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Old 08-25-2009, 06:13 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
Columbus , Indiana
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best way to deodorize?

We have just bought our first AS, a 1976 31' Sovereign. The previous owner left both tanks (black and grey) partially full - i would assume for a relatively long period of time prior to our purchase.
I have drained both tanks and flushed with LOTS of water. What is the best way to completely clean/deoderized these tanks? There is still an odor in our AS and it is coming from the bathroom.

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:35 AM   #2
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Well, I guess the good news is that your tanks apparently don't leak...

I'll let the experts chime in, as I am just an RV rookie, but I would think letting some bleach water sit in them for a while might help.

Good luck!

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:48 AM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

For starters, I would go to a nearby RV supply store any get some of the commercial RV tank cleaning products. I would put some in per the instructions, add a whole bunch of ice, and immediately take a ride pulling the trailer. This would be the time to yest your braking capabilities. In other words, accelerate and stop quickly to get the ice to clean the inside tank surface. Needless to say, do this erratic driving in a large parking lot or other safe place. A little bleach in there wouldn't hurt either.

If the black tank was left long enough to completely dry with stuff in it, It could be a bigger problem. This is called :the black hills syndrome" and it very difficult to fix. It may take a number of ice runs and soakings to clear this up. In extreme cases, it may even require a tank replacement.

Good luck.

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Old 08-25-2009, 08:00 AM   #4
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Garden hose....Fill and empty 3 to 4 times.
Then fill them and add some smell good and let
it sit awhile.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
Garden hose....Fill and empty 3 to 4 times.
Then fill them and add some smell good and let
it sit awhile.
Look into superchlorination afterwards. Let it sit up for a good while.

The bigger problems (as to smell) is not the tanks but the terminations.

Remove toilet and re-set flange with new is where I would start. Same with dump valve.

Be sure to inspect/clean, etc the plumbing stacks (tank vents).

Mine didn't need this. I wanted this. Zero smell then or later.

New is new. Used smells like it.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:26 AM   #6
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One bottle of PineSol Lemon - fill tanks with water and ice - add half a bottle of PineSol to each tank and follow instructions above for driving around.

Empty/rinse and then refill with warm water and 2 packets each of OxyKem holding tank treatment. Let is sit a day and drain. If you still have an odor - fill again and add a couple tablets to each of Thetford AquaKem deodorizer and let that soak.

You may also want to buy a tank flush wand to rinse the tank with. I would not use bleach in a black or gray tank.
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:46 AM   #7

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As Brian said the ice trick is a good option, but start with an EMPTY tank (the ice floats) and add more ice as needed, the ice will last a lot longer. I used a combination of block ice cut large enough to fit through the flush valve and cubes in our "63" and it lasted 100mi and did a pretty good job.

A strong bleach mixture sitting for a week finished the job.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:01 AM   #8
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I was just starting lunch when I placed my cursor over the thread and saw the, untimely, preview. Gag.

Sorry your having this problem though.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:17 PM   #9
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Using Bleach in Black/Gray Tanks.....

You may want to see this first:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Holding Tanks.pdf (33.5 KB, 148 views)
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:30 PM   #10
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Vinegar - good old white distilled vinegar (bathroom vinegar) instead of bleach.

If you've ever had pet stains on a rug, there are all sorts of fancy odor eliminating chemicals - but basically most contain plain old vinegar.

Definitely use the ice cube trick to scrape away solids - use vinegar for the "funk". Works everywhere. Takes gunk off of shower doors and fiberglass too.

Resetting the toilet seal, and cleaning the vent stacks isn't a bad idea either.

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Old 08-25-2009, 06:08 PM   #11
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It is also possible the smell is not comng from the tanks. I find the mid/late 70's era trailers have a smell from all the plastics that are still off gassing. The bathrooms are full of the stuff (plastics). You would have to search the threads to see what you can do about that, assuming all the black and grey tank treatments do not solve the problem.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:00 PM   #12
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Holding tanks should only have approved products put in them. I'm a park owner and seem what happens when campers put bleach,pinesol, etc in them. This eat the rubber in gate valves and can cause a deadly chemical reaction.

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