Calgon in Holding Tanks?

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BruceinFL

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I was reading an article in which the author advocates the use of Calgon in holding tanks to soften the water. He claims the soft water allows the solid wastes to slide off the tank walls thereby making cleaning easier. Does anyone use Calgon? Do any of you chemists know if Calgon would adversely react with bio toilet chemicals like Pure Power? Apparently, this guy doesn't use anything but Calgon and mid detergents in his tanks.

Seems like an intriguing idea.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Most any sort of detergent will help emulsify the "stuff" and thus let it slide off tank walls better.  You don't want a lot of suds in the tank or when dumping, so you need a low sudsing type, of which dish washer detergents like Calgon are good examples. However, dishwasher detergents are designed to work in very hot water, so aren't necessarily the best choice for tanks. 

** Update** I was thinking of Cascade dish detergent (not Calgon) when I wrote the above. It's still accurate but maybe not totally germane to the question about Calgon, which is a laundry  additive intended to soften water.  It's a bit hard for me to imagine what a water softener will do for a holding tank, except perhaps for soap scum in the gray tank.

We rarely use anything in our tanks, but maybe once or twice a year I will  toss in some detergent before the day's drive and then dump upon arrival. I figure it can't hurt to clean it up a bit once in awhile.  But the value of using some detergent in every tank seems doubtful to me...
 

Karl

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Calgon is a trade name for sodium carbonate, known to your elders as 'washing soda', and still available today. It is basically, well, basic, and presents no known hazards to health or septic systems - including holding tanks, but can cause pain, trouble swallowing, and inflammation of the throat if ingested, or pain and reddening of the eyes. Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS) rates it 0,0,0 for healt, flammability, and reactivity. For those who like making bean soup, add 1 tsp. to the soak water and it will reduce the soak time needed by about 1/2.
 

dogspoopalot

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Calgon water softner! Been using it with this 5ver and my previuos MH. It works great and my parents used it on their hous eboat for years. It slickens up the area and stuff gets out easier. Also, You only need to us eit every other dump. BUT it really works! We also used it in the military to slicken up ceratin privvy's.
 

BruceinFL

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Using Calgon and detergent is called the "Geo method". I have not persoanlly used it but those that have are sold. Here's the website that explains the Geo method: http://home.mindspring.com/~cbruni/
 

Ron

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I have no comments regarding the calgon or the detergent in fact since we do have a water softener on board so we are adding soft water every time we flush.  However I don't even want to be around someone putting Bleach in the black water tank that is just as bad or possibly worse than using formaldihyde products.  The black water tank if operating properly IS a miniture septic tank and needs bacteria to prevent buildup and odors as well as add in breaking down the contents. Putting anything in your BWT that kill the bacteria is just making problems, as many of us have found out.  Using nothing at all is much much better than using preservatives or bleach and is a whole lot easier on septic systems as well as the enviorment.

We have found that the BWT odors are far less not using any thing at all than when using products that kill bacteria.  We used the Thetford blue stuff that contains formaldihyde when we got our first MH.  Then during a Escapees class at Rainbows End it was brought to light how rediculous it is to put a preservative in the BWT that would kill the bacteria.  Now after switching to enzime type products or nothing at all and realizing the BWT no longer smells as bad contnets break up better I have come to the conclusion that killing the BWT bacteria is a NO NO.  Like the guy said in that class "Why would anybody want to preserve the contents of their BWT? ;D  I have since questioned the integrety of any company that trys to sell  anything to preserve the contnets of a BWT. ;D ;D

Please do yourself and others favor and don't add Bleach, Formaldihyde, or anthing that kills the bacteria or preserves the contents to you black or grey water tanks.
 

BruceinFL

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Ron,
I don't agree with the use of bleach either, but using Calgon (if you don't have a water softener) and detergent shouldn't be a problem. Could be a cost effective solution.
 

Ron

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BruceinFL said:
Ron,
I don't agree with the use of bleach either, but using Calgon (if you don't have a water softener) and detergent shouldn't be a problem. Could be a cost effective solution.

That is why I have no comment on the use og calgon and detergent I am not aware of any problem with that.  However IMHO one would be better off using nothing at all or just a good enzime product.
 

Karl

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Sorry people, but I have to stick my 2 (or less) cents-worth in again. You keep bringing up the name Calgon (registered trade mark), when plain old washing soda can be had for 1/5th the cost. Secondly, softened water is NOT the same as using a product like Calgon or it's chemical equivalent - sodium carbonate. A water softener does nothing more that replace the calcium ions with sodium ions whereas Calgon(sodium carbonate) is(are) natural surfactants which will remove grease and other organic deposits. All softened water will do is increase the effectiveness of already present  soaps and detergents, whereas sodium carbonate is itself a cleaning agent. Incidently, the 'magic' ingredient in products like OxyClean?? You guessed it - sodium carbonate!!!! 
 

Ron

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Thanks for the info Karl.  I was aware Calgon is not the same as softened water and from your previous post I learned calgon is sodium carbonate.  I still prefer to use nothing at all in the tank or an enzime product like Pure Power.  Somewhere I read that Pur Power and another product which I can't recall remains effective at hgiher ambient Temperatures than most.
 

BruceinFL

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kkolbus said:
Sorry people, but I have to stick my 2 (or less) cents-worth in again. You keep bringing up the name Calgon (registered trade mark), when plain old washing soda can be had for 1/5th the cost.

Karl,
I'm not familiar with washing soda. Where can one get it?
 

Tom

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I might start a new RV must-have product using re-labelled A&H  ;D
 

Karl

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Hmmm... Maybe I'll call it Black Magic and put Thetford out of business ;D Seriously tho', the A&H branded product (sodium carbonate; Na2CO3)? ?is very inexpensive and I'd be happy just to know someone benefited from the advice. Also, you may want to throw a handful of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate; NaHCO3) in along with it for odor control. Niether one will harm anything. Incidently, the other ingredient in those so-called miracle stain removers is sodium percarbonate; 2Na2CO3.3H2O2. The key here is not the sodium compound itself. but the attached H2O2 - more commonly known as hydrogen peroxide! Ask the ladies; they know what it does.
 

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