How to Clean the RV Toilet? – Most Effective Ways Of Cleaning RV Toilet


Cleaning an RV toilet is different from cleaning your home toilet. In this article, we have shared the right way how to clean the RV toilet and keeping it clean and fresh!

The bathroom of an RV is super important, whether you are an occasional wanderer or a regular roamer. If your RV toilet stops working alright, it’s a real hassle to look for a toilet when you are out and about. Not to forget the smell that envelops your vehicle, making it hard to have a good time in the RV.

How RV Toilet Works?         

The toilet in the RV has a different mechanism as compared to the home toilet. At home, the wastage immediately goes to the sewer of the city the moment you flush it. Whereas, there is a holding tank under your RV that contains all the business that you do in the RV toilet. You dump the holding tank, also known as the black water tank, when it is reasonably filled. Even if you are parked at a place where you’ve got access to a sewer connection or a dump station, it is best to let the holding tank get filled up to some extent before dumping it. If you try to dump it too early, the liquid will flow out first, and the solid waste may clog the line. 

The RV toilet works with less water than the home toilet, where 3-4 gallons of water are consumed just for a one-time flush. There is a foot crank that allows you to fill up the bowl up to your desired level and depress the foot crank to let the water drain into the black water tank.

The Odor in the RV

Your black water tank is responsible for the foul smell inside your RV. The toilet of the RV is situated above a tank that is filled with your waste. This is why sometimes you can have an unpleasant smell coming out of it.  Cleaning RV toilets is important to prevent the bad smell. Here is what you can do:

How to Clean RV Toilet?

Using the correct RV toilet chemicals

RV toilet cleaning is different from cleaning the home toilet. You don’t want to use harsh or abrasive chemicals in an RV toilet or damage the lines. Thankfully, there are chemicals specifically designed to help clean the RV toilet, such as Star Brite Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Marine & RV Formula, which removes stains from porcelain and plastic bowls without harming the valves or RV toilet seal.

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Similarly, your RV toilet cleaning brush should not be harsh. Make sure its bristles are soft when buying one. 

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With the right chemicals, follow the instructions on the pack on how to clean an RV toilet or, more specifically, how to clean the RV toilet seal, and it shall do the job. The process usually involves letting the bowl soak in the mild chemical solution overnight and scrub it clean in the morning. 

Using Dissolvable Toilet Paper

For the RV toilet, there are special toilet papers that quickly dissolve. If you use your regular household tissue paper in your RV, it can clog the line. The result can be worse than just a foul smell. This is why choosing the right toilet paper is important. Freedom Living RV Toilet Paper is biodegradable and rapid dissolve. It is also important to not use excessive toilet papers, just as much as you need. 

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Dump the Tank Regularly

If you are new to RV camping and wondering how to clean the RV toilet tank, it is quite easy to do it the right way. Emptying the tank thoroughly and frequently is important. Washing the tank once in a while is also essential. Just remember to shut the valve once you connect the tank back to the toilet. If you leave the sewer connection open, your whole plumbing system can get destroyed. 

Emptying the holding tank is easy. Just connect the port and the sewer hose and pull the lever to release the contents of the tank. Let the black water drain out first and then the greywater. 

It is very important to keep your holding tank clean. So use the spray hose of your RV cleaning system to give a thorough wash to the sewer connections and tanks each time you dump the tank. You can use an appropriate chemical to treat the holding tank, such as the Happy Campers Organic RV Holding Tank Treatment, that dissolves the solids and keeps your toilet odor-free.

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The specific process of cleaning the holding tank will be different for different models of RVs.

Shut the Exhaust Vent before Flushing

Most RV toilets have a vent with an exhaust fan on it. It serves as a great way to keep your toilet free of odors. However, it is best to shut the vent and turn off the exhaust fan before flushing the toilet. 

Leaving it open will result in an updraft that will suck the odor and fumes from the holding tank into the air. You don’t want that happening. So keep the vent and its fan shut before flushing.

Keep the RV toilet clean

This is quite obvious, but maintaining a clean RV toilet will help you keep it working properly. You know how to clean RV toilet bowl, Let it soak in dilute or mild cleaning chemicals, and scrub it down with a soft brush.

Read Related Post: Teardrop Trailers with Bathroom for Camping

Frequently Asked Questions 

What can you use to clean an RV toilet?

The chemicals for the RV toilet must be non-abrasive and safe and effective at removing stains and germs. The same goes for the toilet cleaning brush; it should have soft bristles. You don’t want to scratch the bowl! 

Can I use bleach to clean my RV toilet?

Bleach contains chlorine and is harsh for the holding tank made of plastic. Using bleach standalone on an RV toilet is not recommended. You can dilute 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water to clean your toilet. Bleach itself is powerful enough to ruin your dumping system and dry out the gasket.

How do I stop my RV toilet from smelling?

To keep your RV toilet smelling fresh, clean the toilet and its holding tank regularly. You can use drop-in packets such as Walex Porta-Pak Holding Tank Deodorizer Drop-Ins, biodegradable, and free of formaldehyde. 

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It would help if you also kept the vent fan off while flushing and use quick dissolve toilet paper to avoid the toilet smells.  

Can I use vinegar to clean my RV toilet?

Vinegar can be used in a diluted form to clean the toilet bowl. It helps clean the hard stains if you let the diluted vinegar sit in the bowl overnight and then scrub the next morning. 

Is sewer gas in RV dangerous?

When waste material breaks down, hydrogen sulfide gas is produced, also known as sewer gas. It gives off a smell akin to rotten eggs. Low levels of sewer gas are not necessarily toxic. But if the exposure is high or chronic, poisoning can occur.

Can you use regular toilet paper in an RV?

Regular toilet paper can clog the RV toilet line. Use quick-dissolve toilet paper in the RV toilet, which is specially designed for RV and marine use.

How do I keep my toilet bowl clean?

Clean your toilet regularly and empty the holding tank often. Do not let the lines clog. 

Can you replace an RV toilet with a regular toilet?

It is possible to convert your RV toilet into a regular one. Just get the outlet replumbed to the sewer line connection directly and change the RV toilet mounting flange with a residential one. 

Can you leave your black water tank open?

Not! Never leave the black water tank open. If you forget to close it after dumping its contents, it will flow out, and solids will get stuck. Always double-check that the valve of the black water tank is closed after you’ve dumped its contents. 

Where Can I Dump my RV Holding Tanks?

Some states do allow to dump the grey water on the ground, but you should let the wastewater go into the sewer system via a proper dump station or a sewer hookup. 

Upgrading Your RV Toilet 

If your vehicle’s toilet is old and battered, you should replace it instead of wasting time and effort trying to clean it to no use. 

You can also renovate the bathroom when upgrading it. it is possible to get a superb combination of toilet and shower, or you can find yourself a DIY portable bathroom for your RV. You can also find various accessories for maximum comfort and convenience in your RV. 

If you’ve read it till here, you know everything about how to clean the RV toilet and keeping it clean and fresh and odor-free.

Happy camping!

Alix Johnson Romi

Alix is the Co-founder of Easy Trip Guides. She started with Michael to share her love for the outdoors with people from all around the globe. She started as an outdoor lover while skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry of New Zealand with her future husband, Antonio. They shared a dream to see the world, so in 2013 they set off to cycle from California to Argentina. The freedom of the open ice route, living close to nature, and the total annihilation of her comfort zone fueled Alix's desire to keep exploring long after the bike trip was over. Her adventure addiction has taken her scuba diving with hammerhead sharks, hiking to the K2 base camp, kiteboarding in Sri Lanka, and kayaking in Antarctica. Through these experiences, she has developed a strong belief in the power of adventure to reconnect people to nature, provide meaningful jobs to impoverished communities and promote the conservation of wild places and animals. At Easy Trip Guides, she covers snowing, skating, snowboarding, and skiing as she loves to do these outdoor adventures a lot.

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