The Best RV Black Tank Treatment

Finding the best black tank treatment is probably not at the top of your list when looking into RVing. It is, however, a small choice that could make the difference between a happy, carefree trip or a stinky, stressful one. We have been using our top choice for over 3 years now and are happy to report that a smelly tank is not an issue we ever need to think about.

Best RV Black Tank Treatment: Happy Campers

HAPPY CAMPERS Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment - 64 Treatments
  • ODOR FREE: Eliminates odors in the RV holding tank. Absolutely no chemical or sewer smell.
  • Biodegradable, environmentally friendly, septic tank friendly

The easiest way to prepare a black tank is with a chemical treatment. There are many different types of RV black tank treatments but we will only discuss the ones we have used while searching for the best RV black tank treatment. We had three goals for our product search:

  1. Eliminate any smell from the black Tank
  2. Easy to use
  3. Allow for use in grey tank (so we don’t need to keep multiple products)

The Powder Pack RV Black Tank Treatments

Walex Porta-Pak Deodorizer Drop-Ins
Just drop it in; Unbeatable odor prevention; Pre-packaged portion control- no spills; Breaks down waste and paper
$9.98
Camco TST Citrus Scent RV Toilet Treatment Drop-Ins
Eliminates odors in the RV holding tank; RV and marine approved; non-formaldehyde formulation
$26.99

We tried two different powder pack “drop-ins”, the blue Walex Porta-Pak Deodorizer, and the orange Camco TST Citrus Scent. The blue Porta-Pak was able to keep down the smell but was difficult to use in our grey tank because of the powder pack design.

It took forever to dissolve in the sink. The orange Camco did not eliminate the smell, it actually made it worse. The chemical citrus-poo mixture was absolutely horrible and reminiscent of a porta-potty. Definitely not what we were looking for and we tossed these before finishing them. Unfortunately, neither of these met all of our requirements. Pass.

The Liquid RV Black Tank Treatment

Our RV came with a small bottle of Thetford Aqua-Kem liquid treatment. Being a liquid it checked the easy-to-use box, you just pour it in.

We were also able to use it in our grey tank, another point in its favor. However, it missed the bar on the final and argumentatively, the most important part.

It didn’t make a noticeable difference in eliminating the smell of the black tank for the 4 weeks we used it. Pass.

The Powder RV Black Tank Treatment

We found Happy Campers black tank treatment when looking around RV forums. Since it was recommended so many times, we decided to check it out. We are glad we did!

Happy Campers did an amazing job eliminating any smell from our black tank. It does not attempt to mask it with a horrible citrus smell but completely eliminates any smell. We are also able to use it in our grey tank, score another point for Happy Campers.

While arguably the “hardest” to use, I enjoy the fact that it is powder. The act of mixing the powder with the water before releasing it down the tank gives me the extra surety that the pod isn’t sitting in my tank and not breaking apart.

Still having smell issues?

If you are using Happy Campers black tank treatment and are still having smell issues there may be another underlying issue. Here are some things to check:

Add a 360 degree siphon roof vent to increase the airflow out of the tank vent pipe. This solved our issue with a stinky grey tank

Lippert 360 Siphon Roof Vent Cap - White
Prevents odors and gases from invading RV living space; Speeds up waste breakdown, eliminating the need for chemicals
$20.85

Make sure that you are not using the fan, when flushing your toilet.

Make sure your toilet seal is in good condition and there is a little water in the toilet keeping the smells down.

Thetford RV Toilet Seal Lube and Conditioner
[FUNCTIONALITY]: Penetrates the toilet seal, lubricating and protecting; [UTILITY]: Helps prevent waste from sticking, ensuring smooth toilet operation
$19.95

Check the vent pipe from the black tank to make sure it is seated correctly.

Let us know your tips and tricks for black tank smells!

Last update on 2021-08-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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8 comments
  1. I’ve only used water in the black tank. just dump once a week or when it’s 2/3 or better and rinse well.

    1. We agree Glen, even with Happy Campers we use a lot of water. We started looking for more when water alone didn’t cut it when we were in the heat with no sewer hookups.

  2. Happy Campers enzyme is the only treatment we will use for both black and gray. Far better than any of the deodorizers.

  3. My 2021 GD 310GK came with the small bottle of Thetford Aqua-Kem liquid treatment, also. Found it easy to use, and did not notice any odors – and temps were daily above a 100 in Arizona and New Mexico.
    Purchased the Happy Camper and found it more difficult to use – two points 1) the powder dust rising out of the container, and 2) it would not easily dissolve and would clump in the water when mixing. Neither did I find any problems with smells, even when temps were daily above 110 in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and southern California.
    Will use the rest of the Happy Camper I purchased (large size), but think will also give the Thetford liquid a try also for a longer period and see if anything is different from first experience. Thanks for the write up Jason.

  4. Your statement “check the vent pipe from the black tank to make sure it is seated correctly”
    JUST EXACTLY DOES THIS MEAN ?? AND HOW DO YOU DO IT?????

    Thanks for the write up.

    1. Find your black tank and check where the roof vent pipe enters it. They usually use a friction fit bung. Make sure it is sealed correctly.

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