RX for RV Drains

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On our Pinterest Ask Us, Tell Us Board we received an interesting question that many of us RVers have probably wondered about.  Our reader asks "Can I use Drano in my RV drain?"  

My personal rule of thumb is that you have to be just as careful with what you put down an RV drain as with what you put in your body.  Whether in the sink or the commode, only materials or products that an RV drain system specifically is made to handle should be used.

I recently read an article by "RVing Al" Wiener that addressed this exact question and gave some suggestions on alternative methods of unplugging the plumbing in your RV and how to prevent it from happening again.

RVing Al warned against using any corrosive drain cleaners such as original Drano in the plumbing of an RV. Not because of the possibility of it damaging your RV's pipes, but because it could also damage the rubber seals on the dump valves or even the holding tanks themselves.

He made mention of another widely used product for stick and brick homes: RID-X.  In the Q&A section of the RID-X website it says "Q: Can RID-X® be used with Recreational Vehicles (RVs)? RID-X® has not been tested on recreational vehicles (RVs). therefore we cannot recommend using it in RVs." So the answer is no again.

These are his recommended practices on how to unclog and prevent clogs in RV plumbing. A lot of these suggestions come from other RVers and I have not tried all of them personally.
Unclogging an RV Drain
Drain King Balloon Type drain cleaner

1. You can use an enzyme based drain opener such as Drainbo Drain Cleaner which can safely be used in RV drains.

2. You can also dump boiling water down the drain to help break up the clog. You may have to repeat the boiling water process several times to totally free up the clog.

3. You may also want to try dumping 3 tablespoons of baking soda down the drain and then dump about a 1 1/2 cups of vinegar in the drain and let it sit for a couple of hours and then use boiling water to rinse out the drain.  Remember those elementary school science fair projects with vinegar and baking soda: instant volcano!  That sounds like an effective way to break up a clog.

4. If all else fails you may have to remove the P-Trap (elbow under sink) and manually clean it out. This is not as complicated as it sounds. 
Since I do not know the type of RV you have or how well the plumbing is constructed, I would be hesitant in recommending using a plunger or a Drain King on the drains as these could damage the plumbing.

Keeping RV Drains Clean

The steps for keeping your RV's drains flowing freely are quite simple.
1.  Don't dump grease or oils in your RV drains.  Use care that hair doesn't go down the shower drain.

2.  Using Dawn dish soap helps prevent grease and oil from building up in the drains and causing clogs.

3.  Treating all the drains monthly with your enzyme based opener will also help the drains in tip top shape.

I hope that this information has been helpful and thanks to RVing Al for his research.  

Your are welcome to submit any other questions regarding travel, RVing and our San Antonio RV Park and nearby attractions.  
Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic?  You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with , Facebook and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

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