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Cleaning RV Holding Tank Sensors

How to clean, restore, and fix misreading or dirty sensors and level gauges in you RV black water holding tank and toilet sewerCleaning RV Tank sensors is considered by many one of the most difficult issues to deal with in your RV. But don't worry! We'll help you get your sensors back on track and avoid problems in the future!

Misreading sensors can be a major annoyance and they can often get even the best of us - even when we're doing everything right with our holding tanks! If this is your situation, don't beat yourself up. It happens!

In this post we are going to go over everything you need to know about your holding tanks, why they malfunction, different ways to fix them, and how to prevent future sensor issues.

[Note: Not all sensor issues are caused by poop and toilet paper residue. It is not uncommon to have your RV sensor probes simply fail – to essentially break. Unfortunately, no amount of cleaning will restore broken sensor gauges. You will simply have to replace them. The following recommendations and tips are meant for WORKING RV SENSORS.]


What Causes RV Holding Tank Sensors To Misread?

Sensors in your waste tank can misread for a few different reasons, but the bottom line is that there is something covering the sensor that is causing it to misread. The debris that is coating your sensors, however, varies between black tanks and gray tanks.


Gray Tanks

When it comes to your gray water holding tanks, food waste, grease, oil, and fats cause 90% of the issues during normal use. When we say “grease and oils” don’t think JUST bacon grease. Common items like soap and shampoo will also contribute to grease buildup on your tank walls and floors. It is very common for soap scum / sludge to build up on the inside of your gray tank, coating sensors in a thick slime. By the way, this type of buildup can be extremely smelly as well! Not only do soaps and shampoos propagate odors but so do the food and food byproducts that make their way down your drains. We will get into preventative care a little lower, but food alone can create some nasty smells and build up on the inside of your tank without proper care.


Black Tanks

When it comes to your RV black water holding tank, the issue is a little more cut and dry. Poop and toilet paper are the main causes of misreading sensors. As poop is broken down and diluted into the liquids inside your tank, it can create a residue that can cake onto your sensors as you use your RV. Toilet paper will also get caught on the sensors, especially if you use a lot or if you don't use a good waste-digesting toilet treatment. That being said, problematic sensors are not inevitable. By using the proper care techniques, you can help to avoid misreading sensor problems in your RV holding tanks. We discuss this towards the end of this article.


Restoring Your Tank Sensors Requires More Than Just A Cleaning Product

Before we talk about the steps to solving your tank sensor issues, you need to understand that restoring your sensors properly and completely requires a combination of two important things:

  1. Choosing the right products
  2. Performing the correct maintenance processes to help physically restore your sensors

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Choosing The Right Products For Cleaning RV Sensors
Safe and Natural Cleaners (The best are bacteria / enzyme)

Like we mentioned above, we always recommend trying safe products and treatments first - so here we go! Hands down, bacteria / enzyme treatments are the most effective, safe, solution out there. Of the many bacteria / enzyme treatments on the market, Unique Sensor Cleaner is by far the highest quality and most effective treatment because it is packed with the highest quality ingredients, the best formulated strains of bacteria, and the highest concentrations of active ingredients. Cleaning your sensors is a tough job, so make sure you use the strongest, safe product on the market – Unique Sensor Cleaner.

Even if you are using the strongest products available, like Unique Sensor Cleaner, restoring misreading sensors can be tricky, which is why we are always here to help you get the results you are looking for. Contact us here for assistance!


Caustic Chemicals

We always recommend safe products first, but at the end of the day, we truly want to help you enjoy your RV. If you’ve tried everything – including our safe products and STILL have sensor issues, please reach out to us! We are experts on the topic of RV sensors and we can offer some alternative solutions that include less-than-safe products to help solve your sensor problem once and for all! You can email us here to get started.


Alternative Treatments

The most common alternative cleaning methods are:

  1. The Geo Method
  2. Ice and Driving Technique

These homemade solutions are fairly popular and many are familiar with them from word of mouth. Unfortunately, most frustrated RVers we hear from report that they've tried these techniques many times and they simply don't work.

Read our VERY in-depth article on the Geo Method here. You'll probably find it very interesting!


Let's Get To Work Cleaning and Restoring Your Tank Sensors!

Now that we’ve covered different types of products available to help you restore your sensors to their normal working condition, we hope you see how valuable using a high quality bacteria / enzyme treatment is and you've picked up a bottle of the best working bacteria / enzyme treatment Unique Sensor Cleaner! Now we'll go over the steps you’ll need to follow to restore your tank sensors.


Instructions For Black Tank Sensors

It's time to get to work on your black tank sensors! This extensive article will walk you step by step through the process of restoring your black tank sensors. Customers who follow this guide consistently have great success restoring their holding tank gauges.


    Instructions For Gray Tank Sensors

    In this article your will learn everything you need to clean and restore malfunctioning tank sensors in your gray water holding tanks. You'll probably be surprised how easy and inexpensive cleaning your gray tanks can be!


    Help Is On The Way!

    If you are still having problems with your holding tank sensors even after you've followed the above mentioned cleaning techniques, don't worry! We are very happy to help you get your sensors back on track. Contact our customer support team and let us help youEach sensor problem is slightly different, so it may take a little help from our experienced team!


    Best Practices For Preventing Sensor Problems

    A sensor issue may not be fixed overnight, but you can keep them from happening every night by employing the right habits.


    Preventing Sensor Malfunction In Your Black Water Holding Tank

    1.  Always keep your valve closed except for when dumping your tank
    2. Do not allow caustic chemicals or anti-bacterial products in your black tank
    3. Treat your RV black water tank with a high-quality, waste-digesting, toilet treatment after each dump
    4. Clean your toilets with an RV toilet cleaner
    5. Watch your tank temperatures
    6. Use plenty of water – We recommend holding down your toilet flush-peddle for 10 seconds every time you flush your toilet.
    7. Flush your tank often and thoroughly – We recommend flushing your tank for a full 20 - 30 minutes every 3 to 5 dumps.

    Read more about The Unique Method here.


     Preventing Sensor Malfunction In Your Gray Water Holding Tank

    1. Leave your gray tank open while camping on full hookups. This will make sure grease naturally drains out with water and doesn’t get stuck on the sensors or walls of your holding tank. Make sure you keep a kink in the hose so sewer gasses don’t seep into your RV.
    2. If you dry camp and keep your gray tank closed, treat your gray tank with a high quality, waste-digesting, toilet treatment to avoid accumulation of grease in your tank. We recommend using the Unique Dry Camper Camping Pack.
    3. Never allow food waste to get into your gray tank. Food waste contributes to tough build up, grease, and harsh odors.
    4. Clean your dishes with an enzyme-based dish soap. Dawn Dish Soap is a common choice.
    5. When possible, regularly back-flush your gray tank. We recommend flushing your tank for a full 20-30 minutes every 3 to 5 dumps

    Many holding tank treatment products claim to solve your sensor problems, and to put it plainly, they simply don’t. Though toilet treatment products are a very important part of maintaining working sensors, the majority of sensor issues come from how people maintain their waste water systems – not the product itself.

    The truth is, some products are MUCH better than others, but no product is a magic bullet, so it's crucial that you use the right product AND follow the right steps, like we've outlined in The Unique Method. Without using the right treatment and the right maintenance process it’s only a matter of time before you have a sensor probe foul up.

    As you have no doubt seen, cleaning RV holding tank sensors is often a very complex issue - but certainly not impossible!

    In this article we have outlined some of the common tricks you can use to fix your holding tank sensors. Truth be told, it is impossible to cover every possible issue and its cause, which is why we invite you to contact us if you have any questions or are dealing with an especially difficult problem. We would love to talk with you and help get you back on the road!

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