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RV Toilet Smells

RV Life and Travel reader asks...
(How to stop the RV toilet stink?)

An RV Life and Travel reader writes about the stinky smell from an RV toilet: I have been in my RV for a month and I am a full-time RVer. I love it but I have a smell coming up from my toilet.

The tank is fine; brand new RV.

I have tried putting Dawn, detergents, baking soda, and vinegar down it. I have also tried abundantly washing it out and flushing it with water. What else can I do?

Coleen, the RV Life and Travel editor replies:

Welcome to full-time RVing!

Okay, two things....

1. Just because an RV is new, doesn't mean you won't have problems with it. Some new RVs are terribly plagued with all sorts of things gone wrong. In this case, I don't think the problem is your toilet, but just wanted you to know that new RVs aren't exempt from problems.

2. Stop putting cleaners and chemicals into your toilet. STOP. NOW. They are the reason you have the bad smell coming up from your toilet. An RV's black water tank should be a natural decomposing ego-system. You add natural body waste, toilet paper, and water. That's it. Then let nature naturally decompose it. There shouldn't be a nasty smell.

For the system to work correctly, it needs to have the good bacteria that break things down. Those things you are adding are killing the good bacteria, killing the natural process, and thus causing the smell. Empty your tank and rinse with lots of water -- then rinse again -- to get rid of the soaps you've been adding.

After you empty and rinse your tank, add about five gallons of water. the water will help with the decomposition. It will also keep stuff from drying to the sides of your tank and getting stuck there.

Do not add cleaners, fabric softeners, deodorants, formaldehyde treatments, or other chemical additives. It may take a while for the healthy bacteria to build up and for your system to right itself. Adding a packet of regular bread yeast may speed up the process, and probably wouldn't hurt anything.

Glad that we could help with your RV life and travels!

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More On RV Sewer System Odors
by: Coleen, the RV Life and Travel Editor

Another question today about RV life that fits in with the toilet smell issue:

"What is the best product for handling sewer odor, particularly the grey water from the kitchen sink?"

The same advice applies as with the odor from the toilet. Don't add chemicals! Keep soap and cleaners to a minimum. I suggest using natural cleaning products, such as the JR Watkins products that we sell, and even with them, go lightly.

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