9 Best RV Black Tank Treatments Today (2019)

The bad odor from an RV toilet can easily permeate to the rest of the RV if the holding tank is not treated periodically.

Any bad smell, let alone that coming from the toilet, is sure to spoil your RV experience.

Additionally, tank treatments also help in maintaining hygiene in the RV toilet by preventing germ and bacteria accumulation.

There are two holding tanks in an RV- a black water holding tank and a grey water holding tank.

The grey water holding tank collects dirty water from the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and the shower, while the black water holding tank is for the toilet.

Whenever you dump or empty the black holding tank, you are required to treat t with chemicals to control the bad odor and break down solids.

This is known as the black tank treatment. There are various treatments available in the market depending on your requirement.

Why is Black Tank Treatment Important?

Black Tank Treatment Important

Regular and periodic tank treatment is important to keep your sewer and septic system functional.

Black tank treatment helps in keeping the sewage system in your RV clog free and odor free.

In addition to removing the odor from the tank and preventing its infiltration in the rest of the RV, they also help in maintaining the hygiene in your RV.

They help in sanitizing the holding tank by eliminating the growth and propagation of harmful germs and bacteria.

They are also effective in digesting and dissolving waste solids as well as toilet papers to prevent any clog in the toilet.

Here is a quick video on how to dump and clean your RV holding tank

Top RV Black Tank Treatments in the Market Today

We have created a short table with the best black treatment options along with key decision parameters. Check out the table to quickly identify the right treatment for your RV –
Product No. of Treatments USP Price

Walex BIO-11530 Bio Pak Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator

Walex BOI-11530 Bio-Pak Natural Holding Tank Deodorizer and Waste Digester Drop-Ins, Alpine Fresh Scent (10 count)

Best Overall

10 Non-staining color Check Price

Happy Campers Organic RV Tank Treatment

Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment - 18 treatments

Runners Up

18 Effective in extreme hot & cold temperatures Check Price

Camco 41197 Ultra-concentrated RV Tank Treatment

Camco 41197 TST Ultra-Concentrate Orange Scent RV Toilet Treatment, Formaldehyde Free, Breaks Down Waste And Tissue, Septic Tank Safe, Treats up to 16-40 Gallon Holding Tanks (1 Gal)

64 Powerful citrus formula Check Price

Valterra Pure Power Blue Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator

Valterra Pure Power Blue Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator - 128-Ounce Bottle

32 Liquifies all waste and toilet paper Check Price

Rid-X Toilet Treatment Liquid for RV

RID-X RV Toilet Treatment Liquid, 8 Treatments, 24 fl oz

8 Contains patented bacteria and enzymes proven to break down waste and paper Check Price

Thetford 28614 Aqua-Kem Tank Treatment

Aqua-Kem RV holding tank treatment - Deodorant / Waste Digester / Detergent - 1 gallon - Thetford 28614

16 Formulated to prevent clogging Check Price

Unique 413-1 Digest-it

Unique 413-1 RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment, 16 Treatments 32oz

16 Eco-Friendly, formaldehyde-free Check Price

Firebelly Outfitters RV Holding Tank Treatment

RV Septic Tank Treatment, Holding Tank Deodorizer + Waste Digester + Cleaner - 20 Packets, Mulberry - Sewer Solution, Marine Camper Portable Toilet Chemicals, Odor Eliminator, Formaldehyde Free, USA

20 Super Concentrated Toilet Odor Remover Check Price

Energen Gray Water Tank Treatment

Energen Grey Water Tank Treatment - Holding Tank Odor Control and Cleaner - RV Water Tank Deodorizer - 32 Ounces

16 Deodorizes and removes grease buildup Check Price

Buying Guide for Best RV Black Tank Treatment

Buying guide

The key parameters for selecting the best black tank treatment include the type of treatment, treatment purpose, septic tank compatibility, type of chemical compound, affordability and cost-effectiveness, deodorization properties, and biodegradability of the substance used, along with its efficiency and effectiveness.

Treatment Purpose

There can be various reasons behind why you want to do a black tank treatment apart from the usual periodic treatment.

Depending on if you want to do it specifically for odor control or to curtail the growth and multiplication of germs, you can go for different kinds of chemical compounds that are used for treatment.

While formaldehyde based compounds, as well as enzymes, are used effectively to control bacterial growth, nitrates are often used to control bad odor.

Therefore, depending on the purpose of treatment you can use different chemicals.

Type of treatment

There are two available options for RV black tank treatment- tablets and liquids.

Tablets are a fairly easy and convenient option. All you have to do is put the tablet in the tank and wait for the results.

It also does not cause any leakage or spillage and is a non-fussy treatment.

Liquid, on the other hand, is also extremely convenient. It requires you to flush the liquid down to the tank, much like any other chemical.

The only additional task is to measure the liquid before putting it in.

Spills are a frequent occurrence with liquid. So that requires some precision and carefulness. In terms of efficacy, both the treatments are at par.

Buying Guide for Best RV Black Tank Treatments

Septic tank compatibility

The chemical compound you chose for the black tank treatment, should be compatible with the base material of the septic tank.

You need to be specifically aware of all the treatment your septic tank needs.

In case of a compound that is not compatible with the base material, there might be reactions in the degree of foul smell or even degradation of the base material.

Checking the compatibility of the compound with the base material will help in ensuring that the tank treatment does not create any issues in the RV toilet system.

Chemical compound type

Chemical compounds help in breaking down the waste so that it is easy to discharge and do not leave any bad odor behind.

These compounds kill the bacterias present and also assist in inhibiting its growth.

For example, formaldehyde is one compound that was popularly used to inhibit bacterial growth in tanks.

However, because of how strong it is, it tends to kill all kinds of bacterias even once that is beneficial.

The inhibition of helpful bacteria might create further problems in your septic tank.

Nitrates on the other hand release oxygen in the septic tank allowing the helpful bacteria to process the sewage. This results in no odor from the bacterial breakdown.

Enzymes also perform a similar function by releasing oxygen into the tank.

There are many choices of compounds used for the treatment of the black tank depending upon your requirement.

It is recommended that you properly investigate your choice of the chemical compound before the treatment.

Price

Price is an important factor when buying a black tank treatment. It is not enough to go for the product that is the cheapest.

If the treatment is not effective or does not provide a quality outcome, then the inexpensiveness is also a waste of money.

Important factors to consider here are how many times you can use a certain product, how many tablets or packets of liquid are provided in one pack, or how many times you can use the liquid in the bottle.

The consideration should not just be inexpensiveness then but also cost-effectiveness.

Deodorizing power

Many treatments, while providing a nice fragrance, fail to deodorize the tank. Masking of the black tank smell with a fragrance is different from deodorizing the tank.

Deodorizing involves completely removing the bad smell of the tank, not essentially masking it.

When you are in the process of treating the black tank for bad odor, you should check of the treatment is crafted to deodorize the tank.

There are various tank treatment options available that are fragrance-free.

Biodegradability

Biodegradable or eco-friendly treatments are becoming increasingly popular these days.

While buying the black tank treatment you should check if the chemical is biodegradable. This essentially means no formaldehyde based ingredients.

You should also check if the product will naturally disintegrate, without the help of an acid or chemical.

How Do you Deodorize an RV Black Water Tank?

How do you deodorize an RV black water tank

The process of deodorizing the tank can be completed in three steps. The first step involves clearing any clog in the tank to ensure complete draining of the tank. This is followed by scouring to rid the tank of the dry or semi-dry remains, followed by putting the treatment and rinsing the tank.

The smell from the RV black water tank does not just go away because you were careful to flush every time you used the toilet.

The smell tends to keep accumulating and invade the space of your RV. deodorizing the tank, however, is not as difficult as it may seem.

And doing this periodically will only help in maintaining the hygiene of your RV.

The first step is to clear all clogs in the RV black tank. Clogs can lead to accumulation of smell over a period of time and also disrupt the cleaning process.

It is, therefore, important that you get rid of the clog first so that the tank liquid can be easily drained.

This should be followed by scouring of the tank itself.

This is done in order to get rid of all the dry or semi-dry waste that is still hanging to the sides of the tank. After this, put the treatment of your choice and let it sit before draining it for a few minutes.

This should help in deodorizing the tank. In order to be sure of ridding the smell, you might want to clean the toilet bowl and flapper as well, ensuring that there is no clog or germs.

Here is a video guide on How to use Black Tank Treatments

Types of Holding Tank Treatments

There are essentially four types of holding tank treatment which includes chemicals or formaldehyde, enzymes, minerals and salts, and bacteria. Bacteria are extremely popular and highly recommended because it performs both the function of waste digestion and odor elimination single-handedly.

Before choosing the black water tank treatment that is most suitable for your needs, you need to know all the various types of tank treatments available.

Holding tank treatments majorly come in four variations, though there can be multiple variations under them.

These four major tank treatments include chemical or formaldehyde, enzyme, minerals, salt, bacteria. These treatments are discussed individually below in brief detail:

Chemical/formaldehyde

This was popular mostly at a time when other products were relatively few.

It covers the smell of the toilet by a stronger smell or odor, often not a good fragrance, but does nothing to breakdown the solid wastes.

It is now known to cause cancer in people and is a potentially dangerous chemical.

Types of tank treatments

Enzyme

Enzymes are non-living proteins that function to break down waste. They are used to break down waste but do not help in deodorizing.

They work extremely fast and can function even in extreme temperatures. However, they might not be able to eliminate waste, but simply break them down.

Mineral/Salt

Minerals and salts are used in black tank treatment to chemically neutralize odor. However, they are not functional towards the breakdown of waste and may not be able to cure clogs.

It is important that you check the ingredients of the salt/mineral treatment to ensure safety.

Bacteria

Bacteria is a natural waste digester and odor eliminator.

They eliminate odor by replacing the anaerobic bacteria with aerobic bacteria.

This is one of the most popular and highly recommended black tank treatment as it is the only option that both digests waste and eliminates odor.

Watch this video to see how RV Black Tank treatments differ from one another-

FAQ

1. What is the difference between the Grey Tank and the Black Tank?

The difference between the grey tank and the black tank is in terms of the source of waste that they contain. A grey tank holds water and waste from the kitchen and the shower, while a black tank holds water and waste from the toilet.

2. How long does it take for the treatment to show results?

The effect of the black tank treatment can be felt immediately after the process. The elimination of odor is a sign of the impact of the treatment. It should not take more than a few minutes to see the effect of the treatment, though the curing time may differ depending on the type of treatment being used.

3. How is the tank treatment used?

The process is very easy. Depending on whether you are using a tablet or a liquid put the necessary quantity of the treatment inside the tank and let it dissolve and soak in the septic. After this, you can empty the tank in a nearby dumpsite.

4. What is the difference between deodorizing the tank and leaving the tank with a fragrant smell?

Deodorization refers to the elimination of bad odor from the tank. It removes any kind of odor present. It may not essentially mean leaving a nice fragrance in the tank. On the other hand, some treatments mask the bad odor with a stronger odor, mostly a more pleasant one. They do not essentially eliminate the odor, simply cover it with a stronger one.

Faqs - treatments

5. Is it safe to use formaldehyde in the Black Tank Treatment?

Though formaldehyde was a popular choice for black tank treatments earlier, its usage is not usually recommended now. This is because it has been recognized by the EPA as a probable carcinogenic. It can also be toxic to humans if vapors are inhaled in large quantities.

Reviews on the Best RV Black Tank Treatments

Here are quick reviews of the best RV black tank treatments for you. Check out the key specs, pros, and cons of the treatments and make your decision.

Unique 413-1 Digest-it RV Tank Treatment Review

 Unique 413-1 RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment, 16 Treatments 32oz

Unique is a family-owned business that was founded in 1997. The US-based company has a line of cleaning products used and trusted by thousands of RVers all around the world.

Unique digest-it tank treatment is what you need to bid embarrassing tank odors and clogs goodbye.

It is made with fast-acting advanced bacteria/enzyme formula, which digests solid wastes and rids the tank of smelly scum and sludge with regular use.

Free of formaldehyde and other harsh chemicals, this eco-friendly formula is 100% safe for your family, pets, septic systems and the environment at large.

This unique blend of bacteria cleaners disintegrates any kind of tissue paper to ensure free-flowing of your black and grey tanks. It helps restore dirty tank sensors, too. To crown it all, it comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

PROS:

  • Effectively digests solid wastes
  • No formaldehyde
  • Eliminates foul odors
  • It is environmental-friendly

CONS:

  • Pricey

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Valterra Pure Power Blue Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator

 Valterra Pure Power Blue Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator - 128-Ounce Bottle

Founded back in the early 1980s, Valterra is now a top brand in the RV and plumbing world. The company has a wide portfolio of products, including pipe adapters, water regulators, sanitary tees and more.

Valterra pure power waste digester is one of the most sought-after products when it comes to RV tank treatments. The reasons are not far-fetched.

It is eco-friendly, versatile, functional and very cost-effective. This enzyme/bacteria blend efficiently digests wastes like tissue papers, scum, grease, etc. in all temperature conditions – hot or cold.

Featuring Valterra’s odor control technology, the formula also helps get rid of the bad tank smell, replacing it with a clean, fresh scent anyone would love.

It is devoid of harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and the like, making it safe for septic systems, pets, and the environment.

PROS:

  • Effective waste digester
  • Environmental-friendly
  • Removes bad odors
  • Cost-effective

CONS:

  • May not be as effective as hoped in extremely hot conditions
  • Not for people who prefer unscented tank treatments

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Walex BIO-11530 Bio Pak Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator

 Walex BOI-11530 Bio-Pak Natural Holding Tank Deodorizer and Waste Digester Drop-Ins, Alpine Fresh Scent (10 count)

Walex is an industry-leader in sanitation and odor-control manufacturing that was established in 1987. The company has been committed to the development of quality, sustainable products ever since.

One of the best in the category, Bio Pak effectively and efficiently breaks down grease, scum, heavy sludge, and the toughest of solid wastes, taking away the need for often-expensive, thin toilet papers.

The most impressive thing about this enzyme-based formula is its ability to eliminate unpleasant tank odor, replacing it with a fresh, alpine scent you and your family would love.

This non-staining tank deodorizer contains no potentially harmful chemicals and is therefore safe for use in septic systems.

Users will also appreciate the fact that it is prepackaged and easy to use – just drop it in and you are good to go.

PROS:

  • No harmful chemicals
  • Gets rid of bad odors
  • Portion control (no measurement is required)
  • Excellent waste digester

CONS:

  • Does not dissolve quickly

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Camco 41197 Ultra-concentrated RV Tank Treatment

 Camco 41197 TST Ultra-Concentrate Orange Scent RV Toilet Treatment, Formaldehyde Free, Breaks Down Waste And Tissue, Septic Tank Safe, Treats up to 16-40 Gallon Holding Tanks (1 Gal)

Camco is a popular brand name in the RV product industry. The market-leading company was set up twenty-five years ago and has a huge presence in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, to name a few.

Camco tank treatment is the go-to option if you want to do more with less. This non-staining formulation is cost-effective due to its high concentration.

In fact, just 3 ounces is enough to treat a 40-gallon holding tank. The citrus-scented solution digests tissue papers and other wastes that can clog the waste-disposal system while eliminating unpleasant odors.

One of the best things about this treatment is that it is devoid of formaldehyde and other harsh chemicals, hence safe to be used for septic systems.

PROS:

  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Effectively breaks down wastes
  • It is cost-effective
  • Has a fresh citrus fragrance

CONS:

  • Some users complained that it has an overpowering smell

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Happy Campers Organic RV Tank Treatment

 Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment - 18 treatments

Set up by Monty Wray in 2003, Happy Campers is a renowned manufacturer of RV and marine products. The Oregon-based company is proud to have made a big difference in the camping and recreational industry.

This is one of the best-performing holding tank treatments available in the market.

It is a natural blend of micronutrients and monohydrate minerals that can help get rid of embarrassing tank odors.

It is also good for digesting grease, scum, sludge and solid wastes, including the toughest of toilet tissue papers.

Other notable things about this all-natural deodorizer are that it is 100% biodegradable, environmental-friendly, and suitable for septic systems.

With only one scoop needed to treat up to a 40-gallon tank, this treatment is highly cost-effective. One more thing, it is unscented and works perfectly in all temperature conditions, be it hot or cold.

PROS:

  • Eco-friendly
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Less quantity is required
  • Good odor remover

CONS:

  • Expensive

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Thetford 28614 Aqua-Kem Tank Treatment

 Aqua-Kem RV holding tank treatment - Deodorant / Waste Digester / Detergent - 1 gallon - Thetford 28614

Thetford needs no introduction. The company is among the top manufacturers of RV products such as tissue papers, toilets, etc. and claims to have guaranteed worry-free traveling for many years.

Superior odor control and high concentration make Thetford Aqua-Kem formula a popular choice when it comes to holding tank treatments.

This three-in-one product functions as a detergent, deodorizer and waste digester. It helps eliminates bad tanks odors, liquefies toilet papers and other wastes while making the tank 100% clean.

Other good things to love about Thetford Aqua-Kem treatment are that it is biodegradable, safe for septic tanks and cost-effective, to say nothing of its fresh, pleasant smell.

PROS:

  • Controls bad odors
  • Environmental-friendly
  • Economical
  • Contains no harmful chemicals

CONS:

  • May not be as effective as expected in extremely hot environments

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Firebelly Outfitters RV Holding Tank Treatment

 RV Septic Tank Treatment, Holding Tank Deodorizer + Waste Digester + Cleaner - 20 Packets, Mulberry - Sewer Solution, Marine Camper Portable Toilet Chemicals, Odor Eliminator, Formaldehyde Free, USA

Firebelly Outfitter offers a comprehensive range of accessories that can help outdoor lovers to have an enjoyable, hassle-free experience.

The family-owned business is headquartered in Indiana, USA. This formula is everything you want in a septic tank treatment.

It cleans the tanks and drain lines very well while getting rid of unpleasant odors. It also digests scum, heavy sludge and solid wastes like tissue papers quickly and efficiently.

This versatile formula is suitable for recreational vehicles, camping grounds, boats and the like.

Of note, the all-natural formula works without posing any harm to our environment since it is devoid of formaldehyde and other potentially harmful substances.

It is very easy to use (just drop one packet onto the tank) and smells good, thanks to its mulberry scent.

PROS:

  • Contains no formaldehyde
  • It is versatile
  • Excellent waste liquefier
  • Cost-effective

CONS:

  • Not suitable for hot environments

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Rid-X Toilet Treatment Liquid for RV

 RID-X RV Toilet Treatment Liquid, 8 Treatments, 24 fl oz

Rid-X is a popular brand septic professionals use in their own RV tanks. The customer-first company is dedicated to offering good-quality products and excellent customer service.

This product should be on your list of possible choices when shopping for the best toilet treatments for RVs, marine, campers, etc.

Its appeal lies on its effectiveness when it comes to eliminating offensive tank odors and digesting wastes like tissue papers, grease, scum and so on.

This powerful enzyme and bacteria blend comes with a lovely, long-lasting citrus scent.

On the upside, the solution is cost-effective in the sense that only a small amount is needed to get the desired results (3 ounces per treatment).

PROS:

  • Breaks down wastes
  • Economical
  • Has a pleasant smell
  • Can be used for RVs, marine and more

CONS:

  • Not for people with allergies or respiratory problems
  • Its odor control could be better

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Energen Gray Water Tank Treatment

 Energen Grey Water Tank Treatment - Holding Tank Odor Control and Cleaner - RV Water Tank Deodorizer - 32 Ounces

Energen is one of the most trusted and commonly used brands in the RV space. The company has a wide range of affordable products that can help RVers, campers and adventurers enjoy the outdoors.

You may want to consider this product if you are looking for a tank treatment that gets the job done without posing any risk to you or the environment.

It is free of formaldehyde and other potentially harmful chemicals, hence safe for use in septic tanks.

This all-natural solution digests wastes and removes bad tank odors, leaving behind a nice, fresh scent of a mountain breeze.

One positive thing about this formula is that only a little quantity is required to obtain the desired results, making it an economical choice for savvy buyers.

PROS:

  • No formaldehyde
  • Effectively eliminates foul tank odors
  • Cost-effective
  • Breaks down solid wastes, grease, etc.

CONS:

  • The bottle is a bit too small for the price

Check Reviews & Price on Amazon

Summary

It is absolutely important to keep the sewage system of your RV clog free and odorless. This is the precise work of a black tank treatment.

There are so many products available in the market that it can get confusing. For the same, we presented the best picks for you. Here is the list again, use the links to check the specs, price, and reviews on Amazon –

Last update on 2019-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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