Toilet paper is something we don't think twice about when going to the bathroom. When we do, it's usually to get a material that doesn't irritate us. When it comes to using toilet paper in an RV, you might have found out the hard way that you should choose yours carefully. To be specific, the toilet's clogged, and we need a way to dissolve it. If that's what you're trying to do, let's go over some methods to clear up the mess!
Toilet paper jams in an RV toilet aren't a rare occurrence. It's a common accident because most people don't know that you need an RV-specific one. If you use toilet paper that's typically for home use, there's a high chance that you will clog the toilet. There are a few ways to dissolve paper should this occur. When you need to dissolve it, you can:
- Pour boiling water down the RV toilet until it removes the obstruction.
- Use a cleaner to dissolve the toilet paper.
Of course, a simple sentence doesn't explain the process behind an action. So, you might want further explanation on how to use the two methods mentioned above. Additionally, you might be curious to find out more about RV-specific toilet paper. Why should you avoid using standard toilet paper on an RV's plumbing system? If you'd like to know this and more, keep reading ahead.
Dissolving RV Toilet Paper
Let's go over two ways to dissolve the obstruction in your RV's plumbing system. One will use simple tools. This way, you can act on the problem as soon as possible.
The other method will require a chemical cleaner, meaning you will likely have to wait a day or two because a purchase will be necessary. In either case, your toilet paper problems will soon be over!
The Boiling Water Method
When you're strapped for time and need something that can clear the obstruction within the day, the boiling water method is something that you will have to try out.
The plan is as simple as it sounds. You will need to boil some water and pour it down the toilet. It should work in a couple of tries.
As a reminder, you're working with water that is 212 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature, meaning you should only use as much water that can fit in the clogged toilet.
Additionally, you might want to let it cool longer if you have a frail rig. In general, you will need about a gallon of boiling water to begin. Let it sit for a few seconds off the burner.
Then, pour it into the toilet to let it do its magic. Let the water sit in there for about an hour or less. After an hour has passed, try to drain your tank. If it seems to work, but there's still a bit of clogging, repeat the process until it clears completely.
Using the Right Cleaner
The second way to get rid of the blockage is by using a chemical cleaner. Some people avoid them because they tend to be too strong for the job.
Why use something that can end up harming the rubber seals in your RV's plumbing system? As some suggest, some chemical cleaners contain high concentrations of bleach. And this will cause more of a headache than solving the problem.
For this reason, we can look towards cleaners that are safe to use in an RV's plumbing system. Some of them, like Unique's RV Digest-It, aim to liquefy the obstructions.
So, if you have a heavy blockage in the plumbing, Unique claims it will turn it into liquid in under 24 hours. Some users can verify these claims! Here's a YouTube video demonstrating how it works in comparison to other cleaners:
To use this method, you'll need:
- Shake the bottle of RV Digest-It. This way, there's a strong concentration of bacteria that will help break down the toilet paper and other obstructions.
- Fill the toilet with an adequate amount of water. However, avoid overflowing it with water.
- Take your RV Digest-It and pour 4 ounces of it in the toilet bowl.
- Flush the toilet.
- Let it sit for 4-12 hours. Check your system within this timeframe.
- If you need to use more of the product, you can go over the same steps. But, instead of pouring 4 ounces of the product, you will only need 2 ounces for future applications.
Of course, a written guide will always do better if there's a visual representation. So, here's a YouTube video from the manufacturer showing you how to use their product:
Can Regular Toilet Paper Be Used in RV?
Now that we're in the clear, it's time to address why toilet paper continues to be a problem in your RV. One of the causes for toilet paper blocking your plumbing system is that you're using the standard kind instead of an RV-specific variation.
You might be thinking, is it really necessary to consider the type of toilet paper you use in an RV? As some suggest, it's something you should factor in when taking care of your RV's plumbing system.
Still, there's a chance you can get away with using standard toilet paper in your RV.
First, you will need to test it to ensure it dissolves quickly, like RV toilet paper. So, to save you the time from looking for an RV-safe variation, here's a test you apply to your home toilet paper to see if it's safe for the RV:
How Long Does It Take for RV Toilet Paper To Dissolve?
It still begs the question, what makes toilet paper adequate for the RV? The answer to that is the amount of time it takes to dissolve. In general, it should break down after 3 to 5 minutes. Though, to clarify, it won't dissolve completely.
What you should notice is that it will begin to break apart in that timeframe. Over time, it will break down into smaller pieces. With this test, you can measure what makes toilet paper appropriate for usage in an RV.
Why Does My RV Toilet Smell So Bad?
Now that your toilet paper clogging issues are over, you might notice another one in its wake. You'll notice a lingering smell that most people won't be able to stomach for even a few minutes.
The first cause of the smell might be too much buildup in the black tank. In this case, you might want to take some time to clean it thoroughly.
Simple flushing doesn't work because solids will stick along the walls of the tank. Additionally, the bottom of the tank will also collect most of the gunk that emits a terrible odor. Another reason for the smell is a lack of water.
As some suggest, RV toilets don't work in a similar way to standard toilets. They work like airplane toilets, meaning they use gravity and a bit of water to flush down the contents inside.
However, when there's not enough water in the tank, the waste solidifies. So, it doesn't decompose as it should. All in all, you get a smelly RV toilet.
How Do You Clear a Clogged RV Black Tank?
In an RV plumbing system, many materials can build up and clog it. It means toilet paper might not be the only contributor to the problem. In this situation, you can still use the methods above. Boiling water or a cleaner like Digest-It should do the trick.
However, it won't always work in some cases. You likely have some stubborn buildup that requires more work to fix. This situation calls for more hands-on work. Some recommend using a PEX pipe or toilet snake to force the clog out of the line.
Of course, you can also try another chemical cleaner. The cleaner should be safe for RV use. As mentioned previously, harsh chemicals can do heavy damage to the pipes and the seals in an RV's plumbing. So, it's better to explore all the options before going the chemical route.
Can I Use Drano in RV Black Tank?
Speaking of harsh chemical cleaners, Drano is one of them! Though, it's tricky to know the exact answer to this question. From what we can gather online, it seems to be—it depends. Some warn against using Drano in an RV because it can damage the holding tanks and rubber seals.
Others suggest the opposite case. They claim that the plumbing in the RV is similar to the one in your home. For that reason, it should be fine to use Drano in your RV's blank tank.
Some users support this approach by mentioning their own success stories with using Drano in an RV. You will need to rinse out the tank well and dump the content inside after using it.
All in all, it could be a viable approach if you know what you're doing. Otherwise, it's best to stick to alternative methods. This way, you don't end up making another mess.
The right toilet paper won't make your trip to the toilet a regret. Regarding RVs, you need to consider your toilet paper options before you end up clogging the toilet again!
However, we hope the information above helps you dissolve the toilet paper. This way, things can go back to working as well as usual!
Before you go, do you have other RV toilet concerns? Does it keep clogging? You can find out what to do in our post here.
Are you curious to learn about how an RV toilet works? You can learn more by checking out our post here. Until next time!