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Do I Need RV Toilet Paper?

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Ah, the joys of RV life: stunning landscapes, endless adventure, and the unforgettable experience of using an RV toilet. But wait, before you grab just any roll of toilet paper and hop aboard, there’s something you should know! RV toilets may require a special kind of toilet paper to keep things running smoothly (pun intended). In this article, we’ll dive into the world of RV toilet paper, exploring why it’s essential and how it can save you from some rather “crappy” situations. So, buckle up and get ready for a whirlwind tour of everything you need to know about RV toilet paper!

Why RV Toilet Paper is Important

Understanding the importance of RV toilet paper begins with recognizing the differences between regular toilet paper and its RV-friendly counterpart. While they may look and feel similar, RV toilet paper is designed to dissolve rapidly in your RV’s waste management system, helping to prevent clogs and maintain smooth operation. Using non-RV toilet paper might lead to unwanted consequences, such as blockages, damage to the waste tank, and even potential malfunctions of the sensors within the tank. Next, we’ll delve into the specifics of RV toilet paper, highlighting its unique properties and explaining why it’s a crucial component in maintaining a healthy and efficient RV waste management system.  Be sure to read to the bottom for more clarification on RV vs regular toilet paper.

Special toilet paper, often referred to as “RV toilet paper” or “marine toilet paper,” is designed specifically for use in RVs, boats, and other mobile systems that utilize a holding tank for wastewater.

The reasons for using special toilet paper in RVs are:

Rapid Dissolving: RV toilet paper is formulated to dissolve quickly and easily when flushed. This rapid breakdown helps prevent clogs and ensures smooth flow through the pipes and into the holding tank, reducing the risk of backups and other plumbing issues.

Compatibility with Chemicals: The chemicals used in RV black water tanks are designed to break down waste and control odors. RV toilet paper is made to be compatible with these chemicals, ensuring that the tank’s treatment process works effectively.

Tank Sensor Functionality: RV holding tanks typically have sensors that indicate the tank’s fill level. Regular toilet paper can sometimes stick to the tank’s walls or sensors, causing inaccurate readings. RV toilet paper dissolves quickly, minimizing the chance of interfering with the tank’s sensors.
Septic Safe: Since RV waste is often disposed of at dump stations connected to septic systems, it’s crucial to use toilet paper that is septic-safe. RV toilet paper is designed to be biodegradable and break down quickly in septic systems, reducing the risk of system failures or other issues.

Best RV Toilet Paper Options

Rolling into the realm of RV toilet paper might seem like a straightforward task, but fear not, dear RV enthusiasts, for we have ventured into this uncharted territory to save you from those dreaded toilet tragedies. As it turns out, not all toilet paper is created equal, and some brands stand out as the true heroes of RV sanitation. So, without further ado, let’s unravel the mystery of the best RV toilet paper options, and reveal the champions that will keep your RV’s plumbing in tip-top shape. Remember, with great wiping power comes great responsibility!

Leading the pack is the tried and true Camco brand:  Camco 2-Ply RV Toilet Tissue.  2-ply is a God-send and is uncommon in RV tissue.  It gets great reviews and is at a reasonable price.  You can’t go wrong with Camco.

Amazon’s Presto! Brand also gets rave reviews and comes in an “Ultra-Soft” variant.  Also 2-ply, and also very reasonably priced.

If you’re feeling a bit braver, Scott Brand has Rapid Dissolving toilet paper with a 1-ply rating.  I have used this plenty because my black tank is a bit picky and it works just fine.  It’s also probably the cheapest option that I’d use.

Finally, Panda Premium Soft & Strong Toilet Paper gets phenomenal reviews at a reasonable price.

RV Toilet Paper Alternatives

I’ve always played it safe by using either RV / Marine toilet paper, or at least 1-ply if I can’t find any RV-specific brands.  But, according to Kleen Tank RV Tank Cleaning Service, any kind of toilet paper will work fine.  The secret?  Just use plenty of water.  They recommend the 2-flush system.  Do a normal flush, and then a second flush to add more water into the tanks.   According to them, it does not matter what type of toilet paper you use. Simply making sure you use enough water during the use of your toilet to keep the ratio of water-to-waste high.

From the Kleen Tank folks:

  1. When you use the toilet (we’re talking #2 here), flush down another bowl full of water. 
  2. Add enough fresh water to your holding tanks so that you are emptying them when they are 90% to 100% full. A full tank empties better than one that is a third or half full. 
  3. When you are done emptying your holding tanks, add three to five gallons of fresh water to them to give them a “fighting chance” (also called “priming the system”). 
  4. Turn on your black tank’s sprayer or rinse system when emptying the tank. The extra turbulence and water will help the emptying process. 
  5. As you are traveling down the road with your RV, keep three to five gallons of fresh, clean water in your holding tanks. It will help keep things lubricated in your tanks.

So wait, should we all be using RV-specific toilet paper or not?

Although I have great faith in the Kleen Tank experts (and I truly do!), I’ll be sticking with my trusty RV toilet paper. You see, when I hit the road in my RV, it’s often for weeks on end, and the last thing I want is to consume all of my fresh water supply while rapidly filling up my black water tank. Prior to delving into the research for this article, I would have adamantly declared RV toilet paper as an absolute necessity. However, it’s reassuring to know that with a generous splash of water during each flush, your RV will remain content, regardless of the toilet paper you choose!

Tank Maintenance

A few quick tips to keep your black (waste) tank feeling fresh.

Before you leave for your trip, fill your black tank ⅓ full.  This allows the water to slosh around and break down any solids and helps clean the tanks.

If you have it, use the black tank rinser throughout your trip, not just when emptying the tank.

Wait until the tanks are at least ¾ before dumping.  This extra water helps the wastewater flow out nicely.  Needing to dump, but the tank is only ⅓ full?  Go ahead and fill it up with fresh water before dumping it.

Not using your RV for a while?  Fill up both your gray and black tanks during storage (add anti-freeze if it’s cold enough out).

And back to the Kleen Tank experts, instead of using commercial ‘tank-safe deodorizers’, try this instead:
Mix 40 ounces of Pine-Sol with enough water to just about fill a gallon jug. Top off with one cup or eight ounces of Calgon Bath Beads. Use eight ounces in each tank (or more in especially hot weather or if your tanks will be filling up slowly over time).

Conclusion

So, fellow road warriors, our journey to unveil the truth about RV toilet paper has reached its destination. It turns out that with a little extra H2O during each flush, any toilet paper will do just fine. However, for those of us who prefer to conserve water and avoid prematurely filling up the black water tank, RV-specific toilet paper remains a trusty companion. As you set off on your next escapade, you now have the freedom to choose your TP wisely, keeping your RV’s waste system happy and healthy. Happy travels, and as always, may your flushes be worry-free!

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