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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, Septic Tank Treatment 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 - Extra Strength Odor Eliminator for Black and Gray Holding Tanks
  • Powerful Odor Control: Say goodbye to unpleasant odors with our powerful formula that neutralizes and eliminates foul smells, leaving your RV smelling...
  • Effective Waste Digestion: Happy Campers breaks down waste and toilet paper quickly and efficiently, preventing clogs and ensuring smooth tank...

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 Toilet Treatment - 64 Black or Gray Holding Tank Deodorizer Treatments for RVs
  • 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
Sale
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 - Extra Strength Odor Eliminator for Black and Gray Holding Tanks
  • Powerful Odor Control: Say goodbye to unpleasant odors with our powerful formula that neutralizes and eliminates foul smells, leaving your RV smelling...
  • Effective Waste Digestion: Happy Campers breaks down waste and toilet paper quickly and efficiently, preventing clogs and ensuring smooth tank...

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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Pat & Deb

Thursday 16th of May 2024

Great tips, thanks so much. Saved us time and money not having to search and try a hundred brands.Everything you listed made a great checklist and was reasonably priced.

TheRVgeeks

Thursday 16th of May 2024

So great to hear, @Pat & Deb! Thanks!

David F.

Thursday 16th of May 2024

Does dishwasher detergent work on Black Tank sensors too?

TheRVgeeks

Thursday 16th of May 2024

It can, David. Check out this post for some other options, too: 4 Ways to Clean Your RV Tank Sensors

Max Shaver

Wednesday 15th of May 2024

Thanks for another great informational message. We have owned a Travel Trailer, 5th Wheel, and now a Thor Challenger 37TB Class A gas coach, and almost exclusively use Blue Dawn original Dishwashing liquid and Hot water to clean and deodorize our Black/Gray tanks. We very rarely stay longer than a week at one place, and I usually don't connect the sewer lines until dumping before leaving. The only exception to that is if I've set up the tank for cleaning between Campgrounds, using 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Dawn and about 5 gals of Hot water in the tanks after I dump and flush, and before departing. The hot water, and Dawn sloshing around in the tank while under way breaks down grease, and solids that may remain in the tank, and helps to eliminate, and or control odor. Once at the new campsite I dump this, and add about 5 gal of water to the tank via the tank flush, or at the sinks for gray tanks. This works for us, with little to no odor. We've used this method for several years, with no issues using whatever toilet paper is on sale, usually an inexpensive 2-ply paper, again with no issues. I always advise that "a properly designed, installed, maintained, and operated sewage holding/discharge system should be able to handle anything it's designed to handle". It's not a pleasant aspect of RVing, but a necessary one, and proper maintenance and operation of its systems make it a much faster, and trouble free chore.

Gay Tacoma (Washington) Travel Enthusiast

Wednesday 15th of May 2024

I've never used Rid-X for my house toilets. I don't exactly how safe it is.

David Crow

Wednesday 15th of May 2024

A friend of mine has used a small bottle of Pinesol in his tanks for years with out a problem. Dollar Store Special. What are your thoughts.

TheRVgeeks

Wednesday 15th of May 2024

Hi David. That kind of treatment is not uncommon. KleenTank has a "recipe" (https://kleentank.com/throw-away-your-rv-tank-additive-use-this-instead/) that uses PineSol and Calgon Bath Beads (for softening) that lots of people recommend.

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