How to Clean RV Black Tank Sensors

How to Clean RV Black Tank Sensors : Easy DIY 4 Methods

The black tank is a part of the RV that you never want to ignore; if anything goes wrong, it can be disastrous. The tank holds all the waste from your RV and has a sensor attached to it that informs you when the tank is full and needs to be dumped. 

If this sensor becomes dirty, then the waste storage tank sensors are likely to give a false reading or cease to function. For this reason, it is essential to understand how to clean RV black tank sensors. 

In this article, we will share with you some methods that can be used to clean the sensors in an RV black water tank. We also discuss the benefits of cleaning the RV tank sensors, how they will work, and answer a few FAQs. 

Instructions on How to Clean RV Black Tank Sensors

gray tank valve

It is important to know how to keep your sensors deep clean so you are always aware of when it is time to dump the tanks. 

If the sensors are dirty or covered, you will have a hard time knowing when they need to be dumped. 

This can cause your holding tanks to overflow and even damage the RV. You can clean your sensors in many ways. Below are a few of the most common methods you can use for good tank treatment.

Method 01: Using a Tank Cleaning Wand

Using a tank cleaning wand is a great way to clean your RV holding tank sensors. It is very easy to use and allows you to clean all tank areas. 

With a cleaning wand, you can clean under the elements and get rid of any sediment that may be stuck to the sensors. 

In order to wash away dirt or sediment, the wand sprays water at high pressure at the sensors. The following are step-by-step instructions on how to use a cleaning wand.

Step 01: Dump the Tank

Before you start cleaning the holding tank, it is vital to dump all contents of your tank. This is to ensure that you get all the sediment out of the container so it does not back up when cleaning. 

You can dump your tanks at a dump station, septic connection, or where ever you may find an available dump.

Step 02: Prepare Your Tank Cleaning Wand

After you dump the container, it’s time to prepare your cleaning wand. Connect the wand to a water source using a hose. Once you are on-site, connect your water source to the nearest faucet. 

If you are hooking up at home, make sure it has a good pressurized water supply before connecting the wand.

Step 03: Start Cleaning

Once you connect the wand to your water source, it’s time to clean the holding tank. Make sure that the pressure in your hose is turned on and then spray water in all areas of the container. 

To begin, you will need to flash your RV toilet. Next, insert the wand inside the container and spray water until you see all the gunk and sediment at the bottom of your tank. 

You may need to repeat this step a few times to remove all dirt and debris from the caravan RV sensor. 

Step 04: Dump Out the Remaining Water

Once you are done with cleaning, it is important to dump out the remaining water in the tank. To empty the container, you will need to put your dump valve at the lowest position. This will allow all remaining water to drain out. 

If there is still some debris in your sensors, this will flush them away when you dump the water out of the waste tank. As a result of all these processes, the misreading sensor problems have been resolved.

Method 02: Using a Dishwashing Detergent

Cleaning your RV waste tank sensors with a simple dishwasher detergent is an effective way to clean them. It does not require any special equipment and can be done quickly. Here are detailed instructions on how to perform this task.

Step 01: Dump the Tank

As a first step, you should empty the contents of your waste tank. This is to get rid of any dirt, debris, and sediment that may be stuck to the sensors. 

You can dump your tanks at a sewer connection or where ever you may find an available dumping facility. Do not forget to close the drain valve after dumping your tanks. 

Step 02: Fill the Tank With Freshwater

Once you have dumped your tanks, it is time to clean them. To do this, you will need to fill the container with freshwater. For filling the tank, you can use a water hose. Simply connect the garden hose to a water source and then fill the RV’s black water tank with water. 

Make sure that you do not fill the tank too much because once it is full, it will overflow. 

Step 03: Add Dishwashing Detergent

After filling the container with water, add half a cup of detergent to the toilet. Be sure to close the toilet valve and flush the toilet. 

By doing so, the detergent will be better mixed with the water. Then open the toilet valve to reach the mixture in the waste tank.

The detergent will help break the dirt and sediment. It also helps in loosening any leftover things from the sensors so you can easily wash away them off. 

The best part about using a dishwashing detergent is that it does not have any harmful effects on the sensors or wires, making it a great choice to clean your septic container sensors.

Step 04: Let it Sit

After adding the dishwashing detergent, let it sit inside the container for about one hour. This will allow the dishwashing detergent to dissolve all dirt and sediment stuck on the sensors.

Step 05: Drain the Tank

After one hour, drain the container. To do this, open the drain valve, which will release all the water and sediment back into the dumping station. Once this is done, close the black tank valve to end the cleaning process.

Method 03: Using an Enzymatic Tank Cleaner

An alternative way to clean your sensors is by using an enzymatic cleaner. This stuff works great when it comes to cleaning any container in your RV, including the black tank.  

The best part about using this unique sensor cleaner is that it works very fast and dissolves quickly. This makes it easy to use, even for beginners.

Step 01: Drain the Tank

To begin the process, you will need to drain all the water in your waste tank. To do this, open the dump valve and let all remaining water out of the container. 

Once it is emptied, close the drain valve to end the process. This step is necessary because you will need access to both sensors inside the container for cleaning purposes.

Step 02: Pour the Tank Cleaner

Now it is time to pour the enzymatic cleaner into the waste tank. The RV’s black water tank should be filled with fresh water before the cleaning solution is poured in. You can use a water hose for this purpose. 

After the tank has been filled with fresh water, pour the cleaning solution into it. The sensor cleaner should mix with the water, so you do not need to worry about stirring it up. 

Step 03: Let it Sit for One Hour

After pouring in the RV tank sensor cleaners, let it sit inside the tank for about one hour. By doing this, you will allow the cleaner to work its magic and dissolve all dirt and sediment stuck on your RV sensors.

Step 04: Drain It

Once one hour has passed, drain all water and sediment out of the tank. To do this, open the drain valve to remove all dirty water from your RV holding tank sensors. Once it is done, close the black water tank valve to end the tank sensor cleaning process.

Method 04: Using Water Mixed With Chlorine Bleach

Another way to clean your RV holding tank sensors is by using water mixed with chlorine. This is also called the geo method.

This might sound like something dangerous, but the effect it has on the sensors is great. Not only does it clean them, but it also keeps the odor down. Here is how to use it:

Step 01: Proceed to Dump the Tank

Before tank sensor cleaning, you must first drain all water out of them. To do this, open the RV holding tanks dump valve and let all remaining water out of the tank’s sensors. Once this is done, close the dump valve to end the process.

Step 02: Fill the Tank With Fresh Water

After the black water holding tank has been emptied, you can begin to fill it halfway with water. You will need fresh, clean water for this process. 

Connect the garden hose to a water supply and let clean water pour into the RV holding tanks. Fill it up halfway, making sure that all the sensors are covered in water.

Step 03: Add Chlorine Bleach

Once the tank has been filled halfway with clean water, you can now add the bleach to it. 

Pour about a half cup of chlorine into the RV tank. This amount of chlorine should be enough to clean your sensors.

Step 04: Wait for Five to Seven Minutes

After adding the chlorine to the tank, let it sit in there for about five to seven minutes. This will be enough time for the sensors to soak up all of the chlorine and clean themselves when mixed with water.

Step 05: Drain It

After letting the sensors soak for five to seven minutes, drain all water and sediment out of your waste tank. 

To do this, open the drain valve to allow all dirty water and sediment to get removed from your sensors. Close the drain valve once this process is done to end the cleaning.

Safety Precautions When Cleaning RV Waste Tank Sensors

sensor probes

Always remember that these cleaning methods involve chemicals. If you are not careful, then the chemicals can harm you. Here are some safety precautions that you should follow when cleaning your RV black water tank sensor:

Wear gloves and eye protection when using chemicals. This will be enough for both chemicals to not harm you. If possible, have someone help you with this task. 

For additional precautions, ensure that the area surrounding your black water tank is thoroughly cleaned in case one of the chemicals spills. 

Keep the tank cleaning chemicals in a safe place where children cannot get into them. This will ensure that your black water tank sensor is clean and does not harm anyone who uses them.

Do not mix any cleaning methods together. This can cause chemical reactions that can harm you. Do not pour too much of the chemicals into the black water tank. This can cause chemical spills, which can harm you.

How Do the RV Tank Sensors work?

black tank valve closed

RV waste storage tank sensors are located inside the tank walls. Sensors are installed at different levels on the holding tanks in order to ensure accurate readings. 

Sensors are usually mounted at positions 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and on the top of the black water tank. The sensors continuously monitor the levels, sending a signal to your control panel when it is time to be dumped. For instance, if the wastewater level reaches the 1/4 mark, your monitor will display a low-level signal. 

Upon reaching 1/2, you will receive a medium-level signal on your monitor. Whenever it reaches the 3/4 mark, a high-level signal will appear on your monitor. 

Lastly, when the water reaches the top of the container, then the black tank sensor probes overflow or full level signal from your monitor.

Benefits of Cleaning the Black Tank Sensor on an RV

When you take proper care of your RV tank sensors, then you can expect to see several benefits. Some of them include:

1. Accurate Readings

If you clean RV holding tank sensors, then the monitor will always give you correct readings. This is because dirty and gunked-up sensors can cause sensor malfunction, resulting in inaccurate readings on the monitor, which can be frustrating. 

When the levels are inaccurate, you will think that it is time to dump when it isn’t. The black water tank sensor should be cleaned to avoid this scenario.

2. Increased Lifespan of Sensors

When you clean your waste storage tank sensors, then you are ensuring that they have a longer life. 

This is because cleaning them helps to remove any grime or gunk that can form on the sensors over time, which will cause them to stop working correctly. Cleaning your sensors helps them to function properly for a longer period of time.

3. Decreased Risk of Black Water Tank Overflows

Overflowing your waste tank can cause a big mess and is also very unpleasant. If you do not clean your sensors, the risk of overflowing will increase because dirty sensors can provide inaccurate readings on when to empty them. 

Maintaining clean sensors reduces this risk, ensuring that your container does not overflow.

4. Lower Maintenance Costs

By taking proper care of your waste tank sensors, you will be able to decrease your expenses on maintenance. This is because the sensors will last longer so you will not have to pay to replace them for a very long time. Cleaning your sensors can help you to save money in the long run.

5. Restored Peace of Mind

Cleaning your sensors will help you to have peace of mind when using them. You can relax knowing that the levels are always accurate, which means that you do not have to be worried about having too much waste in your tank or being underloaded either. Getting rid of this stressor is as simple as cleaning your RV’s black water tank sensor.


There are many questions that people ask about RV tank sensors. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions with their answers:

1. Why Does My Black Water Tank Appear Full When It Is Empty?

If your waste tank is full when it is empty, then this could be due to several reasons. It can be due to a dirty sensor, which continuously gives you false readings of the levels inside the tank. 

The other possibility is that there are obstructions inside the hose. They can be hair, fabric, or other miscellaneous items which get caught up in the hose and restrict it from working properly.

2. When Should I Dispose Of My Black Tanks?

sensor inside

Once you have reached almost full levels on the monitor, you can dispose of your waste tank. However, it is recommended that you empty your black water tank every three to five days. This will help to prevent odors from accumulating.

3. What Is the Difference Between Black and Gray Tanks?

The gray water holding tanks and black RV tanks differ from one another. RV black water tank is attached to your toilet and is used to dispose of human waste.

In contrast, gray water tanks contain only wastewater. These holding tanks collect wastewater from sinks and showers.

4. Is It Harmful to Use Toilet Paper for RV Black Tanks?

If you use regular toilet paper, you can harm the waste disposal tank in your RV. This is because they will not break down properly and can cause problems. Using RV-friendly toilet paper is a good alternative.


Sensors on RV black containers can prove useful to RV owners, but only if they are working correctly. Cleaning them can help to stop sensor malfunction and restore their function and make your life easier. We hope that you now have a better understanding of how to clean RV black tank sensors.

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