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What Can I Use To Unclog My RV Toilet?

view of RV toilet - feature image for What Can I Use To Unclog My RV Toilet?
RV toilets are prone to developing clogs from time to time, so it’s good to know how to unclog them as needed. Photo: Shutterstock

How To Unclog An RV Toilet

If you’re wondering, “What can I use to unclog my RV toilet?” you’ve come to the right place. Many products and substances can be used to unclog an RV toilet. Some popular options include boiling water, ice cubes, gentle soaps, vinegar, or store-bought chemical cleaners. RV owners can also use physical methods such as spray wands and drain snakes. 

Below, we’ll cover 7 different methods for removing toilet clogs. Some of these are more effective than others, but it will all depend on the severity of the clog and the items you have on hand. All of the solutions have been known to work under some circumstances, so I find it helpful to have a complete idea of what I can use to unclog my RV toilet. 

Boiling water

One of the easiest ways to unclog an RV toilet is to use boiling water. This can be done pretty much anywhere because you don’t need to use drinkable water, and you can use anything (even a campfire) to boil it. If you don’t have access to the materials needed for the methods below, boiling water will always have your back!

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Hot water can break down solid waste/toilet paper and soften any hard buildup. It’s a good idea to use about 1 gallon of boiling water, but you can use more if the situation calls for it. Simply heat up the water and pour it into the toilet/holding tank as soon as possible. 

After it has been in the system for about 1 hour, you can try to flush or drain the toilet again. If it doesn’t work on the first try, you can try adding more hot water. It never hurts to put more water into your plumbing system!

Ice cubes

Another low-effort solution is the ice cube method. Water (in any form) is helpful for unclogging RV toilets because they don’t use much water to flush. Extra liquid helps everything go down smoother, and ice can also provide physical force to remove blockages. 

Ice is also easy to get at most campgrounds, so this is an easy method to try. Some people even have ice makers built into their RV refrigerators/freezers. For this trick to work, you’ll want to pour 1-2 bags of ice down your toilet and black tank. This is where the major clogs happen.

Afterward, close everything up and take your RV for a short drive. Try to go over some small bumps and drive around corners as you go. This movement will jostle the ice, break it down, and help it move through the plumbing. After you have driven for at least 30 minutes, the ice should have started to melt and break through the clogs. Now you can try to flush your toilet and empty your tank. You can add more ice or water if you’re still having trouble. 

Gentle soaps

Gentle soap is something I prefer to use to unclog my RV toilet. It helps eliminate bad smells, lubricate the plumbing, and break down buildup in the pipes. There are lots of different types of soap you can use, including dish soap, laundry detergent, and even shampoo and conditioner! Vaseline can also be used as an effective lubricant, but it may not provide the cleaning benefits. 

These products are effective because they can soften hard clogs and coat the inner surface of your toilet and black tank. These can also help keep your waste system smelling fresh and clean.

In order to use soaps more effectively, you should pour 1 full bottle of your chosen product down your toilet (or 2-3 measures of laundry detergent). Once again, you can drive around for a bit to help everything mix together. Add a few cups of water once you’re done and attempt to flush the toilet. In most cases, this is enough to clear out the clogs. 

Vinegar and baking soda

No list of cleaners would be complete without vinegar and baking soda! This classic combo can be used for almost anything, and it should come as no surprise that vinegar and baking soda can be used to unclog RV toilets. These products are a dream team for cleaning toilets because they can sanitize the system and also react with each other to dissolve buildup. 

If you want to use them to resolve clogs, simply pour an entire box of baking soda down the toilet, followed by 1/2 gallon of white vinegar. The reaction will be almost immediate; you should be able to hear the fizzy, bubbling mixture doing its work. The smell can be unpleasant, so open all your doors and windows and get a fragrant spray ready for when you’re done!

Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes before you attempt to flush it. You can also add some water to the mix if you want to make it easier for everything to clear out. 

Chemical cleaners

You can also use a variety of conventional toilet cleaners to remove clogs in your RV toilet. Some are too harsh for RV systems, so keep your eye out for eco-friendly options that rely on enzymes to break down waste. These will be safe for your pipes and won’t hurt the natural area when it’s time to empty your tanks. 

Some good options for RV owners include:

These cleaners are easy to use. You usually just pour them into your holding tank or down the drain and wait for the magic to happen. They also come in containers that will last you multiple uses, so a single bottle can be stretched out for a long time. 

Spray wand

If the treatments above aren’t working, it may be time to consider a physical solution to the problem. Some clogs are so hard and compacted that it’s hard to break them down with chemicals and water. That’s where a spray wand can come in handy!

These tools can be used to clean toilets and holding tanks alike, so you can reach a clog no matter where it is. You can also spray down the walls of your plumbing while you go so you can prevent these clogs from forming again in the future.

A good spray wand to consider is the Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve. It has been rated very highly and is beloved by RV owners. 

Drain snake

A drain snake is another tool you can use to dislodge stubborn clogs. These can be easily threaded through your pipes and are used to push clogs through the system and into the holding tank. If nothing else is working, a drain snake is almost guaranteed to be the solution to your problem.

Hopefully, the solutions above will be helpful and keep your RV toilet running smoothly. Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance from RV LIFE. 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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