We know your RV’s holding tanks can be a frustrating part of your RVing experience. But how do you choose the right tank cleaning service? What questions do you ask? What should you be looking for? And when is the right time to get your tanks serviced?

As a leader in RV holding tank cleaning, we get calls and emails every day from all over the country from RVers looking to get their tanks cleaned. Many tell us, “we didn’t even know this service existed!” We get it, there are not many like us. But what should you be looking for in a service provider?

Why do you need to clean your holding tanks?

Sensors. Who doesn’t complain about their RV’s tank sensors? It seems like everyone always has problems! Our cleaning process does a great job of removing the stuff fouling sensors up and getting them clean, but sometimes older sensors, those that have shorted out, or faulty electronics means there may be no alternative other than replacement. Annual cleanings by an experienced professional can almost always get your tank sensors working — and keep them reading accurately.

Smells. As you might guess, holding tanks can get pretty smelly and even gray tanks can become something to turn your nose up at! A professional tank cleaning will scrub out all of the buildup and residue in your RV’s holding tanks, leaving them as clean as they were when they left the factory.

Clogs and obstructions. Over time, waste and other residue is guaranteed to build up in every RV holding tank. The mere geometry and design of a holding tank means not all waste can be eliminated every time you dump. A professional cleaning will clear out hard-to-get waste and scrub the interior surfaces of your tanks clean.

Better tank performance. A clean tank is an emptier tank that can accept more water and waste. If you have excess buildup, the tank’s capacity is diminished, as well as it’s performance. A seasoned service professional will talk to you about your RVing habits and usage and know what to look for when performing a cleaning.

When do you need to get your tanks cleaned?

If you’ve never had your RV’s holding tanks professionally cleaned, you should have them serviced as soon as possible. A good service professional will discuss how you use your RV, how often, and what processes and procedures you follow to care for your holding tanks. That initial service will be a great assessment of the situation — as well as a remedy for any problems encountered.

After that, you should have your RV’s holding tanks professionally cleaned once a year, most especially one year after the initial cleaning by the same technician or company. A good service provider keeps accurate and complete records of every RV they service so they can reference notes, documents, and reports on follow-up cleanings.

Full time RVers who may camp in rugged or usual conditions such as boon docking or during periods where they cannot empty their tanks correctly may consider twice-a-year cleanings for optimum tank performance and health.

Most RV tank cleaning companies can also help when you have an emergency, such as a blocked or clogged toilet, a leaking tank gate valve, or unusual or unbearable odors. They have special equipment that can handle clogs, unlike a traditional house plumber who’s processes may damage delicate RV toilets and tanks.

What should you look for in a tank cleaning service?

Most RV tank cleaning companies are independent one- or two-person businesses. While this isn’t necessary a bad thing, those that are part of a larger network of service providers may have certain advantages such as better training, resources and advisers to call on when an unusual problems presents itself, or more modern and tested equipment. That doesn’t mean the guy working off the back of his truck isn’t a wise choice, but choosing a company that has back-up is a good strategy too.

Look for certain key features when choosing a service provider:

Professional. Does the company seem professional or more fly-by-night? A professional service company will have standard business practices like service orders and invoicing, follow up procedures and advice, and other processes that you would expect from a structured and established business.

Communication. If you call the company, do they answer right away or get back to you within an hour or two? A less reputable company may not contact you for days — if at all — and that can be a problem if you have an emergency. Look for a service provider that communicates by phone, email, and text and has a good web presence.

Reputation. Check out the service provider online. They should have some reviews of their service, either on Google, Yelp or their Facebook Page (which they had better have!). Ask for references if you’d like and even see if others in your RVing club or organization have experience with the company or person.

Experience and Knowledge. When you speak with the service provider on the phone, at a rally, or via email, do they answer your questions and seem like they know what they are talking about? A good provider will take the time to explain their process and its benefits, ask you questions about your RV and RVing habits, and be ready to give advice and answer all of your questions.

What kind of questions should you ask?

First, the right service provider should be willing and ready to answer any question you have. Don’t worry about seeming “dumb” or inexperienced — they have likely heard every question you can think of and will rarely be stumped. If they don’t know an answer, they may be a part of a larger network of dealers who they can access to get you an answer later.

Some good questions to ask your potential service provider are:

  • How long have you been cleaning RV tanks and have you worked on RVs like mine?
  • What’s your process for cleaning tanks? Have you encountered any problems or situations like the ones I am experiencing? If so, what did you do about them?
  • How long does the cleaning process take?
  • Can you give me a cost estimate based on my RV type and model, problems experiencing, etc.?
  • What is your follow-up process once you have completed the cleaning?
  • What payment methods do you accept?


We hope that we have helped you to be better prepared to choose a tank cleaning service provider. While there are not many of us out there, the number is growing (of both good and, unfortunately, bad ones). If you have any questions, please feel free to call us or drop us an email. We are always glad to answer your questions.