How to get rid of stubborn RV odors

The most obvious culprit of odors in your RV is your black holding tank and toilet, so most RVers invest in a premium black tank deodorizer like Porta-Pak. But sometimes odors still linger, requiring odor control products that either work differently or target other odor sources. Walex is the global leader in odor control and offers a complete range of these types of products.

Odor Source: Grey Holding Tank
Product: Elemonate

An RV's grey holding tank is often overlooked as a potential odor source because it simply captures water from sinks and the shower. However, that water contains dirt, grease, and grime, which, over time, can form an organic sludge that breeds bacteria. Elemonate is a grey holding tank deodorizer that contains fresh lemon fragrance and natural enzymes that destroy build-up in the grey tank. Drop one Elemonate tablet in the sink and turn on the faucet for a few seconds to let it dissolve.

Odor source: Mildew, garbage, dirty laundry
Product: Odor Absorber

Tight spaces amplify foul odors, so keeping RV interiors smelling completely fresh is tricky. Odor Absorber is a gel product infused with a layer of charcoal that eradicates and absorbs odors. It keeps working for up to 60 days. Many RVers place one inside their garbage bin, under the sink, or around other potential odor sources.

Odor source: Black tank pyramid
Product: Commando

Sometimes, the reason for black holding tank odors is not a lack of deodorizer but a lack of water. Without enough water in the tank, solids pile up and get caked to the tank walls and sensors. This build-up creates residual odor and causes sensors to read incorrectly. Commando is a lightly-fragranced drop-in packet containing a powerful cleaning formula. Fill the tank with water and drop one packet in. The outer lining dissolves, releasing enzymes that attack and liquefy solids, cleaning the tank walls and sensors. Commando works without agitation in 12 to 24 hours (although you can leave it in longer).

Whatever the odor source, Walex has a product to eradicate it. Call 800-338-3155 or visit your local RV dealer for details.

How do I get rid of the black tank pyramid?

A black tank pyramid refers to the buildup of waste and paper in your RV's black holding tank, and it can put a significant damper on your RV travels. Waste buildup fills your RV with foul odors and is a pain to remove—without the right products. Here's how you can prevent a pyramid from forming or eliminate one if it does.

Don't leave your black tank valve open when you're hooked up at a site.

If you allow your tank to drain gradually, the liquids will pass through while the solids build up in a solid pyramid. To thoroughly dump the contents of your tank, you need the assistance of gravity. Keep the valve closed until the tank is 2/3 full, and then dump it. 

Use an enzyme-based deodorizer.

Enzymes digest waste and paper, so using a deodorizer with powerful enzymes will keep the contents of your black tank from solidifying. Walex's Bio-Pak is an enzyme-based formula contained in a rapid-dissolving water-soluble packet. When flushed down into the tank, the enzymes go to work immediately, breaking down buildup and deodorizing in the process. 

Use an enzyme-based black tank cleaner.

If you suspect a waste pyramid has formed in your black holding tank, you need to use Commando. Commando's innovative formula is packed with enough enzymes to restore your black holding tank to good-as-new, no scrubbing or agitation required. Not only will it liquefy the waste and paper, but it will clean tank walls and sensors, restoring the accuracy of your sensors. Here's how to use it:

  1. Empty your tank, rinse out any chemical residue, close your dump valve, drop one Commando packet into the toilet, and flush
  2. Then fill your holding above your highest sensor or completely full. 
  3. Leave it in for a minimum of 12 hours. Commando is formulated to work in as little as 12 to 24 hours for those in a hurry, but it will not hurt your tank to leave it in longer, several days, for more stubborn holding tank issues or clogs. 
  4. Empty your tank. Rinse again. You can now add your deodorizer, refill with 1.25 gallons of water for every 10 gallons of holding tank capacity and continue using the toilet.

You can use Commando to destroy existing buildup or preventatively every three months to control buildup from forming.

Happy adventuring!

Can I use Elemonate in my home sink too?

Elemonate is a deodorizer designed for an RV's grey holding tank—the tank that collects water from your shower and sinks. The quick-dissolving tablet not only smells lemony-fresh but also contains digestive enzymes that attack odor-causing organic sludge.

You may have a few extra Elemonate tablets left over from your last trip and wonder whether you can use them in your home. Even home sinks, shower drains, and garbage disposals can emit foul odors due to grease, greywater, and food scrap residue.

The good news is you can instantly freshen up your kitchen sink with Elemonate. Use it the same way you would in your RV. Drop it into the sink and run water over to dissolve it. The lemon fragrance and enzymes will coat the inside of your pipes, eliminating odors. Not only will Elemonate not harm your pipes, but it is also safe for your septic system. It deodorizes using natural enzymes that are completely septic-safe.

Happy adventuring!

Black tank sensors reading 2/3 full? Here's the solution.

If your RV's black holding tank sensors aren't working correctly and giving you inaccurate readings, you're not alone. RV black tank sensors frequently give false readings due to the residual waste and toilet paper buildup on tank walls, causing the sensors to read 2/3 full even after dumping. The easiest way to clean your sensors is with a drop-in packet called Commando that restores sensor function in as little as 12 to 24 hours— with no agitation or scrubbing required.

RV owners often report their black holding tank sensors reading 2/3 full, even after emptying the tank. If you don't know how full your holding tank is, you don't know when to dump it. You'd likely empty your tank more frequently to be safe, leading to solid waste buildup, often referred to as the poo pyramid.

If you suspect your sensors aren't reading correctly, you need to use Commando. 

  1. Empty your tank, rinse out any chemical residue, close your dump valve, drop one Commando packet into the toilet, and flush
  2. Then fill your holding above your highest sensor or completely full. 
  3. Leave it in for a minimum of 12 hours. Commando is formulated to work in as little as 12 to 24 hours for those in a hurry, but it will not hurt your tank to leave it in longer for more stubborn holding tank issues or clogs. 
  4. Empty your tank. Rinse again. You can now add your deodorizer, refill with 1.25 gallons of water for every 10 gallons of holding tank capacity and continue using the toilet.

Commando works its magic by releasing natural enzymes into the tank, which digest and liquefy waste and paper. Use as directed every three months to lubricate valves and seals and keep tank walls free from buildup. We also recommend adding it to your RV winterizing routine.

The next time you're at your RV dealer, pick up a bag of Commando. 

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!

How to restore your holding tank after summer travels

Does your holding tank need a deep clean?

Commando will eliminate the dreaded "pyramid" and restore sensor function

If you're new to the RV lifestyle, RV maintenance might still be intimidating. But chances are, some issues arose on your fun summer travels, and autumn is a great time to address those problems and prevent future ones. For example, one common complaint is that the toilet doesn't smell as fresh as before the trip. Black holding tank odors are common, and Walex has the solution.

Even if you use a holding tank deodorizer, waste and paper can become caked to your tank walls over time. This residual waste causes foul smells and false sensor readings. Not only does this make your RV trip less pleasant, but a malfunctioning holding tank sensor is incredibly frustrating. You must know how full your holding tank is so that you know when to empty it!

To eliminate residual waste and restore your sensor function, first empty your black tank. Then drop in one packet of Commando and fill your tank with water. Let that sit for 12 to 24 hours (or longer, if needed). Commando's enzymes will break down waste and paper, lubricate the valves and seals, and clean the sensors. Then, when you empty your tank again, it will be good as new!

Even if you don't notice any holding tank issues, we recommend cleaning your black holding tank with Commando if you plan to winterize your RV soon. If you're on the road a lot, we also recommend using Commando every three months as a preventative measure.

Happy adventuring!

Traveling in an RV with pets? Here are two products that will make your trip more comfortable.

Get rid of smells from pets, mildew and garbage with Walex's odor eliminators

In the past year, many people have discovered the excitement and freedom of traveling by RV. If you are one of those new RV owners and have pets that you want to take on your travels, don’t worry! Plenty of RVers travel with dogs of all sizes, cats, and even bunnies.  

Many people know what items to bring to ensure that their pet is comfortable on the road. But it would be best if you also considered your comfort when living in tight quarters with animals, and that means eradicating the occasional furball, dirty pawprint, and odor. Walex is the expert in odor control, and we have two products that animal owners always recommend! 

Odor Absorber

Packing at least one Walex Odor Absorber in your RV is an easy decision. It is a gel-infused charcoal product that destroys odor molecules rather than masking them with fragrance. It is easy to use; simply peel back the top, and it goes to work instantly, neutralizing odors in the air and creating a bright, fresh-smelling space. One Odor Absorber can freshen a 300 square foot space for as long as 60 days, so you can leave it in your RV between trips to avoid those stale storage smells. Odor Absorber is non-toxic, biodegradable, and environmentally safe. 

Assure Odor Eliminator Spray

Assure is another odor-destroying product that contains natural essential oils. We package the fresh-smelling liquid product in a spray bottle so you can quickly spritz seat cushions or rugs as needed. Assure eliminates odor molecules on contact, whether in the air or fabric. We designed it to fight the most challenging pet, trash, and bathroom odors, but it is also great for eliminating smoke, mold, and mildew. It is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and safe for use around dogs and cats. Just a little bit of this product goes a long way in odor control.

You can find both of these products on the shelf at your local RV dealer, next to the Walex holding tank deodorizers. We hope both you and your furry friends enjoy your next RV trip! Happy Adventuring from the Walex crew. 


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.


Four Reasons to Use Your RV this Christmas

Christmas celebrations will look different for many of us this year, but your RV might be the key to unlocking a different but equally enjoyable holiday season. Here are four reasons to use your RV this Christmas.

You can safely visit extended family. 

Maybe Uncle Eddie had the right idea after all when he parked his RV in Clark Griswold’s driveway for the holidays. What was normal during past Christmases—extended family near and far congregating to spend the holidays under one roof—is not considered safe during the ongoing pandemic. 

While you might not be able to stay in the guest bedroom down the hall from your aging parents or pregnant daughter, you can temporarily—ahem, Uncle Eddie—park your RV in a family member’s driveway and visit with them outdoors. Weather permitting, an early Christmas dinner on the back deck would be a great way to safely enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the season.

You can take your pets.

While pet ownership brings many joys, it does complicate travel. If you’re traveling in your RV, though, you don’t have to worry if your toy poodle will get along with your aunt’s American bulldog or if you should just fork up the money for a pet sitter. When you travel by RV, though, you can bring your pup along for the ride every time. Just stock up on some Walex Odor Absorbers to eradicate any “dog” smells you might start to notice over time. Our gel-infused odor absorber uses a layer of charcoal to absorb odors without any artificial fragrances.

You can spend the holidays in warmer weather.

Owning an RV gives you the freedom to go where you want when you want. If a white Christmas doesn’t sound appealing this year, pack up the RV and head south for the holidays. Camping World has some great destination suggestions.

You can still enjoy your favorite Christmas traditions.

If you’re planning to spend your Christmas Eve in an RV campsite, you might be worried that you’ll miss all the traditions you typically enjoy at home. But you can adapt those traditions to RV life. 

Here are some excellent ways to display a Christmas tree inside your RV. You can also string lights around your RV's perimeter—icicle lights look beautiful on the awning—but just make sure the decorations don’t consume too much wattage. Choose LED lights, which use less power than regular lights. Or, rather than using lights that you have to string up every time you change location, you can set up a Christmas light projector to colorfully illuminate your RV's exterior.

You can even replicate Christmas dinner! If feasting on turkey and stuffing is a Christmas Day tradition, you can cook a few juicy turkey breasts on your charcoal grill and prepare the stuffing in your crockpot. When it’s time to clean up after the meal, Walex has you covered with our powerful all-purpose cleaner and easy-to-use odor eliminating spray.

No matter how you decide to use your RV this Christmas, we wish you safe, happy travels. And don’t forget, wherever the road takes you, take Walex.

Can I Use Commando in my Grey Holding Tank Too?

Commando is a black holding tank cleaner, but many customers wonder whether they can also use the product in their grey holding tank.

While Commando wasn’t designed explicitly for grey water holding tanks, customers used satisfactory results to clean their sensors. The same time frame of 12-24 hours or longer, if needed, is suggested. Simply drop a Commando into a plastic cup and dissolve with room temp tap water. Stir carefully and pour down the drain. A full tank will give you the best results. For Grey water tank sanitation and odor control, we make a product called Elemonate, designed explicitly formulated to destroy grey tank build-ups like organic sludge, grease, and food particles.

If you have any other questions about Commando or Elemonate, call us at 800-338-3155, and our RV and Marine sales manager will be happy to help you.

Are holding tank treatments safe for septic tanks?

Certain holding tank treatments are more septic safe than others, so if you dump your RV holding tank into a septic system, you should know whether the holding tank treatments you use in the tank will harm the septic system.

Septic systems need healthy bacteria to function correctly because these bacteria help break down waste. Some sanitation products contain ingredients that control odor by stopping bacteria growth, which would harm a septic system over time.

Walex’s Bio-Pak controls odor using natural enzymes. Enzymes are substances produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction—these enzymes in Bio-Pak digest odor-causing waste and paper.

Because these enzymes are compatible with the existing bacterial microflora in the septic tank, they actually aid digestion and keep the system. Bio-Pak is also formulated with enzymes to directly manage tank and septic malodors emanating from sulfides and amines, including ammonia.

So, if you frequently dump into a septic system, you should use Bio-Pak. If you’re still unsure which of our sanitation products are best for you, call us at 800-338-3155.