Make Your Own RV Black Tank Cleaning Bombs
Want a better way to clean your RV black tanks? Try these RV Black Tank Cleaning Bombs!
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If you hang out long enough in the RV groups, you’ll see cross-over with tiny homes and quite a bit of frugal living sites. Something about the RV lifestyle lends itself well to these groups.
And popular among all of these groups is a certain do-it-yourself mentality.
Even for cleaning products.
Which is how I found out about toilet bombs.
I had heard of bath bombs before and these are basically the same thing. You drop them in some water, they fizz up, do some magical cleaning action and then you flush the toilet bombs away. All good.
And naturally, I was like “this is easy! I can do this” and “I wonder if they would work in the RV black tank?”
This innocent of questions lead me to an entire night of scouring the interwebz to see if the components would work in RV black tanks.
The Geo Method for RV Black Tanks
There are a few basic methods for keeping black tank odors in line. You can buy chemicals at Amazon or Camping World. Or you use the Geo Method.
The Geo Method uses three or four basic household components – Calgon water softener, Borax laundry booster, bleach and baking soda. You mix all of these in the tank. The Calgon keeps waste solids (yes, the eeewww stuff) from sticking to the sides and building up in the tank. The Borax cleans it all up. And the bleach and baking soda keep odors down.
But I’m always looking for a better way.
Enter… the toilet bomb!
Toilet Bombs for the RV Black Tank
Most of my RV use comes during football season, when I’m taking the RV out sometimes weekly. I’m also dumping weekly. With so much going on, I continue to look for ways to make things easier.
Less of a hassle.
So instead of having to haul several different containers out, why not have a handy little “ball” of stuff to throw down the toilet during the weekly cleanup?
If you’ve been using the Geo Method, you’ll already have two of the ingredients on hand needed to make RV black tank cleaning bombs! The Borax and baking soda. The third ingredient is citric acid.
Citric Acid in the RV Tanks
I can hear you from here:
“Oh, acid! We can’t be putting that in our tanks! It’s not safe!”
Have no fear! Citric acid is fine for your RV tanks.
First, it is naturally occurring in lemons and limes. Citric acid is edible and can be found in a lot of foods you eat or drink, like soft drinks or baking in place of lemon juice. Ever had sweet and sour candy? That white sour flavoring is… yep, you guessed it – citric acid. You’ll also find citric acid in many ice creams. It is used in canning operations (you know, those mason jars you love to paint and use at your Southern tailgates).
If you look at the ingredient list on many of your beauty products, you’ll find citric acid. Shampoos, chemical peels for your face, and many body scrubs all have citric acid.
Citric acid is also commonly used as a cleaning agent for membrane filters in water treatment process. And used to remove lime buildup in boilers and evaporators. Many boaters recommend using citric acid to clean fixed fresh/drinking water tanks. As a natural ingredient, citric acid typically has no bad effects on lakes when the tanks are emptied. It is even used to clean aquariums (where trace residue of other cleaning products could be lethal to fish).
Citric acid is a common ingredient in those commercial black water tank cleaners. Even the makers of RV Digest-It recommend using citric acid to remove calcium buildup in your black tank:
If you are traveling in a hard water area you sensors will likely stop working because of calcium buildup on the sensors. If you catch it early RV Digest It should be able to break down the greases and oils that cause the calcium to stick to the sensors, however it it’s been building up over a long period of time the bacteria may not be able to penetrate the calcium if this is the case we recommend putting citric acid in your tank for a day or two and then empty and rinse the tank to remove the calcium.
It’s considered a relatively weak acid. But it has great power when it comes to cleaning.
All in all, that was a long way of saying: citric acid is safe for your RV black tank! And you’ve probably been putting some in your tanks all along.
The RV Black Tank Cleaning Bombs
Without further ado, let’s make the RV Black Tank Cleaning Bombs!
You’ll notice a bit of fizzy action when you add the water. This is normal.
The key here is to keep the water to a minimum. Use only the smallest amount absolutely necessary to get everything to stick together. Otherwise, the final product will bloat in the molds and won’t be all pretty like. You’ll still be able to use the toilet bombs but they won’t be neat little balls that you can drop down the toilet and into the black tank. Your best bet if this happens is to crumble them up and then shake into the toilet as needed. Also great for using in the gray tanks.
If you want to skip the molding step, you can also keep all the dry ingredients mixed up in a small shaker bottle. I’ve got an empty Bounce Bursts bottle (for those small smell good satchels) that is perfect for this – even has the handy cap to measure it out.
After you have dumped your black tanks, just drop one of these RV black tank cleaning bombs into your toilet. Let it fizz up with the water in the toilet (and clean the toilet) and then flush it. Make sure there is a good layer of water in the black tank, just like you’d do with the Geo Method. The cleaning bombs will continue to work, scrubbing away at the gunk inside your tanks. It’s even better if you drive the RV around, to get the agitation like you would in a washing machine or dishwasher.
You can do the same to your gray tanks as well. Fill the sink or shower basin with some water, drop a cleaning bomb in it (clean the sink or shower) and then drop it into the gray tank.
Like all other things that you use around the RV, a little goes a long ways. No need to put buckets of this down the drain. Use only one cleaning bomb until you determine that you need a second. My guess is that you will need only one unless you have a really bad tank problem on your hands.
See Also: Tips to Help You De-Winterize Your RV and get ready for spring camping and tailgating
These Cleaning Bombs Work at Home Too!
These also work great for your bricks and sticks toilets. Just drop one it, let it fizz for a little while and flush away. If you are using these cleaning bombs for your home toilet, you can also add drops of essential oils for added odor control. I figure though that the essential oils aren’t necessary for your RV black tanks.
The cleaning bombs also work great in your dishwasher.
Try It and Let Us Know if the Cleaning Bombs Work For You!
So now, why don’t you try these RV Black Tank Cleaning Bombs and let us know if they work for you. You may find that you like them better, for both your black tank and your home toilet. Comment below or hit us up on Twitter.