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Old 01-17-2014, 12:05 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by my_crib_too View Post
Anyone using this technique also use the enzyme-producing bacteria products that are available or is that not necessary?

Also, does everyone use RV toilet paper or with this technique can you use home type TP?
Try this test.
Put some water in a bowl add a few sheets of the paper you use at home.
Watch and see how long it takes for the paper to break down.
If it does not break down try another brand.
Using the Kirkland brand tp in both houses.

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Old 01-17-2014, 12:52 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by my_crib_too View Post
Anyone using this technique also use the enzyme-producing bacteria products that are available or is that not necessary?
I don't know my stuff real well, but it's my understanding that the enzyme producing bacteria don't have enough time to work with a RV system where it's dumped every few days (mine is ever 3-4 days depending on who is along) or weekly. And when it's dumped, you're starting without the enzyme-producing bacteria and are starting over.

The TP test is a good one. We just use our home stuff because we're very particular (almost weird ) about our TP. That said, I did have a clog because of it, not enough water, and having 6 guests who weren't very RV toilet savvy.

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Old 01-17-2014, 01:36 PM   #53
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I use the Calgon/Laundry soap every dump and the enzyme treatment ONLY when I winterize (or have a very infrequent issue).

TP is a good quality single or dual ply. Stay away from the ones that talk about "not falling apart when wet." Advertisement puts a weight on the paper and then wets it. You want the brand where it busts through!

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Old 02-16-2014, 08:42 AM   #54
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Awesome info! Thanks
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:16 AM   #55
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There are some RV savvy individuals on this forum that do not put toilet paper in their holding tank; don't know where they put it. The way to check a paper disolving characteristics is to put some in a mason jar with water and seal with lid and shake a few times. If disolved to fine particles it is ok for rv use. We use Charmin Ultra Strong paper and we also use Charmin Freshmates Flushable Wipes, all of which go into the holding tank. Have never had a problem with clogging and such for more than 10 years. We do use an enzyme additive after tank flushout (may or may not need that). The key is the way in which the holding tank is cleaned out (we have a cleanout input port in our MH). Connect cleanout input and apply pressure. Open drain valve and allow tank to drain. Close the valve and allow cleanout to fill to full holding capacity via the cleanout port and then open valve to drain tank again (may need to do this more than once till water flow is clear). I know there is a cautionary plackard saying to never close the valve with the cleanout port pressureized. The black tank is vented and closing the valve is not detrimental. Monitor the holding tank level light or just open the flush valve in the commode to see when the tank is full (use a flashlight if needed). This procedure will empty the tank of all material. My tank takes more than 20 minutes to fully fill so there is no panicky rush to verify tank water level. There are of course horror stories about doing a cleanout this way and I believe 99.9% are urban legend stories. Google for RV tank cleaning procedures to know the facts. We try to accomplish our cleanout prior to leaving the CG site so as to not tie up the dump only location. If coming off a boondocking trip we still do this procedure at a dump site. Your tank will always be fresh as possible and your level indices will tell it like it is, maybe. Nuff said.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:08 PM   #56
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As far as toilet paper We use Scott's according to another Rv site I used to frequent it dissolves the fastest of any commercial paper and is way cheaper than the rv stuff. If I can find it the two ply doesn't dissolve before your done wiping either. We are seasonal campers and our Rv doesn't move Ever. So I have to make sure my tank is clean to keep odors down and We have a flushing system installed form the factory. I used the geo method (look it up online) several times a summer to clean the tank. It isn't easy to find the calgon except in rural areas. I will dump my tank and then refill it using the geo method and fill it to the top. then let her dump.
In the past we have had to bleach the water lines in our camper several times every summer.using this method we had to flush the lines and hot water heater for a long time to get the bleach odor out. I was reading an article a bit ago about how to clean ou hot water tank in your stick house. It said to use hydrogen peroxide and you only need to let it set an hour or two where when we bleach our system we let it set overnight usually. It says the odors aren't as bad and it's easier to flush out.
Has anyone tried peroxide on this if so let me know. I know a lot of the seasonal campers have worse problems that we do as I believe the bacteria in the water lines grows more when you remove pressure from the lines. Since we live in the campground from june until august we don't have the bacteria problem as bad as when we just did weekends.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:59 AM   #57
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FANTASTIC info!! Definitely using this method with our new camper. Thx all.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:21 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by ddbck View Post
FANTASTIC info!! Definitely using this method with our new camper. Thx all.
With new tanks, you can't go wrong with Liquid Calgon WATER SOFTENER and laundry detergent. Use a "laundry load" and 5 gallons of water initially and after each dump. This will keep your tank walls and floor slick (so stuff does not stick) and the detergent will keep stuff in solution.

Make sure you get WATER softener and not FABRIC softener. Fabric softener has WAX in it that will foul your sensors to uselessness in very short order.

Calgon Water Softener, 32 oz.: Cleaners :

I have only used the liquid, but I have heard that if you "pre-dissolve" a laundry load of Calgon Softener powder in a gallon of water it works just as good.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:33 AM   #59
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Tornado flush

As the previous poster stated, use a clear elbow on the sewer pipe and and flush the septic tank until the water runs clear. I have had one for years and they work great. Never used one to clean grey tanks though as you really should not have solids going into the greys if possible. Enjoy!
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:16 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by NDJollyMon View Post
Black and Gray Water Holding Tank Maintenance
By Charles Bruni

Everyone who owns an RV should be concerned with maintaining its wastewater tanks. Problems with wastewater tanks that can be avoided should be avoided. Wastewater tank repair is expensive. Due to health concerns, many service facilities will not work on wastewater tanks and lines until the tanks have been completely emptied and sanitized. This may be quite difficult when the tank(s) is in need of repair. So, common sense dictates that the tanks should be kept relatively clean at all times. Additionally, improper use of the wastewater tanks can lead to a build up of solid wastes, which in itself may cause the system to fail.

Iíve discovered very simple, effective, and inexpensive methods of maintaining my wastewater tanks in a relatively clean condition at all times. I developed these methods myself through my understanding of chemistry, physics, and biology with a smidgen of common sense thrown in for good measure. I also read my RV ownerís manual. Although we are not full time RVers we use our fifth wheel camper at least one weekend a month. We never use public bathing and toilet facilities. In other words, our wastewater tanks are fairly heavily used. Since Iíve met a number of RVers who donít seem to know how to maintain their wastewater tanks I thought many RVers would find my tips useful. If you have not been maintaining your tanks I believe you will be pleasantly surprised the first time you employ these tips. I do these things and they work.

When you are camping and your RV is connected to a sewer/septic intake, leave the drain valves closed until the tank is full and ready to dump. Dumping a full tank provides a sufficient quantity of water to flush solids from the tank. Leaving the drain valves open allows the water to drain off without flushing out solid waste. That solid waste will collect in the tank(s) and cause problems over time.

In other words, dump the black (commode) water tank first, then dump the galley tank, then dump the shower and bathroom sink tank. This way you will be flushing out the dirtiest water with progressively cleaner water.

This stuff is amazing and it works. Buy a couple of boxes of powdered water softener at the grocery store. Youíll find it located with or near the laundry detergent products. I prefer Calgon Water Softener because it dissolves quickly in water. Cheaper water softeners work just as well but dissolve more slowly. Dissolve two (2) cups of the water softener in a gallon of hot water. Then, pour the solution down the drain into the empty tank. Use two cups of softener for each wastewater tank in your RV. The tankís drain valve should be closed otherwise the softened water will just drain out. Then use the tank(s) normally until it is full and drain it normally. Add a cup of laundry detergent to the black (commode) water tank at the same time. This will help clean the tank.The gray water tanks should already contain soap through normal use.

The water softener makes the solid waste let go from the sides of the tanks. If youíve ever taken a shower in softened water you know that after rinsing the soap from your body your skin will feel slick. Thatís because all the soap rinses away with soft water. Softened water also prevents soap scum from sticking in the tub. Get the connection? With softened water gunk washes away instead of sticking. The same thing applies to your RVís wastewater tanks.

I use one of those clear plastic elbow connectors to attach my sewer drain line to the wastewater outlet on my RV. It allows me to see how well things are progressing during a wastewater dump. Before I began using water softener regularly the black water tankís water was brown, the galley tankís water was brownish, and the bathroom tankís water was white. The first time I added water softener to the tanks the water coming from the black water tank was actually black (not brown) and the kitchen tankís water was also black (not brownish). The bathroom tankís water remained white. That told me that the water softener had actually done what I had intended for it to do and made solid waste, which had been stuck to the interior of the tanks, let go and drain away. I added water softener to all the wastewater tanks for the next few dumps to be certain all the solid waste possible had been cleaned away. The wastewater only appeared black on the initial treatment. I now add water softener to each tank once after every few dumps to maintain the system.

Occasionally, I pour a gallon of liquid bleach into each tank to sanitize and disinfect them. I no longer use the blue toilet chemical because it isnít necessary. I have no odors coming from my black water tank. Generic brand liquid bleach is cheap and very effective.


Most fresh water contains sediment. Sediment will accumulate in your wastewater tanks and your fresh water lines. It also tends to discolor your sinks, tub/shower, and commode. I use the disposable type and have found that they eventually fill up and begin restricting the fresh water flow resulting in low pressure. Thatís how I know itís time to get a new filter. It works, itís cheap, it avoids problems, do it.


ē I believe occasionally traveling with partially filled wastewater tanks that contain softened water promotes cleaning by agitating the water. The same goes for chlorine bleach.
ē I believe this process works faster and more efficiently during warm weather. However, I know it works well even during cool/cold weather.
ē I believe the process works best the longer the water softener remains in the tanks. So, I donít add water softener during periods of heavy wastewater generation. I wait until I know we wonít be generating wastewater quickly so that the softened water remains in the tanks for several days before dumping.
ē I add a small amount of chlorine bleach to the fresh water tank twice a year to disinfect and sanitize the fresh water tank and fresh water lines. A weak chlorine bleach solution will not hurt you. However, it certainly makes the water taste bad. When we have chlorine in the fresh water system we use bottled water for drinking and cooking until the chlorine is gone.
ē My tanks are plastic and my pipes are PVC.
ē Donít be afraid to use your tanks. Just use common sense about their care and maintenance.
ē These tips are inexpensive to do. Some of them donít cost anything. You have nothing to lose in trying them and I encourage you to do so. I actually feel a certain amount of pride in the condition and cleanliness of both my waste and fresh water systems. Naturally, these tips make dumping a much more pleasant and sanitary procedure.
ē If you have odors in any of your water systems these procedures should eliminate them. Odors indicate a sanitary problem and degrade the enjoyment you derive from your RV.
ē When my RV is parked and not in use I place stoppers in my sink and tub drains. This allows the wastewater tanks to vent through the vent pipes to the outside instead of through the drains into the RV.
Thanks for the great tips. I will go buy some water softener. Like the tip on leaving plugs in the sinks too

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