Hey there fellow RVer!
Wondering how to keep your RV kitchen and bathroom experience smelling fresh and clog-free? Treat your grey and black holding tanks with specially formulated solutions for RV campers.
Our guess is you’re here because you’ve got a smelly toilet situation or are hoping to avoid one.
As full-time RVers ourselves, we can relate to the stinky trouble waste water tanks can sometimes cause. Over the years, we’ve tried several different tank treatments and have compiled a list of the very best ones below.
Though, you may also consider grey water treatments for your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
Read on to learn what RV tank treatments are, the three most common forms, why use such additives, and our favorite ones to help you decide which holding tank treatment is perfect for your RV lifestyle.
What is RV Tank Treatment and Why Use It?
Treatments for the grey and black tanks of your RV are specially designed formulas containing enzymes and “friendly” bacteria. These enzymes and bacteria work to break down solid waste and toilet paper while keeping those pesky sewer odors at bay. Additionally, some tank treatments can even help keep hard crystals and sewer sludge from building up in your tank while keeping your tank sensors clear.
Most, but not all, RV treatments are biodegradable and safe for septic tanks. This is good to know depending on where you are dumping. So be sure to check your label and follow the instructions of the treatment you ultimately choose to buy for your tanks.
Keep in mind that RV black tank treatments are NOT considered tank cleaners. When you need to clean your tanks or clear a dreaded “poop pyramid” clog, consider using one of the best RV holding tank rinsers to make the job easier.
The Three Types of RV Tank Treatments
Liquid treatments can be easily poured directly down the drain for your black and grey tanks without any additional steps. Liquid formulas can be a bit messy as they require a measuring cup and are prone to spilling. Though, liquid solutions are the easiest type to pour down your RV sinks and showers drains to treat your grey tanks.
Powder treatments are loved by many RVers, from weekenders to full-timers. Just scoop with the provided measuring cup, sprinkle in, add sufficient water, and let the powder break down sewer odors and grime.
Pod or “Drop-In” Treatment
Like those laundry pods you may have seen or used before, you can buy your next RV tank’s treatment in pod form. With no chance for spills and no need to measure, pods are the most convenient type of RV toilet treatment. Just toss one in, add some water, and you’re good to go!
Top 5 RV Black Holding Tank Treatments
Below we review some of the best selling RV tank treatments to help you decide which one is best for your camping style.
Regardless of the treatment you use, it is recommended to dump your tanks once they are at least half full. If you need to dump before then, fill the tank with water first before dumping. The force of the water leaving the tank is what helps to clean and clear out the smelly waste.
#1 Liquified RV Toilet Treatment
Even though Liquified is one of the newest contenders to make a splash in your RV’s tanks, it’s gaining popularity and quickly becoming a best seller among both weekenders and full-timers alike.
This liquid treatment is both a digester and an odor eliminator. This means your solid wastes become liquified and you won’t have offensive odors between flushes. With more liquified waste, your tank will run clear after just 1 or 2 flushes, unlike other products.
Some RVers have reported that their tank sensors started working again after using this in their tanks. With other products, campers stated they would need to flush their tanks 3 or 4 times
While some have complained that this treatment did not help with odors, even with the suggested additional dosage, most RVers love this product for breaking down black tank wastes.
Additionally, you’ll need to use a double dose when camping in temperatures above 85 degrees. So, this treatment could end up being more costly than others, depending on your when and how you’re camping, but it’s worth it given how well it works.
While we love that this treatment is 100% biodegradable and septic-tank safe. We also love that the bottle includes a “built-in” measuring cup, minimizing the risk of messy spills. Matt’s RV Reviews also stand by their product offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back at the time of this posting.
#2 Unique RV Digest-It+ Black Tank Treatment
Another popular choice among RVers is the Unique RV Digest-It+ tank treatment. This one has also been reported to clear non-working sensors and fully break down black tank solids, including toilet paper waste.
One downside is that it can be a little cumbersome to store the shape and size of the container. While another complaint is that the bottle doesn’t come with a measuring cup so you must purchase one separately. This leaves the application process to be more prone to messy spillage.
When pricing out different RV tank treatments, keep in mind that this treatment requires 2 oz rather than the usual 1 oz. of other treatments. While Unique reports that a higher treatment size makes for a better ratio of enzymes, surfactants (specialized soap to keep things flowing), and stabilizers to keep the good bacteria alive.
If you’ve used the regular formula of Unique Digest-It in the past but were unsatisfied, we recommend trying the extra strength formula reviewed here. It’s reported to be 10x stronger than the original formula and may be just what you were missing.
#3 Camco TST RV Holding Tank Treatment
Whether you choose to buy the Camco TST liquid treatment or the Camco TST drop-ins, this one gets the job done. In other words, the solids come out of your tanks when you flush and you shouldn’t have clogs if used properly.
The orange scent is pleasant enough and we rarely have any issues with sewer tank odors. The only time we’ve had odor issues have been when we were boondocking and conserving water or the tank was ready to be dumped.
We’ve been using TST for years in liquid form as we find it to be more cost-effective than the pods. Additionally, we’ve NEVER had a “poop pyramid” or a clog form while using this treatment.
However, even when taking care, the liquid is a bit oily and messy. I find that it drips down the side of the bottle and makes a little puddle where it’s been stored.
After conducting all of this research, we’re seriously considering switching to Liquified or Unique and seeing how that goes. The built-in measuring cup in the Liquified bottle is a HUGE selling feature!
#4 Thetford AquaMax RV Tank Treatment
The Thetford AquaMax RV Treatment one is also a popular treatment choice and is great at breaking down solids. Just a few flushes after using this treatment and the water from your black tank should run clear.
Thetford is also great at minimizing odors while being eco-friendly and safe for all plumbing. Thetford is a solid option to treat your RV tanks, though we found the smell of the product a little offensive.
#5 TankTechsRx RV Holding Tank Treatment
The TankTechsRX formula uses probiotics to help break down wastes and keep odors from creeping into your camper. You’ll be encouraged to “leave a little” in your tank after you flush in order to grow the cultures and help break down the waste.
Many fulltime RVers report that this is the only treatment they’ll ever use. Though this treatment offered more mixed reviews, some saying the smells were terrible even though it did an excellent job of turning solid wastes into liquids.
As a result of needing to grow bacteria cultures in your tank, if you are prone to flushing your tanks clear after dumping like we are, this treatment may not be the best option for you. Otherwise, if you are not bothered by leaving a little brown behind, then be our guest! Though, this is purely speculation – we couldn’t find confirmation of this.
Honorable Mention: Happy Campers
While a popular brand among RVers, Happy Camper is reported to be more prone to clogs than other treatments.
Happy Camper is pretty great at odor control. Unfortunately, despite it’s labeling, it rarely breaks down waste to the degree that the other treatments on our list do.
When we used this formula, we never had clogs but we found it to be less effective at breaking wastes down than other chemicals. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend it if you are planning need to keep waste water in your tanks for a long time.
Though, if you are planning to dump every few days or are mostly camping just on the weekends, then Happy Camper can be a great option for your RV’s holding tanks.
Which Treatment Will You Use in Your RV’s Holding Tanks?
Choosing the right treatment for your RV’s holding tanks ultimately depends on your preferences and camper lifestyle.
Liquid and powder treatments are a great option for campers who don’t mind measuring and cleaning up potential spills.
Drop-in packs and pods tend to be the simplest solution as there is no measuring and minimal chance of mess, unless you pop one before dropping it in. 😉
Consider factors such as your comfort with measuring and mixing, storage preferences, and the specific needs of your RV holding tank system.
Whichever RV holding tank treatment you choose to be the best for your needs, regular tank maintenance is key to reducing sewer odors and keeping those “poop pyramid plugs” at bay.