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Protecting Your RV Holding Tanks During Times Of Quarantine

  • 3 min read

Uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 outbreak are forcing people to shelter-in-place. In order to remain safe and healthy, many people are staying in their RVs, meaning there is increased strain being put on RV waste-water systems. Dealing with a clogged tank in the middle of a pandemic is the last thing anyone wants, so it is more important than ever to take holding tank maintenance seriously.  In this guide we’ll explore how to protect and fortify your tanks if you are forced to quarantine in your RV.

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Here are the steps to take to protect your vital RV waste-water systems:

Avoid Putting These Chemicals Down Your Drains

First things first, avoid allowing chemical cleaners, antibacterial soap, and antibiotics in your holding tanks. These kill beneficial bacteria and may result in clogs and odors. Here is a full list of chemicals to avoid.

Black Tank Treatment

In extreme cases, if you are forced to use creative toilet paper alternatives due to shortages in supply, DO NOT FLUSH THEM DOWN THE TOILET. Dispose of them in a lined wastebasket and empty that trash at least daily. 

If you are using normal toilet paper or RV toilet paper, follow these tips to keep your black water holding tank : 

  • Keep your black tank valve closed!
  • Increase your water usage: Hold down your flush pedal for a full 10-20 seconds with each flush. More water means more waste breakdown in the tank.
  • Always use a high-quality Bacteria + Enzyme treatment to ensure waste inside your black water holding tank is digested. Bacteria + Enzyme treatments are the only type of treatment that can effectively digest waste AND remove odors. We can help you find an effective Bacteria + Enzyme treatment if you need one.
  • Increase how often you dump your tanks - we recommend dumping every 3-5 days. 
  • Flush or rinse your tanks regularly and very thoroughly – we recommend rinsing after every dump. 
  • If you have a tank rinser, we recommend running it for 15-20 minutes. 
  • If you don’t have a rinser, fill your black tank completely full, then dump. Repeat this process 2-3 times. 

Dry Camping

If you are dry camping (boondocking) or have limited access to water, try to use as much water as you can spare to help digest waste and control odors in your tank. If water is very limited, or dumping is difficult, consider temporarily disposing of your paper waste in a wastebasket. We understand that this is not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

Please understand: Water is THE MOST CRUCIAL part of holding tank maintenance. If you don’t use enough water in your tank you will get odors and possibly clogs. Another important misconception that needs to be addressed: urine is not water and is not a suitable replacement for water.

Gray Tank Treatment

For all gray tanks: Ensure no food or grease goes down the drain and clean your dishes with heavy amounts of Blue Dawn dish soap. Blue Dawn has fantastic grease-digesting enzymes that will help eliminate gray tank odors and help keep sensor probes reading properly. 

If you’re camping on full hookups, leave your gray tank valve open, with a p-trap kink in the line to prevent sewer gas from backing up into your RV (Remember: The black tank should always be kept closed!). 

If you’re dry camping (boondocking), keep your gray tank valve closed. Use ample amounts of Blue Dawn and thoroughly rinse the tank whenever possible to help keep sensor probes working properly. Find more information on gray tank maintenance here.

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These are the most critical things to do during this period of sustained, heavy use. Most of what is mentioned in this guide is covered by The Unique Method, our proven holding tank treatment process that we have meticulously developed over the years through in-depth conversations with campers of all types. Following The Unique Method at all times (not just in times of crisis) is the most successful way to ensure your holding tanks remain problem-free. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to our customer support team, we’re always more than happy to help! Stay safe! We’ll get through this together.

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From misreading sensors, preventing clogs, or eliminating odors, we've got you covered no matter how you camp! All our best holding tank tips and trick information plus more can be found conveniently in one place when you download our FREE Unique Method Field Guide PDF. Achieve holding tank bliss today!

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