Best RV Black Tank Cleaner – Toilet Holding Tank Treatment

If your RV black tank starts to smell it can really put a damper on your vacation, as well as bringing complaints from neighboring RVers.

Even if your RV toilet doesn’t normally smell too badly, in hot weather, you may find that things suddenly take a turn for the worse. Using the best RV black tank cleaner will not only eliminate odors, but it will also make backups and clogging things of the past – for easier, better-spaced dump stops and more time spent enjoying the great outdoors!

Best RV Black Tank Cleaner

Not sure where to start? We’ve reviewed the best black tank cleaners on the market, so you don’t have to.

Walex Porta-Pak Holding Tank Deodorizer

Walex Porta Pak Holding Tank Cleaner

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One of the most popular RV black tank cleaners, Porta-Pak Holding Tank Deodorizers are highly effective and very easy to use. Portioned into individual capsules, you won’t have to worry about using too much or not enough product, and they’re also spillage free.

Fast-acting and quick dissolving, one capsule is enough to stop odors and break down waste in black tanks with a capacity of up to 40 gallons. Providing excellent odor prevention, one Porta-Pak will stop your black tank smelling for a whole week, as well as breaking down waste and paper.

The dye is non-staining and this product is entirely formaldehyde-free. Biodegradable, simply drop one Porta-Pak into your tank with five to seven gallons of freshwater. The bag is also resealable, making them extremely easy to store and you won’t have to worry about leaks or drips as with regular bottled formulas.

Porta-Pak is also great value for money, making it one of the very best black tank cleaners. Used regularly it will help to keep your sensors clean and operational, and your valves and seals lubricated.

In short, this commercial strength product is one of the best on the market for eradicating black tank odors in any climate.

Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment

Happy Campers RV Holding Tank Treatment

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If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly black tank cleaner for your RV that really works then check out the Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment by Happy Campers.

This 100% organic product contains no formaldehyde or dangerous chemicals. It is made from a unique blend of natural minerals and micro-nutrients making it completely safe for use in your RV plumbing and with septic tanks.

This biodegradable formula is highly effective at digesting waste and most household tissue, making dumping your black tank a much easier process and allowing you to cheaper toilet tissue. Once you’ve added the treatment to your tank it continues to work with no need to add any extra, for extended dump intervals. One scoop treats a 40-gallon tank making it great value and highly-economical.

Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment works in both cold and hot climates, even at temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use it in your grey tank, or even your washing machine to control odors.

Compact and easy to store, this 64 treatment pack is also great value for money. As you don’t need to use any extra between dumps there’s plenty enough to last for an entire year and longer.

If you are looking for a natural black tank cleaner that really works, this is definitely the one to go for.

Camco Ultra-Concentrated RV Toilet Treatment Drop-Ins

Camco Ultra Concentrated RV Toilet Treatment

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If you are looking for a simple and effective way to control odors from your black tank, then Camco Ultra-Concentrated RV Toilet Treatment Drop-Ins could be just what you need. Highly convenient and easy to use, simply drop a capsule into your toilet and flush to treat tanks up to 40 gallons.

These RV toilet drop-ins are highly concentrated with a single capsule lasting up to seven days. Completely biodegradable, they are also safe for septic tanks. Unlike some other black tank cleaners, this formula does not contain bronopol, a toxic ingredient that releases formaldehyde. So, it’s much safer to use without losing any of its efficacy.

Aside from controlling black tank odors, this cleaner also breaks down waste and single-ply tissue, confining messy dumps and blockages to the past. While this is an ultra-concentrated formula that has a clean, fresh citrus scent, when temperatures rise you may need to double the dose or use it more frequently to ensure your RV toilet remains odor-free.

For fast-acting odor control in your RV black water holding tank, these handy drop-ins by Camco are very convenient. Their ease of use and fresh, clean-smelling fragrance make them a popular choice with RVers, as does their fairly low price.

Thetford Aqua-Kem RV Holding Tank Treatment

Thetford RV Holding Tank Treatment

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The Aqua-Kem 3-in-1 holding tank treatment by Thetford is one of the very best RV black tank cleaners around.

If you’re struggling to entirely remove the smell from your RV tank then this is the product to go for. Even more so if you use your RV in areas with a hot climate, this formula’s powerful deodorant works well in all weather conditions.

Aside from neutralizing odors completely, this cleaner also liquefies waste and tissue thanks to its ultra-concentrated formula. This makes dumping much easier and dreaded blockages a thing of the past. 100% biodegradable, this formula is also safe for septic tanks.

Thirdly, Aqua-Kem is also a powerful detergent that will keep your tank in prime condition. It effectively cleans your tank walls and drain lines, so you won’t have to worry about buildup occurring and expensive repairs. This also ensures your RV remains odor-free.

As a liquid formula, Aqua-Kem is slightly less convenient to use than drop-ins, but only marginally so. While it is more expensive than most standard RV black tank cleaners, it really does work exceptionally well.

So, if you have a lingering toilet smell in your RV that you just can’t get rid of, try this product out. It could save you from having to replace your lines and tank to get rid of the odor, and it will definitely keep your lines and tank smell-free and extra clean.

TankTechsRx RV Holding Tank Treatment & Cleaner

TankTechsRx Black Tank Cleaner

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If you can’t stand the overpowering perfume smell of your black tank additives, but don’t want to be able to smell your toilet either, then TankTechsRx RV Holding Tank Treatment & Cleaner could be just what you need. Its unscented formula eliminates odors completely rather than relying upon scents to mask them.

This all-natural, environmentally-friendly RV black tank cleaner utilizes beneficial bacteria making it safe for use around pets and wildlife, as well as your family. These probiotic bacteria not only eliminate odors, they also liquify waste making dumping your black tank much easier.

You can use this product in black, grey and galley tanks, simply add a small amount to your full toilet. The bacteria will multiply to treat any size tank and will continue to work until you empty your tank. A liter bottle will last for 68 treatments, making this cleaner good value for money despite its high price tag.

This formula is also proven to be highly effective at removing struvite and preventing its formation. Struvite are crystals that can build up in the walls of your tank, slowing drainage, trapping odors, and causing black tank sensor failure.

If you want a thoroughly clean black tank without an overbearing fragrance or causing damage to the environment, then this all-natural, USA-made probiotic black tank cleaner is one of the best to go for.

Valterra Pure Power Blue Waste Digester

Valterra Waste Digester Odor Eliminator

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For RVs with kids or pets, you might want to try out Valterra Pure Power Blue Waste Digester with its safe, all-natural formula.

This formula uses a combination of biological enzymes and bacteria to liquify waste and toilet paper for easy-to-drain tanks. You can use it in both your grey and black tank, eliminating the need to purchase two different products.

This black tank cleaner is effective in all weather conditions and even works in temperatures up to 130-degrees Fahrenheit. CA compliant, it is also accepted at all campgrounds, RV parks and dump stations, so you won’t have any issues. Two ounces are enough to treat a 40-gallon grey or black tank, making it good value – a 128 ounce bottle lasts for 64 treatments.

Formulated with BioBlastPlus Odor Control technology, this black tank cleaner stops your tank from smelling by eliminating odors. While it is advertised as having a fresh, clean fragrance, in reality, it is pretty overpowering. So, if you’re sensitive to strong fragrances, you may want to choose an unscented RV black tank cleaner instead.

All in all, this cleaner is a good natural choice for keeping both your grey and black tanks clean and flowing free, without any harsh chemicals.

Thetford Tank Blaster Cleaner

Thetford Blaster Holding Tank Cleaner

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If your black tank sensor doesn’t read clean after dumping, then try out Thetford Tank Blaster Cleaner.

This product has been specially formulated to deep clean RV black, grey and portable tanks, and it is safe for your plumbing seals and surfaces. It utilizes a dual action to lift deposits before breaking them down.

One sachet is enough to treat a 50 gallon tank. Simply pour the granules into your toilet or sink, completely fill your tank with freshwater, and leave it to work overnight. The Micro-Foam action helps the cleaner to reach all of your tanks walls, while the active enzymatic blend detaches and breaks down tissue, waste and grease.

This tank cleaner is a great product that you will want to incorporate into your RV maintenance program to keep your tanks free of residue and your sensors operational. It is very easy to use and very effective – ideal too if you don’t travel much in your RV and may have buildup higher up where other cleaners don’t reach.

Thanks to its effective overnight operation and super-concentrated enzymatic blend, this cleaner is even suitable for use in areas with hard water. So, if you are having RV tank sensor issues, be sure to try out this tank cleaner before considering an expensive replacement.

Unique RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment

Unique Black Tank Cleaner Pods

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These drop-in pods for RV black water tanks are a highly convenient way to eliminate odors and breakdown waste and sludge. Made from a highly concentrated bacteria and enzyme formula, these pods are a good choice for low-water use scenarios such as dry camping.

Great for preventing backups, sensor misreadings and clogging, Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment treats both black and grey tanks. Its non toxic, eco-friendly formula is safe to use around pets and children, and it doesn’t contain formaldehyde. As the pods contain a high concentration of bacteria, they work even in hot weather.

Although this product is a little expensive, it makes a safe and convenient choice for your RV. Simply flush a pod down your RV toilet after a dump stop and you’re good to go. This RV tank cleaner also breaks down all brands of toilet paper, meaning you could save some more by purchasing more generic versions suitable for your system, rather than special RV ones.

Unscented, non-toxic and made in the USA, if you are looking for an effective, natural black tank cleaner for use when dry camping, Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment makes a good, solid choice even in the heat.

Odorlos Black Tank Treatment

Odorlos Holding Tank Treatment

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Odorlos Black Tank Treatment is a fully biodegradable tank cleaner that is safe for use in all RV holding tanks.

If you are looking for an unscented, eco-friendly formula, then this is one of the top versions to go for. It also works in extreme heat, unlike many other formulas, as well as ensuring your valves are sufficiently lubricated.

This black tank treatment uses naturally occurring bacteria to completely eradicate odors and liquefy waste, tissue and buildup for a cleaner tank and easier dump stops. Non-toxic and formaldehyde-free, this product is also extremely simple to use. Use the included scoop to add one ounce to every 10 gallons of capacity.

Available as a six pound tub, this will last you for 24 40-gallon tank treatments, making it good value for money. Unlike many scented products, this black tank cleaner really gets to work eliminating odors, rather than just masking them. It provides bacteria with a continuous supply of alternative energy, so they don’t target sulfates for energy, resulting in an absence of smell.

Easy to measure, effective in the heat and fast-acting, if you are looking for an eco-friendly, scent-free black water tank cleaner, then Odorlos is an extremely popular, top-rated choice.

Dometic Premium Holding Tank Treatment

Dometic Premium RV Holding Tank Treatment

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Dometic Premium Holding Tank Treatment comes in convenient drop-in capsules for an easy way to prevent odors and reduce buildup in your RV black tank. It uses a series of special additives to break down waste and tissue for a cleaner rinse when you dump your black tank.

This product is effective even in hot weather and is marketed as being both eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable. However, there is a warning that this product can expose you to chemicals, including arsenic which is non-biodegradable. Therefore, RVs with children or pets present will need to be store this cleaner out of reach.

Convenient to use, simply place one pod in your RV toilet and flush. One unit is enough to treat a 40-gallon tank and remains effective for 5-7 days. This formula has a fresh, clean scent that isn’t overpowering, making dumps stops more pleasant.

This is a convenient drop-in black tank cleaner that does the job breaking down waste and eliminating odors. However, given the uncertainty over certain chemicals in its composition, if you have pets or kids staying in your RV, you may prefer to opt for another product for safety reasons.

Rid-X RV Toilet Treatment

Rid-X RV Toilet Treatment

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If you’re having difficulty getting your black tank clean, give Rid-X RV Toilet Treatment a go.

This RV black tank cleaner gets to work fast – stopping odors and breaking down waste, tissue and grease even in hot weather. Its biodegradable formula, does, however, need to be stored below 100-degrees fahrenheit and must be kept out of reach of children.

Rid-X uses natural bacteria and enzymes to neutralize odors and break down waste. If you have had issues with toilet tissue blockages, then you might like to try out this version. It contains a powerful cellulase enzyme that is included for its excellent efficacy in dissolving paper waste. This product also has a strong citrus scent which helps to keep your tank and toilet smelling clean, however, it may be a little overpowering for some users.

This version of Rid-X has been specially formulated for RV holding tanks, although you can also use it in your septic tank. A 40 fluid ounce bottle contains six applications for holding tanks up to 40 gallons. It is recommended that you use it weekly for the best results.

Application is simple; pour eight fluid ounces of Rid-X RV toilet treatment into your RV toilet and flush. You’ll need a gallon of fresh water. If you have a larger tank or the weather is hot, you may need to add an extra four to eight fluid ounces per treatment.

While this is a highly effective back tank cleaner, for regular full-time use, you will need to repurchase this product every four to six weeks depending on the climate and your tank.

Firebelly Outfitters RV Septic Tank Treatment

Firebelly Outfitters RV Septic Tank Treatment

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Firebelly Outfitters RV Septic Tank Treatment comes in a handy pack of 20 drop-in capsules.

Simply place one in your RV toilet and flush for a clean smell, effective waste break down and no more odors. One sachet is enough to treat a 40-gallon tank, so with this 20 pack, you should have enough for 20 weeks with a standard size tank and full-time use.

Made in the USA, this formula has been specially created to be safe on RV toilet parts, lines and holding tanks. Formaldehyde-free and biodegradable, this product reduces environmental contamination for an eco-friendly way to keep your black tank clean.

Thanks to its super concentrated deodorizing make-up, this black tank cleaner uses triple molecular technology to provide superior odor control. It also has a fresh mulberry scent that is refreshingly different to its competitors.

Providing good value for money and an easy and convenient way to keep your black tank clean, the only real downside with this product is that the pods can easily get stuck together. If this happens, you risk spilling the contents when trying to pull them apart.

However, on the whole, this is a good product with a different scent to your standard RV toilet treatments.

Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best RV Black Tank Cleaner

If you’re looking for the best RV black tank cleaner for your motorhome, then there are a few factors to keep in mind. Our RV black tank cleaner buyer’s guide has all you need to know.

Price

RV holding tank cleaners can vary hugely in price.

If you are full-time or use your RV very regularly, you’ll want to pay close attention to the price as you’ll be using your tank cleaner on a weekly basis. To work out the best price, you need to compare products by finding out the cost per treatment. Take the cost for the entire contents then divide it into the number of treatments it provides to find out how much each brand costs on a like-for-like basis.

You don’t want to necessarily go with the very cheapest, nor the highest priced. However, selecting a good quality RV black tank cleaner is essential, even if you end up paying a little extra.

If possible, purchase a small format to sample first before paying out for a large bottle or package. Depending on your climate, your type of water and your tank’s condition, you may find that certain formulas are more or less effective for your particular set up.

So, while it can be tempting to buy the big, better value packs, start off with a small tester whenever possible.

Biodegradability

It is important to look for a tank cleaner that is biodegradable. This means that your treatment will not pollute the environment after use.

Biodegradable substances can be broken down by living microorganisms, such as bacteria, and do not require treatment with chemicals.

Effectiveness

You need an RV black tank cleaner that actually works. While you can’t see just what’s happening in your tank, nor would you want to, when it comes to dumping, you will be able to get an idea of how effective your cleaner is.

If you have a transparent elbow on your sewer hose, you should see that things flow much easier. Also, you may discover that treating your black tank can fix a faulty sensor that has been affected by build up.

Lastly, that tell-tale small should vanish completely.

Tablets or Liquids

This comes down to personal preference, really.

Some RVers like the convenience of being able to toss a capsule in their toilet and flush. No measuring is required and there is no risk of spillage or mess. Drop-ins simply dissolve and can contain liquid or granules, depending on the brand and composition.

On the other hand, if your tank is significantly larger or smaller than the standard 40-gallon capacity, you may prefer to have a liquid that you can dose correctly. They can also be useful for adding extra amounts in the heat when you don’t want to use a full double dose.

Granules are another option. Unlike liquids and capsules, some granules advise you to mix your cleaner in a jug of water before adding it to your system. Others can be directly added to your tank or toilet.

Look for models that come with a measuring scoop or a lid that doubles as a measuring cap.

Types of RV Black Tank Treatments

If you’re unsure which RV black tank cleaner is best for your rig, take a look at this section dedicated to the different types of black water tank cleaners.

Formaldehyde/Chemical

Traditional RV tank cleaners contain harsh chemicals that are used to kill the bacteria in your tank. They are very effective and you may want to consider one for a new-to-you motorhome that hasn’t been well looked after.

However, given their negative impact on the environment and the danger that handling such products can cause to your health, not to mention the risks if any children or pets get hold of it – it is generally advised that you resort to this type of product for occasional use only.

Furthermore, chemical cleaners, in destroying the bacteria present in your tank, can in fact make your RV sewage system less effective, leading to back ups and clogging as waste is encapsulated instead of being liquified.

Enzyme

Enzyme black water tank cleaners are specially formulated to break down waste and tissue using natural processes.

Enzymes are non-living proteins and are often combined with bacteria for a more effective product. Natural, biodegradable and eco-friendly, enzyme RV black tank cleaners are an increasingly popular choice.

The downside with enzyme-only tank cleaners, is that unlike bacteria, enzymes in the formula cannot multiply. Also, while they are effective at breaking down waste at any temperature, they do not liquify it as bacteria do.

So, for the best RV black tank cleaner, you will want a product that contains both enzymes and bacteria.

Nitrate

Nitrate holding tank treatments are useful as they break down to release oxygen. This helps the naturally occuring bacteria present in your tank to work, breaking down your waste and tissue.

Many sewage treatment plants make use of nitrates to improve their aeration process. Aerobic bacteria require oxygen to survive and they create odourless water and carbon dioxide as byproducts.

This makes nitrate RV tank cleaners an excellent choice for supporting this natural, odorless way to effectively break down your waste.

Bioactive

Bioactive RV tank cleaners contain bacteria and often enzymes too. As mentioned above aerobic bacteria break down solid waste and turn bad smells into fresh air. They do, however, need a supply of oxygen to survive. So, if you opt for a bioactive version, be sure to cease using any chemicals first.

Bioactive RV tank cleaners are a good, natural way to get rid of bad smells and eliminate clogging and blockages. They are environmentally-friendly and generally accepted at all dump stations and RV parks.

On the downside, bacteria can be adversely affected by high temperatures, becoming less effective from 85-degrees Fahrenheit upwards.

Benefits of Using Black Tank Cleaners

There are many benefits to using black tank cleaners – hence why it is considered an essential RV maintenance product.

Here are some of the most important ones.

Eliminate odors

Black tank cleaners are essential to eliminate odors, especially in hot weather as well as during and after a dump stop.

Without a good black tank cleaner, even if you rinse out your black tank every time, you’re still going to find yourself with a smell building up.

Extend period between dumps

With your black tank no longer smelling, provided you have the capacity, you’ll be able to go longer between dump stops. Some RVers without a good black tank cleaner end up dumping everyday or every other day to try to minimize the smell.

While regular dump stops are essential, with a high performance RV black tank cleaner you can extend your period between dumping to five to ten days depending on your usage and capacity.

Prevent backups and clogging

A good black water holding tank cleaner will break down your waste and tissue, so it liquifies. This prevents any clogging and backups, making emptying your tank a much smoother process.

Lubricate valves

Some RV tank cleaners also help to keep your valves lubricated.

This prevents them from potentially drying out and becoming difficult to open and close. While you will probably also lubricate your valves as part of your general maintenance program, the extra lubrication from a good tank cleaner can be a good way to ensure they remain in good working order.

Improve sensor function

Build up in your black tank is one of the main culprits for a faulty sensor. If your sensor doesn’t show empty after dumping, then chances are you need a powerful black tank cleaner to clean your tank’s sides.

In some cases this can take a few treatments to break off years of build up, however, in most cases you can get your sensors back to functioning correctly.

Extend tank and line lifespan

A good black tank cleaner will extend your tank life, as well your lines.

All too often if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. However, it’s important to keep your tank clean and lines flowing freely.

Over time, this can significantly reduce the need to replace and repair your RV plumbing system, saving you hefty fees and arduous repair work.

Final Thoughts

There are many excellent RV black tank cleaners out there to choose from.

If you have a very bad smelling black tank and you want to thoroughly clean it before heading off, then you may want to use the Thetford Tank Blaster Cleaner for an overnight soak.

For hot climates and summertime RVing, we recommend Odorlos Black TankBlack Tank Treatment, it works even in extreme heat, is unscented and highly effective. For dry camping, check out Unique RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment. These pods contain a high concentration of bacteria, so even if your water levels are low, they will still effectively reproduce to effectively break down your waste.

Lastly, if you are looking for an eco-friendly RV black tank cleaner, opt for Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment. Made from natural ingredients, including minerals and micro-nutrients, this product is 100% organic and great value for money. It’s also a good way to care for and protect the places you love to visit in your RV.