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Does Your RV Need Holding Tank Treatment?

Who wants to live in a porta-potty? Yeah, neither do we. But that’s what your RV can start smelling like if you don’t keep that black tank ship shape.

That’s why a lot of people use an RV holding tank treatment. They reduce odors and keep your RV’s plumbing working properly.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Follow along and we’ll help you understand all about holding tank treatments and how to keep your RV’s black tank from becoming a cauldron of toil and trouble.

Let’s jump in!

What Is Holding Tank Treatment?

Holding tank treatments are chemicals added to the tank to help break down the solid waste, prevent odors, and keep the sensors operating correctly.

Most treatments contain enzymes that break down organic matter and bacteria that consume waste. This helps minimize the chances of a clog caused by solid waste and toilet paper.

Most treatments also contain deodorizers to help control odors. When used correctly, RV holding tank treatments can help keep your tanks clean and odor-free.

Do All RVs Need Holding Tank Treatment?

You don’t have to use a holding tank treatment, but we highly recommend one. It’s not easy to gain access to the inside of your tank to clean it thoroughly. A holding tank treatment helps break down solids and waste materials so they can be more easily rinsed out of the tank.

What Are the Benefits of Treating Your RV Holding Tank?

It may not seem like much, but a regular maintenance dose of holding tank treatment can go a long way. Several benefits lead to keeping your system clean and odor-free.

Treating your holding tank with chemicals helps break down waste and prevent build-up on the tank’s walls. This can extend the life of your tank and prevent costly repairs down the road.

In addition, treating your tank will help to control odors. No one wants to have that RV that smells like sewage! By using holding tank treatments, you can help keep your rig smelling fresh and clean. 

Finally, treating your RV holding tank helps prevent waste build-up on tank sensors. Build-up can cause the sensors to present false readings or even cause them to stop working at all. Reducing build-up on the sensors helps ensure a proper reading.

Are There Disadvantages of Treating Your RV Holding Tank?

While we believe the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives when using a holding tank treatment, there are a few disadvantages.

First, the chemicals can be expensive and must be replenished frequently. There are different types of tank treatments, from liquid to powder to tablets, all of which come with varying price tags.

Second, some chemicals can break down the seals and gaskets in your holding tank, leading to leaks. So you need to choose wisely.

Finally, improper use of powders or tablets can create a sludge that can clog your holding tank’s exit valves. Be sure to follow the instructions. You don’t want to make the exact problem you’re trying to avoid.

How Often Should You Treat RV Black Tank? 

To be most effective, we recommend treating your RV’s black tank every time you drain it. Any time you dump the tank, it’s best practice to spray out the inside of the tank then as best you can. Then use the holding tank treatment by closely following its directions.

What Is the Best Holding Tank Treatment for an RV?

When it comes to the best holding tank treatments, we’ve listed some of our favorites, focusing on a couple of key considerations.

First, we recommend avoiding tank treatments that have formaldehyde in them. Formaldehyde can be harmful to humans and can work against you when it comes to breaking down solids.

We chose these three treatments because they’re all effective and fall roughly into a similar price point. However, there’s ample variation in their form, so you can opt for the one that best suits you.

Happy Campers RV Holding Tank Treatment

Happy Campers is a powder that comes in a bulk container. You scoop out the dose, pour it into the toilet, and flush it into the tank. It’s odor free, works in hot and cold temperatures, and liquefies solids and even most ordinary household toilet paper, negating the need for more expensive RV-specific toilet paper.

Unique RV Digest-It Black Holding Tank Treatment

RV Digest-It contains a unique bacteria and enzyme formula that liquefies solid waste and all toilet paper brands. It eliminates black tank odors without masking them with perfume smells. It comes in a concentrated liquid that is easy to use by pouring the specified amount into the toilet and flushing it into the black tank.

Camco TST MAX RV Toilet Treatment Drop-INs

If the convenience factor is crucial for you, Camco’s TST MAX drop-in pods couldn’t be any easier. Like the other treatments, TST MAX Drop-INs break down the solid waste and toilet paper, help to control odors, and are formaldehyde free.

What Happens If You Use Regular Toilet Paper in an RV Toilet? 

The arguments over regular toilet paper versus RV-safe toilet paper can reach nearly the same boiling point as American politics. There are staunch proponents of only using RV-specific toilet paper and those who are just as sure it makes no difference.

As usual, the truth can be found somewhere in the middle. Without any tank treatment, we recommend sticking with RV-safe toilet paper, as it’s made to break down a little quicker than household toilet paper, reducing the chances of a clog.

That said, many folks argue that single-ply toilet paper works just as well, even without a tank treatment. And as you can see, the treatments we suggest in this post claim to break down regular, household toilet paper and RV-specific toilet paper.

Without any sort of tank treatment, we would recommend sticking to RV-safe toilet paper. Left to its own devices, the thicker and two-ply household toilet papers are a recipe for clogs. They simply don’t break down well enough for an RV holding tank. 

Even when using a tank treatment, we recommend RV-specific toilet paper or at least limiting household toilet paper to the single-ply variety. In most cases, you’d probably be okay with two-ply or thicker toilet paper when used with a good tank treatment, but why risk it?

Is Treating Your RV Holding Tank Worth It?

Simply doing a thorough job of rinsing out your black tank every time you dump it’ll do wonders in reducing odors and keeping it from clogging. But for our money, nothing compares to coupling that cleaning procedure with a good holding tank treatment.

The one-two punch of a good rinse and an effective tank treatment will reduce odors and lessen the chances of a clog. Plus, it’ll also keep your tank sensors working properly and extend the life of your plumbing system, including the tanks.

Are you tired of those smelly odors emanating from your RV toilet? Try one of the holding tank treatments we recommend today. Your nose, and your family, will thank you for it.

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