How to Unclog RV Toilet – 3 Easy Methods

How to Unclog RV Toilet

Published Date: January 13, 2023

Last Updated on January 13, 2023 by Camper Front

One of the worst things that can happen while you are on a journey is having a clogged RV toilet. We’ll have you know that the availability of toilets in RVs is one of the fantastic features it offers. However, these toilets are susceptible to problems. Suppose you have a clogged RV toilet while on a journey; you should not be down. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to unclog RV toilet.

There are several reasons your toilet might appear or be clogged. One of these reasons can be when you have a blocked line. Then again, when your sensors are full at all times, you might get the idea that your toilet is clogged. Fortunately, this article will explain what you need to know to discover the root of the problem and tackle clogging.

Before we discuss the steps in unclogging an RV toilet, we’ll have you know that there is a typical cause of toilet blockage. Sometimes, when you flush your solid and liquid waste down the toilet, it might only go partially. These then stick to the pipes that connect the bowl to the tank. As time passes, these pieces get dry and hard. Hence, other wastes get stuck to them until there is no free passage.

Significantly, we have many ways of unclogging RV toilets. These methods range from treatment with chemicals to sewer hose attachment. Additionally, there are inexpensive home remedies that you can carry out to clean out your toilet. Sit back as you enjoy tips on quickly unclogging RV toilets and preventing further blockage.

How to Unclog RV Toilet

How Do RV Toilets Get Clogged and How Do I Identify the Problem?

To unclog an RV toilet, you have to diagnose the problem.  You must know what’s wrong before finding solutions to the issue. Your RV toilet might be clogged for several reasons, and you need a diagnosis to be sure of the cause. 

The following are some common issues that lead to RV toilets clogging.

Pyramid Plugs

Most issues of clogged RV toilets arise from pyramid plugs. These pyramid plugs are piles of human waste and toilet paper from the holding tank. Additionally, debris and toilet paper accumulation forms a pyramid of disgusting mass and blocks your toilet. When RVers deal with clogged toilets, they automatically believe it’s because of a full holding tank. We’ll have you know that a full holding tank is a case for a few people. On the other hand, pyramid plugs are usually a common source. You need to understand some things as an RVer to ensure that you do not deal with the pyramid plug.

It’s important to know that your RV toilet has a flat holding tank at the bottom. Understanding this can prevent you from facing issues like pyramid plugs. Whenever you keep your black tank valve closed, you do yourself more good. And this is because when you use the toilet, the sloshing liquid and solid waste in the tank flow smoothly.

However, if you open your black tank valve, the liquid waste flows easily out of the tank and into the sewer. Unfortunately, your solid waste does not flow out but accumulates because your tank has a flat bottom. Over time, the solid waste accumulates to form a pyramid plug obstructing the free passage of feces.

How to Diagnose Pyramid Plugs 

One popular reason RV toilets are clogged is the pyramid plug. To diagnose a pyramid plug, you should open the black tank valve of your toilet. When you observe that nothing comes out of this place, there is likely a problem. The next thing to do is to close the valve and flush the toilet. If the water goes down to the toilet tank, the issue is not a pyramid plug.

However, if the water does not go into the tank but comes up into the toilet bowl, you have a pyramid plug. A common sign of a pyramid plug is when the water in your toilet bowl does not empty into the tank. Evidently, a likely cause of this issue is when you leave the tank valve open for some time. If you have not been leaving your valve open, the probable cause of a pyramid plug is a blockage in the pipe leading to the tank.

Waste Build-Up (aka Blockage)

Furthermore, your RV toilet can get clogged when a blockage is in line. The build-up of waste, especially toilet paper, can cause a blockage in the line between your toilet bowl and the holding tank. This issue typically occurs when the toilet is located far from the tank. Although some RVs have lines that drop from the bowl into the tank, some also have long toilet lines with elbows. As a result, some toilet paper builds up at the elbows of these lines and causes clogs.

How to Diagnose Blockages

So to diagnose a blocked line between the toilet bowl and the tank, you should check if you have left your tank valve open at any time. If you have been keeping the black tank valve closed at all times, you are probably dealing with line blockage. Another issue you should diagnose to know the problem with your RV toilet is checking if the toilet has a clogged tank. If the problem is not with a blockage between the toilet bowl and tank, it is probably because of the clogged tank.

Compacted Tanks 

Another way RV toilets get clogged is through compacted tanks. While dealing with compacted tanks is not as common as blocking lines or pyramid plugs, it is equally tiring. Your toilet can experience compacted tanks if there is an accumulation of solid waste in the holding tank. When this happens, it prevents the tank from disposing of the trash properly. Compacted tanks occur when you store your RV without dumping your tank. Then, the waste dries and turns into a solid brick. Then again, compacted tanks can happen when solid waste accumulates in the discharge line.

Misreading Sensors

Finally, misreading sensors is another common problem that RVers experience. When this happens, people often mistake it for a blocked tank. We’ll have you know that when toilet paper and poop cover the face of the sensor probes, it causes them to misread. Additionally, these sensors work when the water level in the holding tank reaches the sensor level. However, when solid water coats the sensor’s surface, it completes an electric circuit and makes your sensor read whole.

How to Diagnose Misreading Sensors

Lastly, you should diagnose the sensors to check if they’re the ones misleading you. To analyze these, you should put water in the toilet bowl and check if it passes into the tank. Then check if the water comes out when you open the black tank valve. If the water comes out, there is nothing wrong with your toilet. After diagnosing this, you should clean your sensors to prevent them from misleading you.

How to Unclog RV Toilet

What Products Do I Need to Unclog an RV Toilet?

While a plunger can’t work in an RV toilet, other products help to unclog RV toilets quickly.

Black Tank Cleaner

When unclogging a blocked RV toilet, you need a black tank cleaner. You get this chemical if you need a quick and effective fix for your blocked toilet. As an RV traveler, you must have one of these products in case you need one. To use a tank cleanser, add the chemical to the holding tank and pour lots of water. Then take the RV for a drive, ensuring that you make several turns. Hence, the water and chemicals will slosh around and break up the dried waste. We’ll have you know that there are a lot of black tank cleaners on the market.

You should search carefully to choose the one that works best for you. These chemical-based products are easier to use than each other. Thus, it would help if you choose according to your preference.

Flexible Tank Wand or Toilet Snake

It’s possible to break up a blocked toilet with water alone. Then again, several manufacturers have created products that can clean RVs and ensure that your black tank has a spotless interior. You must clean your toilet’s holding tank to ensure its sensors operate efficiently. Then again, when you tend your holding tank, you can escape the foul smell after you empty the tank. To use a toilet snake or a wand, you have to be someone who can stand the grossness of human waste.

When you get your toilet snake, please insert it into the drain pipe or the toilet and move it in all directions. Doing this will help to break up dried waste and enhance its flow. While spinning the toilet snake, you might end up spilling sewage when the debris loosens. For this reason, you should have a bucket on hand, just in case.

Additional Sewer Hose

If you are an RVer that wants to keep your black tank clean at all times, you should use the sewer hose attachment, as it works without much effort. The hose connects with your RV sewer. As a result, you can use it when you connect fully to a sewer line.

Home Remedies on How to Unclog RV Toilet

If you cannot purchase the products that will unclog your RV toilet for some reason, you can try some home remedies that fit your time and budget.

Ice Cube Method

Using ice cubes is an old and reliable trick for unclogging RV toilets. The method is also one of the easiest ways to break down dry solid waste in your toilet’s black tank. Fortunately, ice is readily available at convenience stores and shops, making it easy to get. To use the ice trick, pour a bag or two of ice into your toilet, which makes its way down to the holding tank. After that, ensure you close your valve and take your RV for a drive. While going for a drive, you should readily go over speed bumps, as the jostling of the vehicle will help the ice work faster.

After driving for half an hour or more, you can bring the vehicle to the dump station. By this time, the ice should have loosened the solid waste clogging your holding tank. Additionally, when you use ice, you add more moisture to the holding tank. Hence, there will be more than enough water to drain your black tank when the time comes.

Boiling Water

Just as ice is very effective in unclogging RV toilets, boiling water also does the trick. Boiling water is a very effective and cheap trick to dissolve solid waste, especially toilet paper, in your RV toilet. Boil water until it’s boiling, then allow it to cool for a short time. We recommend you boil at least a gallon of water to ensure maximum effect.

Pour the water into your black tank and leave it for a few hours. After that, you can drain your tank. You can repeat this process more than once, according to how clean you want your tank to be. Markedly, you should cool your water per how frail your rig is. However, we’ll have you know that most RVs are made from plastic or metal. Hence, the hot water will not damage your tank.

Dish Soap

If you are looking for another home remedy to unclog your RV toilet, you can use Vaseline or dish soap. Get a dish or laundry soap bottle and put it into your tank. Then let it rest. After some time, open the toilet valve and let the tank drain. Adding a large amount of dish soap or laundry detergent to your tank keeps all the solid waste moving and ensures smooth flow. When you use dish soap, it helps your tank smell better too.

How to Unclog RV Toilet

How to Prevent Future RV Toilet Clogs

If you successfully unclog your RV toilet and want to prevent further toilet clogging, you should do the following.

Extra Water

If you prefer indoor plumbing, RV toilets can be a perfect adjustment. The toilet system and its workings determine the quantity of water you should use for a regular toilet. However, in an RV toilet, you choose the water to use. Using more water while having a dump can enhance lubrication and ensure the smooth flow of waste in your tank. However, it isn’t easy to know precisely the amount of water you can use. Finally, we advise using more water if you have ready access to a dump station. Thus, it will be easy to pull out more waste when you want to use the dump station.

Less Toilet Paper

Another method to ensure that your RV toilet does not get clogged is to use less toilet paper. When you use less toilet paper, you practice an easy and cost-effective method of ensuring that your toilet is unclogged. We recommend using less fluid than you usually do; your toilet system will give you less headache. Then again, you can purchase RV toilet paper. Although this type of paper is expensive, it breaks down quickly, preventing unnecessary clogs.

Regular Maintenance

One way to keep your sewer system clean and clear is by using chemical-based products. This is the black tank cleaner. It helps to maintain your toilet tank and ensure that it’s always unclogged. Then again, it ensures that your tank remains fresh and has a pleasant smell.

FAQs

1. Is it safe to use a plunger on an RV toilet?

We do not advise that you use a plunger on your RV toilet. And this is because a plunger does nothing to push out the clog but damages the seals in the toilet bowl.

2. Why does my RV toilet keep clogging?

RV toilets clog for several reasons. However, the most common cause of blocking in an RV toilet is the build-up of human waste and toilet paper at the bottom of the black tank. The clog starts where the tank drains into the sewer and continues to the toilet’s base.

3. What can I use to dissolve toilet paper in an RV toilet?

To dissolve toilet paper in an RV toilet, you can use boiling water. Pour boiling water into the toilet and leave it to do its work. You can also use vinegar or baking soda to dissolve toilet paper in an RV toilet.

Conclusion

Having a clogged toilet can be a source of headaches for RVers. Several other RVers complain about how their toilets get clogged at the most inconvenient time. Then again, having a backed-up toilet is one thing that can turn the enjoyment of RV travel into misery. For this reason, we understand the need to explain the methods for unclogging blocked RV toilets.

However, this article thoroughly explains how to tackle and avoid clogged RV toilets. Hence, it would help if you read through to get tips on how to unclog your toilet. Additionally, it would be best to note the preventive measures that will keep your RV toilet clean and clear at all times.

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