How to clean an RV toilet? Step-by-step guide

Modern life is diversified and interesting as well, and to add some spice to this life, modern technology has invented so many unique things that might not have been imagined before. The toilet industry is not an exception. It has introduced a particular type of toilet that is compatible with dynamic motorhomes and caravans. That toilet is named the RV toilet. But people have some sort of illusion about how to use the RV toilet or how the RV toilet can be cleaned. To solve all the questions in this article, I will elaborate on all the possible answers regarding the unique RV toilet.

What is an RV toilet?

The full form of the RV is “Recreational Vehicle.” The RV toilet is far more different than the conventional toilets. An RV toilet is simply a portable toilet installed in mobile vans, caravans, or motorhomes. They are usually installed in these dynamic structures, so the operational process must be completely different from the conventional home toilet systems. There is a black toilet tank for storing the wastes and the liquid elements of the RV toilet. Though it is a portable toilet, some people tend to use it in their own homes as the RV toilets are budget-friendly and occupy only a limited amount of space in the washroom. That’s why they are simultaneously famous for installing both the domestic and portable aspects.

Different Types of RV toilet

The RV toilets are tremendously popular in the USA, and there is a huge demand for this type of toilet. That’s why toilet companies have produced some outstanding RV toilets over the years. Let us see some of the fantastic classifications of the RV toilets.

The gravity-fed toilet 

Gravity Fed Commercial Toilets

The most common and famous type of toilet is the gravity-fed toilet. It often comes in two types: the plastic toilet and the other is porcelain toilet. In most caravans, this type of toilet is most common. There is a paddle at the bottom of the toilet that is to be pushed after using the toilet. The toilet is attached to an RV water source that steals the waste into the black tank. The black tank is situated at the bottom of the toilet, and a particular partition separates it. This type of toilet is superbly water-efficient and uses only 0.3 gallons of water per paddle flush. This model is very cost-effective and does not need that much maintenance.

RV Cassette Toilets

how do cassette toilets workThe name says it all. This toilet has the shape of a cassette and a rectangle shape that helps to sit comfortably on the seat. This type of toilet occupies a larger area in the RV. It has a removable toilet container that can be removed and carried through the dumping station. For this type of toilet, the dumping station is a  must thing. It is often used in public composites as it can contain a better amount of waste than the composting toilet. The RV cassette toilet is really a unique type of toilet. You do not need to empty the daily waste basis as the containing area is quite large. It is completely an odor-free toilet that doesn’t create that much nuisance to nature.

Macerating RV toilets

macerating toiletThis is another tremendous type of RV toilet as this type of toilet can carry a more intense amount of waste than the other types of toilets. The operating process is a lot more different than the other RV toilets as there is a macerating blade that cuts and dissolves the waste into small pieces of ware that can be stored in a black tank. This process completely depends on the electrical system as the blades need the power to operate. The waste can be stored for a long time in this type of toilet as the black tank welcomes the waste in more small particles.

This type of toilet can be served as a substitute for gravity toilets. There are some disadvantages of the macerating toilets as the entire process is dependent on the smooth power supply system. If one of the power system parts is out of order, then all of the systems collapse. As there are so many moving mechanisms, the chance of collapsing is also high.

Composting RV toilets

composting toilet how it worksThis is considered one of the eco-friendly RV toilets in the market as this does not use water to clean the waste. There is a heating chamber that converts the waste into biodegradable composts. A strong and continuous electricity supply is needed to operate the process. It has separate compartments for liquid and solid waste, which means both types of waste are treated differently. It is highly compatible with the small member family, and this type of toilet is very budget-friendly. The composts that are produced from the toilet can be used as good fertilizer that can be used in the soil.

Portable RV toilets

rv portable toiletsThe portable toilets are mostly known for carrying at camping, hiking, and travel sites. If you have a small number of members in the group, you do not need to clean it daily, but if the number is increased, it should be cleaned on a daily basis. This toilet needs a tiny amount of water to sweep away the waste. This toilet is a budget-friendly and super lightweight product. It can be proved to be a handy one for traveling purposes.

Elongated and Rounded RV toilets

dometic elongated rv toilet

These are just like the traditional Elongated and Round toilets. The elongated RV toilets are more suitable for men and heavy people because they are 2-inches larger than the rounded toilets. They are very comfortable to sit on. But people prefer using the round RV toilets as they are compact and take up less space in the RV washroom.

How does the RV toilet work?

The mechanism of the RV toilet is as simple as you can get. Even the mechanism is much easier than the conventional toilets. As we have said earlier, there is no separate water tank nor any kind of septic tank to hold the waste; Instead, there is a separate black tank that holds all the waste and the liquid. So what does this toilet use for the flushing system? Instead, it has a paddle system flushing situated at the bottom of the toilet.

After you are done with toileting, press the paddle with the help of the legs. A strong force of water will come from the nozzle situated inside the bowl, and thus it sweeps away all the sludge to the black tank, which is located under the toilet in the RV. There is no need to clean the black tank regularly. You can empty it after 3 to 4 weeks at once. That’s how an RV toilet works.

How to Use an RV Toilet?

Using the RV toilet is as simple as doing almost nothing. As there is no extra water tank available in the RV toilet, this toilet uses a minimum amount of water, but the water comes out forcefully to firm the nozzle of the RV toilet. Using an RV toilet is almost similar to conventional toilets. The only significant difference is that in normal toilets, there is a flushing mechanism on the upper portion of the toilet along with a separate water tank, but in the RV system, there is no such thing as a water tank; instead, you find a dynamic paddle for flushing, at the bottom portion of the toilet.

You must keep in mind that you can only use RV-compatible toilet tissue paper that easily dissolves into the black tank. In some cases, you can also use the RV-grade toilet tissue paper along with the artificial chemicals that increase the rate of quick dissolvent in the tank, and as a result, the black tank remains safe and odorless for a decent amount of time.

Complete Guideline: How to Clean an RV Toilet Bowl and Tank?

Now we are here discussing the most anticipated issue: the cleaning and maintenance process of the RV toilets. We will elaborate the entire cleaning process into some particular stages. Let us explore the entire process of cleaning the RV toilet.

Cleaning the blade seal of the RV:

  • It would be best if you had a blade cleaning tool that must have been found at the nearest shops. This tool digs deep into the toilet holes and cleans the waste inside. 
  • Turn off the water supply before you start cleaning. Wear sturdy gloves on your hands and a face mask so that you can remain safe from the clogs and bad smells.
  • Apply the compatible RV cleaners from the shop and apply them to the toilet. Make sure that you use the right cleaning agent.  
  • Then flush the toilet a few times and sweep away all the skid marks and waste from the toilet bowl. Then turn your attention to cleaning the seals. Try to clean inside the slit and all over the seal. They apply some amount of lubrication to the blade so that it runs smoothly.
  • Finally, turn on the supply line and flush again. That’s how you can clean the blade seal.

Cleaning the toilet bowl:

The most tiresome process of cleaning is undoubtedly cleaning the toilet bowl. You need to find innovative ways to clean the toilet bowl as it has unreachable corners where the skid marks are being gathered really quickly. Here are some of the tremendous ideas for cleaning the toilet bowl-

  • You can use only the non-abrasive materials to clean the toilet bowl. Always avoid using bleach as it can cause devastating harm to the rubber seal of the toilet. Try using the combination of the baking soda and storing vinegar acid, boil the mixture for some time, pour it into the bowl, and flush it. This might help remove all the dust and skid marks from the toilet bowl.  
  • There are thousands of RV cleaners available in the market and on the online platform. Carefully read the manufacturer menu to find out the constituents used to make that cleaner. Avoid those cleaners that contain harmful bleach and other abrasive chemicals. You can gently clean the RV toilet bowl with a soft bristle toilet brush or scrubber.
  • There are two types of RV toilet cleaners. The first is chemical-free, and the other contains various types of chemicals. You can use both of them, but the cleaners can clean the toilet more smoothly depending on different chemicals. But the chemical-free option is more convenient for the bathroom ambiance.

Cleaning the RV toilet tank:

Sometimes you need to use some chemicals to accelerate the breakdown process of the compounds in the black tank. Using these chemicals eats the elements of the black tank and creates ample space for the new contestants. This makes the black tank fresh and odor-free for many weeks. However, you need to empty the waste from the tank after every 3 to 4 weeks.


An RV toilet is not a traditional type of toilet as it is a nomadic type of toilet that is installed in the RV. So the installation, working mechanism, cleaning, and maintenance all must be really unique from the traditional toilets; the only minor difference in cleaning the RV toilet is that here some extra RV toilet-compatible cleaner is used to more easily dissolve the constituents in the black tank. And the rest of the cleaning process is ultimately the same as the standard toilets.

But emptying the components out of the black tank is a sensitive chore; if you make any type of silly mistake, then the odor produced from the tank may pollute the air badly. You must keep in mind to dump this waste at any certified dumping station; otherwise, leaving the waste here and there may create unwanted nuisance and pollution of the air, soil, and water. I hope you will be solely benefited from this detailed article on how to clean the RV toilet.

We are really lucky to have a hard-working, multi-skilled plumber on our team. Collin D. Gallegos, a professional plumber who has worked with us since 2012, is an expert in vent, septic, and drainage systems. He is a Certified Master Plumber and has worked on various commercial plumbing projects. He usually helps our readers resolve plumbing and pipe-related issues with a proper DIY troubleshooting and repair guide.

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here