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How to Clean RV Holding Tank Sensors? 3 Easy Ways to Do It

Writen by Dane Heldt

Fact checked by Robert Clark

how to clean rv holding tank sensors

Clean RV tank sensors let you know if the vehicle’s holding tanks are full. In many rigs, they should have sensors for both black and gray water tanks. But unclean sensors can provide you with false results. So how to clean RV holding tank sensors?

An RV tank sensor cleaner is an excellent solution for this problem. But you can also use a tank cleaning wand and a dishwashing detergent.

Make sure that you follow the correct steps in cleaning a gray and black water tank sensor. Keep reading to know those important details to avoid committing costly mistakes.

What You’ll Need


Each RV black water tank sensor cleaning method needs the right tools for the job. It is the same idea if you are about to clean your RV gray water tank. The following are the items that you will need for this operation.

RV holding tank cleaner

A reliable tank cleaning agent has chemicals that can eliminate debris and gunk from the sensors. It should break down the built-up waste, allowing the device to work as intended.

Take note that some sensor cleaning solutions contain harsh chemicals. It is best to use a product that does not contain harmful ingredients, making them safe to use around animals and people.

Additionally, consider spending the extra cash on a high-quality, premium holding tank cleaner. Some inexpensive options may not have enough cleaning power to remove gunk and debris from your RV’s sensors properly.

RV tank cleaning wand

This tool sprays high-pressure water while installed in an RV black or gray water tank. It will move in a circular motion, allowing it to remove filthy substances from the vehicle’s tanks and their sensors.

Take note that tank cleaning wands tend to come in different shapes and sizes. Make sure to use an option that will fit in your RV’s holding tank and the connected water lines.

Moreover, the water pressure delivered by the wand should be reasonably strong to remove and flush stubborn waste.

Dishwashing detergent

Dish soap can be an effective tool in removing grease and grime from holding tank sensors in motorhomes and travel trailers.

Plus, many RVers should already have this product in their kitchen, making it a fairly accessible solution. If you do not have a dishwashing detergent yet, or if you ran out, the product is reasonably easy to find in local shops.

Cleaning black tank sensors

With a dishwashing detergent that does not create a significant amount of soap suds. Otherwise, the suds may enter the device, causing it to malfunction or short circuit.

Step-by-Step Instructions


After choosing and purchasing your desired black and gray RV holding tank sensor cleaning solution, you should use the appropriate technique to sanitize the component.

Use a Sensor Cleaner

Some rig owners, particularly beginners in RV camping, may assume that using an RV holding tank sensor cleaner is fairly straightforward. But missing a few details might increase the risks of ruining the entire system.

Take note of these steps to use an RV tank sensor cleaner properly:

Step 1: Close the holding tank’s valve.

Step 2: Fill the tank with fresh water until it reaches the same height as the sensor.

Step 3: Shake the bottle of your preferred sensor cleaner and pour half of the bottle into the tank through the vehicle’s toilet.

Step 4: Let the solution sit for about 3 days or more.

Step 5: Open the holding tank’s valve and dump the wastewater in it.

Step 6: Use a wand or back flusher to flush the holding container thoroughly.

Step 7: Test the sensors.

Use a Tank Cleaning Wand


Some users might think using an RV tank cleaning wand is the same fairly straightforward procedure as using a sensor cleaner. But mistakes can still occur if you use this tool haphazardly.

Here are the steps to use the right cleaning wand to remove filth and gunk from the sensor:

Step 1: Dump any wastewater in the holding tank.

Step 2: Connect the want to a fresh water hose using a clean hose.

Step 3: Flush the RV toilet.

Step 4: Keep the flush button or lever pressed down as you insert the cleaning wand.

Step 5: Repeat as many times as necessary until the sensor is spotless.

Use a Dishwashing Detergent


Many dishwashing soaps are excellent degreasers, allowing them to be quite effective in removing certain unclean substances on tank sensors.

The following steps will help you remove grease and grime from the holding tank sensor of travel trailers and campers:

Step 1: Close the holding tank valve.

Step 2: Fill the container with fresh water up to the highest point of the sensor.

Step 3: Pour over 20 ounces of an appropriate dishwashing detergent into the RV’s kitchen sink line.

Step 4: Wait until the dishwashing soap foams back out of the sink.

Step 5: Let the detergent sit overnight.

Step 6: Open the tank valve and dump the wastewater in the water holding container.

Step 7: Fill the tank with more water and dump it frequently until no wastewater remains.

Step 8: Repeat this process as many times as necessary to give the tank and its sensor a deep clean.

How to Prevent Gunk in RV Sensors

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, save yourself the trouble of cleaning holding tank sensors in RVs by making sure filth and gunk stay away from those parts.

Here are some tips to help avert this issue from recurring:

  • Flush the tanks with water regularly
  • Open the RV black water tank only when you are dumping its contents
  • Use an enzymatic cleaner in the holding tank for care and maintenance
  • Use ‘RV Safe’ toilet paper
  • If you are not using RV Safe toilet paper, do not flush regular toilet paper down the drain
  • Avoid throwing food and grease down the kitchen drain


Did you enjoy reading this article? What did you think about this guide on how to clean RV holding tank sensors? Do not forget to leave a comment and share it with other rig owners to help them out in this matter.

Remember, you have different options to clean black and gray water holding tank sensors. Choose from using a dedicated sensor cleaner, a holding wand, or even a reliable dishwashing detergent.

Make sure to follow the instructions on how to clean your vehicle’s tank sensors properly. Do not rush the process to ensure that you will gain more than satisfactory results.

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