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Old 08-20-2015, 10:20 PM   #1
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Using vinegar and soda to clean gray water tank

Has any one used vinegar and soda to clean out gray water tank?
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:29 PM   #2
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Fill mine 1/3 full, add 2 clothes washing detergent pods and drive home. I can dump mine behind the barn before putting the TT inside.
You can reverse that scenerio by adding water and soap pods before leaving home for the camp ground and dump as soon as you arrive.
Travel safe
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:21 AM   #3
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Not sure how vinegar (dilute Acetic Acid about 5%) or "soda" (typically a VERY dilute mix of Carbonic Acid, Citric Acid, and Phosphoric Acid - in Colas mostly) mixed together will dissolve hair, food, and soap scum.

You would be far better off IMO, with a "base" solution as opposed to an acid one. That is why drain cleaners are mostly lye (Sodium Hydroxide), like Draino. If you need to dissolve a hairball on your sensors, use liquid Draino diluted 1 part Draino to 4 Parts water (ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS add the Draino to the water NOT the other way around unless you would prefer a different and not better face). Add about 5 gallons of cool water to the tank and then add the diluted Draino to the tank; fill it and let it sit for 24 hours; then drain it.

Never use it undiluted and NEVER the Draino powder with aluminum bits in it. The powder will get VERY hot and could melt your plastic tank and plumbing.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:33 AM   #4
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Draino powder and aluminum makes heat? Ouch!

Vin.
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Old 08-21-2015, 08:46 AM   #5
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I do a black tank flush then add 2 cups bleach to the black tank and fill it with water.
I do the same with the gray tanks, flush them out then add 2 cups bleach and fill with water. I'll let them sit for a few days then when I think about it I'll drain them.
I've never had any stink issues.
Simple and easy to do
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:05 AM   #6
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Bleach in not a cleaner and only a sanitizer. It is also extremely corrosive and will damage the plastic over time. It is one of the most misused products. There are far better products to use that will cause no damage and will clean the tank.
On the bleach subject but a bit different be careful how much you add to the fresh tank as it will damage the water lines. A little goes a long way and a lot will not do a better job.



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Old 08-21-2015, 09:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinmaker View Post
Draino powder and aluminum makes heat? Ouch!

Vin.
Aluminum and any oxidizer or reducer is always a real crowd pleaser.

Mixing aluminum granules with rust (Iron Oxide) makes Thermite

Mixing aluminum powder with potassium perchlorate makes the star shell/M-80 filling that goes BOOM (Fireworks).

Mixing aluminum powder with sulphur powder makes a GREAT solid rocket fuel.

I could go on, but you get the idea.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:08 AM   #8
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So Herk how long have you been blowing stuff up. It sounds like fun. Maybe a event at next years rally?



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Old 08-21-2015, 09:13 AM   #9
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So Herk how long have you been blowing stuff up. It sounds like fun. Maybe a event at next years rally?
Been blowing stuff up since I was 14.

Made a career out of it in the Air Force

LOTS harder to get the "good stuff" these days.

As to Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite), it WILL dissolve hair (and flesh for that matter) but pretty much full strength is needed and as stated will most certainly damage stuff you don't want damaged.
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:47 AM   #10
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So, Herk, have you looked down the street lately at the Homeland Security Car!
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Old 08-21-2015, 09:51 AM   #11
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Bleach in not a cleaner and only a sanitizer. It is also extremely corrosive and will damage the plastic over time. It is one of the most misused products. There are far better products to use that will cause no damage and will clean the tank.
On the bleach subject but a bit different be careful how much you add to the fresh tank as it will damage the water lines. A little goes a long way and a lot will not do a better job.
2 cups of bleach in 45 gallons of water isn't very strong I wouldn't think.
You think I should back off to 1 cup in 45 gallons of water?
I'm sanitizing my holding tanks not my fresh water tank using this method.
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:01 AM   #12
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Here is what I just read on RVbasics.com web site. Don't know if its right or wrong you decide.


Generally Accepted Method to Sanitize Fresh Water

The generally accepted method of sanitizing your RV's fresh water system as outlined below involves filling the fresh water tank with a solution of household bleach and running the solution through each faucet. Then letting it stand for at least three hours. Finally, flush the system once or twice to remove the taste and smell.
This procedure is one you'll find in most any book about RVing it tried and true but be sure to read on to find out what I do.
Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.
Turn the water heater off and let the water cool.
Dilute 1/4 cup of household bleach for each 15 gallons of tank capacity in to a gallon of water.
Add the chlorine/water solution to the water tank. (Never pour straight bleach into the RV fresh water tank. )
One faucet at a time, let the chlorinated water run through them for one or two minutes. You should be able to smell the chlorine. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)
Top off the RV fresh water tank and let stand for at least three hours over night is better.
Completely drain the system by flushing the faucets for several minutes each. Open the fresh water tank drain valve to speed up emptying the tank.and Open the hot water tank drain plug and drain until it is empty.
Close all valves and faucets and drain plugs.
Fill water tank with fresh water.
Flush each faucet for several minutes each repeating until the tank is again empty. (Make sure you are using the water pump and not an external water supply.)
Fill the tank again. The water should now be safe to drink but if the chlorine odor is too strong you can repeat the fresh water flush.
Your RV fresh water system should now be safe for use.
The way I Sanitize My RV's Fresh Water Tank.

A friend and fellow full time RVer, Bill Randolph told me how he uses something other than household bleach which works well for him and I also started using it. I think it is worth passing on to you. Before he retired, Bill spent twenty years in the swimming pool business. He's an expert when it comes to sanitizing swimming pools and spas and says the same rules apply to RV fresh water systems.
Bill uses Chlorinating Concentrate (Sodium Dichloro-s-Triazinetricone or Sodium Dichlor for short). Sodium Dichlor contains 62% available chlorine. Compare that to household bleach which has something close to 3%. One pound of Sodium Dichlor is equal to 8 gallons of bleach! Also, household bleach contains other stuff, including a lot of salt, and that salt and other stuff is what causes the bad taste and why you have to flush the fresh water tank so well.
Bill says it takes only 1 teaspoon of the concentrate per 100 gallons of water to initially sanitize the system. Remember to run water through all the faucets. It's okay to use the full teaspoon even on smaller tanks because you will be flushing the tank before adding the water you intend to drink but it seems wasteful.
Like most of us, Bill travels with a near empty tank to reduce weight. So if he arrives at park where he plans to stay and they have well water, he drops a half teaspoon per 100 gallons of the concentrate into the fill tube and fills his water tank. This insures the system will always be sanitized. No, you do not have to flush again. It's the equivalent to drinking chlorinated city water. If you are filling your tank from a source that is already chlorinated then you don't need to add the concentrate.
That said, if you don't like to drink chlorinated water, don't add the concentrate to the water you intend to drink. Assuming, you fill your water tank from a trusted source you should be safe. Or, you can add the concentrate and then filter the water you drink or cook with.
Truth is I almost always seem to be filling the fresh water tank from a chlorinated source (city water supply) so I seldom need to to use the concentrate. And we do filter our drinking water.
This is not a case where more is better. This stuff is concentrated and it's best to use just what Bill recommends.
Because Sodium Dichlor is so highly concentrated you only need to carry a very small container... buy the smallest container available. And it is dry crystals so there is less chance of a spill. However, because it is so concentrated it is highly corrosive so you do have to be careful how you store it and use it. You should be able to find Sodium Dichlor (Chlorinating Concentrate) at any pool supplies or spa store. Bill says there are several brands to choose from but brand should not be a factor in your choice... it's all the same stuff.
You may also want to read: RV Fresh Water System Care and Maintenance and RV Fresh Water System Accessories
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:23 AM   #13
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Bleach in not a cleaner and only a sanitizer. It is also extremely corrosive and will damage the plastic over time. It is one of the most misused products. There are far better products to use that will cause no damage and will clean the tank.
On the bleach subject but a bit different be careful how much you add to the fresh tank as it will damage the water lines. A little goes a long way and a lot will not do a better job.
OK. I'm not trying to be funny but if bleach is corrosive to plastic why does it come in a plastic bottle?
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Old 08-21-2015, 11:08 AM   #14
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OK. I'm not trying to be funny but if bleach is corrosive to plastic why does it come in a plastic bottle?

I will not eat through the plastic but will over time make the plastic brittle and damage the surface.
Adding bleach to a black tank kills all bacteria in the tank and bacteria is what you want working in there.
Using a quaternary disinfectant is much better and much safer than using bleach. Most nursing homes have outlawed bleach as it can cause burns on residence skin. As I said before it is a misused product that is abused almost every time it's used. How many of us just pour out of the gallon directly into the fill for fresh water? If you use it look up the proper dilution ratios and mix it accordingly.
I recommend not using it in a black or gray tank and using quaternary disinfectant in the water tank.



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Old 08-21-2015, 01:14 PM   #15
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So, Herk, have you looked down the street lately at the Homeland Security Car!
That is SO 60s!

Now a days they just use a drone to shine an audio laser at any convenient window to listen in on my rantings and turn on my computer's camera every so often to make sure I am being a good boy.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:17 PM   #16
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OK. I'm not trying to be funny but if bleach is corrosive to plastic why does it come in a plastic bottle?
While it most likely won't cause immediate damage to the plastic used to make the tank, the seals, sensors, and gate valve hardware are still susceptible to harsh corrosive chemicals in the strength needed to do you any good.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:24 PM   #17
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Herk you remind me of myself in grade school. At Easter time our grade 4 teacher had a present for every kid in her class. all wrapped and everything.
When my name was called I went up and picked a package.
took it back to my desk and started to open it.

the teacher who wasn't paying too much attention to who picked what quickly jumped from behind the desk and ran towards me taking my package away from me.
She said and i still remember this many many yrs later...
:Earl you can't have that one you'll blow something up" and she got me to pick another package off her desk.
the present I was opening was a Chemistry set...

the one i got stuck with was a pencil case...
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:28 PM   #18
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For some folks a pencil set is far more dangerous...
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:28 PM   #19
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OK. I'm not trying to be funny but if bleach is corrosive to plastic why does it come in a plastic bottle?
i remember Old Woodsman fly dope
brown like tar
95% deet and would melt plastic.
all types of plastic EXCEPT for the bottle it came in...

Area 51 stuff that was.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:23 PM   #20
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You are the first in a long time that also used "old woodsman fly dope". Went on like molasses but sure did keep the black flies at bay (also repelled any girls you might meet as well)
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