3 Best Ways to Unclog an RV Toilet Fast

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A clogged RV toilet can be a real inconvenience, especially since it always happens at the most inconvenient times! Even with the best RV toilet, the possibility of clogging is still there.

So, here are 3 simple yet effective tips to unclog an RV toilet and prevent it from clogging again.

Important: Below are the most effective ways to unclog a gravity-fed camper toilet that won’t drain into the black tank, not to unclog a black tank that won’t empty. They are two similar yet separate issues. If your black tank doesn’t drain, check out our article on how to unclog an RV black tank.

1. Hot Water Method

Before dumping chemicals or shoving a wand down my RV toilet, I always start by pouring hot water down my clogged toilet. It’s safe, and more often than not, it just works.

It’s really as simple as heating a couple of pots of water on the stovetop, opening the toilet valve, and pouring the water down the toilet. It should slowly remove the blockage and empty it into your holding tank. Repeat if necessary.

A word of warning: if you use this method, it may fill your camper with a “sewer” smell, albeit only temporarily.

Important: While some pour boiling water down the toilet, I’d recommend letting the water cool a bit to risk any damage to the toilet itself or the plumbing. This is even more important if you have a porcelain toilet.

2. Manual Removal

Whether the clog is from a blocked line or from a pyramid plug, manual removal can be one of the quickest and most effective ways to get things flowing again.

Depending on your RVs plumbing, you may have a straight pipe leading from the toilet down into the black tank directly below, or you may have twists and turns in the plumbing, common when the black tank is not located underneath the toilet.

In either situation, a snake or pex pipe should easily be able to reach and dislodge the clog.

Tip: You can use your awning rod to dislodge the clog if you have a straight pipe leading into your black tank and you don’t have any other tool handy. Just remember to clean it off when done!

You can also use a flexible tank wand for those deep, hard-to-reach clogs.

A flexible tank wand is a tool I recommend having on hand at all times! This handy tool will help clear up those toilet clogs quickly and help spray out your black tank to keep it odor-free and clean.

I recommend using the Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik as it’s one of the most popular, durable, and effective toilet pipe and black tank cleaners on the market. The long flexible hose can reach through your RV toilet all the way down to your black tank and features a powerful rotary spray nozzle to effectively clean out any and all clogs and waste.

Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve

Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve

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3. Septic Safe Declogger

The last method you can use to unclog an RV toilet is a bacterial clog remover.

did you know Did you know…

I do NOT recommend the use of Drano and other chemicals to unclog an RV toilet. Many of them can have an adverse effect on the pipes, the holding tank, seals, and even the toilet itself.

Unique Clear-It is one such de-clogger with no hidden chemicals and uses bacteria and enzymes to break down solid waste.

Unique Clear-It

Unique Clear-It

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Clear-It is one of the strongest de-cloggers on the market and is perfect for breaking through the waste that’s blocking your plumbing lines and pyramid plugs.

What Causes a Clogged RV Toilet?

Knowing what causes an RV toilet to clog will help you identify the best course of action to free the clog in your toilet and hopefully help you prevent future clogs from happening.

Blocked Toilet Line

Blocked toilet line

The most common cause of this issue is a blocked toilet line. In this case, the line that carries waste from the toilet to the waste tank becomes blocked by debris or hardened waste. A lack of adequate flushing, too much paper, or not using RV-friendly toilet paper can exacerbate this problem.

Pyramid Plug

Pyramid plug

This RV-specific problem occurs when solid waste and toilet paper build up in the black water tank, forming a ‘pyramid’ shape. This can happen if you don’t use enough water when flushing or leave the black water tank valve open. When this pyramid of waste gets high enough, it can prevent the toilet from flushing, resulting in a clog.

Blockage in the Toilet Bowl

Blockage in toilet bowl

Lastly, there might be a blockage right in the toilet bowl. If something that isn’t easily broken down – like certain types of toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, or even a child’s toy – gets thrown in the toilet, it can block the exit hole in the bottom of the toilet bowl, causing a clog.

Tip: RV toilets and their plumbing work differently in an RV compared to at home. If you’re unfamiliar with how toilet plumbing works, learn how camper toilets work for a complete breakdown.

Preventing Future Clogs

The best way to deal with toilet clogs is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Add More Water to the Bowl

Arguably, the biggest cause of a clogged camper toilet and a poop pyramid in your black tank is using too little water when you flush.

Be generous with the water when using the toilet! Fill the bowl with water before using it and again after you flush.

In other words, the more water, the better. This will help ensure your toilet doesn’t get clogged and will prevent the waste in your black tank from forming a solid mass that can be hard to get rid of.

Keep Your RV Black Tank Valve Closed

This is one of the biggest mistakes beginner RVers make. And it’s understandable. It seems convenient to leave the back tank open when you’re hooked up to the sewer connection at your campsite and let waste flow out continuously. However, doing so can lead to a “poop pyramid.”

What happens is the solid waste piles up in the tank while the liquids drain away, forming a hardened mound that’s tough to dislodge.

So, always remember to keep that black tank valve closed until it’s time to dump the tank.

Drop-in Packets

Drop-in packets are a type of black tank treatment designed to help break down waste in your tank and remove odors.

Plus, they are easy to use – simply drop a packet into your toilet and flush down enough water to completely cover the packet.

Camco TST Max Drop-Ins are a popular option that is RV and marine approved and safe for septic use. They do NOT contain harmful formaldehyde, pesticides, or biocides and last up to 7 days!

Camco TST MAX Drop-Ins

Camco TST MAX Drop-Ins

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Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper

There are specially designed toilet paper products for RV use that are said to dissolve quicker than regular toilet paper.

Scott Rapid-Dissolving Toilet Paper, for example, is specially designed to break down 4 times faster than the leading regular bath tissue. In fact, this product was designed for RV and boat use and is septic and sewer safe!

Scott Rapid-Dissolving Toilet Paper

Scott Rapid-Dissolving Toilet Paper

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Can I Just Plunge My Camper Toilet?

If the clog is due to a blockage in the pipe leading from the RV toilet down into the black tank or in the toilet itself, then a gentle plunge may work to free it up. However, if a pyramid plug is clogging the toilet, plunging will not help, and you’ll need to resort to the hot water method, a septic de-clogger, or manually breaking up the clog.

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