How Do I Flush My RV’s Black Tank?

Apr 23 2015

They’re not pretty, but every RV has one for a reason, and every RVer is glad it exists: the black tank.

The black tank holds all the solid and liquid waste from your RV’s onboard toilet. Understandably, it’s not the cleanest place in your RV, but its maintenance is not to be overlooked. After every trip, RVers should get in the habit of washing it out, and just dumping the waste isn’t enough.

By flushing your black tank with fresh water after every trip, you:

  • Extend the life of your wastewater system

  • Prevent costly repairs later down the road

  • Control odors before they begin

  • Ensure the accuracy of the monitoring system to know when it’s full

Here’s everything you need to know about flushing your black tank.

AUTOMATIC FLUSHING

Many trailers have automatic black tank flushing systems, as do most motorhomes. Near your black tank, there should be a small valve that connects to a city water source, such as a garden hose. Connect a hose to this inlet, turn the water on and let the system do its work.

The water is sprayed in all directions inside the tank and should dislodge most stubborn waste inside the tank. Make sure to empty the tank again after you wash.

MANUAL FLUSHING

While automatic black tank flushing may be a necessary thing to do, it likely won’t be enough. For added cleanliness, RVers should invest in manual black tank cleaning tools, such as a rinsing wand with a high-pressure head.

This wand, when connected to your garden hose, can be placed down your RV’s toilet and give a secondary rinse to the tank to knock down any difficult-to-remove solids.

PREVENTION

The best way to ensure a clean black tank is to maintain it. There are various products on the market that help break down solids inside the tanks without you even thinking about it. By flushing an RV-specific detergent or chemical into your tank before you take off on a trip, you’re going to have a better experience cleaning the tank out later.

Overall, the best thing for RVers to do is to rinse the tank out often, use plenty of water and include a little cleaner in the mix to ensure everything is effectively broken down and removed.

Black tank cleanliness isn’t the most fun topic to read about, but a clean, odor-free camper is crucial to the life and longevity of your RV investment. Take the time to clean and sanitize your black tank after every trip, and your RV can keep humming along for years to come.

Guide To New RV Ownership