While many people won’t like to talk too much about it, managing your RV’s septic system is extremely important.
No one wants to hit up the smelly campground porta-potties or the often filthy bathroom stalls, which is why maintaining your own RV waste tank is very advantageous.
There’s a lot of advantage to having an onboard toilet system, but keeping your septic system up to par requires several key components, and the one that I think is most important is the type of RV holding tank treatment that you use.
The best RV holding tank treatment will ensure that waste and tissue are broken down so that there are no clogs and will also ensure far less odor in your RV bathroom.
RV Holding Tank Treatment Buying Guide
Why You Need An RV Holding Tank Treatment?
When you’re at home, keeping your bathroom odor-free is fairly easy because you have plumbing that carries the waste far away from the bathroom.
Conversely, in your RV, the waste doesn’t go far so it’s fairly easy for the bathroom area of the RV to have some fairly bad odors.
Add in the fact that a moving RV causes the waste to get mixed in some fairly nasty ways and you can clearly see why treating your black water tank with chemicals is a necessity.
RV Repair Club has a great video about these treatments that I think answers a lot of great questions.
How They Work
Well, in all honesty, the better products use what we affectionately call bugs. While this doesn’t mean insects, it does mean bacteria and enzymes.
The combination of these ingredients provides an amazing odor-eliminating effect for your tank. This is because the enzymes react to the bacteria and cause the bacteria to break down waste at an accelerated rate.
When the enzymes react to waste, it’s broken down into smaller components that are then digested by the bacteria. The resulting waste is typically harmless water and carbon dioxide.
An important aspect of this transformation to remember is that it has to happen for waste as well as paper and these two components are both broken down by the enzyme/bacteria combination.
As you might expect, this breakdown vastly reduces the smell from the waste and virtually liquefies it so that the black water tank can flow easily and experience fewer clogs.
Why Formaldehyde Is A No-No?
When the right cultures are inside your black water tanks, waste is broken down very efficiently. In recent years, there’s been a movement towards formaldehyde-free RV holding tank treatments because formaldehyde kills bacteria.
While these holding tank treatments may not have a large effect on the RV owner, the formaldehyde will flow into the leach field of the RV park.
When this happens, the formaldehyde kills the natural bacterial fauna of the septic system, which can cause massive problems.
As a result of this damage, some states like California actively ban the use of formaldehyde products. All of the products that I’ll be covering in the review section of this guide are formaldehyde-free.
Tablet Or Liquid
These types of treatments typically come in these two forms. While I’ve used both in the past, I think that which you may choose should greatly depend on your comfortability with dealing with your waste tank.
For the most part, I find tablets to be a very convenient option that lets you simply add a tab to the tank without the need for measurement or spillage.
On the other hand, liquid holding tank treatments can be simply flushed down the toilet. There definitely is a convenience with this type but you’ll have to measure out the volume of chemicals yourself. Also, since you’re pouring a chemical, there’s a chance of spillage.
5 Best RV Holding Tank Treatment Reviews
Our first product in our RV holding tank treatment review is a holding tank treatment product that uses completely organic materials to clean and deodorize your RV’s septic system.
I also like the fact that this particular product is biodegradable so that you can rest assured that it won’t greatly increase the size of your carbon footprint. This is also a formaldehyde-free product, which means that you can be assured that it won’t cause problems for the helpful bacterial cultures inside RV parks.
Composition-wise, the unique formulation of the Happy Campers Organic RV holding tank treatment contains two heavy elements, nine trace elements, some concentrated micronutrients, and minerals to aid in the reduction of waste materials and tissue.
Effectively, the good bacteria of this product are strengthened so that the bad bacterial growths that cause odor are greatly reduced.
- This is a product that works relatively fast to dispel odor.
- The development of good bacteria lasts for a long time.
- This is a formaldehyde-free product.
- It can work for your septic system even in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You can use regular tissue with Happy Campers.
- It requires stirring; if you don’t the product can harden.
Happy Campers’ treatment product is a great solution for keeping your tank nice and odor-free. It breaks down waste at a faster rate, is environmentally friendly, and doesn’t cost a lot at all.
I liked this Camco product because of its ease of use. All you have to do is grab one of the drop-in pouches, drop it into your bowl, and flush. You won’t have to measure anything or cope with any spills.
While it does require special tissue for optimal operation, you’ll find that this is a very convenient product to have with you on your camping trips. Also, another aspect of this product that I really liked was its citrus formulation; not many things are cleaner smelling than citrus.
Also, these Camco Orange drop-ins are designed to be environmentally friendly so that you won’t have to worry about any chemicals causing issues at a later date. Additionally, these drop-ins can also be used in your gray water tank as well in order to clean that also.
- These are very convenient to use; just drop in the little pouch and you’re done.
- The citrus smell is very nice smelling and tells you that the product is working to clear away odors.
- It’s environmentally friendly.
- This is also a very budget-friendly system to use; it lasts for a while and doesn’t cost a lot.
- The citrus smell only tends to last about five days or so in the heat.
- It won’t clear clogs.
For those that like that crisp citrus smell that is in many cleaning products, this is a great RV treatment solution. I also love the fact that it’s so easy to add to your tanks.
TankTechsRx’s company motto is “Totally green, totally clean!” As a probiotics product that uses minimal strong chemicals, this is definitely an environmentally sound solution for eliminating your tank’s odors and solids.
When the organisms break down the solids of your black or gray tank, all that is left is a solution that is packed with healthy antioxidants, which means that future bacterial cultures will find a healthy breeding ground. This ensures better waste breakdown in your RV.
Another feature of this product that I liked is its ability to control struvites, which are crystals that can form during the waste breakdown process. The combination of the creation of antioxidants and struvite control means that the product can clean your black water tanks during storage.
- This is an environmentally sound solution.
- It doesn’t take much of the solution to clean and deodorize the tank.
- This formulation will liquefy solids and tissue with a high degree of efficiency.
- This product uses probiotics, which are different than just bacteria or enzyme solutions. This product actually uses 17 organisms to refresh your black tank.
- It doesn’t have a perfumy smell; it simply rids your tank of odors and solids.
- If you want to use a standard paper tissue, you’ll have to add a little more water to your flushes.
- If you’re looking for a pleasant smell like in the second product that I selected, this isn’t the product for you; it’s almost odorless.
For a simple system that uses probiotics to rid your tank of excess odors and solids, TankTechsRx’s product works very well. It even can reduce crystal formation in your tank, which can prevent clogs in the long run.
This Unique RV Digest-It product has the ability to reduce odors and can digest any tissue product, not just those that are designed for use in RVs.
The enzymes and bacteria that are used in this product are also very effective; they seem to really treat the black water of an RV at an accelerated pace. It even has the ability to unclog your tank, which is a feature that isn’t available in all products of its type.
Unclog times typically take a few hours, but to be safe, I think that it’s best used overnight. This product even has the ability to clean your tank sensors and level gauges, which can help maintain the functionality of your tank system. Digest-It can also be used in gray tanks, which adds a good degree of versatility to the product.
- The fact that this product unclogs overnight is really excellent.
- It doesn’t have a very perfumy smell.
- It can clean the tank level gauges and sensors.
- Everything is reduced to a liquid state with this product.
- It’s not quite as effective when the outside temperature goes over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Its ability to clean sensors and level gauges don’t seem to always work.
Unique’s Digest-It has a powerful formulation that works overnight, which means that it’s a quick working product that can have your RV system unclogged in no time. It can even clean and unclog systems that have been problematic for years.
With a name like Bio-Pak, you know that this product strives to provide a natural solution for those that need to clean and deodorize their holding tanks. Like the second product in my guide, this comes in packs that the company calls “cassettes.”
These packs make portion control a no-brainer; simply, place the cassettes in your bowl, flush, and the water will dissolve the product and start the activation of both the enzymes and the cleaning bacteria.
Additionally, this product doesn’t require any special RV toilet paper; this can save you a bit of cash because holding tank-safe tissue can be a bit on the expensive side. Additionally, this product is designed to not stain your tank any specific color, which is a complaint that some have for other products of the type.
- This environmentally safe product does a good job of deodorizing.
- It’s really easy to use; simply drop the cassettes in the toilet and flush.
- Waste is digested at a fairly quick rate.
- These don’t seem to be adversely affected by higher temperatures.
- The deodorization process doesn’t always do the job. You can consider a tank deodorizer if it doesn’t work well for you.
Bio-Pak is a superb solution for anyone that wants to naturally reduce their black water tank’s solid waste to a more manageable liquid form. Like the other products that I’ve selected, this treatment contains no formaldehyde, which is great for the health of the RV park’s tanks.
While we all hate to think about waste management when we’re out camping, treating our tanks is something of a necessity.
The products that I’ve covered here are all excellent at reducing your RV waste to a more manageable form. Each has varying performance when it comes to deodorization, but in my experience, they all seem to do a pretty good job.
If I were to consider a winner product in our RV holding tank treatment review, then I think that the Unique RV Digest-It is my favorite of the bunch.
It can unclog excellently and even helps take care of the delicate systems inside your tank. Add this to its ability to deodorize well, and I think most RVers would love this product.