How to Unclog an RV or Camper Toilet, Plus How to Replace It

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Unclogging an RV or camper toilet can be a real aggravation. No one wants to walk into a smelly RV or camper and discover a nasty clog in their toilet. We have all had this problem, and if you haven’t, the phrase you need to use is I haven’t yet. It will happen.

Why Does my RV toilet get Clogged?

Your RV toilet can become clogged if your black tank becomes full. It can depend on your use of toilet paper. Using too much toilet paper or using the wrong kind of toilet paper will also cause this problem. A clog can happen if you store your RV without emptying and cleaning your black tank first. Adding the chemicals to your tank after draining it is also essential. 

Main Methods to Unclog an Rv Toilet

1- Unclog an Rv Toilet with Black Tank Cleaner

Patience can pay off if you want to dissolve the clog with chemicals. RV Digesters break down waste and paper products. Users report successfully unclogging their toilet with a bio-enzymatic black tank cleaner. A favorite on Amazon is the Unique RV Digest-It Black Holding Tank Treatment. With the black tank valve closed, pour the entire bottle of Digest-It into the toilet, close the lid and wait. The waiting can last for up to 72 hours.

You can see how to use the product here.

2- Boiling Water Trick

Hot, boiling water? Some have had luck with this if you read the internet. No such luck here. It is worth a try. We certainly did. Boil a large pan of water, pour as much as it holds into the bowl, and wait. Adding hot boiling water after removing the clog will help break down and materials leftover. 

3- Vinegar and Baking Soda

It seems that, like the boiling water trick, many have had success using vinegar and baking soda. Many recipes and methods on the internet claim to be the miracle cure. It must depend on your clog’s severeness because this one didn’t work for us. It was worth a try. It is an excellent cleaner for your toilet and sink drains.

4- Plumbers Snake

How to Unclog an RV or Camper Toilet, Plus How to Replace It 1

Using a plumbers snake can be a viable option if you use the correct size. The pipe that connects the toilet to the black water tank is three inches wide. A three-inch line requires a snake with at least a ½ inch diameter. Anything smaller will hit the clog and bend back up, defeating the purpose. You will need something like this VEVOR 50FTx1/2Inch Drain Cleaner Machine. This method has been successful for us in the past.

What Products Should I Purchase to Unclog my RV Toilet?

Unclogging a toilet will feel like going to the doctor. You know all the symptoms, but choosing the correct treatment to alleviate the problem will be trial and error. 

RV Toilet Tank Treatment

How to Unclog an RV or Camper Toilet, Plus How to Replace It 2

My favorite is Camco TST Ultra-Concentrated. These are very easy to use. Drain and empty your black tank and drop a couple of packets in your toilet. They break down waste, and they smell great. Using these every time you empty your tank will help prevent clogs. 

Black Water Tank Flusher

My rig has a built-in tank flusher. You can purchase one separately if your RV does not. This Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik has excellent reviews and an affordable price. I also found this video for further instructions.

Disposable Gloves

 It is necessary to protect yourself by wearing gloves when using chemicals and sewer waste. These Med PRIDE Medical Vinyl Examination Gloves are highly rated and latex free.

How Can I Prevent Future Clogs in My RV Toilet

Your RV toilet can become clogged if your black tank becomes full. It can depend on your use of toilet paper. Using too much toilet paper or using the wrong type of toilet paper will also cause this problem. A clog can happen if you store your RV without emptying and cleaning your black tank first. Adding the chemicals to your tank after draining it is also essential. 

1- Keep the Black Tank Closed

Leaving the black tank open allows solid waste to build up. Keeping the tank closed allows liquid and added tank treatment chemicals to break down the waste so it can be drained without causing a backup. Dried waste is a nightmare to remove. 

2- Use Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper

Using only approved toilet paper for RV use is very important. Scott Rapid Dissolve Bath Tissue Made for RVs and Boats (8 Rolls) is designed for RV plumbing systems. Some argue that all toilet paper is biodegradable, so it should be fine to use any brand.

Trust my mistake, buy only toilet paper designed for RVs, or do not flush your regular brand. Also, limit how much toilet paper you flush as much as possible. 

Check out this video and do your own test.

Also, if you have a lot of visitors as we do, your bathroom may need a cute sign for directions. That will make sure that everyone is on the same page. I thought this one was classy and cute. 

Correctly Empty your Black Tank

You can keep your throne in good working order if you use preventive measures. Maintenance is the key. You must correctly empty the black tank and clean it thoroughly every week. 

First, you will need access to a designated RV dump station. You can find these at most campgrounds and some gas stations. A simple internet search should provide you with options near you. 

Make sure you have everything you need. You will need a sewer hose and disposable gloves. Most dump stations will provide a water hose for cleaning your sewer hose after use.

Carefully connect sewer hose to RV sewer outlet pipe. Place the other end securely down the drainage pipe and close the cap to hold it in place. Make sure your hose is connected securely. An insecure hose can cause a messy situation. Wearing disposable gloves will provide protection. 

Locate and engage (pull) the black tank lever and allow it to drain. Check hoses for kinks or clogs. As the old saying goes, “it doesn’t flow uphill.” You may need to readjust hose during this process. 

Listen for flow to decrease and stop. Maneuver the hose again to make sure it has fully emptied. Some RVs come with a black water tank flusher. If yours does, you can connect the water hose to the labeled connection on your RV after draining the tank. Allow the water to run for five to ten minutes. The running water will flush out and clean your black water tank.

Other Ways to Clean Black Tank

Also, We have not tried it but have been intrigued by the ice method. If you do not have a black tank flusher, some RV and camper owners swear by dumping a fair amount of ice down your toilet after emptying your tank. The idea is that the ice will slosh around the black tank while in transit and remove the stubborn waste left behind. Many claim this has fixed a stuck tank indicator. After watching this video, you can decide for yourself.

Another trendy trick includes filling your black tank with half a tank of water and adding some dish detergent of your choice when the soapy water sloshes around while driving will clean out your black tank. Newer RV and campers have upgraded suspension to ensure stability while moving. I am not sure of this theory.

How Much Water Should I use?

Many of us camping without a sewer connection do not want our black water tank to fill up too quickly, so sometimes, we are tempted to use less water when flushing. Not using enough water can lead to significant issues. Flushing for ten seconds every time is a best practice.

It takes water to activate the chemicals to break down waste. You should always make sure your tank has more liquid than solids to ensure it can empty adequately. More water means more significant dilution. I recommend counting to ten slowly while flushing may be a habit you need to learn.

Keep your black water tank closed until it is ready to be emptied. Closing the tank lets the water level rise to break down waste properly. Remember, we want water sitting in the tank. Do not forget the chemicals.

Is There a Plumbing Solution for an RV Toilet?

When all else fails, or you do not have time to spare, it may be time to open the storage compartment and take a hard look at the plumbing. The clog will be in the pipe that connects the toilet to the holding tank most of the time. Cutting the line and replacing it may be your best option. If you are remodeling an older camper that has been in storage for a while, the clog may be unbudgeable. Yes, I’ve been there. I am talking from experience. 

Locate the three-inch pipe that connects the toilet to the black water tank. Cut the line a few inches below the toilet connection and a few inches above the black tank connection. Remove section of pipe. Investigate to see precisely where your clog is located and clear clog by pushing it into the tank or clearing it from the bottom of the toilet connection. You will need two couplings and a new section of a three-inch pipe. Install the pipe with the connectors using plumbers glue. 

Remember, this is only for dire situations. Please try the above solutions first. Contact a licensed plumber if you do not feel confident in your plumbing skills.

Can I Reroute the Plumbing in my RV?

If you have found the perfect place by the Lake to park your RV or camper when you are not traveling, you may want to bypass the holding tank entirely and connect directly into a septic system. Making this change will eliminate a full black tank. The con to this method is the inability to camp where septic hookups are unavailable. 

Replacing your RV Toilet

Replacing a toilet shouldn’t require a plumber. You will need to turn off the water first. Unbolt the toilet from the floor and disconnect the water supply line. Then remove the old toilet. Replace the toilet gasket between the toilet and the flange and install the new unit. Connect the water supply and secure the unit with bolts. Your new RV toilet is ready for a test run.

If replacing your toilet is necessary, you may be able to find one on social media sites or your local radio sell and trade program. You may find a great deal.

If you want to buy a new toilet, this is our favorite. The Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet is affordable, and it has a foot pedal flush. It is a tall model that is comfortable for most derrieres. It is also husband-approved.

Find the Right RV or Camper Toilet for You

 Product's nameBest forFeaturesMore Info
Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush / High Profile / White - Thetford 31671Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush / High Profile / White - Thetford 31671Best for SanitationPlastic
Affordable
See Latest Price
Thetford 38264 Tecma Silence Plus 2 Mode 12V RV Toilet with Water Pump - High, BlackThetford 38264 Tecma Silence Plus 2 Mode 12V RV Toilet with Water Pump -...Best for LuxuryPorcelain
Expensive
See Latest Price
Thetford RV Trailer Camper Style Ii China Toilet High Profile Bone 42062Thetford RV Trailer Camper Style Ii China Toilet High Profile Bone 42062Affordable Porcelain BowlPorcelain
Affordable
See Latest Price
Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush with Hand Sprayer / High Profile / White - Thetford 31679Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush with Hand Sprayer / High Profile / White...Most FeaturesPlastic
Mid-Price
See Latest Price

1- Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush

Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush / High Profile / White - Thetford 31671
  • More home-like styling
  • Taller seating height for more comfort
  • Attractive, economical and easy to use.Seat Design:Angled Back

Thetford makes this Aqua Magic RV toilet. Thetford is a name recognized by many RV owners. They are a trusted brand in the outdoor world. 

This toilet is easy to install. I have included a video below to keep you on track during the removal and installation. You will need a new gasket. Turn off the water to avoid a flood.

My favorite feature is the foot pedal. It’s great not having to use my hand to flush. It also allows running extra water into the tank easily.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Foot Pedal Flush
  • Easy Installation

Cons

  • Plastic
  • Difficult to Clean
  • Easy to Add Extra Water

2.Thetford 38264 Tecma Silence Plus 2 Mode 12V RV Toilet with Water Pump – High, Black

Thetford 38264 Tecma Silence Plus 2 Mode 12V RV Toilet with Water Pump - High, Black
  • Fine porcelain bowl toilet
  • Waste transfer system toilet - holding tank can be anywhere
  • Wall-mounted, push button control

If you want to enjoy your time on the thrown, check out this Thetford porcelain model. It is a modern style, high profile, and luxury throne.

It has a wall-mounted push button control for flushing and has a water pump powered by a 12-volt battery. Porcelain means a heavier and more stable sitting experience. Comfort comes at a hefty price.

Pros

  • Porcelain
  • Water Pump
  • Modern Style

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Skilled Installation

3. Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush / High Profile / White – Thetford 31671

A porcelain toilet brings a bit of the comfort of home to the RV. It is easier to clean. 92% of Amazon reviewers give it five stars.

This model has a foot pedal mounted on the right side for sanitary flushing. It is standard white and is high profile. Installation is simple, even for those without plumbing skills.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Porcelain
  • Foot Pedal Flush

Cons

  • Foot Pedal on the Side
  • Plastic Seat

4. Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush with Hand Sprayer / High Profile / White – Thetford 31679

Sale
Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush with Hand Sprayer / High Profile / White - Thetford 31679
  • [VERSATILITY]: Aqua-Magic V is the RV toilet with a classic style and taller seating height, suited for all...
  • [FUNCTIONALITY]: The toilet has a single-pedal system - press it halfway to add water to the bowl and all the way...
  • [UTILITY]: Aqua-Magic V has a textured lid which sheds water and resists scuffs, offering the comfort and feeling...

You will recognize every toilet posted here is a Thetford. Thetford has mastered the RV toilet, from economics to luxury. Their years of manufacturing and superior products speak for themselves.

This model is an approvement on the number one pick. An added hand sprayer makes cleaning an absolute breeze. This sprayer allows you to flush out waste in the plumbing line connected to the toilet. This helps with odor control and preventing clogs.

This toilet is plastic and high profile. It is a front floor pedal flushing model and lightweight but sturdy. It is pricier than pick number one.

Pros

  • Hand Sprayer
  • High Profile
  • Foot Pedal Flush

Cons

  • Plastic
  • Full Water Pressure Needed

RV Toilet FAQs

Can I use Draino in My RV Toilet?

Using Draino in an RV tank is not recommended. There is a risk of damage to the rubber seal and the plastic holding tank. Draino is a caustic chemical that can cause a chemical reaction and produce heat which can melt or warp the plastic and rubber. 

Can you use Plungers for an RV Toilet?

Do not reach for a plunger because you will be sorely disappointed by the results. Regular plungers cannot create a seal and cause a suction that unclogs a home toilet.
You will not find a plunger in a veteran RV owner’s bathroom.

Conclusion

After you read this, I hope that you are informed and ready to tackle and win the battle of the throne. The best way to stop clogging is preventative. Maintenance is key. 

I hope you check out the products I have recommended. I chose them from experience. Clogged toilets are unpleasant and occasionally inevitable if you and your guests do not know best practices. 

I think it’s time for me to claim my title as queen, and I choose the Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush / High Profile / White – Thetford 31671. My Thetford is waiting. But first, I have to grab my gloves, cleaner, and scrub brush.

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About Barbara McCoy

Barbara McCoy is a teacher, a writer and avid camper. Over the past 30 years, she has camped in everything from a tent to an RV. Her and her husband enjoy remodeling and flipping RVs. Currently they are living the retirement life residing in their remodeled 40ft 5th wheel.

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