Did you know that the most common reason why an RV toilet clogs is because of the septic tank or a build of toilet paper? Since RVs don’t have the same septic system as most homes, they are more likely to backup. The question is, what do you do about it?
You need to unclog your toilet to avoid having to drive your RV to the nearest bathroom. Plus, in an RV, it can start to smell bad.
While Drano is an option for unclogging your RV toilet, we wouldn’t suggest using drano. It can do more harm than good. Read more about why.
Why wouldn’t you use Drano in an RV toilet
Drano and other fluids used to unclog toilets are what’s called caustic. Caustic means that the fluid has chemicals capable of eating through plastic, metal, and rubber. Drano also contains microorganisms which try to eat away at organic material and heat up in the process, which is not good for plastic.
Unfortunately, the plumbing system within your RV is made mostly of plastic, metal, and rubber. These materials are often used to make the seals that separate parts of your septic system. Plastic and metal are also commonly used to make the pipes to carry waste water away to the septic tank.
Using drano can damage these parts over time and cause small or large leaks. These leaks can come in harder to reach areas, which are quite unpleasant.
RV toilets are not the same as home toilets – most of the time
This depends on your RV. Some RVs come equipped with toilets that have a “trap” designed to catch small, unflushable items before they clog your tag. Conversely, some do not.
Drano is not meant to be used in toilets that have these traps because the fluid itself probably won’t reach past the trap. This makes these products ineffective for unclogging.
RV toilets without a trap have your waste go directly into the holding tank. Keeping in mind that the holding tank only empties when you do it yourself, the drano could be sitting in there a while. Drano sitting in one spot is bad news eventually for the seals and holding tank materials.
So either configuration means that drano is either ineffective or potentially harmful. The drano will not be capable of getting up the trap.
Plunging and drano aren’t a good combination. Most people also think that plunging is the next step after using drano. It’s not.
Drano is meant to pass through your drain and into the sewer system. You should only plunge the drain you are using drano on after several minutes, and after you’ve confirmed there is no drano left in the drain.
Otherwise, you can readily splash yourself and the floors of the RV with the same liquid that can corrode. We suggest using eye protection just in case – you don’t want drano in your eyes.
Are any dranos safe for RV toilets?
Drano does come in multiple products, and there are lots of products out there that do work.
What you really want is an enzyme based drain opener. Look for the phrases “All natural” or “Septic system cleaner.” These two phrases indicate that the cleaner won’t eat your pipes or holding tank – and they are designed for a septic system instead of a sewer line.
Without drano, what else would you suggest?
If your RV toilet is plugged and plunging hasn’t helped, there are easier ways than drano.
You could boil a pot of water and pour it into the toilet. While hot, the water does cool down quickly and has the potential to melt organic material like waste and toilet paper.
Another similar option is to pour a third of the bowl of water in the toilet, and dump ice cubes in. The ice cubes have potential weight and width to push other things around while they will also naturally melt and not harm your pipes.
When can I use drano in an rv toilet?
If you have to use drano in an RV toilet, please just take a couple suggestions: Don’t use it if your septic system is old, as the seals will be more likely to corrode and cause leaks.
Second, don’t use it often. Try other methods first, including plunging and hot or cold water. Repeatedly using a caustic chemical is always bad for metal or plastic.
As stated previously, we suggest using eye protection if you plan to use chemicals in your toilet, especially if you are plunging after using a toilet unclogger.
There are multiple ways to unclog a toilet without drano. You have a couple choices if you want to keep your RV safe. Don’t use drano often, or don’t use it at all. The fluid has the potential to cause problems in your septic system and tank that are expensive and gross in the long run.
We wish you a safe time freeing up your RV toilet. It’s easier to travel and adventure when you don’t need to stop to use a bathroom somewhere else.