Will beach sand be a problem in the gray tank?


Here’s a question from a reader of RVtravel.com about boondocking. Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .

Hi Bob,
We do a lot of camping at beaches.When the kids take baths, lots of sand gets washed in the shower. Should I be concerned that there will be too much sand in the grey tank that one day it will cause a problem? Thanks. Robert 

Hi Robert,
A problematic buildup of sand in your gray tank is unlikely, though possible. However, the following tips may not only keep the problems at bay but will also give you more peace of mind.

Sun Shower

(1) Rinse off the beach sand from your kids (and dog) with your outside shower before they enter the RV shower. If you don’t have an outside shower, a Sun Shower (photo) will work. This will get rid of most of the sand. And don’t worry about the scouring effect of sand — it would need higher pressure than gravity to act like sandpaper.

(2) Only dump your gray tank when nearly full. The pressure of the outflowing water will carry the sand and other debris with it.

(3) Every few months or at the end of beach season dump about two buckets full of water and a bag of ice cubes in the gray tank and let it slosh around in your tank while you drive to the next campground or dump station. The ice cubes will break up the more solid components of your tank and will then melt to be easily dumped at the next dump station. This will also help break up other solids that enter your gray tank from the kitchen sink.

(4) If you still question whether your gray tank is getting a buildup, it may not be the sand but kitchen waste. If so, do number (3) above but also add about a half cup of dishwasher detergent to the tank. This will help to break up those nasty (and smelly) kitchen odors. After you dump this mixture, fill the tank with fresh water and drain again to get rid of the soap and whatever is left. 

Read more about boondocking at my blog.
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Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .

##BD-8/17; ##RVT807



12 Thoughts to “Will beach sand be a problem in the gray tank?”

  1. Robbie

    A dishpan full of water on the ground at the entrance to the RV is a great place to wash off the sand on your feet (dunk) before entering.

  2. George B.

    Jeez Bob, don’t you hate when that happens. I too sometimes don’t quite get my brain into gear all the time. I’m glad I’m not alone. It just proves we’re all human.

    1. RV Staff

      And this proofreader just took the expert’s word for it. What do I know? But I kinda wondered about it — should have trusted my gut instinct. Oh, well. Live and learn. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

  3. Brian J

    I. believe you could push a water hose into the tank from the dump port and get most of your buildup out of the gray water tank.

  4. Sherry Dawson

    Prevent bringing in the sand by sprinkling baby powder on sandy parts (especially feet and legs). Then flick it off with a rag or towel. You’ll be amazed at how well this works! You might not even need to shower if you weren’t swimming in salt water. Similar products, like Burt’s Bees Body Powder work also. Adults might prefer not to smell like a baby. . .

  5. Bob

    To access the gray tank for adding the ice cubes, you first have to tilt your RV on its side with the dump valve facing up. Then dump the ice cubes in thru the dump opening. Lower the RV back on its wheels after closing the valve and drive off.
    Thanks to Steve, Larry, and Tommy for catching my embarrassing faux pas. The ice cube trick was one I had never used since I never had the need, but it sounded like a good idea – for the black tank. Obviously, I had a senior “oops” moment in not thinking it thru for the gray tank. But it is great to see that we have such alert readers.

    1. Drew

      Hi Bob,

      You should read this and watch the video- very entertaining.


  6. Steve Morrison

    Through which opening in the grey water tank does Bob suggest we toss the bucket of ice cubes?

    1. Larry

      My thought exactly and there is a youtube video on this ice cube cure for the black tank that exposes it to be a myth.

    2. Tommy Molnar

      My question as well, as soon as I read this. Where is the ‘big’ opening to the grey tank?


        I agree with where is the big hole. The ONLY place I can think of is the vent on the roof, but it way not go directly into the gray tank! Looking forward to what Bob has to say!

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