It is inevitable that RVers will encounter trouble at some point and an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s true that these kinds of problems only get worse the longer they are left unattended, so if you wait too long, you’ll have a much greater challenge later on. Do you know what to do if you notice that your RV’s black tank is smelling bad? As a result of our experiments, we have answers for you right here in this article after trying out what works (and doesn’t). Don’t let the crappy situation get you down, so grab a clothespin and clip it on your nose.
1. Use fabric softener
The easiest way to troubleshoot a leaking tank is to add two capfuls of liquid fabric softener. If you are having problems with a lack of tank deodorant, this is the tank freshener most RV owners prefer. You may need to try other methods of smell removal if the smell is particularly bad.
2. Fill bowl
You should always keep a small amount of water in your toilet bowl. You will have to manually fill the toilet bowl in many RVs because the bowl does not automatically fill with water after every flush. If you keep some water in the bowl, you will be able to trap most of the bad smells in the tank, since they cannot pass through the water.
3. Close valve
Be sure to close your sewer valve after filling the toilet bowl. Two reasons contribute to this: First, keeping it open allows liquid waste to drain while leaving solid waste behind, which dries out, sticks, clogs, and causes odors and clogs that are virtually impossible to remove.
Second, if the valve is left open, sewer odor can actually get into your camper. There is no such thing as a rose-smelling sewer, folks, so this is never a good thing.
4. Check the vent
Black tank odors are vented through a pipe on top of motorhomes and trailers. Clogged vents can prevent those smells from escaping properly, and they enter your home instead. A sewer snake or water hose, such as this one from Flexzilla, can be used to clear the vent, which can be done by climbing onto the roof.
5. Drag out water hose
Debris that do not drain when dumping can cause the stench in your tank. A very difficult task can be removing this debris from the sides and bottom of the tank. It can be removed with a water hose under pressure. So, once you start cleaning the tanks, you should definitely switch to a hose you don’t care about.