RV Black Water Tank Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

RV Black Water Tank Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Updated October 2, 2022

- By Tim Harris

Regularly cleaning and maintaining the sewer system.

One of the most crucial equipment in an RV is its black water tank. The toilet discloses its wastewater, and the RV black water tank holds it. This tank makes your RV journey more enjoyable and convenient than tent camping and other car travel. However, cleaning the black water tank is crucial as it ensures proper working and smooth functioning of your RV.

Typically there are two types of tanks in RV one holds the freshwater, and another holds the “Grey or Black water.” A unique sensor is designed in each tank inside, which will give you the sign regarding the tank inside’s amount of liquid. As it’s an essential thing in RV thus, improper working or damaging the tank’s sensor could be a frustrating issue for you.


What is an RV Black Water tank?

Usually, two types of the waste water tank are available on RV’s board, and those are:

  1. Blackwater tank and
  2. Gray water tank

The gray water tank container maintaining your RV’s hygiene and smooth-functioning, the most crucial task is cleaning the sewer system of your RV. RV black water tank cleaning is similar to cleaning your home’s bathroom. However, RV black water tank maintenance is the RV life’s least interesting or least glamorous part. But if you want an odor-free and pleasant ambient, you have no other option than the liquid that goes down to the RV shower and sinks drain. On the other hand, the black water tank catches the RV toilet’s wastewater. The portable black water tank collects both the solids and liquids. So it requires special maintenance compared to the gray tank.

The above two types of the tank have an in-built sensor or meter, showing how much water or liquid is remaining in the tanks. Unfortunately, various things can gum up in the black water or Gray water tank, and it may cause the tank’s sensor malfunction.

Essentially the use of these tanks is to hold all those wastewater or liquid that usually goes to the drain. However, the black water tank for camper holds the following wastewater:

  • Bathtub and shower water
  • Toilet’s wastewater
  • Floor drain
  • Rinse water from washing machine
  • Bathroom and kitchen sink water
  • Dishwasher rinse water

Residues from any of the above types of water are enough to damage the tank’s sensor. Thus you need to maintain and clear your RV black water tank regularly.


RV Black Water Tank Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

So, are you looking for specific tips on how to clean RV black tank? If yes, you don’t need to look for a second option. Flushing black water tank is not tough. Instead, it’s pretty easy. But if you are unfamiliar with its flushing process, doing this job may seem strange and unpleasant to you. But once you flush and clean your RV black tank on your own, it would become a basic routine for you. So, let’s discuss the RV black water tank’s flashing way.

RV Black Water Tank Cleaning and Maintenance Tips


1. Drain the Black Tank

On the wastewater dumping hole, at first, connect the one end of the sewer hose of your RV. And the other end connects with the RV’s tank valve. Then the tank’s inside content will start flowing in the septic tank’s inside once you open the tank valve.

First, dump the wastewater from your black tank and then from gray tank. Because the black tank holds more residue and debris and the gray water at the end helps flush that remaining debris. However, when your RV’s black tank is full of more than half or 2/3 parts, you should dump it. Dumping it on the halfway helps to float and drain properly the solid and liquid wastage.


2. Remove the Tank’s Debris Build up

Are you thinking you would drive away as soon as dumping your RV tank’s wastewater? But it’s not that much easy. After flushing the black water tank, you also have to conduct a few basic level maintenance tasks.

The after flushing tasks include dirt and debris buildup removal from the tanks. However, you can clean the remaining debris and dirt buildup in several ways. Some of the methods are the following:

  • Use a flush valve to clean debris
  • Clean the buildup using a macerator
  • Lastly, use a tank rinser to clean the remaining waste


3. Add Sufficient Water to Cover the Tank’s Bottom

After dumping the wastewater, remove the tanks inside debris and use water to fill the tank’s bottom. Filling enough water in the tank’s base will help the tank to function properly.

Moreover, the tank will also not face any damage. However, water in 4-5 quarts is enough to cover the bottom. Depending on its size and shape, you may require more or less water to add to the tank.

4. Treat Tank

This step is optional for you, and you can do it if you want. The thing is, you have to treat your tank after flushing it. After flushing, dumping and cleaning your RV black water tank, if you treat it properly, it would prevent future clogs, buildup, and odors in tanks inside.

After dumping every time, you should treat your black tank as much as possible. On the contrary, you don’t need to treat the grey tank every time after flushing it. Most of the RV tank’s treating way is quick and straightforward.


Regular Maintenance Tips

So, if you read the above portion, you now know how to flush black water tank. After rinsing the tank each time at a dumpsite, you need to follow some RV tank maintenance tips. Those tips are the following:

  • Before attempting to flush the tank, you must wear your protective gear to keep yourself safe and hygienic. For example for escaping from bad odor you can wear face mask.
  • Flushing black water tank is the priority; thus, every time flush the black tank at first
  • Use the gray tank’s soapy water to clean the black tank’s residue
  • The dumpsite may or may not have the spare hose for cleaning your RV’s tank. Thus before going to the dumpsite, pack your spare hose.
  • Don’t wait to fill the tank with wastewater. Dump it when it becomes full by 2/3 part or more.
  • Don’t use the fresh water hoses for rinsing the sewage hose or cleaning the black tank.
  • If you see enough pressure in the dumpsite, you should wait for some time to let others dump their wastage. In the meantime, you can treat your RV tank.
  • Always after dumping the wastage, clean yourself and leave the dumpsite clean. And always drain the wastage into the drainage pipes.


Monthly Deep Cleaning Tips

If you want to make your RV’s monthly cleaning process more manageable, follow the tips below. In addition, these tips are handy for those who want to store their RV after cleaning its black water tank. So let’s discuss these tips:

  • Your RV’s pre-storage cleaning and deep cleaning process will be easier if you dump the wastewater of your RV frequently or as often as possible.
  • The more efficient, effective, and quickly profound cleaning way is cleaning the RV and its tank at least once per week.
  • To get the best result from deep cleaning, remove the black tank’s debris by usually dumping it. And then wholly drain your black and grey tanks.
  • After draining the tanks, fill the tank’s ¾ portion using water and add two cups of bleach in it. For avoiding harmful fumes, close the toilet lid.
  • After adding the bleaching into the water, wait for 5-10 minutes and drain the tank water again. Right away, once again drain your RV’s black tank.
  • Now, again repeat the tank filling process with water. This time uses fresh water to fill the tank. As long as all the buildup and debris remove, drain the tank continuously. And also, make sure that the bleaching powder’s smell has completely disappeared from the tank.
  • If bleach powder remains in the tank, it will damage your RV tank and the plumbing system. Thus rinsing all the bleach from the tank is essential.



Hopefully, after reading the above article, it is clear that RV black water tank cleaning is not as disgusting as you think. Instead, creating and following a specific routine for RV black water tank maintenance would greatly help to prevent damage. Moreover, frequent cleaning and maintaining the RV tank will keep your RV odour-free and damage-free. And it will help you to avoid any costly repair in future.

RV black water tank maintenance is an easy process requiring the effective and efficient technique too frequently clean, rinse and sanitize the RV. If you can afford the highest premium quality chemicals for cleaning RV, you should always purchase them. Also, be careful when using toilet paper. And don’t flush any non-flushable material in your RV toilet. Otherwise, it will create a clog.

Tim Harris

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