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How To Prepare Your RV Holding Tanks For Storage

September 08, 2020

How to prepare your RV holding tanks for storage. Unique Camping + Marine

You're ready to wrap up your RV trip, but you're unsure about how to properly store your RV. Believe it or not, how you store your RV can have a strong impact on your wastewater systems and improper storage can lead to a number of headaches.

In this article, we’ll explain our recommendations for preparing your RV holding tanks for storage - whether between trips or at the end of the season.

Short Term RV Storage

Black Tank

Some people believe that storing an RV between camping trips is as easy as parking it in their driveway or storage lot. This is far from the truth! In fact, “storing” your RV in this way can cause significant problems!

Besides freezing (more on that below), the biggest issue you want to avoid is waste drying out in your black water holding tank. This occurs when RVers fail to dump and rinse out their holding tank before storing their RV. If waste is left inside your holding tank during storage, it will dry out and solidify, potentially causing: 

  1. Misreading sensors
  2. Increased likelihood of odors
  3. Clogged and compacted tanks

We recommend that you always dump your black tank before storing it and thoroughly rinse the tank using a built-in tank rinser, flusher, or external wand for 20-30 minutes. (This information is also covered in The Unique Method, our comprehensive guide for proper holding tank care!)

To prevent the above-mentioned issues, we recommend that you store your RV with a black tank full of fresh water and a full treatment of RV Digest-It. Even if you rinse your tank very thoroughly, you will likely still have some residual waste clinging to your tank walls. RV Digest-It will break down any residual waste that could still be clinging to your tank walls during storage, keeping your tank odor-free and your sensors in proper working order!

If freezing could occur while your RV is in storage, we recommend you never store your RV with water in any of the tanks or lines. You will need to winterize your RV.

Guide Continued Below

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Gray Tank

The issues RVers encounter when temporarily storing their gray tank are not as serious as those they face when storing their black tank. But it’s still very important to properly prepare your RV’s gray tank for short term storage!

We suggest that you empty your gray tank before storage. If you store your RV with a gray tank full of water, residual soap scum and grease can be lifted off the bottom of your tank and become suspended in the water. This soap scum and grease can coat your gray tank walls and sensors, causing misreading gauges and odors. So your best bet is to empty your gray tank of all liquid before storing it!

To combat this residual soap scum and grease in your gray tank, we strongly recommend that you perform a deep clean on your gray tank before you put your RV into storage. To learn more about how to deep clean your gray tank, check out this article!

Keep in mind, simply emptying your gray tank doesn't mean you are insulated from freezing. If your RV may encounter freezing temperatures, you will have to completely winterize your RV, not just empty the tanks, to ensure no lines get damaged from freezing.

Freshwater Tank

Short term storage of your freshwater holding tank is simple. We recommend that you fill your tank with water before storage. Not only does this help prevent the plastic tank from drying out, but it’s also a good idea to keep your fresh water tank full of clean water in case you have to leave your home unexpectedly (such as for forest fires, earthquakes, other natural disasters, or an impromptu camping trip!). 

Again, if your RV may encounter freezing temperatures, you will have to completely winterize your RV, not just empty the tanks, to ensure no lines get damaged from freezing.

Long Term RV Storage

So far this article has covered short term RV storage. If you need to store your RV long term and you live in an area with a warm winter climate, where there is no risk of your holding tanks or lines freezing, then we simply recommend that you follow the guidelines given above.

If, however, you need to store your RV over the winter in a cold climate where freezing is likely, you will need to fully winterize your unit. To complete this process, please see our article on how to properly winterize your RV unit

If you should have any further questions after reading this article, please don’t hesitate reaching out to us at

Adopt The Unique Method

You bought your RV so you could enjoy life and spend time with family and friends. The last thing you want to do is waste precious time and money on fixing wastewater holding tank problems. Keeping your tanks in peak operating condition doesn’t have to be hard, confusing, or expensive if you follow our proven process: The Unique Method.

The Unique Method is a comprehensive tank care plan that we developed after years of conversations with real customers facing real problems. The Unique Method provides you with simple, preventative steps to stop odors, clogs, and sensor problems before they start so you can spend less time worrying about your holding tanks and more time enjoying the freedom and adventure of RVing. Try it yourself and see why thousands of campers trust their RVs with The Unique Method every day.

If you need more help with anything covered in this guide or simply have a comment, we’re here to help you anytime!

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