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Frequent Asked Questions

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions Answer

phred Tinseth Simple Sewage Tricks?

phred Tinseth © 1999-2002 Reproduction permitted

  • Keep jars with screw-top caps for disposing of things like cooking grease, alcohol, paint thinner, etc.
  • Don't use colored, double thickness, perfumed, household toilet paper because it just makes sludge and doesn't biodegrade fast enough. But don't bother with RV toilet paper that costs too much either. Generic, single-layer, el-cheapo toilet paper is the same thing as RV paper and lots cheaper. Better, in my opinion, is "Scott" brand single-ply, white, unscented toilet tissue sold in supermarkets in 1,000 sheet rolls. With these, you won't have to bother with the TP-in-a-plastic-bag ploy as some RVers do (unless you feel like it).
  • Again, paint the exposed plastic pipe and fittings under your RV. Ultra-Violet (UV) from sunshine deteriorates plastic and is the reason for so many broken RV pipes and fittings.
  • Supervise children and visitors! Kids will throw anything into the toilet just to see where it goes (and they'll hold the pedal down an hour to do so and you'll wonder why you ran out of fresh water and wonder why you have to dump after a one-day drive). Non-RVer visitors will throw diapers, sanitary napkins, cigarette butts, apple cores, peach pits, facial tissue--(you name it) in your john without ever thinking about it--just like they do at home.
  • Read the label on cleaning agents. Don't use caustics; use biodegradables. Baking soda (or Bon-Ami) is every bit as good a cleanser as the poisonous stuff.
  • Baking soda is also an excellent drain cleaner. Pour a cup into sink/bath drains at night (just before bed), pour a cup of water on it (just enough to get it down in the P trap), leave it 'till morning. You don't have to flush it away with copious amounts of water either. It won't hurt a thing.
  • Remove your black and gray sewer caps once in a while. Clean them and put a very thin coat of grease on the "O" ring seals and you won't be dribbling sewage all over the country (or next to your neighbor). "Plumbers Heat-Pruf" grease is best, but "white" grease is good too. "Vaseline" works but tends to get sticky.
  • A piece of wire coat hanger a foot or so long with about 1/2" at the end bent 90° is a good tool for cleaning the "slots" in slider valves and some toilet valves. (Don't drop the thing in the toilet!)
  • Don't ever stick anything down in the toilet bowl unless you have a string tied to it! The retrieving of brushes, flashlights, etc., from the black tank is called "diving for pearls" -- but it ain't near as much fun.
  • Use all the water saving tricks when out in the boonies, but, when on a full hookup, use water lavishly (just for a time, not forever). You'll have nice, clean tanks and hoses. But don't use someone's full hookup as a place to dump poison into their septic tank.
  • A good way to get rid of black water. Use your macerator to pump it into old milk-type jugs. Pack them in a box. Gift wrap the box and leave it in the back of your pick-up at a mall. Someone will steal it. (Works for garbage too.)
  • (I shouldn't put this in here, but I can't resist it) There's an old RVer joke: If you're ever faced with an insurmountable poop problem, consider getting an "Airstream" -- because, as any Airstream owner will tell you, "their shit don't stink."
  • Think about what you're doing when playing with poop. Screw up many of the above, done when you're half potted or distracted by BS-ing with your neighbor, will end up with your neighbors in hysterics and you with 40 gallons of poop on your shoes.

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