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Old 04-07-2023, 10:34 AM   #1
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When you find a good product, share it with others!

Over 20 years working with my travel trailer and fifth wheel holding tanks, looking for new ways to keep them clean. I've tried all sorts of methods which work well, at least for me.

There is back flushing, rinsing with the black tank flusher, using the toilet wand down the toilet hole, I even used a power washer a couple times in the black tank through the toilet hole, running water down the toilet itself, driving on the road and letting the tanks slosh, various chemical treatments, and the list could probably go on and on.

For me, back flushing works very well, and I'll continue doing that. But that does not help the grey tanks very much.

RV sewer treatments help some, and I've used septic tank Rid-x a few times too.

But in time, that kitchen sink tank really begins to stink when dumping. I dump on the ground at home usually, and run the black tank into my septic tank at home. I've noticed the last year, how smelly the kitchen sink tank is. No smells inside the camper, only when I dump it at home on the ground. I used a bit of bleach and that works for a time or two, but when dumping, the food particles still drip out of those last few moments. So, I know there are food particles trapped inside that tank.

In my house, I use the stuff in the photo below. As I said, we are on a septic tank and this stuff does great, not only for keeping pipes flowing in the house, but also puts those emzynes in the septic tank.

A few days ago, I took the time actually read the label and "it" jumped out at me like "SURPRISE" at a birth day party! It's good for RV's too!

So, I tried it at home. Although we are now using the camper again full time in the drive way, I poured some down each tank and then used the camper as we normally would. The tanks sat while in use, for about 5 day, and when I dumped them ... OH MY GOODNESS! The stuff that came out of the kitchen sink drain was hideous! But ... it did not smell!

The bathroom grey tank was incredible what came out of it too, and the black tank ... well ... I'll leave that one to your imagination.

Mind you, I am adamant about cleaning my tanks when dumping. I do the back flush, keep Dawn and Laundry Soap in the black tank (and backflushing with the grey tank using a washing machine .... well .... that's LOTS of laundry soap washing it out). But, when those enzymes started eating away at the residue stuck on the sides, it made me realize just how inefficient "dumping with plenty of water" really is.

I purchase this stuff at Lowe's Home Improvement. It calls for 1 ounce down each drain. That's what I used. I now have a new "tool" for tank maintenance. I'm going to continue to add that 1 ounce down each drain every time I dump now.

This stuff does work and it does work really, really nice in the RV.

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Old 04-07-2023, 11:19 AM   #2
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Old 04-07-2023, 01:26 PM   #3
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As a retired plumber, I can attest to how nasty drains get, whether it's a shower, kitchen sink, or any other drain. The tanks in the rv are all septic tanks. You are spot on. They all should be treated as such. Your experience is a great reminder for all of us to take care of the tanks. I probably need to do mine. I doubt the previous owner cleansed the gray tanks.
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Old 04-07-2023, 03:34 PM   #4
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I agree when you find a great product or place share it. Someone will fine it useful. I will try Zeb drain defense. Thanks
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Old 04-19-2023, 01:20 PM   #5
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Thanks for passing that on. I will give it a try.
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Old 04-19-2023, 02:07 PM   #6
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Any biological treatment needs some number of days to become useful. If you are an overnight camper, it will do nothing. If the magic number of days is less than what you stay put, then the active time is x-y, where x is the length of stay and y is the time needed to start working. I have not seen any product that can work for short stays up to 5 or 7 days. Longer stays will work as long as you are on a 10-day black cycle. Since the grey fill up in 2, 3, or 4 days there is no hope. Before you jump on me, have you done a double-blind test, or is this just a case of 'I keep the tigers away from the USA by snapping my fingers' what do you mean it doesn't work? Have you seen a tiger around here?
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Old 04-19-2023, 07:03 PM   #7
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This is the best video I have ever seen on black tank, really any tank maintenance.

That link will take you to where the company owner talks about what they recommend for tank treatment, (and he gives the "recipe" away!) but if you have time you should really watch the whole video.

Somewhere in it he says where people mess up with tanks is by treating them like septic tanks. They are not. They are holding tanks, and are not put there for the purpose of digesting waste products. That is counter productive if you want to keep your tanks clean and your monitor probes working.

Last season I started just using plain water... lots of it in the black tank and never had an odor problem, and never had any issue dumping. I was really surprised. This season I plan on mixing up a batch if his "solution" and giving it a try, especially in the gray tanks where we really don't have the need, or the capacity for extra water on board.

Long video if you watch the whole thing, but great information from someone who has cleaned hundreds of RV tanks in his business and I assume he knows what works and more importantly, what doesn't.
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Old 04-19-2023, 08:04 PM   #8
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LOL - saw that video just last night! Had me scratching my head due to all the advice I've seen for a long, long time. What he said made sense though. Definitely food for thought.
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Old 04-20-2023, 08:26 AM   #9
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Here is what I do once a year and have not had any problem,

Purchased a 25 footer from amazon for $40. also use this

Since we are on the road full-time I just go to the local rental yard and rent a pressure washer fo a 1/2 day.
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Old 04-20-2023, 08:35 AM   #10
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Just downloaded the recipe and will give it a shot. I assume this eliminates the need for any other additives?
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Old 04-20-2023, 09:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Foldbak View Post
Just downloaded the recipe and will give it a shot. I assume this eliminates the need for any other additives?
I've not used anything else since I started using this. Although, we do have a washing machine in our fifth wheel and I always back-flush the grey water into the black tank for additional rinsing of the black tank. So, that does throw some laundry soap into the black tank when I dump. And the kitchen sink still continues to get dishwashing liquid down it.

It does take a little time, so don't get discouraged if the smells are not gone after the first attempt. It wasn't until the 3 or 4th time I noticed smells were .... well ... gone. I have clear sections of sewer hose drain pipe so I can see what's coming out. The kitchen sink holding tank was the one that really surprised me after just the first treatment. And, amazing, the smells are gone from the kitchen sink grey tank. It was the worst smelling.

The longer you can keep the treatment in the tank, the better it gets. Remember, enzymes are good bacteria that eat bad bacteria. And they grow and multiply, but do die off once they have nothing left to feed off of. So, for the first few dumps, keep adding an ounce after every dump. You will see (and smell) the difference shortly. The goal is to get rid of all the stuff that's clinging and stuck to the sides and bottom of the tanks. Get that stuff dissolved and it will flush on out. New stuff will always smell, but there is a big, big difference in the "new" poop smells and the old "poop" smells.

The difference is, after dumping the new poop, the tank doesn't have that "old poop" smell any more.

Once you get the inside cleaned up, I would think you could go back to your normal deodorizer methods to help hold the "new poop" smells at bay. By now, the "old" is gone.

Treat the tanks every now and then with this afterwords and keep the good bacteria growing.
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