If you’re wondering what to flush and not to flush down your RV toilet, wonder no more! We have the answer for you and it’s a simple one! There are two things that can safely go down into your black tank without causing horrible odors or a blockage, and they are RV-safe toilet paper and RV-approved black tank cleansers. Let’s do some potty talking!
Regular toilet paper, as soft and comfy as it is, can stick to the interior walls of your black tank and can remain in tact for way too long in the dark recesses of your toilet’s tank. They can also contain harsh chemicals that shouldn’t enter your black tank. RV-friendly toilet paper is made to break down quickly and is not made with chemicals that would harm your RV’s septic system. Typically, RV-friendly toilet paper isn’t as pillowy-soft as the brands we usually use at home, but it’s soft enough to get the job done comfortably and you won’t find yourself cursing it as you’re working to unclog a sickening black tank back-up while RVers around you are happily going about their day.
There are a few brands of RV-friendly toilet paper we recommend. The first is Scott Rapid-Dissolving Tissue that is made specifically for RV/boat septic systems. It is Scott Clog Clinic tested and approved, meaning it will dissolve quickly and not form clumps that will lead to septic system clogs. Another is Seventh Generation Bathroom Tissue that is 100% recycled and made without the use of chlorine, dyes, or fragrances. This tissue helps to protect our planet and lessen the load in landfills, so you can feel good about flushing this into your black tank. We also recommend Thetford RV/Marine Toilet Tissue for use in your RV. This 100% biodegradable, 1-ply toilet paper is highly absorbent yet dissolves quickly in your RV’s septic system.
But don’t take our word for it! Do your own toilet paper test to see which brands dissolve the fastest in water. The test is simple: fill a glass jar with water, drop a square or two into the water, shake it around a little, and let it sit for 12-24 hours. If it has dissolved into tiny shreds after this amount of time, then it’s RV septic system safe! If it’s still in its original form, then it will most likely clump up in your black tank and cause a clog that you’ll have to work to remove. While it may be tempting to just use your usual toilet paper from home and tell yourself that you just won’t use as much, don’t do it! You’ll be dealing with odors and clogs that will make your head spin if you do!
To control odors and help solids break down in your black tank, it’s a good idea to treat your tank with enzyme-based chemicals, such as Bio-Pak Natural Enzyme Deodorizer & Waste Digester by Walex. This handy pouch helps to keep sensors clear (to avoid incorrect readings caused by stuck-on toilet paper), lubricate valves to keep them working properly, and prevent odors. NEVER use formaldehyde-based chemicals in your RV’s black tank! They have been shown to cause various cancers and they pollute the soil and groundwater that they’re dumped into at the sanitation station.
Flush No More!
As for what not to flush down your RV’s toilet, the list is long! This may go without saying, but do not treat your RV’s toilet as if it’s a garbage disposal, meaning do not scrape the food from your dinner plates into the toilet and flush it. You wouldn’t do that at home, would you? Of course not, so don’t do it in your RV! You made sure to pack kitchen trash bags for that! Also, never flush diapers, baby wipes, facial tissue, paper towel, creams or lotions, harsh chemicals, or sanitary products. This last one is a sensitive topic for most women, as flushing a tampon is the easiest and least-messy way to dispose of it. However, just because it disappears into the blackness of the holding tank below doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Made of cotton and rayon, the main duty of a tampon is to absorb fluid and stay put, not dissolve in water. So, as inconvenient as it is, you should always put tampons in the trash. To help with the ick factor, bring along some plastic bags in which you can put the tampon before tossing it in the trash. And since most campgrounds have trash receptacles on site, you can empty your bathroom trash can every day to keep your bathroom fresh and clean.
Follow these do’s and dont’s for what can be flushed down RV toilets and you should be able to steer clean of funky odors and black tank blockages. While it may be tempting to just drop trash or food into your toilet and kiss it goodbye (not literally!), know that it still exists in its entirety even though you can’t see it! Out of sight, out of mind, yes! Harmless deposit that will pass quickly and smoothly through your black tank? NO! Do you have any insight into what we can safely put into our RV toilets? Tell us in the comments!