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The Unique Method

Learn how to use the most effective treatment process for your holding tanks form Unique Camping + Marine


KEY TAKEAWAY

Following The Unique Method as closely as possible will ensure that clogs, odors, and misreading sensors will be a thing of the past! This is a simple snapshot for your convenience. Further down the page we go into detail on these guidelines, so make sure you read them to help you understand how best to make The Unique Method work for you.


BLACK TANK RULES
  1. Always keep your black tank valve closed except when dumping your tank
  2. Always treat your holding tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment each time you dump
  3. Always fill your toilet bowl with water BEFORE you use the toilet
  4. Use ample amounts of water each time you flush your toilet
  5. Always keep several inches of water in your toilet bowl
  6. Keep your tank temperatures below 85 degrees
  7. Ideally, you should dump your tanks every 3-5 days
  8. Flush your holding tank for 20-30 minutes every 3-5 dumps
  9. Never clean your toilets with chemicals or bleach
  10. Perform a deep clean twice per year

GRAY TANK RULES
  1. Minimize the amount of grease that is allowed to go down your sinks and showers
  2. Regularly perform a deep clean on your gray tanks
  3. Use a high quality enzyme-based dish soap to wash your dishes
  4. If you are camping on full hook-ups, leave your gray tank valve open with a P Trap in the line
  5. If you are dry camping, keep your gray tank valve closed and perform a deep clean on the tanks each time you take your RV out
  6. Treat your gray tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment each time you dump them if you are dry camping
  7. Never clean your sinks, tub, or showers with antibacterial cleaners

The Unique Method is a proven holding tank treatment process that we have meticulously developed over the years through in-depth conversations with campers of all types. Our process is easy to follow and will virtually eliminate all problematic tank odors, prevent clogs and pyramid plugs, and ensure that your tank sensors continue to read properly. With The Unique Method, we've taken the confusion out of tank maintenance by developing, a very simple, yet robust program that is hands-down the most effective process available today.

Ask ten RV owners how to properly care for your black and gray water tanks and you’ll get ten different opinions on the “best way” to treat your holding tanks! Certainly, each of these recommendations and home remedies will have their pros and cons. For example, some are great at eliminating toilet odors, but do very little for waste digestion. As a result, clogged tanks and misreading sensors are all too common. Other recommendations are helpful for solid waste digestion inside the tanks, but then tank odors can quickly become unmanageable. In other words, very few RVers have been properly instructed on how to completely solve tank problems all at once. Many of these treatment styles and home remedies require you follow strange rules, often involving use of ice, laundry detergents, water softeners, or expensive chemical treatments. Then, after a whole lot of headache and expense, you're still left with troublesome tanks! It can be enough to make you consider hanging up your keys and calling it quits!

The Unique Method isn't just a sales pitch. We don’t overpromise success based on a certain product or a home remedy based on old wives' tales; instead, we offer a well calculated mix of mechanical processes (physically doing the right things) couple with the right tank treatments to achieve an odor-free, clog-free, and problem-free holding tank!

In fact, we’ve successfully helped thousands of RVers using The Unique Method. The techniques we use can be successful with any type of camping (including full hook-ups, dry camping, or full time) in any temperature—as long as you follow the rules.

Like anything else, failure to reasonably follow The Unique Method's rules (e.g., using enough water or dumping your tanks frequently) will ultimately limit its success. That's just the simple truth.

We want to be upfront about this: nothing is a magic bullet, and if you insist upon pushing your RV past reasonable levels, you will have problems. For example, if you dry camp for two straight weeks in excessively hot temperatures, use virtually no water in your toilet, and never dump your tanks, odors are going to show up. Sure, you can use a chemical deodorizer to help cover up those nasty toilet smells with strong fragrances, but then it’s likely that your sensor probes will misread, and waste will build up inside your tank! Of course, it’s entirely your prerogative if you want to camp this way! Enjoy your RV however you wish, but also understand that you will have tank issues.

Here’s a quick analogy that might help you better understand the idea we’re trying to espouse: no matter how great the toothpaste nor how effective the brushing technique, brushing your teeth only when you “feel like it” will not equal good dental hygiene! A good dental routine is just that: a routine—regular brushing, frequent flossing, and normal visits to the dentist. Of course, great toothpaste and an effective brushing technique is certainly a part of the puzzle, but you can’t stop there!

Just like proper dental care, properly treating your tanks isn't hard; you just have to know what to do and when to do it. Then simply make it a routine!

All that we’re trying to say is this: like it or not, there are certain unchangeable “laws of holding tanks.” Refuse to abide by the laws, and you will likely end up paying the price: odors and/or clogs. But don’t worry! Like we said before, The Unique Method’s “laws” are actually quite straight forward and forgiving, so you don't have to completely change how you use your RV if you want to avoid holding tank trouble!

Ready to start using The Unique Method and wipe away your toilet troubles? Let's get started!


What Is The Unique Method?

The Unique Method has some universal concepts that are true for all RVers. Understanding these may help you understand why we developed The Unique Method in the manner that we did.

  • Properly maintained holding tanks achieve two things: odor-free tanks and clog-free tanks. It's imperative that you put an emphasis on both—not just one or the other.
  • In order to maintain to properly maintain your tanks, it takes a combination of the right procedures AND the right tank treatment products.
  • Bacteria + Enzyme treatments are the only treatment option that will both digest waste AND eliminate odors. All other treatment types do either one or the other, but not both.
  • Deodorizing treatments won't do anything to prevent clogs. They are simply designed to eliminate toilet smells—usually by covering the odors with strong fragrances. Moreover, formaldehyde products are just all-around bad, so we recommend that you avoid them entirely.
  • Although enzymes are great for digesting waste, they won't do anything for odor. Though often believed to be the same thing, enzymes and bacteria are actually very different. So using an “enzyme treatment” won’t enable you to eliminate smells in your holding tanks.
  • Most problems that arise in holding tanks (including smells, clogs, and sensor issues) are caused by using inadequate amounts of water.
  • Tank odors are caused by “bad” anaerobic bacteria, which come from our stomach. As they break down, these bacteria release smelly hydrogen sulfide gas. In order to eliminate tank odors, you need to replace “bad” anaerobic bacteria with “good” aerobic bacteria. Aerobic bacteria can do the same job as anaerobic bacteria, but they don’t produce smelly hydrogen sulfide gas. Therefore, aerobic bacteria will break down waste and keep you’re your holding tank odor-free!
  • If you kill the bacteria inside your tanks with caustic chemicals or harsh treatments, you will ultimately prevent the breakdown of waste, which will eventually lead to solid waste backing up in your tanks—causing clogs and increased odors.
  • Camping in hot weather will lead to more odors; therefore, you must compensate by using more water and dumping your tanks more often. This allows the “good” aerobic bacteria from your tank treatment to thrive, because it gives these bacteria the water they need to survive. It also cools your holding tanks to create an environment where the bacteria can thrive and do their job of breaking down waste and eliminating smells.
  • It's important that you regularly rinse your tanks very thoroughly. This will lift and remove residual, trapped waste inside your tanks. No matter how effectively your treatment digests solid waste, even the most liquefied waste cannot completely drain out if the tank is installed out-of-level or if the RV isn't parked perfectly level. Instead, the waste will accumulate over time and lead to increased tank odors and problems.
  • Using normal toilet paper is completely fine in 99% of all RVs if you are properly breaking down the solid waste inside your tank.
  • Understanding how to correctly use your black and gray tank valves is a must to ensure your tanks are properly cared for. This is covered in depth in The Unique Method.

How Does The Unique Method Work?

Now that you know a little bit about The Unique Method, let’s get on to how it actually works! If you follow the guidelines below as closely as possible, clogs, odors, and misreading sensors will be a thing of the past! The first sentence of each number contains the basic idea of each rule, and then we give more detail in order to help you understand how to make The Unique Method work best for you.


Black Tank Rules:
  • Always keep your black tank valve closed, unless you’re dumping your tank.
  • Always treat your holding tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment each time you dump. We suggest Unique RV Digest-It.
  • Always fill your toilet bowl with water BEFORE you use the toilet. This will help waste to flow effectively down the line.
  • Use ample amounts of water each time you flush your toilet. Water is a HUGE component to proper tank maintenance. We recommend holding down your flush pedal for ten full seconds each time your flush your toilet. This will hydrate the good bacteria inside the tank and allow them to adequately break down solid waste. It will also ensure that all of the solid waste inside your tank is covered by water, which will help suppress odors.
  • Always keep several inches of water in your toilet bowl. This will prevent foul smells from seeping into your RV.
  • Keep your tank temperatures below 85 degrees. If you believe the tank is exceeding 85 degrees, use more water with each flush and consider increasing the treatment dose.
  • Ideally, you should dump your tanks every 3-5 days for optimum odor control. If you are going to extend the time between dumps, treat your tanks every 4 days with your bacteria + enzyme treatment and keep plenty of water in your holding tank. Doing so will boost the microbial count inside your tank and allow the bacteria to work in this nonoptimal environment.
  • Flush your holding tank for 20-30 minutes every 3-5 dumps with a built-in tank-rinser, external tank-flusher, or wand. This is crucial, because waste (no matter how well it gets digested by your tank treatment) will collect and accumulate in the low spots of your holding tank if your RV isn’t parked 100% level (and most RVs are always parked ever so slightly out of level). Waste cannot gravity-drain when you dump your tanks, so it must be manually flushed out.
  • Never clean your toilets with chemicals or bleach. Use only RV toilet cleaners, like Unique RV Toilet Cleaner. Using chemicals or bleach will kill the active bacteria that are doing their part to keep your hold tank systems working properly.
  • Perform a deep clean on your black tank twice per year. Unique Tank Cleaner is specially designed for biannual tank treatments. This will flush out the system, remove waste from the sidewalls and tank floor, remove debris that may have collected on the sensor probes, and lubricate your valves and seals.

Gray Tank Rules:
  • Minimize the amount of grease that is allowed to go down your sinks and showers. Even if you do a good job of wiping your dishes clean before you wash them, some amount of residual grease will still likely end up in your gray tank. If you are dry camping (where you leave your gray tank valve closed and the water is being stored as a solution in the tank), grease will accumulate over time on the sidewalls and cause your sensors to malfunction. In some ways, grease in your gray tank is inevitable, because soaps, shampoos, and cleaning dishes will always add some level of grease, but the more grease you can wipe away before washing your dishes, the better off you'll be! How you clean your tanks and how you use your gray tank valves is very important in the prevention of gray tank issues, as you'll see below.
  • Regularly perform a deep clean on your gray tanks, using a strong enzymatic cleaner. If you are dry camping, it would be smart to do a deep clean of your gray tanks each trip, the night before you head back home. For full hook-up campers we recommend preventatively cleaning your gray tanks once every 5-10 dumps. As a rule, if you start to see your sensors acting strange, it’s probably time to do a deep clean on them. Cleaning gray tanks is very easy and inexpensive, so do it often. You can learn more about cleaning your gray tank sensors in the tabs above that give specific instructions for using The Unique Method with each specific style of camping: Dry Camping, Full Hookups, and Full Timing.
  • Use a high quality enzyme-based dish soap to wash your dishes. We recommend that you bypass the cheaper options and purchase a large bottle of Blue Dawn dish soap. Blue Dawn is a great grease-eater and will go a very long way in helping you avoid common gray tank issues.
  • If you are camping on full hook-ups, leave your gray tank valve open with a P Trap in the line. When you are camping on full hook-ups, there is no reason to keep your gray tank valve closed. On the other hand, it's crucial that you always keep your black tank valve closed, because if you don't, liquid waste will easily flow out and down the drain, but the solid waste will get stuck, eventually forming a pyramid of poop and paper that will plug your toilet. If you are doing a good job of wiping your dishes before you wash them, you should never have any solid waste getting inside your gray tank; therefore, leaving your gray tank valve open should pose no clog issues. Just make sure, as we said above, that you put a P trap in the line to create a water barrier in the hose. This will eliminate foul odors from the sewer backing up into your RV.
  • If you are dry camping, keep your gray tank valve closed and perform a deep clean on the tanks each time you use your RV. When dry camping, most places require you to keep your holding tanks closed, including your gray tank. By keeping the tank closed, you allow the water to build up inside the gray tank. Like we’ve said above, all of the grease in that solution of water will start sticking to the sidewalls of your tank, eventually leading to malfunctioning sensor probes. Unfortunately, there is little leg room here, because regulations require you keep your tanks closed. However, in order to help prevent sensor issues and smells from waste that has collected inside your tank, you will want to clean your gray tanks well at the end of every boondocking trip.
  • Anytime you leave your gray tank valve closed, treat your gray tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment each time you dump. We recommend RV Digest-It as it has been specifically created with The Unique Method in mind.
  • Never clean your sinks, tub, or showers with chemical or antibacterial cleaners. Using caustic chemicals or antibacterial cleaners will kill the active bacteria inside your tanks and neutralize the bacteria you are adding with the bacteria + treatment you are using to treat your gray tanks.

How Do I Use The Unique Method?

Click The Links Below For Instructions On Your Camping Style:


In Review

By now you've read loads of information on The Unique Method. We hope it’s been helpful! Though tank maintenance can seem daunting at times, when you really boil The Unique Method down, it’s pretty simple and straightforward:

  • Use your tank valves correctly (black is always closed; gray is open when on full hook-ups and closed when dry camping).
  • Treat your holding tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment.
  • Use plenty of water every time you flush your toilet.
  • Keep water in your toilet bowl.
  • Fill your toilet bowl with water BEFORE you use it.
  • Dump your tanks every 3-5 days.
  • Flush your tanks very well every 3-5 dumps.
  • Don't clean your toilet, sinks, or showers with caustic or anti-bacterial cleaners.
  • Don't let your holding tanks get too hot.
  • Deep clean your black tanks at least twice per year and your gray tanks after each boondocking trip.

By doing the right things and treating your tanks with the right products, you can virtually eliminate all tank troubles in your RV! As we've shown you, there are slight variations for how you use The Unique Method depending on if you camp on full hook-ups or if you dry camp.

Next, we’ll restate some of the points made above and further break down our recommendations for specific camping situations:


Using The Unique Method When Camping With Full Hook-Ups
  • Always keep your Black tank valve closed, except when dumping the tanks. Always keep your gray tank valve open with a P trap in the hose. We recommend closing your gray tank the night before you dump your black tank and using the accumulated water to rinse your waste line after you dump your black tank.
  • Treat your holding tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment. We recommend RV Digest-It. It is formulated specifically to work with The Unique Method.
  • Use ample amounts of water every time you flush the toilet. We recommend you hold your flush pedal for at least ten full seconds each time you flush your toilet.
  • Keep several inches of water in your toilet bowl. This will create a barrier, preventing foul smells from seeping into your RV from your holding tank.
  • Fill your toilet bowl with water BEFORE you use it. This will help carry the solid waste down the line so that it doesn't get caught in the plumbing pipes.
  • Keep your tank temperatures below 85 degrees. If you believe the tank is exceeding 85 degrees, use more water with each flush and consider increasing the treatment dose.
  • Dump your tanks every 3-5 days. If you are using enough water each time you flush, your tanks will probably be full in 3-5 days. This is a fool proof way to ensure you're adding enough water to properly hydrate the beneficial bacteria from your tank treatment.
  • Flush your black tank very thoroughly every 3-5 dumps using a built-in tank-rinser, external tank-flusher, or wand. This is crucial, because waste (no matter how well it gets digested by your tank treatment) will collect and accumulate in the low spots of your holding tank if your RV isn’t parked 100% level or if your tanks weren't installed perfectly level. Waste cannot gravity-drain when you dump your tanks, so it must be flushed out manually. We recommend running the rinser for 20-30 minutes.
  • Don't clean your toilet, sinks, or showers with caustic or anti-bacterial cleaners. These will kill the beneficial bacteria inside the holding tank, leading to clogs and odors.
  • Perform a deep clean on your black tanks twice per year with Unique Tank Cleaner to flush the system, remove waste from the sidewalls and tank floor, remove debris that may have collected on the sensor probes, and lubricate your valves and seals.
  • Regularly perform a deep clean on your gray tanks. To do this, simply fill your gray tank with water and pour 20+ ounces of Blue Dawn dish soap down your sink(s). The grease-eating enzymes in Blue Dawn will help remove the grease that has collected on your tank's sidewalls. Let it sit overnight, and then dump your tank in the morning.

Using The Unique Method When Dry Camping (Boondocking)
  • Always keep your black and gray tank valves closed, except when dumping the tanks.
  • Treat your holding tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment. We recommend RV Digest-It. It is formulated specifically to work with The Unique Method.
  • Use ample amounts of water every time you flush your toilet. We recommend that you hold down your flush pedal for at least ten full seconds each time you flush your toilet.
  • Keep several inches of water in your toilet bowl to create a barrier to prevent foul smells from seeping into your RV from your holding tank.
  • Fill your toilet bowl with water BEFORE you use it. This will help carry the solid waste down the line so that it doesn't get caught in the plumbing pipes.
  • Keep your tank temperatures below 85 degrees. If you believe the tank is exceeding 85 degrees, use more water with each flush and consider increasing the treatment dose.
  • Dump your tanks every 3-5 days. If you are using enough water each time you flush, your tanks will probably be full in 3-5 days. This is a fool proof way to ensure you're adding enough water to properly hydrate the beneficial bacteria in your tank treatment. If you are going to extend the time between dumps, treat your tanks every 4 days with your bacteria + enzyme treatment and keep plenty of water in your holding tank. Doing so will boost the microbial count inside your tank and allow the bacteria to work in this nonoptimal environment.
  • Flush your black tank very thoroughly every 3-5 dumps using a built-in tank-rinser, external tank-flusher, or wand. This is crucial because waste (no matter how well it gets digested by your tank treatment) will collect and accumulate in the low spots of your holding tank if your RV isn’t parked 100% level or if your tanks weren't installed perfectly level. This waste cannot gravity-drain when you dump your tanks, so it must be flushed out manually. We recommend running the rinser for 20-30 minutes.
  • Don't clean your toilet, sinks, or showers with caustic or anti-bacterial cleaners. These will kill the beneficial bacteria inside the holding tank from your high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment which will lead to clogs and odors.
  • Deep clean your gray tank after each boondocking trip. To do this, simply fill your gray tank with water the night before you head home. Pour 20+ ounces of Blue Dawn dish soap down your sink(s) into your gray or galley tanks, and let it sit overnight. The grease-eating enzymes in Blue Dawn will help remove the grease that has collected on your tank's sidewalls, allowing it to rinse out when you get to the dump station the next day.
  • Perform a deep clean on your black water holding tank twice per year with Unique Tank Cleaner. This will flush the system, remove waste from the sidewalls and tank floor, remove debris that may have collected on the sensor probes, and lubricate your valves and seals.

Using The Unique Method For Full Time Campers
  • Always keep your Black tank valve closed, except when dumping the tanks.
  • Always keep your gray tank valve open with a P trap in the hose. We recommend closing your gray tank the night before you dump your black tank. This will allow some water to accumulate in the tank, which you can use to rinse your waste line after you dump your black tank.
  • Treat your holding tanks with a high-quality bacteria + enzyme treatment. We recommend RV Digest-It. It is formulated specifically to work with The Unique Method.
  • Use ample amounts of water every time you flush your toilet. We recommend that you hold down your flush pedal for at least ten full seconds each time you flush your toilet.
  • Keep several inches of water in your toilet bowl to create a barrier, preventing foul smells from seeping into your RV from your holding tank.
  • Fill your toilet bowl with water BEFORE you use it. This will help carry the solid waste down the line so it doesn't get caught in the plumbing pipes.
  • Keep your tank temperatures below 85 degrees. If you believe the tank is exceeding 85 degrees, use more water with each flush and consider increasing the treatment dose.
  • Dump your tanks every 3-5 days. If you are using enough water each time you flush, your tanks will probably be full in 3-5 days. This is a fool proof way to ensure you're adding enough water to properly hydrate the beneficial bacteria from your tank treatment.
  • Flush your black tank very thoroughly every 3-5 dumps using a built-in tank-rinser, external tank-flusher, or wand. This is crucial, because waste (no matter how well it gets digested by your tank treatment) will collect and accumulate in the low spots of your holding tank if your RV isn’t parked 100% level or if your tanks weren't installed perfectly level. This waste cannot gravity-drain when you dump your tanks, so it must be flushed out manually. We recommend running the rinser for 20-30 minutes.
  • Don't clean your toilet, sinks, or showers with caustic or anti-bacterial cleaners. These products will kill the beneficial bacteria inside the holding tank, which will lead to clogs and odors.
  • Perform a deep clean on your black tanks twice per year with Unique Tank Cleaner. This will flush the system, remove waste from the sidewalls and tank floor, remove debris that may have collected on the sensor probes, and lubricate your valves and seals.
  • Regularly perform a deep clean on your gray tanks. To do this, simply fill your gray tank with water and pour 20+ ounces of Blue Dawn dish soap down your sink(s). The grease-eating enzymes in Blue Dawn will help remove the grease that has collected on your tank's sidewalls. Let it sit overnight, and then dump your tank in the morning.

Final Thoughts

Adherence to these guidelines will all but guarantee that your holding tanks remain in perfect operating condition! Use The Unique Method, and you won't believe how comfortable, clean, and easy-traveling an RV can be! In fact, we put together a pack that includes all the products we recommend here as well as a guide you can take with you!

Of course, there are always hiccups and unexpected hang-ups which can occur, so don't get discouraged! That's what we're here for! If you run into problems after following The Unique Method, and you need a little help, don't hesitate reaching out to us at support@uniquemm.com. We're happy to help you get back on track!