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Invaluable Black Tank Tips

Invaluable Black Tank Tips

Using the restroom...nobody likes to talk about it, but everyone has to do it. Unfortunately, far too many people use their RV toilet without doing their research, something that eventually leads to clogs, smells, and all sorts of other less-than-pleasant things.

Related Read: Bathhouse Etiquette

Obviously, avoiding these things is ideal. Therefore, I have gathered a list of tips and tricks my family and I have learned during our time RVing. Put these tips to use, and you will avoid the vast majority of black tank issues.

Keep the Valve Closed

Many new RVers believe that an open valve is best when using the black tank. After all, it would seem that the faster you can get your waste out of the tank, the better off you’d be. However, this isn’t actually the case.

You see, an open valve does allow liquids to drain quickly. However, it often leaves solids sitting in the bottom of the tank, and with nothing to keep them floating or help them dissolve, they dry out and stick. By leaving the valve closed until the tank is relatively full, you can avoid the dreaded TP pileup and ensure all solids leave when you do open the valve by using the force of the liquid leaving the tank all at once.

Related Read: Composting Toilets: Ecologically and Economically Friendly Options

Rinse After Use

Some people make the mistake of believing that simply dumping their black tank rids it of all waste. The truth of the matter is that dumping alone without rinsing leaves behind a large amount of “debris” which will eventually begin to smell. For this reason it is important to fill the tank with clean water after the initial dump. After refilling the tank, dump the rinse water to get rid of excess waste.

If you find that the water isn’t running clean after one rinse, try filling the tank once more and adding a water softener. Let the solution sit for a couple of hours before dumping again.

Use the Right Paper

Another common cause of clogs and TP pileups comes from using the wrong type of toilet paper. Although RV-specific toilet paper isn’t always necessary, it is important to choose a paper that will dissolve in water over time. Typically this means purchasing a one- or two-ply paper, and any new TP you try should be tested in a glass of water first in order to ensure it will dissolve in the tank.

Related Read: Is RV Toilet Paper Really Necessary?

Water is Your Friend

When flushing your RV toilet, you may feel tempted to skimp on the amount of water you put down. This is especially true for boondockers who wish to fill their tanks as slowly as possible. However, this practice has a tendency to backfire in the form of undissolved solids and horrendous smells. Therefore, it is important to remember that water is your friend when flushing in an RV, and using extra water will help keep the smells at bay.

Use these tips when using the restroom in your RV and you can spend more time making memories and less time dealing with problems that stink.

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Chelsea Barron


Chelsea Barron

Chelsea has the amazing opportunity to take part in full-time RV living and traveling with her tiny tribe. She homeschools her five-year-old son as they travel, and takes full advantage of their unique situation by using the entire world as her son’s classroom. A group of total Disney fanatics, Chelsea and her family often find themselves in the Orlando area in order to visit the Disney parks, but they have also visited over 25 of the 50 states with plans to see many more along the way. No matter where her travels take her, Chelsea enjoys riding bikes, gazing at beautiful sunsets, finding new coffee shops, Irish dancing, and sitting around a campfire with her family. Check out her blog Wonder Wherever We Wander.

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