RV toilet paper and holding tank chemicals

There was an old man who used to get up at the crack of dawn every day and sprinkle white powder all around his yard. One day his neighbor’s curiosity got the better of him so he asked the old man what he was sprinkling, he replied that it was elephant repellant. The neighbor nearly laughed himself unconscious. When he finally caught his breath he exclaimed “There are no elephants around here!” to which the old man answered “Yes I know, see how well the repellent works!”

It may not be the perfect analogy but I always think of that joke whenever the conversation turns to which is the best toilet paper or RV holding tank chemical.

Over the years I’ve heard of RVers using all kinds of stuff in their holding tanks — Pinesol, borax, liquid laundry detergent, Rid-ex, and even just two aspirin! I never could figure out how anyone would believe that two aspirin would deodorize and clean a 40+ gallon black tank. Each RVer would claim whatever concoction, including commercial RV chemicals, they used works better than all the rest. How is it possible? I believe that, just like the old man in the joke, RVers have a perception of a problem that doesn’t really exist.

Now I will confess that I do use a tank chemical but only for odor control during the hot summer months… I found one that actually seems to work. But I don’t worry about microbes or chemicals breaking down TP and solids. I simply don’t believe 8 ounces of any chemical, home-brew or commercial, is going to have any significant effect in 45 gallons of waste. At least not in the 7 days it takes to fill my black tank.

I did have one of those clear plastic elbows for a while. It was good for seeing when the tank was empty or when you were flushing with fresh water to know when the the tank was clean. But I never was able to distinguish any solids or lumps of TP in the flow that whooshed by when I pulled the valve. When the elbow finally broke I didn’t replace it… my black tank has a 3′ hose on it and the tank has a flushing system so I don’t have to worry about all the stuff in the tank! I works for me. But then, maybe the joke’s on me.

Has anyone ever seriously studied the effluent from a black tank close enough to really know if the chemical they use actually breaks down TP and solids? I’d rather not.
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