There are a lot of great options when it comes to using the best homemade RV holding tank treatment to break up waste and deodorize your tanks. Many people prefer to use these natural, homemade solutions rather than store-bought chemicals.
One of the best homemade treatments you can use in your RV holding tanks is a combination of baking soda and vinegar. It breaks up waste quickly and deodorizes effectively, while protecting your holding tanks from harmful solutions that will wear them down over time.
Types Of Holding Tanks In Your RV
RVs have one or more holding tanks that collect fresh water, sewage, and gray water. These tanks are made of durable materials that can withstand years of use, but they require special care to prevent them from becoming overloaded with waste and odors.
There are three types of holding tanks in your RV:
- Freshwater tank – This is the tank that holds your potable (drinking) water.
- Sewage tank – Also known as the black water tank, this is where your toilet waste and wastewater are stored.
- Gray water tank – This tank collects all the other wastewater from your sinks, showers, and laundry.
Most RVs have a single freshwater tank and two waste tanks – one for sewage and one for gray water. However, some larger RVs have two freshwater tanks and three or more waste tanks. Our fifth wheel has one freshwater tank, two black tanks, and two gray tanks.
It’s important to know which type of tank you have so that you can properly treat the water and waste. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the same cleaning products in your black water tank as you would in your gray water tank.
The Best Homemade RV Holding Tank Treatments
There are a few different methods that you can use to treat your holding tanks. The method that you choose will depend on the type of tanks that you have, the size of your tanks, and your personal preference.
Many people prefer not to use chemicals, which can wear down your tanks over time, which leaves you with natural, homemade treatments.
The good news is there are a lot of different recipes for homemade RV holding tank treatments, and you’re sure to find one that works for you.
Here are a few of the best homemade RV holding tank treatments:
1. Vinegar and baking soda
This is one of the most popular methods because it’s simple and effective. All you need is:
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- Pour the baking soda into your holding tank.
- Pour the vinegar and let it foam.
- Repeat as necessary.
The baking soda and vinegar will react to create a foaming action that will help to break down waste and eliminate odors.
It can also unclog shower and sink drains rather effectively without the use of chemicals like Drano, which are not advised for RV use.
Borax is a natural mineral that can be found in the laundry aisle of most stores. It’s safe to use and is an effective cleaner and deodorizer.
To use borax, simply add 1 cup to your holding tank, flush it with water, and let it dissolve. You can add more borax if you have a large tank or if you have a lot of waste, and you can use it as frequently as you need.
3. Dish Soap
Dish soap is another common household item that can be used to clean your holding tank. It’s important to use a natural dish soap that doesn’t contain any fragrances or chemicals.
- 1 cup of dish soap
- 1 gallon of water
To use dish soap, add 1 cup to your holding tank and follow it with 1 gallon of water. The dish soap will bubble and begin working to break down the waste. Let it sit for a few hours before flushing.
4. Borax And Dish Soap
While Borax and dish soap individually can work well, combining the two might work even better.
- 1 cup of Borax
- 1 cup of dish soap
To use, mix the ingredients together and add them to your holding tank. Flush it with water and let it sit in the tank for a few hours, or days, before draining it.
5. Citric Acid
Citric acid is another natural cleaning product that can be used to clean and deodorize your holding tank. There are many different types of citric acid you can use, like lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar.
To use citric acid, add 1 cup to your holding tank and let it dissolve. You can always add more of this, too. The great thing about using lemon or lime juices is that they offer a clean smell when you’re done.
6. Washing Soda
Washing soda is similar to baking soda, but it’s stronger and more effective. It can be found in the laundry aisle of most stores.
To use washing soda, add 1 cup to your holding tank, flush it with water, and let it dissolve. You can add more as needed, but be careful not to use too much because it can be harsh on your septic system.
7. Water Softener And Dish Soap/Laundry Detergent
Also known as the Geo Method, this process treats your holding tank like a dishwasher.
Combining water softener and dish soap with a gallon of hot water works to dislodge waste and prevent it from sticking to the sides of the holding tank in the future.
- 2 cups powdered water softener
- 1 cup powdered laundry detergent or dish soap
- 1 gallon of hot water
- Splash of household bleach*
- Dump your tanks like you normally would.
- Add water softener and laundry detergent/dish soap to hot water. Use 2 cups of water softener for gray tanks. For your black tanks, add water softener and 1 cup of laundry detergent/dish soap.
- Wait a few days before dumping your tanks again.
As this solution sits in your tanks, the laundry detergent or dish soap works to dissolve and dislodge waste. However, the water softener will prevent future waste from sticking to the sides of your tank.
*Household bleach is only necessary if you have a problem with odor. If your tanks don’t smell, you can omit this ingredient. Many people don’t like to use bleach because it can be too harsh for your tanks.
Why Cleaning Your RV Tanks Is Important
Cleaning your RV holding tanks is important for a few different reasons. First, it helps to prevent odors. When waste breaks down, it releases odors that can be unpleasant. Cleaning your tanks regularly will help to eliminate these odors.
Additionally, cleaning your tanks will help to keep your septic system working properly. It can prevent clogs and backups, and it will extend the life of your septic system.
Finally, cleaning your tanks is important for sanitary reasons. When waste breaks down, it can release harmful bacteria into the air.
This bacteria can be dangerous if inhaled, so it’s important to keep your tanks clean to prevent exposure.
What Can I Put in My RV Holding Tank to Make it Smell Better?
There are a few different things you can put in your RV holding tank to make it smell better. One of the best things you can do is to add a deodorizer. This will help to eliminate odors and keep your RV smelling fresh.
There are many different types of deodorizers you can use, like baking soda, vinegar, or citric acid. These types of deodorizer help to neutralize odors, but may not lend their own pleasant smell.
You can also use essential oils to add a pleasant scent to your RV. Simply add a few drops of oil on a piece of toilet paper or directly into your toilet or sink. Then flush it through with water.
As a last resort, you can use chemical compounds specifically made for cleaning RV holding tanks. These can deodorize more effectively, but will break your tanks down more quickly over time.
Can I Put Baking Soda in My RV Holding Tank?
Yes, you can put baking soda in your RV holding tank. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that will help to eliminate odors. You can use it as frequently as you need, and it’s safe for your septic system.
To use baking soda, simply add 1 cup to your holding tank, flush it with water, and let it dissolve. You can always add more if necessary.
The great thing about using baking soda is that it’s safe for your septic system and won’t break down your tanks over time.
Can You Use Dawn Dish Soap In RV Black Tanks?
Yes, you can use Dawn dish soap in RV black tanks. Dishwashing liquid is designed to break down grease and food particles on dishes, so it makes sense that it would help break down any organic material that accumulates in the tank and help keep things running smoothly.
However, it’s important to remember not to over-use the soap, as it could accumulate in the tank and cause problems with the plumbing system.
Additionally, some soaps are designed specifically for use in RVs, so you may want to do a bit of research before using Dawn dish soap in your RV black tank.
Ultimately, however, if used properly, Dawn dish soap can be a great way to help keep your RV black tank clean and running smoothly.
Conclusion: What Is The Best Homemade RV Black Tank Treatment?
The best homemade rv black water tank cleaner is one that will clean your tanks effectively and safely. There are many different products you can use, like baking soda, vinegar, or citric acid. You can also use essential oils to add a pleasant scent to your RV.
My favorite option is baking soda and vinegar because it breaks down waste effectively and can even unclog shower drains. It works quickly and deodorizes well.