His Mind is in the Toilet

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October 10, 2010


Toilet Talk

When we were planning on buying our RV and becoming full-timers, we saw the movie RV with Robin Williams.  The scene where he dumps the tank was quite amusing; my wife pointed out that she enjoyed the movie, but maybe was not a good choice for people thinking about becoming RVers  J  I was also on submarines and saw a few mishaps dealing with sewage tanks.  Because of this, I started researching how to handle the tanks and dumping early.  I found many, many tips that alleviated my concerns.  My wife and I were talking, though, that we have never seen all of the tips in one place.  So, I thought I would try providing a list of all the things that we’ve learned to help us deal with the black water tank.

The key tips for hooking up include disenfecting the water faucet (run the campground water first, disenfect faucet—I use bleach wipes, then hook up your hose) and ensure you do not cross-contaminate (I finish with the fresh water before ever doing anything with the sewer; the other option is to clean up and disenfect after hooking up the sewer and prior to starting fresh water).  And the disposable gloves you can buy and keep in your water station are excellent.

First, and this surprised us, not everyone uses a treatment for the tanks to eliminate odors.  A few people we know do not use the chemicals and say they have never had any problems.  While we have never gone without the chemical, we’ve read stories about RVs with an odor that is difficult to eliminate because of no chemicals ever used in the black water tank.  Inside, we learned about using toilet paper, or you can buy sheets, to cover the bottom of the bowl prior to using it.  This way all the waste goes into the tank without sticking to the connecting line that is difficult to clean.  Letting the tanks get over 2/3 full before dumping also helps it flush more thoroughly.  While our black water tank has built in nozzles for flushing, we still regulary use a spray nozzle to flush the line to make sure there is no waste build up.  We also heard on a tv show about flushing ice down the toilet before you drive—the ice helps scrub the tank as you drive and keep it clean.

When dumping, always think about contamination; again, the disposable gloves are excellent and I use the clorox wipes on my hands when I’m done.  Also, we run the grey water for about 5 seconds before dumping the black.  This does 2 things.  First, it coats the sewer hose with soapy water right before the black water is dumped.  Second, it ensures everything is working with the sewer.  At one park when I did this I discovered their sewer was clogged.  It was much easier to work with than it would have been if I discovered the clog by dumping the black tank.

Gold Paper

Gold Paper

One other item is that we were told to use Charmin rather than the dissolving kind of toilet paper.  We followed the manufacturer’s warning (specifically telling us not to use Charmin), and have met some people who have had problems using regular paper.  There are several brands of the dissolving kind that we’ve found, so we have not seen a reason to not use it.

I’m sure all of these are fairly common knowledge, but we did not know them all when we started.  I would say that the 3 best items to have are the disposable gloves, disenfectant wipes, and the toilet paper in the bottom of the bowl.

Leave a Reply


  1. Dirtbag

    Hey- – – the idea of running the gray water for a few seconds really makes sense!! The soapy water does indeed act like a lube. We went from the disovling paper to a regular paper for use in the toliet and have had no problems. We DO use chemicals in the tank so I suppose that helps. We do keep a 4 pack of the disolving paper just in case! Hmmm- – – – we also flush the tanks everytime with the built in system as well as a back-flush valve. It all keeps the sensors working. I start with the black tank then go to the gray one.

    We use spray disfectant on the water faucet prior to hook-up and the hoses also. We have a separate hose for the flushing of the tanks and the water is kept running while I unhook from the Y-connector. Kinda like using bug spray on the regular hose at the stick house. Anyway- – these were good ideas and all in one place. Thats great!

  2. I’m looking to live on the road in a RV, so I’m new to all of this. Thank you for your post. This might be old news for most RVers, but all new for newbies like me.

  3. Hoby

    Thanks for the comments; none of these suggestions were my idea–I heard them all from other sources and just tried to pull them all to one spot 🙂

  4. Syd

    RV’d for over forty years and have tried it all but never thought of running the gray water for a few seconds for lubrication and to spot leaks first. Great advise.

  5. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy Hoby,

    Thank you, for the info.. It’s worth 5 stars * * * * *… There you are!!!

    Dumping a little gray water first is a great idea!!!!! Even an ‘Aggie’ should have thought of that…

    The first time we dumped ours we were lucky… the hose had ‘holes’ in it, but it was mostly gray

    water… It was still a MESS!!!! We got a NEW HOSE!!!!!