Tank U: Selling the Chemistry Behind Holding Tank Treatments

Sponsored by Star brite

Holding tank treatments use a variety of methods to eliminate offensive odors created as waste is broken down, but it can be difficult to understand the differences between the chemistries. We’re going to break down the breakdown for you, so you can learn to sell the products that your customers want and need.

The best way to categorize holding tank treatments is by usage. Here’s how each chemistry is best suited for the situation:


Chemical Tank Deodorizers are the most popular because they provide the best odor control in the least amount of time. They are inexpensive in the short-term and simple to use, and therefore great for the weekend warrior customer base. They can be added to tanks that contain other treatments without cleaning the tank first. Star brite INSTAFRESH Tank Deodorizer goes a step further and lubricates valves and cleans sensors.

Star briteINSTAFRESH Pros:

  • Easy to use & maintain
  • Great for infrequent RV use
  • Works fast to break down paper and waste



Bioactivated enzyme treatments contain live aerobic bacteria that break down waste, reproduce, and crowd out anaerobic (odor producing) bacteria. They are environmentally friendly and their toxicity is extremely low. Bioactivated treatments begin breaking down sewage immediately, and unlike other treatments, they multiply and continue working long after treatment is complete. However, the microbes require a well-ventilated and residual-free holding tank to survive. Bioactivated deodorizers become more cost-effective over time because of bacteria propagation. Star brite BIO ODOR bioactivated formula digests both waste and paper.

Star briteBIO ODOR Pros:

  • Eco-friendly formula
  • Digests both waste and paper
  • Long-lasting for the road tripper



Nitrate treatments provide an interesting alternative. Oxygen is vital to bacteria in the process of breaking down organic waste. When little air is present (as in most holding tanks), bacteria derive their oxygen from sulfates in the waste, which produces hydrogen sulfide (stinky!) gas. When nitrates are introduced, they act as nutrients for the bacteria, providing an alternative source of oxygen, which results in the production of nitrogen (odorless) gas. Nitrates are environmentally friendly and are ideal for systems with less ventilation. They speed up the breakdown process and reduce odors. The tank must be free of residuals from other treatments. ODOR AWAY is also scent free for those that are chemically sensitive.

Star briteODOR AWAY Pros:

  • Contains no formaldehyde
  • Safe for use even for chemically sensitive people
  • Get rid of solid wastes, as well as toilet paper


The Five Deciding Factors for Choosing the Right Treatment

Star briteType:

Consider this first. There are various types to choose from (see left) and it will save a lot of time knowing which type to look for initially.


Weekend Warrior? Probably best to go with Instafresh, a chemical deodorant. In it for the long haul? Check out Bio Odor, a bioactivated deodorizer.


Treatments that contain formaldehyde, however effective they may be, are horrible for the environment, and banned in several states. All of Star brite holding tank treatments are free of formaldehyde.


For those that are chemically sensitive, consider choosing a product that is organic and biodegradable, such as Bio Odor or Odor Away.


Star briteConsider using Instafresh Holding Tank Treatment, as it will treat both black and grey water tanks. This will save money needing only one instead of buying two separate treatments.

Star brite is a pioneer in blending performance with innovation. For over forty years, Star brite has created premium chemicals for the marine market, and now lends that expertise to the RV market. With tried and tested products that can withstand the harsh environment of the open seas, Star brite head treatments are now completely reformulated to match the demanding rigor of the open road. Tough enough to answer the call of nature! Contact us today to find out more: www.starbrite.com

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