RVers will probably run into trouble at some point and have to deal with it. Waiting too long will lead to a much bigger problem later on, so if you wait too long, you’ll have a much bigger problem. When you smell something bad in your RV’s black tank, what do you do? We tried out what works (and doesn’t) in this article as a result of our experiments. Clip a clothespin to your nose so you don’t get down about the situation.
1. START WITH FABRIC SOFTENER
Add two capfuls of liquid fabric softener to a leaky tank to fix it. This is the tank freshener most RVers prefer if they don’t have a tank deodorant. If the smell is really bad, you might have to try another method.
2. FILL THE BOWL
Keep some water in the toilet bowl at all times. Most RV toilet bowls don’t fill automatically with water after each flush, so you’ll have to manually fill them. You can trap most bad odors in the tank if you keep some water in the bowl.
3. CLOSE THE VALVE
After you fill the toilet, close the sewer valve. It’s because keeping it open lets liquid waste drain while solid waste sticks and clogs, causing odors and clogs that are nearly impossible to remove.
It’s also possible to get sewer odor into your camper if the valve is left open. Sewers don’t smell nice, so this isn’t good.
4. CHECK THE VENT
On motorhomes and trailers, black tank odors are vented through a pipe. The smells can’t escape properly if your vents are clogged. You can clear the vent with a sewer snake or water hose, like this one from Flexzilla.
5. PULL OUT THE WATER HOSE
The stench in your tank comes from debris that doesn’t drain. The bottom and sides of the tank can be very difficult to clean. It’s easy to remove with a water hose. As soon as you start cleaning the tanks, switch to an uncared for hose.
6. TRY ICE AND SOAP
It’s also helpful for removing smelly stuff with ice. Just before you drive between destinations, add ice, water, and a bit of dish detergent or laundry detergent to your tanks to clean them out. Dump as soon as you get there to stop the bits from sticking again.
7. DUMP IN SOME WATER SOFTENER
Water softeners clean black tank residue as well. The toilet paper and leftover solids will easily slide out of the tank when you dump it. Clean out all the stinky smells when the tank is full.