Is Special RV Toilet Paper Really Needed in an RV?

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We are asked by new RVers if they have to use special RV toilet paper in their RV. We always tell people they should use RV/Marine toilet paper to avoid clogs or false readings on the tank sensors. But it really depends how often you use your RV.

For example, if you are a weekend warrior or an occasional RVer we definitely recommend using RV toilet paper so you don’t get a buildup of toilet paper in your black tank. If you RV more often you can probably get away with using residential toilet paper in your RV.

Special RV toilet paper is not something that will be front of mind for you if you do not have a lot of experience with RVs. However, it is something that is necessary, so you need to make sure you have enough for your trip when you leave. It can be harmful to use regular toilet paper. You need special toilet paper because your sewage system is much more delicate than it is in a home or apartment. RV toilet paper will disintegrate quicker than regular toilet paper, making it less likely that you will have a clog in your system or tank.

With that in mind, you need to add special toilet paper to the list of essentials to bring with you. There are many things that you might need before you leave, and toilet paper is one of them. The last thing you want is an issue with your sewage system. That could leave to a disastrous mess, so make sure you have the right toiletries. Otherwise, you could end up in an unenviable position.

Why Your RV Sewage System Works?

Your RV sewage does not function in the same as a regular sewage system. That is because your waste does not flow away from your RV like it would at home. In an RV it all runs into your black holding tank and is stored there until you dump it.

Most RV toilets will flush straight down, directly into the black tank like an old outhouse. When your tank starts to get full you will need to dump it. However, that might not be possible if you have not done a good job maintaining it. The most important part in maintaining your black tank is ensuring that you have more liquid in the tank than solid. If your toilet paper does not break down fast enough there is a good chance that you could have a clog. A clog can be dangerous because it can lead to the need for repairs which can be expensive.

Quick note: if you run into a situation where you need to dump your black tank before it is close to full you should run extra water into your tank so that it becomes more diluted. This should help ensure that you have a good liquid to solid ratio and enough pressure to completely empty the holding tank when you dump.

What Is the Difference Between RV Toilet Paper and Regular Toilet Paper?

The biggest difference between the two types of toilet paper is that the special toilet paper that you use in an RV disintegrates faster than the regular options. It has been specially formulated for RV use and will always be safe to use.

While some types of household toilet paper will disintegrate at similar rates to RV toilet paper, there is a risk. Household toilet paper is not regulated and tested for RVs. As a result, you will not know whether you have a usable brand or not. The only way to find out is to test things for yourself.

What Is a TP Breakdown Test?

When you are getting your RV set up you will need to purchase enough toilet paper to sustain yourself for your entire trip. At the very least you will need enough to last long enough for you to stock back up later on. As a result, you need to make sure that you have a brand that is effective in RVs. While you might want to go to the nearest Walmart and pick up your regular brand of toilet paper, that probably is not the best idea. However, if you do have a sentimental attachment to a single toilet paper brand, you can do a test to see if it is viable to use in your RV.

A toilet paper breakdown test is a test to see if the toilet paper breaks down quick enough to use in an RV. Normal toilet paper breaks down, but not as quick as RV toilet paper. This is because it is not as necessary for it to break down quickly in a regular sewage system. All your waste does not build up in one area when you are at home, and you do not need to manually dump it. Instead, it is all streamed into the sewers where it is released into specific dumping areas over time. When you have an RV it is released into a tank and you need to manually dump it.

When you manually dump your waste tank, you want it to be easy as possible. It is easier the more liquid there is the tank. The less solid, the better. So, you want RV/Marine toilet paper that will break down quickly. So, a toilet paper breakdown test will check to see if a type of toilet paper will break down quick enough to be used in an RV.

How to Conduct a TP Test

The easiest way to test TP is to take a few sheets and put it in a jar with some water. Then put a lid on it and shake it up. If the toilet paper does not dissolve after a few seconds of vigorous shaking, you should not use it in your RV.

While this testing method is effective, it takes up time, and there is no real reason to do it when you can just buy RV toilet paper. There is no need to waste your time on a test when there are plenty of tested RV toilet paper options available to you.

What Toilet Paper Brands Work Best in RVs?

The best way to find RV toilet paper is to go to the camping or RV section of Walmart or look up RV toilet paper on Amazon. Then try out a brand or two and see which feels most comfortable to you. There are many brands that produce toilet paper for RVs, you just need to figure out what the best option is for you.

Susan and I prefer Thetford Aqua- Soft RV toilet paper. It is the number one rated company in mobile sanitation. Their two ply toilet paper is absorbent, dissolves well in a tank, and gets amazing reviews.  It is also soft and comfortable.

Scott Rapid Dissolve is an excellent brand that should work for most RV owners. They produce toilet paper that dissolves four times quicker than your standard home TP. As a result, you should never need to worry about clogging in your black tank when you use this brand. They are also praised for the comfort and absorbency of their toilet paper.

Additionally, Camco is a great brand that is praised for its softness, dissolve rate, and clog resistance. They produce special toilet paper that is approved for septic tanks and comes with 500 sheets per role. It does not have any perfumes or dyes, so it is a great option for people with sensitive skin.

Freedom Living is another brand you should consider when looking for the best RV TP. They produce toilet paper that has a quick dissolve rate, keeping your sewage system from clogging. It strikes a perfect balance of dissolving when it should and not ripping while you are using it. Testers also found that it was very comfortable to use.

Another good brand available to you use is Valterra RV Toilet Paper. Online reviewers say that their special toilet paper is incredibly soft and dissolves well. It should not leave any residue behind in your waste tank. The two play options are safe for septic systems, boats, and RVs.

Use an RV Holding Tank Treatment for Best Results

Another question we are asked very often is if we recommend toilet treatment chemicals. we always recommend that RVers use holding tank chemicals for two big reasons.

  1. RV holding tank treatment helps to break down the toilet paper even faster
  2. The holding tank treatment reduces odors

We use Aqua-Kem RV Holding Tank Treatment and find that it works great for us. We have also heard that lots of RVers use the Happy Camper brand of holding tank treatment and they are happy with it too.

Keep Your Black Tank Valve Closed for Best Results

When it comes to your black tank, there is one rule that you should always follow: keep the black tank valve closed until almost full and then dump your tank. You can leave your gray tank valve open the whole time you are hooked up at your campsite but you should keep the black tank valve closed. The only time you should open your valve is when the black tank is nearly full and you are ready to dump.

To those of you that are new to RVing, it might seem strange to contain your waste, but it is important to remember that your RV sewage system is not the same as your home’s system. You need the pressure and weight of a full tank to completely rid the holding tank of all of its contents.

By keeping your tank closed, you will be capturing all the liquids and solids that go into your holding tank until you need to dump it. These liquids are important for making sure that your waste does not dry up and cake to the side of the tank while it is being held.

You should also note that if you keep your black water tank open all the liquid will trickle out into the sewer. Then all the solid waste will start to pile up inside your tank, creating a pyramid of waste. Eventually, this pile will grow large enough to block your toilet, and it will start to smell awful very quickly. So, avoid doing this, and instead dump your tank manually, regularly.

Avoid Toilet Paper Build Up by Flushing your Black Tank Regularly

RV tanks are easy to maintain, but you need to take the time to flush your black tank regularly. While the process is simple, it does take time to do everything. If you do not take your time with this process, then you will run into issues down the road.

After you flush your tank you should always rinse the holding tank. If you can not do it every time, you should at least do it every other time. After you rinse it out you should do your best to clean it. This will ensure that you do not have any other leftover residue that is stuck to the sides of your black tank.

You can rinse the rank by filling the tank with clean water. Do this by flushing your toilet or pouring clean water into the toilet. Alternatively, you can use a hose to run water in from outside. We prefer to use our Rhino Blaster with Gate Valve to fill and rinse our tank from outside the RV. We find that it is quick and easy to maintain our black holding tank this way. We just connect a non-potable water hose to the Rhino Blaster at the dump station fill the tank and once the tank is full, drain it out. We just look at the instrument panel in the RV to know when we are almost full. We then repeat this process until the output is translucent and free of waste materials.

Even after you rinse your tank, you should make sure that you thoroughly clean it every once in a while. One of the best ways to do this is with mix dishwashing detergent, water, and ice cubes. Start by closing the valve and filling the chamber halfway with water. Then pour half a cup of powdered dishwater detergent in. You can then add the ice cubes by tossing them down the toilet. Then go for a short drive, letting the ice cubes bang around. The friction of the ice cubes will help clean your sensors. Leave the mixture in for 24 hours before emptying. After you dump it fill it with water one more time to rinse it out, and then dump it again.

Check out our video below to see the whole process we use.

Make Sure You Are Ready for Your RV Trip with the Best RV Toilet Paper

After reading, we hope you have all the information you need to prepare for your next RV trip. We know there is a lot of information to absorb, but it is important to have all the information you can on this topic. The last thing you want is for your sewage system to be damaged because you did not know what toilet paper to use.

Special RV toilet paper is incredibly important to use for RV owners. While there are some regular brands that can be used, they are not officially approved and have not been tested as much as the special RV TP brands. These brands will break down quickly, ensuring that you do not have any clogging issues. This is very important not just because it will be a hassle to fix, but also because it can be very expensive. You do not want to do that, so take the time to purchase the right RV toilet paper and you will not have any issues.

RVing is a great experience to have with your family. It lets you see places you would never think to visit, and you get to have a unique bonding experience together. However, that experience will be quickly ruined if your sewage system is damaged because you did not buy the right toilet paper. Make sure you have special toilet paper before your trip starts and you will have a much better time long term. You might not look forward to extra shopping, but it is necessary. Then you will be ready to get your trip started.

What RV toilet paper brand do you use? Where do you plan on traveling? What type of RV do you have? Let us know in the comments!

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