Today’s holding tank products can make foul odors a thing of the past
With every passing year, it seems the RV experience becomes more like residential living. Manufacturers are constantly striving to incorporate features that mimic the home, including high-end furnishings, stainless-steel appliances and upscale fixtures. But the one place that still detracts from the pleasures of life on the road is the black-water tank. At home, we simply flush the toilet and the deal is done – but in an RV, constant care and maintenance is required to keep everything working correctly and smelling fresh.
Thankfully, the RV aftermarket understands that sewage isn’t anyone’s favorite subject, and is always inventing new products designed to make holding-tank maintenance as painless (and odorless) as possible. Today, there are literally dozens of products available, which can make choosing the right one for your needs somewhat of a challenge. Just remember that, regardless of the many products on the market, they can still be broken down into two categories: The natural variety that uses friendly bacteria to break down and digest waste and tissue, and the chemical variety that may contain formaldehyde, dyes and perfumes to break down waste and control odor. From there, it’s simply a matter of the delivery method: liquid, powder or premeasured drop-in (aka toss-in). There are even products designed to clean and deodorize the gray-water tank as well.
Because everyone has their own preferences, and most RV centers carry a comparatively limited product line (they can’t stock everything, after all) we’re presenting this guide to the most current holding tank products. Even here we can’t cover every product each company makes, but a visit to any of these websites will guide you to a multitude of choices. Happy flushing!
Advance Research Chemicals Products Inc.
Looking for a sewer solution that’s safe, environmentally friendly and offers deodorization properties for black- and gray-water tanks? Oxy-Kem claims its Holding Tank Treatment is scientifically proven to clean and deodorize tanks, sinks, drains and sensors up to five times better than chemical, enzyme and formaldehyde products. Available in a package with 12 drop-in Paks, Oxy-Kem is easy to use – you only need to drop one Pak down the toilet along with a gallon of water after dumping the black tank (additional Paks may be needed during periods of heavy usage). For gray tanks, tear open one Pak and pour half down a sink and the other half down the shower drain, along with a quart of water (after dumping). Each drop-in Pak is designed to treat up to 60 gallons of water.
Advance Research Chemicals Products Inc.
855-552-6789 | http://productsarc.com/products/oxy-kem-products
Camco’s RhinoFLEX is said to knock the beast right out of your motorhome’s holding tank with a Bacteria/Enzyme formula that digests waste and breaks down tissue for easy biodegradation. Featuring a fresh pine scent, RhinoFLEX harnesses the natural process by which nature digests waste, and only activates in its presence. The advanced formula also contains a buffering agent to prevent acid formation and septic odors. In addition, RhinoFLEX offers a long shelf life, is not temperature sensitive and is biodegradable. It’s economical, too, as just 2 ounces treats 40 gallons. Available in drop-in and liquid forms, from 8 to 64 ounces.
TST stands for “Toilet Stays Tidy.” OK, we made that up. The truth is, Camco’s TST RV toilet treatment products are said to break down waste and tissue and stop odors for up to seven days – and they don’t contain any formaldehyde. They’re 100 percent biodegradable and come in both original and Blue Enzyme versions in liquid and drop-ins. Plus, TST is also available in new Hibiscus Breeze, Lavender and Lemon scents. TST Grey Water Odor Control, meanwhile, removes grease buildup in the gray-water tank as well as sink and shower drain lines, leaving a fresh lemon scent. Other product(s): TST Drain Valve Lube with Coco Oil (16 ounces).
Camco Manufacturing Inc. | 800-334-2004 | www.camco.net
Established in 1926, Century Chemical will actually be a century old in a few years – and has been manufacturing RV and marine holding-tank products for more than half that time. In addition, the company makes products for aviation, charter bus, portable and residential septic use, so you could say these people know their way around a toilet – or at least what goes in one. Century Chemical’s Travel Jon Holding Tank Deodorizer/Cleaner has that deep-blue color we all know so well; it’s biodegradable and contains no formaldehyde. Travel Jon helps break down waste and tissue, and the highly concentrated formula (only 2 ounces per charge) contains detergent to help keep the holding tank clean. Other products: Travel Jon Blue Max toss-in packets, Travel Jon Waste Digester.
Century Chemical Corp. | 800-348-3505 | www.centurychemical.com
3 ‘N 1 Bowl Cleaner & Tank Treatment
Dometic manufactures nearly everything for the RV lifestyle, and a few years ago thought, why not get into wastewater? Wait … that didn’t sound right. No, the company thought, why not offer our own line of holding-tank products? So it did. One of its more innovative solutions is its 3 ’N 1 Bowl Cleaner & Tank Treatment which, as the name would imply, actually serves three purposes. Drop one of the handy 1.5-ounce packets into the toilet bowl and it quickly dissolves, releasing effervescent cleaning action and a fresh lavender scent. We know – that’s only two things. But then, you use a brush to clean the bowl, flush and the contents treat up to a 40-gallon holding tank.
Premium Holding Tank Treatment 5
When you want high-performance gasoline, do you get regular? No way … you go straight for premium, right? With that in mind (sort of), Dometic offers its Premium Holding Tank Treatment, the company’s strongest chemical for reducing odors in an RV waste tank. Available in a variety of liquid and drop-in versions, Premium Holding Tank Treatment is formaldehyde-free and is said to work in the harshest (read: hottest) conditions for five to seven days. The product’s additives also break down waste and help tanks rinse cleaner during the draining process. Other products: Clean ’N Green Holding Tank Treatment and Gray Water Tank Treatment.
Dometic Corp. | 800-544 4881 | www.dometic.com
In nature, bacteria break down and digest waste without perfumes, dyes or detergents. Noticing this, Eco-Save products created Eco-Save Dry, a bacteria/enzyme-based product that works in black- and gray-water holding tanks – and like Mother Nature, uses no perfume or surfactants. In fact, the company claims that the product actually enhances the digestion of waste in septic systems, so you may actually be helping the environment every time you dump the tanks. It’s important to note that the environmentally safe, non-staining product does not actually clean the holding tanks, but it does reduce solids, controls odor and lubricates valves. It’s inexpensive, too, as an 8-ounce jar treats 30-35 tanks of waste. Other products: Eco-Save Concentrate, Eco-Save Fragrance Enhanced, Eco-Save Original Formula (liquid).
Eco-Save | 800-950-9666 | www.eco-save.com
Instant Fresh Toilet Treatment 4
If you can clean it, wash it, wax it, protect it or deodorize it, Star brite has it. The company opened its doors in 1973 with just one product: Star brite Auto Polish. From there, it did what any sensible company would do, and expanded its product line to include marine, aircraft, motorcycle, RV and other markets. Its aptly named Instant Fresh Toilet Treatment comes in Lemon Grove and Pine Forest scents, and was formulated to quickly break down waste, remove odors and lubricate valves. Formaldehyde-free, non-staining and biodegradable, a 32-ounce bottle of Instant Fresh treats 320 gallons. Other product(s): Star brite toilet bowl cleaner.
Star brite Inc. | 800-327-8583 | www.starbrite.com
It sounds like a superhero from a parallel universe, but Thetford’s Aqua-Kem is actually the No. 1 selling holding-tank deodorant of all time, according to Thetford. Likely standard equipment in your first new RV, Aqua-Kem liquefies waste and breaks down tissue fast to prevent clogs, while powerful detergents clean tank walls and drain lines. Aqua-Kem works around the clock in all weather conditions, and is now available in new Garden Mist scented toss-ins. Formaldehyde is one of Aqua-Kem’s ingredients, but the company maintains it is biodegradable and environmentally safe when disposed of properly. Available in liquid, powder and toss-in forms in a variety of sizes.
Eco-Smart, Eco-Smart Free & Clear
Effective and safe for the environment? That’s smart. Eco-Smart, actually. Original Thetford Eco-Smart is a non-staining, green, formaldehyde-free formula that quickly breaks down and liquefies waste and toilet tissue – and provides odor control – while a detergent additive helps keep tanks clean. Eco-Smart Enzyme Formula is an orange, non-staining holding-tank additive with a natural enzymatic deodorizer. Eco-Smart Free & Clear, meanwhile, offers the same benefits as the above but is fragrance-, dye- and formaldehyde-free, and is 100 percent biodegradable. Eco-Smart products are available in liquid or toss-in form. Other products: Aqua-Kem DRI, Aqua-Kem Shotz, Aqua Foam, Campa-Chem Natural, Campa-Chem Original, Campa-Chem Shotz, Drain Valve Lubricant, Fresh Water Tank Sanitizer, Grey Water Odor Control, Level Gauge Cleaner, Tissue Digester, and Toilet Seal Lubricant and Conditioner.
Thetford Corp. | 800-543 1219 | www.thetford.com
When bacteria don’t get what they want, they punish us by producing foul odors. But, when Odorlos is added to the holding tank, it provides these nasty little critters with a continuous supply of nitrates, the best alternative energy source to pure oxygen. So they’re happy, and you’re happy. Scent-free, formaldehyde-free and 100 percent biodegradable, all it takes is 1 ounce for every 10 gallons to prevent odors and to break down waste and tissue. The product is available in a variety of liquid forms, dry packets, a 6-pound tub of dry product and quick-dissolving drop-ins.
Pure Power Blue/Green 5
Why be satisfied with some power when you can have Pure Power? Pure Power Blue and wintergreen scented Pure Power Green are chemical-free, bacterial-enzyme holding-tank treatments that perform in all temperature conditions. Powerful BioBlastPlus technology provides odor control in extreme temperature conditions and will keep holding tanks clean and fresh smelling. Pure Power liquefies all waste and toilet paper, and just 2 ounces treats 40-gallon black- or gray-water tanks. Also available in Bio-Pouch Toss-Ins. Other products: Pure Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Sensor Power Sensor Cleaner.
Valterra Products | 818-898-1671 | www.valterra.com
Walex Products Co.
Bio-Pak, Porta-Pak 6
Walex may not be a household name, but the company specializes in waste management and odor control for portable sanitation, residential septic tanks, environmental applications (landfills/waste treatment facilities) and, of course, RVs. Its popular Bio-Pak product uses a natural enzyme formula that starts working immediately to control odor, break down solids and liquefy toilet paper. Packaged in a resealable slide zipper bag containing 10 drop-ins, the formaldehyde-free formula is available in Alpine Fresh and Tropical Breeze scents.
Porta-Pak, meanwhile, offers similar benefits and is now available in two fragrances: Fresh Scent and Lavender Breeze. Other products: Bio-Active Holding Tank Treatment, Commando Black Holding Tank Cleaner.
Most of us associate bad odors with the black tank, but a neglected gray-water system can create a funk all its own. Not to worry – Elemonate Grey Water Deodorizer contains the same odor control formula found in the company’s Porta-Pak Holding Tank Deodorizer, plus special enzymes designed to deodorize and dissolve grease, and to break up fat and food particles in gray tanks, garbage disposals, dishwashers, sinks and shower drain lines. Just drop the tablet into the sink or shower, turn on the water and watch it dissolve with a lemony-fresh scent. Packaged in individual portion-control bags of five inside a resealable slide-zipper bag.
Walex Products Co. | 800-338-3155 | www.walex.com
When it comes to handling foul odors, experience definitely counts – and Worldwide Monochem’s name has been synonymous with holding-tank products for the RV, motor coach, aviation and marine industries for more than 55 years. So even if you haven’t used it in your motorhome, you have likely been thankful for its presence in recirculating and portable toilets. The premeasured, 2.25-ounce, moisture-resistant foil packets are simple to use – just pour the contents of one packet into the toilet, and T-5 will immediately begin combating odor-causing bacteria. Other products: Dyna-Bact toss-ins, L-10 liquid toilet chemical, L-10 NF liquid toilet chemical, T-5 NF (non-formaldehyde), T-5 Squeeze & Pour liquid.
Worldwide Monochem | 512-267-5190 | www.satellite-environmental.com