A clogged RV toilet might be one of the worst things that can happen to you on the road. Having a toilet on the go is an amazing feature of RV’s, but they can be susceptible to problems. If your experiencing this or just want to know what to do when and if it happens read on.
Oh No! My RV Toilet Is Clogged
This little-talked-about problem is actually quite common. But if not taken care of, it could cause some major headaches—the worst being water damage from overfilling. What typically happens is the toilet paper and body waste don’t get fully flushed and end up sticking to the pipes or tank. Over time, it dries, gets hard, and more things get stuck until nothing can get through.
In addition you might find that you have the valves open to dump but nothing is coming out! So, what do you do to unclog your RV toilet?
How to Unclog Your RV Toilet
If you find your RV toilet is not flusing or you cannot dump your tanks, then you have a blockage. At this point you need to try and break it up. Lets take a look at a few methods to do this, from the easiest to mode invasive.
The Boiling Water Method to Unclog RV Toilet
First, try boiling water and pouring it down the toilet. This is in hopes that the hot water will loosen everything up and unclog the RV toilet. However, it might take a few times to really clear the clog up. So, don’t give up if the first try didn’t work.
This usually only works when the toilet pipe itself is clogged. If you tank wont empty move on to another option.
This can work very well or be a huge mess. If your toilet is not flushing at all then this might not work. If its slow then you might have a chance. Hook up a hose and run it through a window inside the RV to the toilet. Use a sprayer nozzle to spray a high flow of water down into the tank. If you have a pile of debris built up its likely that it will break it up. Make sure the tank drain is open at this point.
If your tank is not draining you can get a simple hydroflush attachment that connects a hose to the outlet. Turn the hose on and open the tank. It should jet water up into the clog and possibly break it up. You may need to turn the water on and off a few times.
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We personally use this technique to get a good clean on our tanks every so often while dumping.
Using a Plunger or Toilet Snake
The next option is to use a plunger or toilet snake. A plunger might not be the most effective if there isn’t an airtight seal. So if that doesn’t work, use a toilet snake. Make sure you get one long enough and sturdy enough to really grind up anything in the pipes.
Unclogging an RV toilet with a plunger or toilet snake is best done by someone who isn’t completely grossed out by the toilet as it might be a mess.
Insert the snake into the toilet or drain pipe and push back and forth and spin it. It will loosen and break up debris and allow it to flow. If you are trying to dump the tank you could end up spilling sewage when it breaks up so have a bucket under the pipe.
Unclogging Your Toilet with Holding Tank Cleaner
You could also try holding tank cleaner. Because black tank cleaner breaks down human waste, it could help break down the clog. The issue with this option is it won’t eliminate the clog, and it could take a few hours to take effect.
To use it, add the cleaner to the tank along with a few gallons of water if it will go down, and then take the RV for a drive. Make plenty of turns to slosh it around and help it break everything up. Then try flushing out the tanks and running the toilet.
Tips for Preventing RV Toilet Clogs in the Future
The best way to avoid a clogged RV toilet is to take preventative measures. There are a few things you can do to help limit clogs in the future.
Keep Black Tank Closed Until Ready to Dump
The best prevention is not leaving your black tank valve open except when dumping. If you leave the valve open when using the toilet it allows solids to build up in the tank without enough water to soften the “Stuff” up. When you attempt to dump this dried-out mass can clog up the tank output. When stuff gets left behind, it dries and becomes harder to get rid of. Then over time, this builds up, creating the dreaded “poop mountain.” This is a pile that builds up directly below the toilet.
Easiest solution, let the tank fill until its time to dump. You can dump the tank at any point but the more liquid in the tank the better the flush will be.
Only Use RV Toilet Paper – Or Put Paper in the Trash Instead
Never flush anything other than RV toilet paper down your toilet. Flushing regular residential toilet paper or feminine products is sure to cause issues. The best thing you can do is throw toilet paper in the trash. But if that’s not something you can stomach, only use RV toilet paper. It’s made to dissolve easier, so you’ll have to unclog your RV toilet less.
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Use Plenty of Water With Each Flush
The other thing people don’t do enough of is use lots of water when flushing. This will ensure that anything going down the pipe doesn’t get stuck there and passes to the black tank. Too often, people don’t use enough water.
Use RV Waste Tank Treatments
Another preventative measure is to use black tank treatments regularly. The black tank treatment breaks down human waste. This will help prevent any clogs and build-ups. It also helps prevent any bad smells as well.
We recommend using Happy Campers Holding Tank Treatment.
Clean Your Black Tank Each Time You Dump
Lastly, clean your black tank every time you dump, making sure you flush water through the system from your toilet. Many RVs come with a built-in black tank flush inlet that allows you to connect a hose directly and rinse out your black water tank without having to run water through your toilet.
If your RV does not have a black tank flush or it does not work you can run water through the toilet or even run a hose into the RV and fill the tank through the toilet.
Or, you could buy products that help shoot high-pressure water up your blank tank to give it a good rinse.
Never Store an RV With A Dry Black Tank
Unless you are sure that an RV black tank is super clean never store is empty. Any solids left in the tank will dry up and can contribute to a clog in the future. The best way to store an RV black tank is partially full of black tank chemicals in the water. This will make sure any solids dissolve in the time stored. If storing in freezing temperatures also be sure the tank has antifreeze in the water and that the tank is not more than half full.
Doing this will make sure your black tank is ready to go come camping season!
If Your RV Toilet Clogs, You’ll Be Ready!
We hope that our tips today help you prevent it, but now you know how to unclog your RV toilet in the worst-case scenario. If it does happen, don’t be ashamed. This is a common problem almost everyone encounters at some point. It’s not a big deal, but you want to make sure to take care of it before it becomes an issue.
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