How to Fully Flush Your Holding Tanks

Introduction: How to Fully Flush Your Holding Tanks

If you own a recreational vehicle (RV), then you know how important it is to maintain your holding tanks. These tanks are responsible for storing the waste produced by your RV’s bathroom and kitchen. Over time, the waste can build up and create unpleasant odors and even damage your RV’s plumbing system.

That’s why it’s essential to flush your holding tanks regularly. Flushing your tanks removes all the waste and debris that has accumulated, ensuring that your RV’s plumbing system stays in good condition and that your living space remains odor-free.

Why You Need to Flush Your Holding Tanks

Flushing your holding tanks is crucial for several reasons:

  • Prevent Clogs: Flushing your tanks regularly prevents clogs from forming in your RV’s plumbing system. Clogs can cause backups, leading to costly repairs.
  • Eliminate Odors: Waste buildup in your tanks can create unpleasant odors both inside and outside your RV. Flushing your tanks removes the waste and eliminates the odor.
  • Extend the Life of Your RV: By maintaining your holding tanks, you can extend the life of your RV’s plumbing system, saving you money on repairs and replacements.

In this article, we’ll show you how to fully flush your holding tanks, step-by-step. By following our guide, you’ll be able to keep your RV’s plumbing system in good condition and enjoy a fresh and odor-free living space.


How to Start the Flushing Process

Flushing your holding tanks is an essential task that needs to be done regularly to maintain a healthy and hygienic living environment in your RV. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start the flushing process:

Gather Your Materials

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary materials at hand. Here are the things you’ll need:

  • RV sewer hose
  • Gloves
  • Bucket
  • Water hose
  • Black tank cleaning wand (optional)
  • Black tank cleaning solution (optional)

Find a Suitable Location

Find a suitable location for flushing your holding tanks. You’ll need to be near a dump station or have a portable waste tank to empty your tanks into. Make sure the location is level and has enough space for your RV and the necessary equipment.

Empty Your Tanks

Before you start flushing your tanks, you need to empty them first. Here’s how:

  1. Put on your gloves and connect the RV sewer hose to the dump station or portable waste tank.
  2. Open the black tank valve and let the contents flow out completely.
  3. Once the black tank is empty, close the valve and open the gray tank valve to empty it.
  4. When both tanks are empty, close the gray tank valve and disconnect the sewer hose.

Make sure to empty your tanks regularly to prevent any buildup and to avoid any unpleasant smells.

Once your tanks are empty, you’re ready to start the flushing process. In the next section, we’ll go over how to clean and flush your tanks thoroughly.


Flushing Your Tanks

Flushing your holding tanks is an essential maintenance task for any RV owner. It helps to prevent odors, clogs, and other issues that can arise from a buildup of waste and debris. Here’s how to fully flush your holding tanks:

Step 1: Fill Your Tanks with Water

The first step in flushing your tanks is to fill them with water. This will help to loosen any waste and debris that may be stuck to the sides or bottom of the tank. You can use a hose or other water source to fill the tanks until they are about two-thirds full.

Step 2: Add a Tank Cleaner or Deodorizer

Next, you’ll want to add a tank cleaner or deodorizer to the tanks. This will help to break down any waste and eliminate odors. Be sure to use a product that is specifically designed for holding tanks and follow the instructions on the label.

Step 3: Let the Solution Sit

Once you’ve added the tank cleaner or deodorizer, let the solution sit in the tanks for at least a few hours. This will give it time to work its magic and break down any waste and debris that may be present.

Step 4: Drain the Tanks

After the solution has had time to sit, it’s time to drain the tanks. You can do this by opening the valves and letting the water and waste flow out. Be sure to do this slowly to avoid splashing or making a mess.

Step 5: Repeat the Process

Finally, you’ll want to repeat the process of filling the tanks with water, adding a tank cleaner or deodorizer, letting the solution sit, and draining the tanks. Depending on how dirty your tanks are, you may need to repeat this process several times to fully flush them.

By following these steps, you can fully flush your holding tanks and keep them clean and odor-free. It’s a simple maintenance task that can go a long way in ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable RV experience.

cleaning holding tanks

Additional Tips for Flushing Your Holding Tanks

Use a High-Quality Tank Cleaner or Deodorizer

When it comes to cleaning and deodorizing your holding tanks, it’s important to use a high-quality product specifically designed for this purpose. These products are formulated to break down waste and eliminate odors, leaving your tanks clean and fresh-smelling.

Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals

While it may be tempting to use harsh chemicals to clean your holding tanks, this can actually do more harm than good. Harsh chemicals can damage your tanks and plumbing, leading to costly repairs. Instead, opt for a gentle, yet effective cleaner that won’t harm your system.

Clean Your Tanks Regularly

To keep your holding tanks in good condition, it’s important to clean them regularly. This will help prevent buildup and keep your tanks functioning properly. Depending on how often you use your RV or boat, you may need to clean your tanks every few weeks or every few months.

Use Plenty of Water

When flushing your tanks, be sure to use plenty of water. This will help ensure that all waste and debris is flushed out of your system. You can also add a few gallons of water to your tanks after emptying them to help prevent buildup.

Consider Using a Tank Rinser

If you want to ensure that your tanks are thoroughly flushed, consider using a tank rinser. This device attaches to your RV or boat’s water supply and sprays high-pressure water into your tanks, helping to flush out any remaining waste or debris.


By following these tips, you can ensure that your holding tanks are properly flushed and maintained, helping to prevent odors, backups, and other issues. Remember to use a high-quality cleaner or deodorizer, avoid harsh chemicals, clean your tanks regularly, use plenty of water, and consider using a tank rinser for a thorough clean.