sensors, but it can be very difficult to clean once it’s established.

Here are a few suggestions of things you can do during the dumping process to help keep your black and gray tanks as clean as possible.

  1. When dumping, always dump your black tank first, followed by your gray tank. This allows the mostly liquid (and often soapy) contents of the gray tank to wash away “gunk” left behind from the black tank.
  2. Use a clear sewer hose adapter so that you’ll have a visual of how clear the water is when you’re flushing out your tanks. That’s the only way to know that the contents of your black tank have been thoroughly drained and flushed out.
Camco Clear 45 Degree RV Sewer Hose Adapter Fitting | Features 4 Bayonet Prongs, a Heavy-Duty Polycarbonate Construction, and is Compatible with 3-Inch Diameter Sewer Hoses (39432), Clear
  • Clear RV Sewer Hose Adapter: See-through hose adapter allows you to see when your RV sewer system is clean
  • Compatibility: Fits 3-inch diameter RV sewer hoses
Valterra 1218.103 T1026-1 45° Clearview Adapter with 3" Bay Lug
  • Angles hose connections 45° to more convenient positions
  • Reinforced ears for long lasting durability
  1. Use your RV black tank flush consistently. If your rig doesn’t have a built-in black tank flush, you can use an external hose and a special wand or “swivel stick” that allows you to reach into the tank to flush the walls as clean as possible.
Camco Rhino 25-Ft Clean-Out Camper/RV Black Water Hose | Features a Heavy-Duty PVC Design & Bright Orange Color | Clean-Out Camper Black Water, Grey Water or Tote Tanks | 5/8” Inside Diameter (22990)
  • DESIGNED FOR RV SANITATION: Keep your RV waste system clean & odor-free with Camco's reliable clean-out water hose. It can be used as an RV grey water...
  • HEAVY-DUTY CONSTRUCTION: Built to last, this Camco RhinoFLEX 5/8″ internal diameter RV hose is constructed of durable PVC.
Camco Camper/RV Holding Tank Swivel Stik Rinser | Features Powerful Rotary Cleaning Action & 34-Inches of Flexible Reach | Equipped with 1/4 Turn Shutoff Valve & Ergonomic Easy Grip Handle (40074)
  • POWERFUL ROTARY CLEANING ACTION: Enjoy superior cleaning power with this RV tank cleaner. Its powerful rotary cleaning action shifts even the toughest...
  • FLEXIBLE REACH: The black tank rinser has a 34" flexible section that is perfect for hard-to-reach RV tanks. Get into those offset basement tanks with...
  1. Use an organic holding tank treatment. We’ve been at this for a couple of decades now – living in our RV full-time – and our current favorite is Happy Campers (although we still like Rid-X):
Happy Campers RV Toilet Treatment - 18 Black or Gray Holding Tank Deodorizer Treatments for RVs
  • Not for Sale or Shipping to California.
  • ODOR FREE: absolutely no sewer smell

For everyday dumping (well… not literally every day), check out our favorite technique in the following video we made years ago. We still use this exact same method to this day, and our black tank stays as clean as possible as a result.

For a thorough visual primer on how to dump and clean an RV black tank, please feel free to check out our YouTube video. We’ll guide you through the entire process, and you’ll be a pro tank dumper in no time!

We also encourage you to check out our YouTube video on cleaning your RV’s gray water tank and sensors. This is important information that’ll keep things running smoothly at both the tank side and the sensor side of the equation:

And finally, if you’ve purchased a used RV, or you’ve got an older rig, or you just want to get a good deep-cleaning of your RV tanks every few years, watch our video on how struvite builds up in RV holding tanks, and what needs to be done to remove it. That way your tanks and sensors will be able to perform optimally.

Tell Us What Holding Tank Treatment You Use in Your RV

Have you been using a holding tank treatment in your RV? We’d love to know what you’ve found successful in your experience. Shoot us a comment!

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Saturday 13th of May 2023

I use a diy formula of calgone,pineal & water. Has worked great for years and is inexpensive.

John Koenig

Sunday 15th of May 2022

A decade+ ago, I read a slightly different protocol re emptying RV holding tanks. Get your sewer hose properly connected. 1st open the grey tank valve BRIEFLY (~10 seconds). Visually check that there are NO surprises (leaks). Close the grey valve. NOW open the valve on the black tank. The brief grey water "spritz" will have wet (lubed?) the sewer hose easing the way for the black matter. Once the black tank has fully emptied and that valve is fully closed, NOW open the grey valve and allow the grey tank to completely empty (thus giving a good rinse to the sewer hose). The BIG benefit in this method is that the RVer has a way to see that there are NO leaks in the connections or sewer hose. If there IS an "oops", you'll be dealing with grey soapy water, NOT the "nasty stuff". Costs nothing but, can save an RVer from having to deal with a nasty mess.


Monday 16th of May 2022

Hey John. Yes... doing that little sewer hose test with gray water first is a good way to ensure that everything's working as expected. NO ONE want's to get sprayed by the contents of their black tank, regardless of how well they maintain it! ????

Mark Attebury

Sunday 15th of May 2022

Should mention that Happy Campers is not available in the great state of California.


Monday 16th of May 2022

Thanks for filling us in on that, Mark. In doing some reading online, it seems like it may not be an issue with the composition, but rather the fact that the company hasn't (or can't afford) to get the product fully tested to satisfy the regulatory requirements for CA. It's a shame, as it's a good product!


Saturday 14th of May 2022

Another fan here of Unique RV products. (Class C Winnebago View)


Saturday 14th of May 2022

"It’s important to remember that an RV holding tank is not a septic system, and this type of bacterial action may not be the best option for an RV holding tank that doesn’t hold waste for long periods of time."

IMO, this is key as Brian has discussed. I suspect Rid-X for RVs may be a solution in search of a problem. I dump my black tank whenever leaving a campsite, usually 3-5 days, and add a bit of liquid deodorant at the next site. I don't have a tank washing connection. Have never had an odor issue or trouble dumping. I do thoroughly clean the tank at the end of the season using detergent and bleach.

Storing black tank contents for up to 2 weeks may be very different, but I would want to see a need before using a product like Rid-X. As an aside, PA DEP does not recommend ANY additives for septic tanks.


Saturday 14th of May 2022

Dumping more regularly (as long as you're allowing enough to build up in the tank to get a good draining rush out) is definitely a help, TJ! For those who spend more time in one spot, and thus may not dump as regularly, it can be more of an issue to manage odor and waste buildup. Staying ahead of it, and keeping the tank as clean as you can, is the best prevention.

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