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Treating Your RV Holding Tanks While Dry Camping

March 06, 2019

Treating Dosing Fixing Your RV Motorhome Camper Trailer Fifth 5th Wheel Boat Bus Waste Water Black Gray Holding Tanks Sewer Galley While Dry Camping Boondocking Desert Hot Heat Water Low

Dry camping (AKA boondocking) is an inexpensive and exciting way to travel in your RV. However, without proper care, your RV holding tank can quickly get a clog or start to stink. As much fun as it is to be remote within the comfort of your RV, there are a few tips and tricks to keep your RV waste systems from putting a damper on your trip. In this article we will go over preventative care, best practices, and solutions for dumping while you're boondocking. 

Proper care for your RV holding tanks is a hot topic. We say this all the time, but if you ask 100 RVers how they treat their tanks when they dry camp, you will get 100 different opinions. Believe it or not, there is a right way to navigate these waters  Lets get to the facts.


Water, Water, Water

Your Black Water Tank

By far, the most important aspect of your trip should be preparing your black water holding tank(s). Preparation consists primarily of pre-charging your holding tank with 5-7 gallons of water before you leave and treating your tank with a quality holding tank treatment. Pre-charging is important because one of the biggest ways to prevent odors and waste build up is by using plenty of water and if you don't have access to water, its a good idea to give yourself a head-start on odor control at the beginning of your trip. 

Another important aspect of preparation is pre-treating your black water tank with a quality waste digester treatment. By adding a waste digester you will consistently break down waste in your holding tank throughout your trip. This saves space in your tank, effectively increasing your tank capacity, and keeps odors under control. We recommend using RV Digest-It to treat your holding tanks before, during, and after your boondocking adventure. The top quality waste digesting microbes in RV Digest-It will work around the clock to keep the waste in your holding tank broken down, preventing clogs and odors during your trip.

To get the most out of your waste digesting treatment, use an adequate amount of water each time your flush. Every time you use your toilet, we recommend holding down your RV toilet pedal for at least 10 seconds. Ample amounts of water allow for your waste digester to reach all of the waste in your tank and it keeps the water level above the waste inside your holding tank; further controlling odors. To keep any odors from seeping into your RV, we recommend you make sure you fill your RV toilet half way with water after every use.

In the event that the steps above can't completely control smells in your RV, a mineral/salt holding tank treatment will help control odors. When you are dry camping in high heat, we recommend Unique Tank Odor Eliminator. It is a mineral/salt treatment meant to work hand in hand with RV Digest-it to control odors in even the most extreme heat. Be sure to follow all safety use directions on any mineral/salt treatment as many of them come with safe handling instructions. Read more about hot weather odor control here.  

In Summary
  1. Pre-Charge Your Black Tank With 5-7 Gallons of Water Before You Hit The Road.
  2. Use A Quality Waste Digesting Holding Tank Treatment - Pre-treat your tank with RV Digest-It.
  3. Use an Ample Amount Of Water - Flush your toilet for 10 seconds after each use.
  4. Keep Your Toilet Filled Half Way With Water - Create a water barrier to keep smells from seeping into your RV.
  5. Treat With Tank Odor Eliminator To Further Control Odors In High Heat.


Your Gray Water Tank

With gray water, prevention of odors can be difficult. Because you are dry camping, you aren't allowed to let your gray tank drain onto public lands, meaning potential grease build up and sensor issues inside your gray tank. There are a few solutions that deal primarily with prevention.

First, you should never allow food waste down your sink and into your gray tank. If you allow food waste down your sink and into your gray tank, it is only a matter of time before strong odors appear from the grease and food waste build-up. Dispose of food waste in a trash can, not in your sinks. As much as an RV can feel like a home away from home, the water systems are VERY different. Using a strainer in your sinks is a great way to keep any food waste from making its way into your gray tank. 

Second, because you have to store your gray water, it's incredibly important to use a potent waste digester like RV Digest-It. Frequent treatment will help keep your sensors clear of grease and keep odors at bay. Treating and flushing your tank before and after your boondocking trips will also help keep your gray tank free of strong odors and tough grease build up.

Third, In the event that you get odors in your gray water tank, treat with RV Digest-It and/or Unique Tank Odor Eliminator to control strong smells coming from your gray water tank.

In Summary
  1. Keep Food Waste From Getting Into Your Gray Tank - Use an in-drain sink strainer and throw away any food waste.
  2. Use A Quality Waste Digester - Odors can get terrible when you have to store your gray water, a waste digester like RV Digest-It will help to control odors and sensor build up.
  3. Clean Your Gray Tank Before and After Your Trip To Prevent Build-Up - Tank Cleaning can need extra strength treatment, we recommend Unique Tank Cleaner.
  4. If You Do Get Odors, Use A Mineral/Salt Treatment To Control Strong Smells - Using a mineral/salt treatment like Tank Odor Eliminator will keep strong odors in check.

Note: It is often illegal to dump your RV gray water tank on public lands due to the large volume of liquids in your holding tank. Check local laws. Waste water disposal can sometimes be tricky when you dry camp, use this guide on where to dump if you are having trouble finding a place on the road.


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