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Traveling for a weekend away in your RV is a great adventure for any family. There's no better feeling than hitting the open road and going wherever the RV takes you.
One thing that is certain is the constant use of your toilet over that trip and the only place you can store this waste is in your holding tank, which means you’ll need treatment to help combat the odor and break down any waste.
So what type of holding tank treatment do you need and what should you be looking for? We have reviewed the top products on the market for keeping your holding tank operating the way it should. Read on for more information.
Best RV Holding Tank Treatments Comparison Chart
Walex TOI-91799 Porta-Pak Holding Tank Deodorizer
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Camco TST Clean Scent RV Treatment
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Firebelly RV Septic Tank Treatment
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Walex BOI-11530 Bio-Pak Natural Holding Tank Deodorizer
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Camco 41197 TST RV Toilet Treatment
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Valterra V23128 'Pure Power Blue' Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator
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Aqua-Kem RV holding tank treatment - Deodorant / Waste Digester / Detergent - 1 gallon - Thetford 28614
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How to Choose RV Holding Tank Treatment
Some people prefer different features when it comes to the treatment they use. These features can come in various forms with varying levels of effectiveness. The following are aspects you should take into consideration when choosing which treatment is best for you and your holding tank. These aren’t the be-all, end-all, and not every product will have these features or abilities.
Packet, Powder, Liquid
Treatment can come in two forms, it can either be in a packet/tablet that is pre-measured, meaning that all you need to do is drop it into your toilet and flush when dissolved. The second option would be powder form. This is something you measure out yourself and then add to the toilet. The only advantage the powder has over packet forms is that they don’t need to dissolve before flushing. The liquid version is simple to pour in and flush away. Liquid treatments still need to be measured but work just as well as their powdered counterparts.
Eco-friendly products are a big thing at the moment and everyone should do their bit to help keep our planet clean. When looking for a treatment, you should always go for a product that releases no formaldehyde. It should also let you know if it’s biodegradable.
One of the main reasons anyone would buy a treatment is to ensure the bad odor of your waste doesn’t stink you out of the RV. Many treatments come fragrance-free, others come with scents that make your RV smell lovely. The more natural nitrate or mineral-based formulas will more or less upcycle the bad odor into a scentless gas.
The other main reason anyone would buy a treatment is to have it break down the waste in their tank, quickly and efficiently. You want your treatment to be able to break down most solids, with a minimum amount of treatment used. You’d be surprised at the number of treatments on the market that fail to carry out this basic task.
Review of the Best RV Holding Tank Treatments
Let's take a look at some of our top picks!
This treatment boasts odor-free abilities and an easy to use style. All you need to do is drop one pod into your toilet, wait for it to dissolve, and then go ahead and flush. This product is safe to use in treating both black water and grey water tanks. It can break down any waste and tissue paper that gets sent down your toilet fast and effectively.
This product can treat your holding tank for up to seven days, making it an excellent value for money. Another feature of this product is that it’s safe for the environment with no formaldehyde ingredients included in the pods.
This formaldehyde-free product is great for the environment and is easy-to-use by just simply dropping in the pre-measured pods, waiting for it to dissolve, and flushing. One pod can clean your tank for up to seven days, making this treatment extremely cost-effective and efficient for RV owners on a week-long trip.
The pod solution manages to break down waste and paper like hot water melts snow. The only real downside to this tank treatment is that if you have moisture on your hands and are holding the pod, the protective layer may begin to react with the moisture. This is a great start to the list and would be an excellent product for anyone needing an effective tank cleaner.
This treatment uses both bacteria and enzymes to break down any waste. A unique blend of chemicals will remain dormant in your tank and pipes until they detect any bacteria or waste that requires breaking up.
These ingredients mean the treatment can be left for up to a week until you need to top-up. Unlike many bacteria and enzyme-based products, these pods are not temperature sensitive and have an extended shelf-life compared to their counterparts. This product is also biodegradable and gives off an odor of fresh rainfall. Each pod can cleanse up to 40 gallons of wastewater.
This product is biodegradable, meaning it will cause no harm to your tank or the surrounding environment when used. The smart formula, which is a clever concoction of chemicals knows when to break up waste and bacteria. It will remain dormant when there’s nothing around to clean. Unlike traditional bacteria/enzyme-based products, these pods are not temperature sensitive and have an extended shelf life, which fixes the main problem for bacteria-based products.
The main problem with this product is that due to the enzymes/bacteria mixture, it takes longer to break up any waste and bad bacteria. This mixture without the added fragrance would also add more bad odors to the already decaying waste smell. You would need a strong scent to get rid of the bad odor and this product doesn’t quite cut it.
This formaldehyde-free product can clean your pipes and tank of any grime, bacteria, and waste in a remarkably short time. Not only is this product fit for RVs but sport and music venues all over the world use this product to clean their toilets.
This odor-fighting treatment gives off a mulberry scent and all it takes is for you to drop one pod into your toilet and flush. At this point, they will instantly begin fighting off bacteria and breaking down chunks of waste. The pods can work in tanks up to 40 gallons using the pod's enzyme formula.
This eco-friendly solution is great to use on any holding tank system and will effectively clean your pipes and tank by breaking down any chunks of waste and tissue. The world-renowned brand is respected and used by many companies across the world to carry out the same job, working time and time again. The pleasant mulberry smell masks the odor given off by decaying waste. The pod can clean up to 40 gallons of water, which is a significant amount and great value.
The only downside is that the enzyme-based solution is a slow process that might start work straight away, however, you won’t see noticeable progress for a few days, This is why it can last seven days. The temperature can also affect the process of the reaction.
This enzyme-based formula will breakdown any waste and bacteria for up to seven days without any top up. All it takes is one pod that can cleanse up to 40 gallons of water. To combat the odor of decaying waste, it releases a fresh alpine scent that will fill your tank and spread throughout the RV. The pre-packaged pods are perfect to just throw into the toilet and let them work their magic.
A problem with many pods is that the colorants stain the tank and pipes, however, this isn’t the case with this solution. You won’t have to use special RV toilet paper anymore for an easy breakdown. This enzyme solution is fully capable of breaking down any material you throw at it. This formula is so powerful it can break up any clogs within your pipes and tank. A real miracle for any week-long RV trip.
This efficient product will start the chemical reaction straight away to break down any waste and clogs within your pipes and holding tanks. The benefit of this product is that continuous use of this pod won’t stain your tank or pipes, which is a big problem for RV owners. One pod, like many of its counterparts, can clean up to 40 gallons of water and can last for up to seven days within your tank.
The only downside to an enzyme-based product is that it takes a while to break up the waste and the temperature can slow down the performance of the treatment, meaning hot summer days are not the best friend of any enzyme product. There are treatments on the market that can withstand extremely hot weather.
A change from the usual pod delivery system, this treatment is delivered as a liquid, straight into your toilet. The nitrate-based product is one of the better chemical formulas used as a holding tank treatment. The solution is ultra-concentrated and gives off a citrus scent when breaking down waste.
This product is formaldehyde-free, making it eco-friendly and safe to use on campsites. Your toilet, pipes, and holding tank will all be safe from staining, as this product has a no stain guarantee. For every three ounces used, it can clean up to 40 gallons of wastewater. This is a simple and easy process, which only requires you to measure out the formula.
The greatest benefit of using a nitrate-based product is that they are 100% more efficient than any enzyme, bacteria, or formaldehyde-based chemical treatment. The reason for this is, nitrate products give bacteria in the tank an alternative source of oxygen that turns into gas nitrogen, which is an odorless gas. Many people prefer their RV just to smell clean rather than perfumed, as many of these fragrances are incredibly strong.
This gas means any odor coming out of your tank instantly becomes odorless and doesn’t need to be masked with any fragrances like enzyme or bacteria-based products that usually make the nasty odor stronger, thus why they always come with a strong aroma. The only downsides to this product are that its liquid-based and you have to measure it out yourself, meaning you could possibly waste it by under measuring or spilling it.
This liquid, enzyme-based holding tank treatment effectively breaks up clogs and any waste build-up existing in your system. The tank cleaner is a non-toxic formula that will break down most waste within the first few days of use. This product boasts that you don’t need to buy any special toilet paper to help the process. Feel free to use anything and the formula will still break it down.
The cleaner also comes with a helpful manual explaining step-by-step how to get the best out of your treatment. By following this manual, it will show you how to minimize the risk of foul odors and keep your tank from clogging up. This blend of bacteria and enzymes has a proven track-record in destroying any waste far more effectively than its competitors.
This non-toxic solution is a great asset to any RV owner, thanks to the easy to follow guide which goes in-depth on how to prevent clogging and bad odors from seeping into your RV. The manual is such a great, yet simple, addition to the treatment.
No need for any precautions, such as special toilet paper, as this liquid formula can break up almost anything after being left for a few days. The fact that it takes a few days to break down waste is what puts this product at a disadvantage. The hot weather also affects any enzyme-based products in slowing down the decaying process.
This biodegradable product is different from most tank treatments on the market as its comprised of a highly-concentrated mineral and nutrient blend. This blend works just like an enzyme but destroys odors with more efficiency and without masking it with aromatic fragrances.
This mineral formula doesn’t need to be regularly topped up like enzyme-based formulas. One scoop of this powdered formula can treat up to 40 gallons of wastewater. Additionally, this mineral base isn’t affected by extreme cold or heat and boasts the ability to see noticeable results within a few hours of adding the formula.
This natural formula is one of the best holding tank treatments on the market, a fierce competitor to any nitrate-based products. This biodegradable and safe formula is easy to use and you’ll experience noticeable results in a matter of hours.
This product is currently the best for destroying any odors without masking them with aromatic fragrances. There aren’t any real disadvantages with this product other than the expensive price tag and having to measure out the formula yourself. At the end of the day, these are problems not many people consider that big of a deal. This is the best organic treatment on the market.
Best Happy Camper RV Holding Tank Treatment:
EXTREME CLEANER by Happy Campers - RV Tank Cleaner
Hailing from the same brand as the organic treatment, this product has an aggressive approach to cleaning up any grime and waste. This is a basic, powdered-based product that uses secret ingredients to destroy any grime and crusted muck from your tank sensors and the entirety of your tank.
The back of this small bottle guides you, step-by-step in cleaning out your full system. One scoop can be used in cleaning up to 40 gallons of waste. This product is made for continuous use and works great when preparing for the winter to get rid of as much waste as possible before it freezes.
Sporting the badge of a reliable brand makes this product a strong competitor on the market. This aggressive cleaner will break down any clog and destroy bacteria within a matter of hours. On the back of each bottle, there is a helpful guide you follow for exceptional results that limits bad odors and build-up of grime.
The downsides to this product include not having a clear description of its capabilities, there is a severe lack of information about this product, including its ingredients. To see real, long-lasting results, you should use this product continuously. This will limit the amount of grime that can build-up after applying the first treatment.
Best Pure Power RV Holding Tank Treatment:
Valterra V23128 'Pure Power Blue' Waste Digester and Odor Eliminator
This product provides some raw power when eliminating all the hazards our RV tanks face daily, including grime, waste, and everything nasty. Nothing is safe from this powerful natural cleaner. This formula is safe for everyone and everything, thanks to its natural properties.
The product can survive in both cold and warm weather, which is perfect all year round. The enzyme and bacteria mixture keeps the tank odor-free. This product, unlike others similar to it, doesn’t give off any perfumed smell and instead produces just a fresh and clean odor.
This enzyme and bacteria-based product is powerful against strong odors, which effectively turns them into a fresh smell that isn’t masked by perfumes like most of their counterparts. This natural-based cleaner is safe for both animals and humans to be near, unlike some cleaners that contain formaldehyde and are banned in certain campsites due to their deadly chemicals.
The chemical mixture will be able to smash through any bacteria, grime, and waste build-up within your tank. Only two ounces of this solution can treat up to 40 gallons of waste.
Unfortunately, there is one downside and it's something you might not expect. On the package it says it can withstand hot and cold weather, however, this simply isn’t true, as using this product in extremely hot weather will limit the chemical reaction to the point it doesn’t make any significant improvements.
This three-in-one treatment eliminates odors, breaks down waste, and cleans the tank. It's a perfect combination, meaning you don’t need to stock your shelves with individual chemicals. This treatment is well-known to effectively control bad smells and recycle them back into the air. The biodegradable formula allows for safe use on your holding tank, powerfully breaking up any clogs and liquefying any waste.
The liquid works almost instantly in destroying waste like tissue paper and clogs. Even after application and working its magic for around a week, this formula keeps on fighting by limiting the rate at which any grime can build up around the tank, by which point you would add more of the solution.
The three-in-one solution is great for any RV owner. Not having to buy multiple products and having them all there in one bottle is a godsend. This smart solution breaks down large build-ups of waste and limits the chance of any future grime build-up.
The chemical formula is exceptional at eliminating powerful odors and upcycling them as more pleasant, fresh smells. One major downside to this product is that when used in a hot environment it can produce dangerous formaldehyde fumes. This is a risk to both humans and animals.
Types of RV Holding Tank Treatments
There are multiple types of treatment to choose from and the different types of holding tank treatments can offer a wide range of benefits and downsides. Some are dangerous when in hot environments and others are near-perfect in every situation.
This treatment kills all types of bacteria. However, it can lead to large clumps and clogs left behind in your waste tank. Most campgrounds ban these treatments, as they are dangerous.
These products take a while before making any significant improvement. They can also be part of the problem by re-activating the odor-causing bacteria in the waste. They do not kill bacteria or provide oxygen, which is why these products mostly use sweet fragrances to mask the bad smells.
By introducing more bacteria to breakdown waste, these products don’t introduce oxygen and will still create a foul odor. These products are sensitive to changes in temperature and don’t have great shelf lives.
Nitrate products give bacteria an alternate source of oxygen that will give off an odorless gas called nitrogen. This gas speeds up the breakdown process and reduces odors. These products are environmentally-friendly and are used in most industrial settings such as wastewater treatment plants.
There are plenty of effective treatments on this list, many of which do their job to a great standard. They come in all different forms and have many advantages, such as being able to break waste down fast or being eco-friendly and disadvantages such as being banned in certain campsites for being a hazard or even making the odor worse.
The point of this review is to help guide you in the right direction by pointing out chemicals that could be dangerous and what might help your holding tanks in the long-run. Whatever decision you make, we hope it works out and this article has helped you reach your decision.
People Also Ask
This section is for anyone that needs clarification on details about waste treatments for your RV. The jargon and complicated process of treating waste can get the better of you sometimes and make it a confusing experience.
What is an RV Holding Tank Treatment?
Your holding tank is where your sewage will end up. This waste will begin to decompose and smell. The role of the holding tank treatment is to break down this waste and destroy the odor.
How Often Do You Have to Empty RV Tanks?
Depending on how many people you are traveling with, you could be emptying it every other day. You should wait until your tank is ⅔ full. If it’s just you and your partner, once per week is fine.
Can You Dump RV Waste Into your Septic Tank?
Yes, you can dump your waste into your septic tank. However, there are a few things you need to understand before you start doing this. You’ll need to read up on the systems of your septic tank. Your manual should go into more detail about this and you could even contact the manufacturer.
How Do I Keep My Holding Tank From Smelling?
You should use nitrate-based products that create gas nitrogen which stops the tank from giving off a bad odor. Nitrate is the best option. However, nearly all waste treatments give off an aromatic scent when breaking down any waste.
How Often Should You Dump Your Black Water Tank?
This answer is quite similar to one we’ve previously answered. Your black water tank should be emptied every few days depending on how many people are traveling with you. Two people should be around a week, a group should be every two days.