An RV bathroom in need of an RV tank cleaning

RV Tank Cleaning: How to Keep Your Black Water Tank Clean

Your RV tanks are very important. And although you may not see them when you’re camping, “out of sight, out of mind” is not a phrase you want to use as your motto – especially for your black water tank! Keeping your tank clean tank is a great way to ensure its longevity.  

Benefits of Cleaning Your RV Tank 

There are plenty of benefits to RV tank cleaning. It’s as important as regular oil changes in your tow vehicle; with some pretty foul consequences if you don’t clean it! Let’s take a look at the top 4 reasons for keeping your tank clean: 

1. Reduce odors. A clean tank reduces the risk of odors from sewage build-up in your black water tank. Foul smelling tanks do not make for pleasant vacations. 

2. Damage prevention. Your tanks or toilet can require expensive repair as a result of poor maintenance. 

3. Increased longevity. Proper care will increase the life of your RV tank system. 

4. Prevent malfunctions. Critical malfunctions can occur in your tank sensors when your tanks aren’t cleaned. 

The Three Steps for RV Tank Cleaning: 

Here is an easy 3-step guide to follow when cleaning your black water tank: 

Drain Your Black Water Tank 

Just like you can’t wash dishes that are full of food, you can’t clean a black water tank that is full of raw sewage. It may seem elementary, but the first step in RV tank cleaning is to prepare for the cleaning process by draining the tank. 

Anyone with RV camping experience is likely familiar with the dumping process for your black water tank. It becomes a natural part of the tear-down checklist. The work isn’t glamorous by any means, but the right RV tank cleaning accessories such as reliable sewer hose kits and clear connectors that allow you see when the job is done can simplify the task. 

The actual procedure to drain your black water tank is fairly simple and straightforward. Simply connect your hose to a proper dump station then connect the other end to your RV and open the valve. 

Important Tips for Draining Your Tank 

As you can see, the actual process is easy, but there are a few nuances that help the procedure flow smoothly. You’ll want to make sure you always flush out the black tank first. Follow up with dumping your gray tank so that the gray water flushes out any remnants that may be left from the black water tank. 

It’s important to have a dedicated waste hose for the black water tank. Never use your drinking water hose to dump your black water tank. Backflow can occur and you don’t want black water to contaminate a drinking water hose. 

Always use the designated dump station when emptying your black water tank. You never want to dump your black water tank anywhere other than those areas designated for it. Not only is this important for sanitation purposes, it’s also part of using good dump station manners and overall good camping etiquette.    

Finally, make sure that your hoses are properly maintained. Store them carefully to prevent deterioration or punctures. A cracked hose does not result in a pleasant experience at the dump station! 

Remove Blockages and Build-up 

Step two in the RV tank cleaning process is to make sure the tanks have been properly emptied. Over time, anything from waste solids to paper products that went into the tank can become attached to the walls of the tank. Once they become adhered they can be too much for a flush to remove.  

This build-up needs to be cleared before it reaches a critical mass that blocks the proper dumping process of your tank. Maintenance is far easier than any potential solution for a hard clog. A backed-up RV tank can be a nightmare, so a tool such as a tank cleaning wand is a good investment. They help more easily clean the tank interiors and are much safer than tools such as power washers. Such extreme power may clean debris but also has the potential to damage your tank.  

Seasoned campers are always good for advice and many have YouTube channels that can give you some good ideas. You may end up opting for other useful tools such as hand-powered augers or toilet snakes. These can help with clogs that you think won’t be dislodged with direct water spray from a wand.  

Refill and Apply Treatment 

When your tank has been emptied of black water and debris build-up, the final step of treating the tank with a cleaning solution can be taken. Black water tanks can be treated with homemade methods or store-bought treatments. In time you will find the method that works best for you. Keep in mind that harsh chemicals should be avoided as they can damage your tanks.  

Adding water is the first step in refilling after your RV tank cleaning. Once you have added water, follow the directions on your preferred cleaning treatment. Beware of some of the homemade solutions which use detergent. If you overdo it you run the risk of backing up your toilet with bubbles! 

How Often is Enough RV Tank Cleaning? 

It is important to dump your RV black water tank as soon as it fills. Letting it go too long can be disastrous. However, there is a balance to RV tank cleaning. It is possible to empty too often, especially if you aren’t using enough water. The ideal time to dump is when your tank is around two-thirds of its capacity. If you have to dump before your tank has reached that level, be sure to add water first. This will help wash away debris that may be stuck to the sides of the tank above the water level and help you avoid some of the most common causes of backups or clogs. 

The recommended timeframe for conducting a thorough tank cleaning is every 30 to 60 days; this can even be incorporated into an overall RV cleaning. However, the way you care for your tank in between the major cleanings may reduce the frequency you need to thoroughly clean it. When it comes to RV tank cleaning, it’s hard to clean your black water tank too often. As long as you steer clear of power washers and harsh chemicals, the cleaner your tank is the longer it will last.  

Contact RV Wholesale Superstore 

The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (866) 640-9871 

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