Why does my RV smell like poop?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Why does my RV smell like poop? We will explain how to properly empty and clean the RV water tanks and how to keep bad smells away from your motorhome once and for all. 

Why does my RV smell like poop?

If your RV smells like poop it may mean that you haven’t properly closed the valve of the waste tank, or that you haven’t cleaned and drained the black water tank in a while. Once you have emptied the black water tank, you can rinse and clean it. To clean the cassette, pour at least 2L of clean water inside and add a disinfectant and deodorant such as bleach tablets.

Here are some tips to follow when emptying the RV’ sewage tank:

  • When emptying the tanks, both black and grey, empty the black water tank first. Thus, the grey water tank usually containing soapy water will be able to clean the residues in the black water pipe.
  • Do not empty the black water tank when it is less than two-thirds full. Do not leave the black water tank faucet open when plugged in at a campsite as this will drain liquids, leaving solid waste in the bottom of the tank.
  • Use a heavy sewer pipe about 6 to 8 feet long for ease of handling.
  • Have an extra garden hose for flushing in case the dump station doesn’t have one. Store it in a place where it will not come in contact with your drinking water hose.
  • Never use your fresh water hose for flushing the sewer pipes or the dump station area.
  • Wear protective rubber gloves and avoid touching the outside of the gloves.
  • Never put anything other than the contents of your black and grey water tanks in the dump station.
  • Leave the dump station area as clean as you found it.

How to empty the wastewater tanks: 101 guide

First of all, don’t open the floodgates until the right time! You can consider wearing a pair of rubber gloves in case there is any splash on your hands. Some people like to wear rubber boots as well. As long as you are careful, any projection is minimal.

Remove the outlet tank cap and connect your three-inch sewer hose to the outlet on your tank. Bring your hose up to the opening of the dump station, which is usually a hole in the ground slightly larger than the three-inch hose.

Insert your sewer pipe into the hole in the dump station about four to six inches deep. Use a brick, or something heavy enough to hold the sewer pipe in place, or (a funnel-shaped rubber that tightens the pipe on purpose) to cover the hole so the pipe does not come out of the hole.

Once you are sure everything is connected properly, turn on your black tank faucet. You will hear the flow and eventually, it will slow down, then stop. Close the black tank valve.

Now open the grey tank faucet. Again you will hear the flow of water, then slow down and stop. Close the grey tank valve.

At this point, you are almost done. If you want to rinse and rinse your tubs more times, you can do so by filling your water tanks two-thirds full and repeating the draining process. If other people are waiting to use the dump station, skip this step.

Double-check that the black and grey water tanks are closed and disconnect the sewer hose from your outlet of the tank. Replace the outlet cover of the reservoir. Lift the end of the sewer hose to completely empty the hose into the dump station. If a non-potable water pipe is available, let the water run through the sewer pipe to rinse it. 

Remove the sewer hose from the drain and flush the station hole on the outside of the hose. Rinse the area around the hole to make sure any spills have been cleaned up and cover the dump station hole.

Go into your RV and add about five gallons of water to your toilet and add the appropriate amount of tank treatment. If you are using a treatment for your grey tank, do the same.

The task of emptying the tanks of your RV is over! Now, it’s time to move on to your next destination.

How to keep bad smells from an RV 

If you want to know how to eliminate bad odours from a motorhome, you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to explain the main tricks and techniques to remove the bad smell caused by everyday life in a small space. You may not notice bad odours, because you are familiar with them.

Do not see it as an attack on your principles, all “traditional houses” have their own smells and in some cases very particular. When your RV is new or has undergone a thorough cleaning process, it has a distinctive and highly recognizable scent.

The problem is that over time, odours degrade and give way to bacteria that change the perception of the vehicle. Without realizing it, each activity inside the vehicle compartment provides a strong bacterial load that mixes together to create a cocktail of unpleasant odours.

Air fresheners can be a temporary solution since they only mask the bad smell but do not eliminate the focus of it. To get to the root of the odours you need to resort to some techniques that will help you remove the problem.

Although it sounds strange, it is much better to “prevent, rather than cure.” It may seem obvious but the first thing you should do is adopt a series of basic measures so that your vehicle is not impregnated with bad odours.

Do not smoke inside the vehicle. It is essential, the smoke and traces of nicotine create a magnet on the surfaces so that substances that cause bad odours are added in the future. The materials with which the motorhomes are made, use coatings so that cleanings can be done and reduce the impact.

Being cautious in storing food or other products that can be split on the compartments is the main objective when traveling.No one wants to clean up the mess of an oil bottle that fell to the ground when travelling on a bumpy and bad road condition. -We believe we went through that !!!

A good recommendation is to immediately clean any area that has been stained, no matter how small. Having a bottle of cleaner and another of grease remover is part of the “essentials” … So it is better to include them in your shopping list.

These simple tips can save you a lot of work. Once the smell has remained, it will require many hands to eradicate them.


As a final reminder, we wanted to mention that the grey water tank must be completely cleaned at least once or twice a year. When used, bad smells can appear and spread in the motorhome. If you spend a lot of time in your van you will do this cleaning several times a year.

The black water tank can be cleaned more frequently than the grey water tank depending on your use. If you live year round in your RV, you can clean your wastewater tanks once a month.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions on the content.

FAQ on Why does my RV smell like poop?

How to clean the clean water tank of an RV?

To clean the clean water tank of an RV, follow this guideline: to each litre of water, you must add 2 drops of 5% chlorine. If you do, your water will be much more drinkable and clean, eliminating the risk of acquiring different diseases. 

Where to dump the sewage?

The sewage is poured directly into an aseptic tank or cassette. The tanks or cassettes that collect the sewage have a rotating tube through which they are discharged into the corresponding drain, and which must be connected to an aseptic pit or the sewer.

Can you put bleach in an RV black water tank?

Yes, it is allowed to put bleach in an RV black water tank. You can make a mixture of one-quarter cup of bleach with one gallon of water and clean the waste tank. 


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