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How to Clean RV Toilet


With the exception of camper vans and small RVs, most RVs have a toilet in them. They can be a hassle to clean, especially when you are trying to enjoy your trip. Finding the best method that works for you can be tricky, but we’re going to highlight a few methods that may help.

Types of RV Toilets

RV Toilets will all clean the same way, but there are a few different types of RV toilets.

  • The most common type of RV toilet is connected to your water supply and has a foot pedal for flushing. This empties into your black waste tank. They are made of either porcelain or plastic.
  • Smaller RV like truck campers or pop-ups may have cassette toilets. These have a fresh water reservoir and a small attachment cassette for waste. The cassette is then dumped into the sewer drain which eliminates the plumbing system.
  • Another RV toilet type is the composting toilet. This method also does not use a plumbing system. The waste is deposited into a lower holding tank where liquids evaporate and solids turn into fertilizer.
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    RV Water Tanks

    Your RV bathroom connects to 3 different types of water tanks: Gray, Black and Freshwater. Your fresh water tank is the biggest and supplies fresh water for your sink, shower and toilet. Your gray and black tanks are proportionally sized to your freshwater tank.

    Freshwater Tank

    An RV Freshwater tank allows you to carry fresh water for drinking and supply water to your sinks, toilet and shower. When you’re parked, you can attach a drinking safe water hose to an adaptor on your RV and run your water through that.

    Gray Water Tank

    The gray water tank stores the dirty water from your sink and showers. Be careful what you put down this tank as it is only designed for liquid. Anything other than liquid can easily clog your gray water tank.

    Black Water Tank

    The black tank is just for your toilet. The emptying pipes are 3 inches thick and can handle biological waste. Make sure you are using the correct toilet paper so it dissolves quickly and doesn;t get stuck in the black water tank.

    Cleaning your RV Toilet

    Follow these tips for keeping your RV toilet smelling fresh and clean:

  • Keep your toilet bowl half full of water. This will help eliminate streaking.
  • Use a non-abrasive brush or sponge. It’s important to clean every other day.
  • Use the sprayer. Most RV toilets have an attached sprayer to use when flushing is not strong enough. If your toilet doesn’t have one, keep a bowl full of water hand to help rinse. Spray bottle also works.
  • Coat the toilet inside with fiberglass RV wax to make the surface smooth and stain resistant. You should add this to your toilet about once a month.
  • Turn your vent off when flushing. This prevents the fan from pulling the smell from the black waste tank when you're flushing. You can run the vent to eliminate the smell, just make sure it’s off when you flush.
  • Clean your black tank regularly. This helps reduce the smell coming up from the toilet when you flush. Monitor your gauges to see how full your tank is. Depending on how many people are in your RV, you should empty the tank at least once a week. Flushing your tank each time you dump your tank also helps keep it clean.
  • Use RV safe toilet paper. Anything that is septic safe and dissolves quickly.
  • Use drop in packets of treatment everytime you empty your black tank. This helps break down the waste and tissue.
  • Use cleaning solutions that are specific to your RV so you do not harm your plumbing system. Concentrated cleaners or harsh chemicals can ruin your toilet. Using the wrong chemicals can result in a void warranty on your RV. Start with vinegar and baking soda. Add ⅓ cup of vinegar to a bowl and sprinkle some baking soda until it bubbles. Use this combination to scrub your toilet. Another method is using a few RV safe cleaning products. A few we recommend include:
  • Thetford Aqua-Foam Toilet Cleaner
  • This is one of the best RV toilet cleaners on the market. It’s safe to use in your RV toilet, countertops, sinks, showers and more. It doesn’t scratch surfaces, works great on plastics, removes hard water stains, is safe in your toilet, bleach free and biodegradable.
  • Dometic 3 ‘N 1 Drop In Bowl Cleaner and Tank Treatment
  • Unique Camping & Marine RV Toilet Cleaner
  • Star Brite Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • When cleaning your RV toilet with chemicals, spray the inside of your toilet with your cleaner. Scrub the bowl with a non-abrasive brush then rinse with your clean water.
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    Keeping your toilet sanitary, clean and smelling fresh is easy if you maintain it regularly. If you are new to camping, the staff at Lakeshore RV in Muskegon is happy to answer any questions you have and walk you through the dos and don’ts with your RV toilet maintenance. Stop in or call us today! 231-788-2040