If you aren’t familiar with RVs, the difference between black and gray water tanks may get confusing. As such, whether it is okay to pee in the shower is a question that’s always asked.

The answer is no, you can’t pee in the shower. The water from the shower goes straight to your gray water tank, and pee should go to the black water tank.

However, because some people normally pee during a shower, the pee that should be going to the black water tank goes to the gray tank instead. Since it cannot be helped at times, you will just need to add extra cleaning steps to keep your gray water tank clean.

Where can I Dump my RV’s Gray Water Tank?

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AnnaLeeRose – stock.adobe.com.

Some campgrounds allow campers to dispose of their gray water within a utility sink dedicated for it. Other owners, on the other hand, wait until they go home and dump their gray water on their yard.

Pro Tip: Do not empty your gray water into a storm drain. Although gray water is less toxic than black water, it can still pollute water sources when dumped improperly.

Another place to dump your gray water is into a grassy area. Just make sure it is allowed to dump there first. Grass and plants act as filters for your gray water before it goes to the rivers and streams.

What Happens When There’s Urine in Your RV Gray Water Tank?

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Urine can make your gray water tank smell. It is important to note that although gray water is the “cleaner” water tank, there are still hair, lint, soap residues and sometimes urine that can make it smell.

Unlike black water tank that you can treat with chemicals to prevent odor, gray water tank doesn’t. So to keep it from smelling and building up muck, it is important to dump it every 6 months or so.

How Do I Stop My Gray Water Tank from Smelling?

To keep your gray water tank from smelling, make sure to clean your sinks and drains especially your laundry drains.

Since odors originate in sinks and drains, it is best to begin odor prevention at the source. Here’s a list of tips you can try.

  • To keep the grease trap from overflowing at the outlet, you can pump it out on a regular basis. The gray water tank will then emit a foul odor as a result.
  • Use a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the shower drain every time it smells. It has a pleasant scent and disinfectant characteristic that lowers terrible odors. 
  • For your bathroom and kitchen sinks, pour some orange soda on the drain and rinse with water.
  • After emptying the gray water tank, put spoonfuls of baking soda on the sink, then rinse with hot water.
  • Use a mesh strainer to prevent bits of food from going down your gray tank.
  • Scrape down the plates you used after eating to remove food particles that can clog your sink drain.
  • Perform the Geo Method – a mixture of water softener, laundry detergent, water, and bleach for cleaning the interior walls of the tanks.

How do I clean my RV gray water tank?

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Cleaning and maintaining your RV’s gray tank is a relatively easy process and is less stressful than cleaning the black tank. It entails using a cleaning agent, draining and rinsing the tank, and treating it on a regular basis. Following these steps proves to help a lot in reducing bad odor.

  1. Start by filling your RV’s gray water tank halfway with water then add your preferred cleaner. 
  2. Drive to the nearest dumping station. The water will splash around the gray tank as the RV moves, which can be helpful in removing any buildup. 
  3. Empty the tank to the dumping facility. Simply attach one end of your sewer hose to the dump station hole and the other to your gray tank valve. Open the tank valve, and let it flow.
  4. Rinse the tank thoroughly by using a flush valve or a tank rinser. 
  5. Put some treatment as it breaks down residue like grease and soap scum, which helps avoid clogs and odors in the tank.

Why Does My Gray Water Tank Still Smell Even after Cleaning?

If you have cleaned your water tank but it still stinks, then chances are, there might be underlying problems in the valves or pipes.

If the smell persists, check the following:

  • Leaking valve – check all the valves for holes or openings that may be the source.
  • Clogs – check your drains and pipes for clogging.
  • Poor plumbing design – while this is hard to check, if the smell persists, it might be better to ask a professional to check your plumbing system.

Important Questions to Ask About Gray Water Tanks 

We know you still have other concerns about how to keep your gray water tanks in good working order. Here are some of the most often asked questions.

How do I know when my gray water tank is full?   

A tank holding sensor is standard on most RVs, and it will warn you when your tanks are about to fill up. Another indicator is when you notice that the water from your sinks and shower drain is backing up once it’s full. On certain smaller travel trailers, you cannot notice until your drains stop draining.

How accurate are the RV water tank sensors?

The accuracy of your tank monitors, depends on how clean they are. It’s usually due to residue build-up that connects the sensors when the RV holding tank reads incorrectly. Use anti-grease detergent or an enzyme-based treatment to ensure this doesn’t happen.

How often do I dump my gray water?

How often you dump your gray water depends on how much water you use every day. It also depends on how many people are using water in your RV. Some may dump often, some may not, especially if they are using outside sources like in a campground.  The rule of the thumb is to always check the gauge of the tanks.

Can I use bleach to clean the gray tank?

Do not use bleach as it will harm your RV’s seals and gaskets, as well as destroy beneficial bacteria that aid in waste breakdown.

Is it okay to leave the gray water tank open?

No, don’t leave the gray tank valve outside the RV open and allow it to drain continuously. After flushing the black tank, flush the gray tank to clear any solids trapped in your sewer hose. You won’t have enough water to flush out the sewer hose if you leave this valve open.

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Finals Thoughts on Whether You Can Pee in the RV Shower or Not

Owning or using an RV is all fun and games until you have to think of all the responsibilities having it entails. Just like your home or vehicle, walking the extra mile in ensuring that you are taking care of it will help prolong its life so you can use it for more years.

Having said that, we all know that it is normal for some people to pee in the shower and they do it all the time at home. However, when in an RV we have to take extra precautions when doing so.

Peeing in an RV shower does not only increase the possibility of your tank developing foul odors. It also can also increase the chance of your water tank to deteriorate faster.

If you found this guide helpful, you may want to check out our other resources about RV living/renting.

Shauna Kocman founder Family Travel Fever
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Shauna Kocman founder of Family Travel Fever

Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever.  We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug!  We travel with kids and extended family.  I take the kids by myself sometimes because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.

Sign up for our email list for my best travel tips plus get the family travel planner free. 

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