Can you flush toilet paper in a camper? This is a question frequently asked by newbie RVers everywhere. The answer varies on a number of factors. However, the blanket answer is no. You should not flush toilet paper down your RV.
But, does that mean you can’t comfortably use your RV toilet? Far from it, with the right steps, you’ll safely use the RV toilet without worrying about causing damage to the RV or, even worse, having an embarrassing moment.
How is the RV sewage system set up?
To understand why you can’t just flush any toilet paper in the RV, you first need to understand how the RV is designed. The black water holding tank is responsible for holding waste from the RV toilet until it can be disposed appropriately. In most RV designs, the black-water tank is located directly beneath the bathroom. The placement ensures little energy is needed to flush the toilet as gravity takes effect.
It is noteworthy to mention some RVs are built with the black water tank horizontally beside the toilet. As such, there needs some push to get the waste from the toilet to the tank. As a result, these RVs have an inbuilt pump-like toilet to help with the flushing efficiency.
These RVs with a pump-like mechanism make it easy to use almost any type of tissue paper. They are, however, not as many of these special RVs in the market. Thus, let’s focus on the effort of the most available and popular RVs.
Why shouldn’t you flush toilet paper in your RV?
As mentioned above, flushing toilet paper down the toilet is not generally recommended. But why is that? Well, the answer is actually quite simple; the usual toilet paper won’t disintegrate in the RV conditions. This leaves you with issues such as toilet clogging, dumping problems, and black tank damage.
Regular toilet papers may be soft and comfy, but they also stick to the black tank’s inner wall. If left for long without proper maintenance, harmful chemicals from the stuck tissue will degrade your tank’s quality. In most cases, you’ll have to replace the black tank.
Are there RV-friendly toilet papers?
Just because you cannot use regular tissue paper doesn’t mean there’s no solution. In fact, there’s a special kind of toilet paper designed for RV conditions.
This specially-made RV toilet paper is manufactured to break down and dissolve easily and quickly. The toilet paper works similarly to that of the home septic tank.
While you may not notice the difference between ordinary tissue paper, and that meant for the RV, the results will be evident.
The question for most RV, then turn to, where can you find this special tissue paper, and how can you differentiate it from the regular brands?
Where and how to find RV toilet paper
There are a couple of identifiable factors to look for when looking for RV toilet paper. Fortunately, most tissue manufacturers have identified the gap, and today, you’ll find varying brands in the market.
This makes it easy to purchase the toilet paper even when you’re on the go. Moreover, you don’t have to stock up on entire rolls and take up valuable RV space.
When looking for RV toilet paper, you’ll need to look at the packaging as they have a striking resemblance to regular toilet paper. The most apparent sign of RV-friendly tissue rolls is they are tagged with the ‘safe for RV use’ mark. This may vary from one brand to another, but the message should be unmistakable.
The other way to recognize RV-friendly toilet paper is a statement on the packaging detailing they are safe and compatible with septic tanks.
As already seen, black tanks and septic tanks work pretty much in the same way. The septic tank also requires toilet paper that easily dissolves into the environment over a short period of time.
The next question is where you can find the right toilet paper for your RV. Fortunately, since they are not specific to one brand, you can find RV-friendly toilet papers in most camping supply stores, RV dealer shops, and retail stores. You can also find it in the major regional outlet stores such as Wal-Mart.
How much does RV toilet paper cost?
Once again, this is a difficult question to generalize as it is based on several unique factors. However, as a general observation, toilet paper specifically made for septic tanks and RVs are pricier than the ordinary ones.
Be careful when with the tissue paper you purchase as it could be the usual type that could end up clogging your toilet. Don’t shy away from getting recommendations from your RV networks and friends.
What is the toilet paper break down test (TPBDT)?
If you’re not sure if the tissue you have is RV toilet friendly, there’s a simple test you can conduct. This test reveals how easily broken the toilet paper is, consequently leaving you with the best brand. This simple procedure requires some water, the toilet paper in question, and clear glass measuring about 10 oz. (300 ml)
The TPBDT works as follows;
- Fill the clear water glass about halfway through (5 oz. or 150 ml) with clear water.
- Drop a couple of clean tissue pieces from the toilet paper you want to test.
- Place one hand on top of the glass, sealing the water inside, and vigorously shake the glass twice, then set it down.
- Look to see if the tissue paper has disintegrated/dissolved.
Note: The test calls for you to shake the glass vigorously two times. If you do more than the recommended two shakes, the toilet paper will almost always dissolve, giving incorrect results.
If the toilet paper disintegrates, it’s safe for use in the RV toilet. On the other hand, if you can make out large tissue papers in the water, don’t use it.
Finally, when you have an RV, you can’t just use any toilet paper. If you’ve had the same question, ‘can you flush toilet paper in a camper,’ you now have all the information to buy the right toilet paper.