A comprehensive guide to choosing a deodorizer

Selecting the best deodorizer to use in your portable restroom or restroom trailer holding tank is crucial. You service your units regularly to create a superior impression, but deodorizer is the agent that works around the clock to preserve that environment. Keep reading to discover which deodorizer will set you apart from the competition.

Know your options

There are many types of deodorizer from which you can choose: liquid or pre-portioned drop-in, different chemistries (formaldehyde-based, formaldehyde-free, or natural), and various formula strengths. Many factors influence your decision: usage, climate, frequency of service, and even personal preference.

Traditional liquid or pre-portioned drop-in?

There are different benefits to liquid deodorizers and portion-control drop-ins, so choosing between them is often a matter of preference. The packets remove the guesswork from adding deodorizer because no measuring is required. And while containers like the Walex EZ-Squeeze Bottles allow greater accuracy when using liquids, you're still less likely to spill or overuse a drop-in packet.

One advantage of liquids, however, is the variety offered. Walex portion control drop-in packets are available in three strengths: Porta-Pak Max, Porta-Pak, and Porta-Pak Express, while Walex liquid deodorizer is available in nine varieties—three formaldehyde options and six formaldehyde-free choices. Liquids can also be made in any of Walex's 24 fragrances, whereas packets only come in certain fragrances.

Formaldehyde-free or Formaldehyde-based?

Liquid deodorizers are available in two chemistries: formaldehyde-based and formaldehyde-free. Walex's line of liquid deodorizers includes three formaldehyde-based products (PT-615, PT-600, and PT-60 Pre-Mix) and six formaldehyde-free products (PT-50 Supreme, Endure, Advantage, Contender, PT-500, and Pre-Mix).

In our industry's early days, formaldehyde was the main odor-eliminating ingredient in deodorizers. However, some states have since banned formaldehyde, so Walex's research and development team created equally effective formaldehyde-free deodorizers.

Formaldehyde-free products control odors for a longer period of time. If you tested the products side by side, formaldehyde would be more effective initially, emitting a powerful chemical odor. But because it is gas, it will evaporate after three to six days, depending on temperatures. The formaldehyde-free products continue providing odor control longer using the modern technology developed by Walex R&D chemists, and they’re safer to use.

What strength of product do you need?

The final decision you must make is the product concentration to order, which depends on your climate, usage, and frequency of service.

If you're in a hot climate or your units get heavy usage, the best drop-in is Porta-Pak MAX, a potent formula with 50% more dye, 50% more odor control, and double the fragrance of the original Porta-Pak. Your best liquid options are PT-50 Supreme, Endure, PT-615, or PT-600.

If you're in a warm climate or your units get moderate usage, choose Porta-Pak for your drop-in or Advantage or Contender for your liquid.

During the cold winter months, you could switch your drop-in to Porta-Pak Express, a smaller dose of formula. You can stick with Contender for your liquid or choose a ready-to-use product like PT-500.

Porta-Pak Express is also an economical option for outdoor events where units get heavy usage but are serviced daily.

When in doubt, opt for a more concentrated formula. The benefits of investing in odor control far outweigh the relatively small cost increases.

If you still have questions about which deodorizer best fits your needs, the odor control experts at Walex are here to help. Give us a call at 910-371-2242.


How to Use Deodorizer in a Camper Van

Deodorizer usage for a 2.5-gallon or 5-gallon potty

Walex deodorizers like Porta-Pak are created for black holding tanks, but you don't have a black tank if you're living #VanLife in a converted camper van. Instead, you might have either a cassette toilet or a porta-potty, both of which have from 2.5 to 5 gallons capacity. So here's what you need to know about using deodorizer.

Add one entire packet of deodorizer

No matter what type of tank you have, you should always add an entire packet of deodorizer. You should not handle a holding tank product; that's why the Porta-Pak formula is contained in a water-soluble casing. Simply drop the entire packet into your cassette toilet or porta-potty and add water.

Add the correct amount of water

For a 5-gallon tank, add 3/4 to 1 gallon of water, and for a 2.5-gallon tank, add 1/2 gallon of water. You always need water because it dissolves the packet and allows the waste to fall below the waterline. The deodorizer can only treat the waste that it can touch!

In addition to deodorizing, Porta-Pak also breaks down waste and paper, making it easier to empty the tank.

If you have any questions about how to use our products, call us at 910-371-2242.

Happy Adventuring!

RV-ers Test & Review Walex Products

We love when RV-ers call or email us with honest feedback after using our products. We get a lot of positive reviews, which is great, but we also value constructive criticism because it helps us improve existing products or introduce new products to the market. Here's a fantastic, detailed review we recently received. If you're currently using Walex products, tell us what you think! Call 910-371-2242 or email RV sales manager Tony Butler.

Charles uses Porta-Pak, Bio-Pak and Elemonate. Here's his experience with the products so far:

Hi Tony, I wanted to follow up with you on our winter and spring camping experiences with Walex products in our two RVs. 

Our continued winter experience with bio-pac in our holding tank for our travel trailer was excellent, no smells and good breakdown. I was concerned that the cold temps would inhibit essential bacteria growth and hinder breakdown, but all was well!

In our small off-road pop-up camper’s cassette toilet, the porta-pac kept smells very manageable, but I do think that the bio-pacs do a better job in the cassette toilet as well for odor management. I was concerned that the small cassette tank would not afford enough time for the essential bacteria to work, but bio-pac seems to have performed well at breakdown and superior in odor management. 

Now that the temps are warming up, I will keep tabs on changes in performance characteristics. Our small off-road camper turns in a hot box in the summer when we close it up for the day to go hiking, etc. I will be curious to see if we need to switch to porta-pac for that one. Of course, I will follow up with you on that.

The elemonate did remove the tendency for grease to buildup on our dump valve, which is a huge plus. I noticed that change on first application. However, the sensor in that tank still wants to stick and I have no idea if that is a sensor issue, or a grease / containments issue. Do you think two tablets would be better, or maybe a time in tank issue? We typically have to dump the galley gray every other day. I do use elemonate every dump cycle. 

I hope my info and feedback helps and my goal of giving you all a year of real world feedback will conclude at the end at the summer. It has been a fun side camping project for me and we all gain in the end. I will let you know how things go over the summer we wrap it up and see what we learned!


Can I use Porta-Pak or Bio-Pak in my yacht's holding tank?

Keeping your yacht's toilet clean and odor-free

If you own a sailboat, yacht, or other vessel that has a toilet and you want to prevent or eliminate unpleasant odors, Walex has the solution.

You can use either Bio-Pak or Porta-Pak in your boat's holding tank. Walex's RV holding tank deodorizers are also designed for marine use.

Walex's R&D department recently tested Porta-Pak and Bio-Pak in saltwater since some yacht owners use seawater to flush their toilets. We found only a slight slowdown in enzyme digestion in Bio-Pak, and it still dissolved the toilet paper.

Usage of drop-in deodorizers is the same in RV toilets and yacht toilets. After dumping, start with one packet of product and 1.25 gallons of water for every 10 gallons of holding tank. Five gallons of water will let the waste and paper fall below the waterline, allowing the product to go to work controlling odors.

Happy Adventuring!

How long will my deodorizer last?

How often do you need to add deodorizer to keep your toilet odor-free?

We often get questions from RV owners about how often to use Porta-Pak or Bio-Pak, and how long one bag of the product will last. The short answer is this: two people living in an RV in a moderate climate will need to drop in one packet every five to seven days. Each Porta-Pak and Bio-Pak bag contains 10-packets, so the length of time one bag lasts depends on the number of people using the RV's facilities.

A good rule of thumb is to add a new packet of deodorizer right after you empty your tank. Always wait to empty your black holding tank until your sensors show that it's 2/3 full because gravity helps move all the solids out when you open the valve. Plus, if you're using a product like Bio-Pak, waiting long enough to empty will give the enzymes more time to liquefy the waste and paper.

Add enough water

After emptying the tank and adding your Walex drop-in, make sure to add enough water to disperse the active ingredients throughout the holding tank. The odor is less prevalent when the waste and paper sinks below the waterline. Otherwise, you may have a pyramid of waste and paper above the water line that causes malodor. We recommend starting with 1.25 gallons of water for every 10 gallons of holding tank. With adequate water added, one packet of deodorizer will control odor and treat waste up to a 40-gallons.

Keep your sensors functioning

One more thing to keep in mind: controlling holding tank odors depends heavily on watching your sensors, and if you start getting false sensor readings, you won't know when to empty and refill your tank. When this happens, you'll want to drop in one packet of Commando. This super-concentrated enzyme-based formula liquefies residual waste and paper build up within the tank, lubricates your valves, and cleans your sensors. Give Commando a minimum of 12-24 hours to do its job (longer is okay if it's a stubborn issue), and your tank will be good as new.

Happy Adventuring!

Will my RV holding tanks freeze?

How to prevent your RV holding tank and pipes from freezing

If you're spending the night in a cold climate—where the temperature will drop below 32 degrees—you might worry that your RV tanks and pipes will freeze. If you take a few precautions and understand the capabilities of your RV, you should be fine. Keep reading for helpful tips.

Keep your lines and valves warm.

The parts of your RV plumbing that are most vulnerable to freezing are the lines and valves rather than the holding tanks. In frigid temperatures, these can freeze and crack, causing costly repairs. In some RVs, the pipes are more exposed, while in other RVs, the propane furnace pumps heat around the tanks.

Drain the tanks and pipes and add RV antifreeze.

If the temperature drops down into the teens, you'll want to add RV antifreeze to the pipes to keep them from freezing and cracking. First, drain the tanks and lines to ensure nothing interferes with the action of the antifreeze. Then, dump a gallon of RV antifreeze down the sink and toilet drains.

RV antifreeze is very different from automotive antifreeze; the active ingredient is propylene glycol, which raises the freezing point of water. Propylene glycol is non-toxic. When temperatures rise, and you resume use of your holding tanks, you can also continue using holding tank deodorizers such as Bio-Pak or Porta-Pak.


Should I Get Porta-Pak or Bio-Pak?

Porta-Pak and Bio-Pak are both black holding tank deodorizers. However, the two formulas work differently to eliminate odors.

Porta-Pak gets rid of foul smells by completely stopping the growth of odor-causing bacteria. In contrast, Bio-Pak eliminates foul odors by digesting the odor-causing bacteria, waste, and paper in the tank. Bio-Pak's formula uses natural enzymes and is therefore 100% safe for septic systems and all campgrounds. Porta-Pak, on the other hand, provides better odor control in hotter climates.

Basically, which product is best for you depends on where you're dumping and your climate's temperature. If you're unsure which product to use, call us at 800-338-3155, and we'll be happy to help you.