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How To Fix A Clogged RV Toilet

RV toilet in Modern Motorhome RV Bathroom
Photo from Istock

Is Your RV Toilet Clogged? Here’s How To Fix It

One of the things that makes an RV a home-on-wheels is a convenient bathroom with a toilet. But an RV toilet isn’t like a household toilet at all. Instead of using a holding tank with a lever to flush, an RV toilet has a pedal that activates flush water from the RV water supply while opening a valve that allows the contents of the RV toilet to flush into the black tank. 

This system works fabulously under two conditions: 

  • Only things that are RV toilet friendly are flushed: water, waste, RV-friendly toilet paper, and RV holding tank treatment. Flushing anything else down the RV toilet will cause it to clog.
  • Plenty of water is in the black tank. A few gallons of water and holding tank treatment should always be run into the black tank after is emptied. The black tank valve should never be left open while you are hooked up or it won’t work properly and your toilet will clog. 

The Best Way To Unclog An RV Toilet

If you made the mistake of neglecting either of these two simple rules, and you now have a clogged RV toilet, there are ways to fix it. 

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If you have a plunger, put it away now because it won’t work in an RV toilet. Instead, you’ll need to do what every RVer has done at some point in his or her RV life: Find a stick about 3 feet long. A fat wooden marshmallow roasting stick will work if you can’t find something more “au natural”. 

Here is what you’ll need to do:

  • Don a pair of rubber gloves. Things are going to get messy. Not protective glasses messy, but still, you’re unclogging an RV toilet here.
  • Have a bucket lined with a plastic bag close to the RV toilet.
  • Hook up to a sewage hookup if you have access to one. If not, don’t worry.
  • Turn off the water supply to the toilet for now.
  • Now, hold the stick that you procured in your dominant hand.
  • Step on the RV toilet pedal to open the valve.
  • With the RV toilet valve open, plunge your stick into the black tank and stir it around.
  • When the toilet clog is clear, the level of material in the toilet will go down.
  • If you are hooked up to sewage, open your black tank valve to empty the tank. 
  • With the toilet valve closed, flush the black tank using the black tank flush.
  • Dispose of the stick in the plastic bag in the bucket. You can burn it in a campfire later.  
  • Pour a few gallons of hot water into the toilet and flush. The hot water will help release residue that may cause another clog.
  • Turn on the water supply to the toilet.
  • Close the black tank valve, fill the toilet bowl with water, and add holding tank treatment according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Flush the toilet and hold the pedal down for about a minute to ensure a few gallons of water in the tank.

Track your RV maintenance

Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.

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