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How to Control Sewage Odors In Your RV

by Motorhomes of Texas
(Nacogdoches, Texas)

How to Control Sewage Odors In Your RV

How to Control Sewage Odors In Your RV

This story was submitted on our
RVing Tips And Tricks Page.

Even luxury coaches like Newell, Foretravel, and Country Coaches can sometimes have a sewage smell permeate the cabin area of the motorhome. The offensive odor can most times be traced to the holding tanks. The contents of those tanks naturally smell bad, and nothing you do to them will change that fact. You can put chemicals in till the world ends, but nothing is going to make sewage smell good…better or less offensive maybe but never “good.”

It is necessary to vent these tanks into the atmosphere so that they can accept more contents. They have to “breathe” more or less. This is almost always done by running a vent pipe from the tanks through the vehicle's roof and thus, get the offensive smells away from our noses. Those same smells would come back up through the drains if it were not for the curvy-looking pipe just below the drain. You can see those “P” traps by looking under your kitchen or bathroom sinks.

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As you can see, this device holds water in the “U” shaped part, and that water prevents odors from traveling back up the drain and into the room.

Problems start when the water is not present in that “P” trap. NO water means odors can and will come out of the drain. Water can disappear in
several ways…It can leak out, which should be obvious; it can evaporate over time if the coach is not used, or it can be “sloshed” out from traveling rough roads. Because of space limitations, some drains use fairly shallow traps, like under showers.

When traveling, there is normally some pressure in the tanks depending on the location of the roof vent pipe. If someone flushes a toilet while in transit, the pressure is released UP through the toilet. Then when the toilet flap is closed, that fluctuation in the tank pressure can cause the water in the “P” trap to be pulled into the tank allowing ventilation of the tanks to the interior. At this point, the occupants usually start opening windows which exacerbates the problem.

The cure: every so often, just run about a half a cup of water in every drain. Don’t forget the shower and the washing machine. Anytime a commode is flushed while in transit, run the water, and remember, the gray water tank stinks too.

Motorhomes of Texas... sale, consignment and service of hi-line motorhomes. Specializing in Foretravel, Newell, and Country Coach...

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Pool Chlorine Tabs in Toilets
by: Raoul

Yep, this can be effective, but the chlorine concentration in pool tabs can be very hard on the toilet components, causing rather rapid deterioration of seals and corrosion of metal parts.

Sewage smell
by: jenna

While traveling with kids to Alaska, we suddenly started smelling odors from the bathroom. After inspecting the toilet "flap" I discovered that there was a small bit of toilet paper jammed in the closing ridge of the neck where the flap went.
This prevented the flap from closing the last little bit, which was hard to see. I used a mirror on a stick and tweezers to pry it out, and thankfully the odors disappeared!

GREY water stink
by: Anonymous

I get a really bad stink in the MH when driving, otherwise is fine. It starts within minutes of driving and is pretty bad. Had a cap venturi thing put on the black water vent but it did NOTHING so put chemicals down each trap of sinks and shower. THAT did nothing. What did make it go away is wet towels in each drain including the shower, NO SMELL. So it is from the Grey water and I think the traps are emptying but not sure why, they are not leaking. NEXT I am going to cover one at a time and find which one is the culprit and see if I can replace it, maybe is really nasty. I just bought this rig, 2003 Newmar Mountain Aire and love it otherwise. I am also going to put a topper venuturi thing on Grey water vent.

Biz in Toilet
by: ChaCha

We were buying the liquid from Walmart and it was getting expensive but not working that great. I've been using about a tablespoon of biz each time I go #2 and haven't had the odors yet.

sewage smell
by: Anonymous

Break a chlorine tablet used for pools and flush half in toilet!

Works wonders!!!

Putting your RV up for the Winter
by: Greg Grueninger

When you store your camper and you don't like that smell sewage odor in your camper when you get back in. Put a cup of cooking Oil down each drain. It will not evaporate like the water will and it will stop the sewage odor from coming into your RV. I do this all the time when I am not staying in my RV for more then a month. Keeps the odors out.

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