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How Does RV Toilet Treatment Work?

The bathroom in an RV has gone through some advancements since its invention in 1927, but the core design is basically the same. The camper toilet empties into the black water tank, which is emptied into the municipal septic system with a hose.

RV toilet treatment involves the use of enzyme and bacteria products. Enzyme products break down all of the solid waste in the black water tank. The bacteria products help to eliminate unpleasant odors. These products combined help to ensure you have a clean black-water tank in between trips, and that your living space never smells unpleasant.

How Do RV Toilet Chemicals Work?

RV toilet chemicals come in two forms: bacterial and enzyme compositions. These are added to the camper’s black water tank to help solid waste (feces) and used tissue break down.

As long as this solid waste gets broken down, then the black water tank is easier to empty. Because everything is liquified, there is a much lower chance of material clumping, which can sometimes result in blockage.

Many RVers are happy to hear that not only do toilet chemicals make emptying the black water tank easier, they also help cut down on any unpleasant smells. Fewer unpleasant smells coming from the bathroom mean a better smelling RV experience overall.

Why Do I Need RV Toilet Chemicals?

The toilet in your house, which uses a large amount of water and water pressure to force waste into your home or municipal septic system. This sends the waste, and its smells, far away from your home.

RV toilets work differently in a few important ways.

Firstly, RV plumbing relies almost exclusively on gravity to get the waste where it needs to go. In most RVs, that location, the black water tank, is directly under the toilet. This means that any unpleasant bathroom smells can easily waft up into your living space through the relatively short plumbing system located directly under your feet.

The waste in the black water tank then gets churned around as you drive, which releases more odors. If you don’t have reliable odor control, then those smells are going to flow straight into the vehicle.

What Kind Of RV Toilet Treatment Chemicals Are Available?

RV toilet chemicals come in two forms: liquid, and dissolvable tablets.

Liquid chemicals can be added into the black water tank just by flushing them down the toilet. Still, there are different kinds of liquid chemicals, so the amount used will depend on your brand. However, usually, it only takes a few ounces to get the job done.

Dissolving tablets, or sometimes packets, generally contain a powder that dissolves in the black water tank’s water. The result is the same, but personal preference will dictate whether you want to use a premeasured solid or an easy-to-store liquid cleaner. 

Ultimately, these two options do the same thing. They will clean your toilet, break down solids in the black water tank, and will help to deodorize the air. The best options are also biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and will not stain your toilet.

Some popular brands include Camco TST RV Toilet Treatment, Travel Jon, Porta-Pak, and Aqua-Kem RV toilet chemicals.

How Do I Use The Toilet Chemicals?

Let’s assume you have a completely empty and clean black water tank at the beginning of your trip.

Before you ever use the toilet, even before you add any toilet chemicals to the tank, you should add a few gallons of water. This will keep future solids from, well, solidifying completely into clogs. Using the toilet without a water base could also lead to false meter readings which makes maintaining the tank a crapshoot.

Now that you have a water base in the black water tank, just add your chemical toilet cleaner of choice to the toilet and flush it down.

Your RV toilet is now treated and ready for use on the road.

Are There Other Kinds Of RV Toilet Chemicals I Should Be Aware Of?

RV toilets require a specific toilet bowl cleaner.

That is because most RV toilets are made of plastic. They also have a rubber ring that creates a seal when the valve closes after a flush. Using the correct toilet bowl cleaner will prevent staining in the toilet, and will make sure the components do not degrade prematurely.

The other camper toilet chemical that is often proven useful is an RV level gauge cleaner. This chemical is more for the black water tank than the toilet.

The gauges that indicate how full or empty the tank is can be unreliable after several uses when pieces of waste, tissue, or even hairs become trapped on the sensors. You can purchase RV level gauge cleaners, also called RV probe cleaners at an RV supply store, camping store, or online.

What Do I Do If I Already Have A Clog?

Fortunately, there are plenty of options if you find that you have a clog. Sometimes, a clog is inevitable even if you have used cleaners. One of the easiest options is to boil water and carefully pour it down the toilet and into the black water tank. This will soften any existing clogs that might have hardened, while also adding to the water base of the tank.

In Summary

New RVers are usually happy to hear that using RV toilet cleaners is fairly easy and straightforward.

All you need is a toilet cleaning chemical like Camco TST RV Toilet Treatment or Aqua-Kem RV toilet chemicals to promote the breakdown and liquefaction of solid wastes in the RV’s black water tank.  These chemicals work best when added to a clean black water tank so that they can work on breaking down and deodorizing waste from the beginning of your trip.

Maintaining your black water tank will ensure that you are able to have a pleasant drive on the highway without risking a clog in your black water tank. So make sure your RV smells fresh and drive on!

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