Why does my camper toilet smell like sewage?- Easy solution

The hustle and bustle of modern life make life dull, and to get rid of this severe concrete environment, you feel the necessity to travel. You got an RV to spend some relaxing time with your loved ones for that purpose. While you enjoy your quality time in any beautiful place, you suddenly feel some pungent smell on your nose. The smell comes from the RV itself, and it feels like a mountain of rotten eggs is in your RV. This bad smell makes your vacation completely a mess, and you are searching for some terrific ideas to eliminate this acute problem. Then you have chosen the correct place because, in this article, I will briefly discuss the possible measures to eradicate the foul smell of the RV.

Related Article: Why does my toilet smell like urine?

What is the camper or RV toilet?

toilet for rvThe camper or the RV toilet is not the same kind of toilet that you use at home. It is much more different, and the using and working mechanisms are also different from the conventional toilet. The camper toilet is a kind of portable toilet that is installed in nomadic RVs. The flushing mechanism and the septic tank management differ from the conventional toilet. But one thing I can assure you is that this special kind of toilet makes your journey more comfortable and hassle-free. But the RV toilets need special maintenance as it is a dynamic type of toilets. You can enjoy the facility of a camper or RV toilet facility while going on a tour, camping, or traveling to the countryside.

How does a Camper or RV toilet work?

The operating system of the RV toilet is not like the normal or conventional toilets. What we can see in normal toilets is that there is usually a septic tank for keeping the waste locked as well as there is always a drainage or sewage line. And it is operative to have a strong flushing system in the normal toilets. But there are no such things in the RV toilets. 

Working mechanism: First of all, there is no particular septic tank in the RV toilet. Apart from that, there is always a black water tank underneath the main toilet. The toilet can be referred to as a nomadic and dynamic type of toilet as the RV is not static but a running vehicle. First of all, switch on the main water supply line of the RV. After you have finished using the toilet, you need to push the paddle downward so that water can get into the bowl and the main round ball is opened. You can also use the nozzle flush to create a flush of water. After you have completed using the toilet, you can also dump the tissue paper in the toilet, but be careful of using the RV-compatible toilet tissue paper. Then flush the toilet again, pressing the paddle. All the wastes will flow into the black tank. You have to empty the reserve tank after a few weeks; otherwise, it will create an unwanted nuisance in the RV. 

Why does the camper toilet smell like a sewer?

There must be tons of causes for the camper smelling bad. Some of the essential causes have been described below, 

  • Leakage in the system

Back of toilet: check water supply line connection at water valve. Resecure or retighten as necessary. If a leak persists from the water valve, replace it. Vacuum breaker leaks while flushing: replace Vacuum Breaker or water module, depending on the model. Between the closet flange and the toilet, you need to check the actual tightness of the flange. If you find any sorts of leaks, remove the toilet and check the height of the flange. You can use the Thetford spacers to adjust the flanges. After examining all the systems, replace the flange seal. 

  • Toilet can’t hold water

IF the toilet becomes unable to hold the water, bad smells may occur. Check for and remove any debris from the blade and ball seal track and examine blade and ball seal compression. If the blade and ball seal is worn, replace them.

  • Poor flushing mechanism 

The first and foremost condition for having a fresh RV toilet has a stronger flushing system that sweeps away all the waste from the toilet. But somehow, the flushing mechanism is corrupted then, and it creates a nuisance in the bathroom. Pedals or hand levers must be held fully open during flush. A decent fish takes only 3 to 5 seconds to initiate. Check the water supply hose and the filling valve if the flushing exceeds the actual time. Maybe there is some sort of corrosion or rust that limits the water supply into the tank.rv toilet flush valve leaking

  • Seepage from the black tank 

One of the most common causes of bad odor in the RV is the leakage from the black tank. As there is no separate septic tank for storing the waste, the black tank is the main storage house. As the RV is a dynamic vehicle, it may cause spillage from the black tank during driving. Even the black tank explodes if the tank gets full. So you need to clean and empty the waste from the tank in between a few weeks. 

  • Bad connection 

Apart from the toilet, there are other accessories in the RV, such as a washbasin, shower, bathtub, and many more. Bad connections may create a bad nuisance throughout the RV. Suppose the basin has an acute leakage and bad smells are coming out of it. SO check the water supply line of each and every water-related accessory and device. rv toilets parts

How do you get rid of the bad sewage smell?

You need to be careful while maintaining the ambiance of the RV, as a simple mistake can create a huge mess. There are some effective ways to terminate the bad smell from the RV, 

Replacing the damaged wax ring 

At the very beginning, you have to turn off the water supply line of the RV toilet. Then flush all the water down to the black tank. Use a sponge to soak all the extra moisture from the toilet. You can remove the black tank and keep it in a safe place. Then simply unscrew the flange bolts and lift up the toilet safely. Use a soft cloth to clean the flange. Then remove the old wax ring and install it with a new one. Reinstall the toilet and tighten the screws. Again turn on the water supply line. A good wax ring prevents the leakage of toxic fumes and keeps your RV safe and fresh. replacing a toilet wax ring

Unclogging the RV toilet and  Shower Drain

If the shower drain and the toilet are clogged, remove them as early as possible. Use the RV-compatible digester in the toilet and apply some hot water. The mixture may flush away all the impurities in the toilet. For the shower drain, first of all, check the gray water tank for the shower drain if it is full. Apply the enzyme-based drain opener to the drain. Or you can use a homemade drain opener chemical that is a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda and some fresh white vinegar. Let it soak for some time. And apply water to flow away all the impurities. These operations could be helpful in eliminating bad smells from the shower drain.

Cleaning the tanks and bowls regularly

The process of cleaning the RV toilet bowl and tank is similar to the cleaning process of the traditional toilets. For the toilet tank and bowl, use the baking soda and vinegar mixture and let it be there for some hours. Then flush the toilet. There are hundreds of RV toilet cleaners available in the market, and You can also use them. Just spray the chemicals into the toilet’s dusty portions, add some liquid toilet cleaner, rinse it with a  sturdy scrubber or toilet cleaning brush, and flush them. 

To clean the black tank, apply two cups of liquid bleach and pine sol, let it rest for some minutes, and drain them after 15 to 20 minutes. Always apply the digester in the black tank to easily dissolve the waste. 

Removing waste from the black water tank 

Before dumping the waste out of the black tank, ensure that you got the proper tools, including hoses, disposable sturdy gloves, smart sewer adapter. Ensure that the dump station is near the RV. Dump the black water tank and then connect the exhaust hose to the dump station before attaching it to the black water tank. Keep in mind that accidental spillage may happen at any time that may create a mess. So open the Black Water Tank and empty it carefully. Avoid using the freshwater hose for emptying the tank. Open the Gray water tank and empty it. Then fill the toilet entirely with fresh water and flush effectively to rinse out the black water tank. 

How to maintain an RV or Camper toilet?

The maintenance of the RV toilet is not that simple. You need to have expertise in this sector. Here, I am sharing some tips for maintaining the RV, 

  • Always give priority to cleaning the black tank  regularly because it is the main reason that creates a stinky odor in the RV,
  • As the black tank does not have ample space to accommodate the waste, you can easily use extra chemical agents to dissolve the waste and tissue papers.
  • A blockage in the vent pipe may create a foul smell in the RV. So always check the connections of the vent pipe, and if there is any leakage, then repair that.
  • You can use extra water during flushing as the RV toilets don’t have that much stronger flush, and it can not terminate the waste completely. 
  • Always turn on the exhaust fan while using the toilet or use bathroom freshener sprays to keep the bathroom fresh.

Final words

It is evident that when you have a dynamic toilet in your caravan or in the RV, it will likely smell bad. Even the toilet’s black tank is not that enormous to accommodate such a gigantic amount of sludge and waste. That’s why the RV toilets need special care to avoid any sorts of inconvenient odor pollution. This article has discussed the process of keeping the interior of the RV fresh and clean elaborately. If you own an RV, then you also have to maintain the responsibility of maintaining the interior ambiance clean. The most crucial part is to drain out waste from the black tank. A little mistake may create a violent and stinky mess. I am hopeful that this article will provide you with some wise tricks to terminate the bad smells from your RV and make it an ideal place to spend your vacation hassle-free.

Hi, this is Robert Crossan, the owner of this website, has 17 years of experience in the installation, maintenance, and repair of toilets and plumbing systems. After completing the Level 2 Basic Plumbing course in 2005, I started working in both domestic and commercial buildings as a professional plumber. So I can figure out the core difference between different toilet models and brands. It also helped me monitor their work performance and setbacks.

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