Can I Use Bleach To Clean My RV Toilet?

Can I Use Bleach To Clean My RV Toilet

Published Date: October 17, 2020

Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Camper Front

Just like your regular home toilet, an RV toilet needs to be cleaned regularly. When cleaning an RV toilet, you need to be very cautious about the type of product you use. An RV toilet is usually connected to a waste tank made out of plastic.

When cleaning the toilet, you don’t want to use harsh chemicals because they may damage the waste tank used to hold the waste contents from the RV toilet.

But can I use bleach to clean my RV toilet?

NO! while bleach is normally used for household toilet cleaning, it’s not recommended to use it to clean your RV toilet, and we’ll find out why shortly.

Can I Use Bleach To Clean My RV Toilet?

The straight answer to this question is no! And before we go into the potential damage, it can cause to your plumbing system; let’s look at the difference between an RV toilet to a household toilet to give you a better understanding.

There aren’t many differences between household toilets and RV toilets. They are both designed to flush waste from their bowls through a disposal pipe.

Most RV toilets make use of a pedal that does the flushing using pressurized water, which comes from either your RV’s pumping system or park water pressure; household toilets, on the other hand, have a reservoir that fills up and holds water, providing sufficient volume and pressure to flush waste away.

Another difference is that RV toilets flush water and waste down into a black water holding tank while household toilets move the waste out of your home’s plumbing system to either the city sewer system or a septic system.

The RV’s holding tanks hold the water and waste until it is emptied. However, your RV’s holding tanks are not a septic system, so you do not need to add enzymes, chemicals, or biological agents that will break down waste.

Doing this can cause lots of problems and damage to your holding tank. Now that you know the differences between a household toilet and an RV toilet, let’s take a look at the effect of using bleach in your RV toilet.

Effects of Using Bleach On RV Toilet

Can I Clean My RV Toilet With Bleach

Pouring bleach down your RV toilet will do some of the following damage;

  • The chlorine component in bleach damages a lot of materials, and your plastic holding tank is one of them.
  • Not only that, but chloride also drys out your gasket, and this prevents them from functioning properly. And this cost a lot of cash to fix. Although bleach can remove water stains from your RV toilet bowl, it eats away at your holding tank.
  • Also, the space in an RV is small, so proper ventilation in the toilet will be a problem. So you don’t want to be inhaling all the toxic fumes of bleach, especially if you are traveling with small children or pets
  • bleach also destroys the important bacteria and enzymes in your holding tank that work hard to break down waste and stop the foul odor from forming

Safely Cleaning Your RV Toilet

There are a lot of different cleaning products for RV toilets; you want to go for an enzyme or bacteria product.

These types of cleaners work with the enzymes already present in your holding tanks, and they are made specifically to handle the job that needs to be done in your toilet and black water holding tank.

Also, when cleaning your RV toilet, the type of tools you make use of also has an impact on the lifespan of the toilet.

You want to avoid making use of the standard toilet brush, which has firm rubber bristles because although they help to remove dirt and buildup from inside your toilet bowl, many RV toilets are made of plastic, so cleaning it with a firm rubber bristle brush will cause dents and deep scratches to appear inside the bowl.

These dents now become a buildup holder and prevent the toilet from being properly cleaned. Instead, you want to make use of a surface-cleaning sponge.

They are easy to find, and these sponges will effectively clean your RV toilet without compromising its material, making it a better cleaning tool option, and they also have a tough exterior side that can be used to buff out surface stains and buildup easily.

For extra convenience, you can opt for longer brushes that utilize a sponge at the end of the handle rather than a bristle brush.

Other Cleaning Products You Shouldn’t Use For Cleaning Your RV Toilet

Effects of Using Bleach On RV Toilet

Although bleach is the major culprit of RV toilet damage, there are other cleaning products that also act similarly to bleach that should also be avoided when cleaning your RV toilet.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This chemical is usually very common in non-bleach cleaners. This chemical is damaging to your holding tank at a long-term level.

Using a hydrogen peroxide cleaner frequently will cause the concentration of the chemical to become high in the tank, and it can eat away at soft rubbers and even some plastics.

Baking Soda

Although baking soda is an all-around cleaner, it has detrimental effects on your RV’s holding tank. Baking soda is an alkaline substance with a very high pH, and it can eat away at soft rubber seals just as acids can.

However, if your cleaning regiment calls for baking soda, you want to make sure you use sufficient clean water to dilute it, and when you are done cleaning, you will need to empty and flush your black water holding tank after cleaning the toilet bowl.

Vinegar Or Acetic Acid

Both of these solutions are both acidic, and they can eat away some synthetic rubber seals, so they should be avoided as much as possible.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol or isopropanol causes the stiffening of plastics such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and makes them more likely to crack or break when stressed.

It will also decrease the lifespan of these plastics, especially if they are exposed to extreme weather conditions.


Using bleach for cleaning your RV toilet does more harm than good. Although it eliminates germs and bacteria inside your toilet bowl, it eats away the plastic of the holding tank and plumbing pipes, leaving you with a huge mess when you try to empty the holding tank.

So if you have been wondering, can I use bleach to clean my RV toilet, the answer is no! You can’t.

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