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Old 10-09-2019, 07:22 AM   #1
IC2
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Cleaning a black tank - what REALLY works

Cleaning a black tank - what REALLY works.

I have to change a valve and from past experiences, found that several flushes with the built in system, a back flush through the outlet via an add on fitting and a drop down through the toilet flusher still leaves a ...mucky mess, to be polite, on the tank bottom.

I've seen:
Dawn or similar
Calgon + Dawn and maybe some borax
Rid-x
Fabric softener
Bleach + detergent (not going to do this one)
Ice cubes (kinda wishy-washy since it wont deep clean)
Various commercial over priced stuff that may or may not work.
...and maybe a couple other ways

I put myself in a time bind as this is our last weekend and the 5er unfortunately gets put away for the season. I would like to put whatever in the tank drive the 100+ miles home then use the macerator to then dump into the home sewer.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:04 AM   #2
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Isn't a "clean" black tank sort of an oxymoron?

I like to put in a septic system treatment once a year, just to keep sludge from building up too much. Starting from a well-flushed tank, I fill with fresh water and add Ridx or Roebic K57 and let it sit for 3-4 days and then flush again. Dunno if it works a lot better than the various alternatives you mentioned, but it does seem to work.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:17 AM   #3
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Do you have a 3" drain you can hook a drain hose up to? If so I'd fill the tank 1/2 to 3/4 full before the trip home then dump the tank somewhere nearby where you can use the 3" gravity drain hose. That rush you get with the larger hose may be all you need.
Use some detergent if you wish but none of the chemicals will really have enough time to do much for you.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:34 AM   #4
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H Dave! Everybody's got their own ideas on the way to clean a black tank. Here's what I do.

I have a built-in tank flusher. I connect the water hose to it and turn on the water at the same time I open the black tank dump valve. I'm watching the procedure through a 45 degree clear fitting. When the tank empties and there is just a small stream of water coming out, I close the dump valve and let the flusher continue. I wait 1-2 minutes then open the dump valve, letting the build-up drain. I continue to do this several times until the water coming out is completely clear. Then I close the dump valve and let the flusher continue for about another minute to leave water in the tank. Finally, I go inside, run water into the toilet, put in an application of Happy Camper tank treatment, mix it up good with the toilet brush, and flush. Job complete!

I have no way to look inside the black tank, but I figure if there's clean water coming out that dump then it's clean enough for me! We never have any odors and the Happy Camper seems to dissolve pretty much all the "stuff".

If you want to take it a step further, you can use a Jetter hose and nozzle with a pressure washer. Just open the dump valve, stick the hose and nozzle all the way up into the tank, start the pressure washer, and blast everything in there. Of course all that will be coming out the dump so you need to get somewhere that you won't be concerned with what you leave on the ground!

This is the one I bought. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:46 AM   #5
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Waste tank drain outlets are typically thru the sidewall near the bottom therefore there is a LIP which leaves an Inch or so of the bottom of tank taht will NOT drain.


Mucky mess on bottom of tank can be limited by always putting some water back in the tank after dumping so bottom stays wet and anything left behind doesn't dry out and stick to tank bottom.


IF---when---one needs to remove/replace a waste tank dump valve a few things can be done to 'minimize' the mess
*Fill/Drain via 3" sewer hose so volume/weight carry the stuff down and out (macerator system will NEVER give you that WHOOSH affect and will never effecttively drain a waste tank)
*When draining for repairs....tilt the RV towards drain side (place blocks etc under opposite side tires)
*When getting ready to remove dump valves...titl RV away from drain side so anything still in tank doesn't dripple out




Clean waste tank......only when brand new
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:51 AM   #6
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I think the biggest thing is not to get so crazy by how clean it is. You don't have to flush out every drop of residue. It's a black water holding tank, not a fresh water tank. The problem with the built in tank sprayers or even the type that goes down the toilet, they don't hit all parts of the tank. Typically, it just sprays water in to fill the tank so you don't have to add it via the toilet.

I've always found that if you want a good end of the season cleaning, dump the tank on the last outing, fill half full, add some type of chemical or soap, your choice, and drive home. The driving will wash the walls, sensors and really agitate the water inside the tank, like a washing machine does. Once home or at a dump site, dump rinse and leave some water (5 gallons) in the tank, unless you need to winterize.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:17 AM   #7
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Just another recipe

I found that washing soda (Calgon, Arm & Hammer, etc.) 2 cups for 40 gal. dissolves a lot of scum while driving 100 miles, followed by letting it set for two weeks.
I flushed thoroughly using the internal sprayer. Refilled and flushed again until clear water comes out (transparent fitting). Add washing soda 1/4 to 1/2 full. Add a small bottle of Dawn or laundry detergent. Drive 100 miles. Let sit for 2 weeks. Final dump and flush is seriously brown and cloudy.
Is everything out? I can't say. It does remove a lot.
Leaving a small amount of water in a tank in freezing temperature is ok. Water is not confined and will not cause damage. However, a length of drain pipe, fittings, and the dump valve can be an issue. It depends on what freezes first. If water is trapped, it will burst.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:34 AM   #8
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All good information. Thanks

Gary
- I agree about being an oxymoron. I just don't want to suffer the 'enjoyment' of working through a brown haze of dripping sludge. Clean is a relative term as these tanks will never be spotless nor do I care if it is.

Joe - I like that sprayer. Might have to consider that o shove down the toiler.

O-B - I know what you are saying. Tilting on our 5er needs to be just the opposite due to where the tank outlet is placed. Good advice though as long as the RV owner knows where his tank outlet is placed.

Don - going to do that fill and drive with whatever wonder stuff I end up using.

Persistent - that's one of the concoctions I am considering on our drive home next Monday. For sure a gallon or two in the tank over the winter wont hurt as long as there is plenty of expansion room and the built in flusher is winterized.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:10 PM   #9
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Black tank

From a post some time back by another member, I replaced the wet bay shower with single hot and cold valves. With quick couplings and short flexible hose and additional control valve at the black tank rinse connection I now use the hot water to rinse the black tank while draining. This seems to work for us as I donít use any addition tank chems between drains.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpool View Post
From a post some time back by another member, I replaced the wet bay shower with single hot and cold valves. With quick couplings and short flexible hose and additional control valve at the black tank rinse connection I now use the hot water to rinse the black tank while draining. This seems to work for us as I donít use any addition tank chems between drains.
I bought the special quick release fitting to use with a conventional hose and do that same way on occasion. It helps quite a bit but the water flow is somewhat restricted with the 1/4" fitting inside diameter (Valterra PF247007 Quick Connect Garden Hose Adapter and paid about 6 bucks)
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:43 PM   #11
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I learned this from back in our Tiffin days ...

With your black tank about 1/3 full, add in gallon of cheap Pine Floor Cleaner before you head out for a dayís drive. Not the expensive PineSol brand, just the cheap stuff like from the dollar store. When you get to the campsite at the end of your dayís trip, dump your black tank.

The process worked great on our Tiffin, works great on our current Winnebago! Works good for getting any goo out of your gray tanks, too. A quart bottle is enough for that.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:51 PM   #12
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How do you know there's sludge down there? If you 'can' see perhaps you're just looking at a discolored thin layer. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:41 PM   #13
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Wow! Much ado about "do-do".
We started using Happy Camper black tank additive this summer, and it works great.. No smell whatsoever. I found a small garden spray head that puts out a 3 ft wide fan shaped spray at one of those dollar stores. Had to cut the spike it was attached to off. I screw it onto a 6 ft long 3/4" diameter section of hose (used exclusively for tank flushing) and feed it in thru the toilet, using a plastic cup with the bottom cut out to keep the toiled flush valve open..
Just feed it down there and keep rotating it, until the draining water runs clear. It takes about a half hour to complete.

When I'm done no smell comes out of the black tank and all my sensors read properly.. I do this at the start of the season and once about midway thru the season with great results... Simple works for me!!
Try it your like it!!
Happy camping!!
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stimerveer View Post
Wow! Much ado about "do-do".
We started using Happy Camper black tank additive this summer, and it works great.. No smell whatsoever. I found a small garden spray head that puts out a 3 ft wide fan shaped spray at one of those dollar stores. Had to cut the spike it was attached to off. I screw it onto a 6 ft long 3/4" diameter section of hose (used exclusively for tank flushing) and feed it in thru the toilet, using a plastic cup with the bottom cut out to keep the toiled flush valve open..
Just feed it down there and keep rotating it, until the draining water runs clear. It takes about a half hour to complete.

When I'm done no smell comes out of the black tank and all my sensors read properly.. I do this at the start of the season and once about midway thru the season with great results... Simple works for me!!
Try it your like it!!
Happy camping!!
I made up a sprayer out of a retired 1/2" dia.hose and a 180* sprinkler head. It does a decent job but after peering in there with my tight clearance camera, still see that bottom sludge. I really have zero desire to change out a valve with an inch of ....crap...on the bottom. Been there one previuos time with this 5er. don't need a repeat.
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