What Toilet Paper Is Safe For RV's? (Best Options)Anthony Day
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- RV safe toilet paper is handy for a reason and can be better for an RV septic system and tank
- You are less likely to need to do gross maintenance on your septic tank with RV safe toilet paper
- We suggest Thetford, Freedom Living, and Volterra as good brands for RV friendly
- Do a toilet paper test with your favored brand by dunking it in a jar of water and shaking - see if it dissolves
You might have heard that toilet papers need special toilet paper. Why? And what kind of toilet papers are safe for RVs?
Some RV owners are of the opinion that you can flush just about any toilet paper in your RV. Others think that RV-specific toilet paper is necessary. Most toilet papers that don’t say “thick” should get into your septic tank without problem. We suggest Thetford and Valterra for RV friendly.
We’ve done a fair bit of reading on what makes toilet papers RV safe or unsafe. We’ve also learned some opinions that we’ll present, that will tell you that buying “RV safe” toilet paper doesn’t make a difference. We’ll present all that information to you, as well as some brands and types that will make your RV septic - and bathroom experience, more pleasant.
Why does it matter what RV toilet paper I use?
You might already know this, but your RV’s septic system is a bit different from your home sewer system. While some homes do have a septic tank, most have a sewer system that leads to a municipal waste center, The key difference here is that the waste doesn’t sit still within your RV.
So what impact does toilet paper have on this? Well, you want toilet paper that breaks down easily. This is not to say that most toilet paper doesn’t break down easily, but some disintegrates when exposed to water and waste better than others.
What you don’t want is toilet paper that is thick and soft. Want to know why? Thick, soft toilet paper won’t dissolve or disintegrate well. The chances of thicker toilet paper plugging up your septic tank or septic lines is much higher because if it gets stuck, it will dry out and become much harder to move.
The result is toilet paper that clogs up your septic tank or becomes impossible to move, even when you try to drain. Toilet paper that gets stuck in your septic tank gets smelly, gross, and you’ll need something between lots of chemicals or a professional to clean it out.
What kind of toilet papers are RV safe?
One of the biggest differences between toilet paper marketed as RV safe and regular toilet paper is the ability to break down very quickly. A tried and true at-home test to know if your toilet paper is RV safe is to put the toilet paper in a jar or plastic bag. Fill it with water, then shake it. If the toilet paper doesn’t break down within a few seconds, you probably don’t want the have that toilet paper dropping into your black tank and potentially clogging it.
A toilet paper that balls up when wet is the kind you do not want in your septic tank.
Thetford Aqua Soft Toilet Tissue
The package says right up front that Thetford is safe for RV and septic systems. Thetford is 2-ply. You’ll notice that this kind of toilet tissue gets mixed reviews when you look outside of Amazon. Some RV experts say it feels like 1 ply and dissolves instantly.
The irony behind this complaint is that once the toilet paper does its job, it is supposed to dissolve instantly. Perhaps Amazon buyers know the standard for RV toilet paper and understand the trade offs?
Freedom Living RV Toilet Paper
Similar to Thetford Aqua, this is two ply and meant to dissolve nearly instantly on contact with liquid. You might find this priced slightly higher than Thetford.
This one received compliments from people who were skeptical about the idea of RV specific toilet paper in the first place. The rolls, however, are rather small at 100 sheets and it is kind of expensive, though it is said to be nice and soft.
Scott Rapid Dissolve
Possibly the only toilet paper brand we’ve heard of on a regular basis here. This is soft thoug it is 1 ply. Some reviewers even said it works and acts like regular toilet paper until you’re done with it and drop it in the water. We didn’t think about complimenting toilet paper, but consider that a good thing.
Non-RV Brands of Toilet Paper
Presto is found on Amazon. Presto managers to combine being plush, thick, and easily biodegradable. It’s not cheap though unless you buy it in bulk. Still, being easily dissolvable and soft is hard to beat.
Angel Soft is strong and durable. We suggest trying the previously mentioned toilet paper test on a roll of Angel Soft so you can see what it does for yourself. They’ve labeled Angel Soft as septic safe though it isn’t advertised as an RV toilet paper.
Is a non-septic safe toilet paper good enough?
Tough question to answer. If you look up RV safe toilet paper, you’ll receive many results from Google indicating that many RV owners and experts think that almost any old brand of toilet paper will work just fine in an RV septic tank system.
This is true with a few exceptions: We don’t recommend using thick toilet paper or Charmin. While these brands are fantastic for home users and nice and soft for wiping thoroughly, they don’t dissolve easily and high a higher potential for creating problems in a septic tank when flushed.
Let’s explore this issue from a couple of angles.
Regular toilet paper can cause other problems in your RV
Your RV septic system has sensors that indicate when the waste tanks are getting full. Regular toilet paper has a higher chance of sticking to sensors. Toilet paper on your sensors will make their readings less accurate. The sensors could constantly read as full, making you more likely to second guess when you need to empty out tanks - or even do it too often.
Regular toilet paper could require more maintenance
Solving the issue of toilet paper sticking to the tank can result in the need for a water wand to spray the inside of your tank and loosen up old toilet paper. You also have the option of running a treatment through the tank to dissolve old waste and old toilet paper. Both of these are somewhat routine maintenance that you could do less of with RV toilet paper.
Does RV friendly toilet paper cost more?
In a word, yes. Let’s do a little math to dig into this one:
A regular roll of very well-known Scott’s toilet tissue costs about .51 per roll or about 5 cents per sheet. This is priced at a typical store that carries nearly everything, and is bought in a big enough quantity. We aren’t talking about warehouse club pricing here.
Scott’s Rapid Dissolving toilet paper as previously mentioned has a different cost. Try $36 for 48 rolls. Calculating a few numbers says that is .75 per roll. Let’s dig in further. An RV-friendly roll will appear smaller because it is! Regular toilet tissue can have 500 to 1000 sheets. RV-friendly in this case has only 231. The total price per sheet is more like .32.
So yes, RV-friendly toilet paper can cost you up to 6 times more. Probably even more if you don’t buy it in bulk.
Is RV safe toilet paper a marketing gimmick?
Many articles out there seem convinced that RV safe toilet paper is the product of clever marketing and advertising. Our opinion on the matter is that it depends.
In our opinion, RV safe toilet papers lower the risk of having an issue with your septic tank. Toilet paper that is too thick and doesn’t dissolve well can indeed lead to gross-smelling problems with your septic tank. Just keep in mind that there are more than a couple of ways to reduce the chances of clogging something in your septic lines:
Empty out the septic tank often
A wad of toilet paper that didn’t dissolve can become a sticky, gross mess once it has been dry for too long. Toilet paper that doesn’t dissolve also takes up far more space than toilet paper that proper breaks up into tiny pieces. Our suggestion here is to empty out the septic tank more often and don’t let it get too full. Removing potentially chunky toilet paper using your black water hose is one way of getting it to go away!
Flush small amounts of toilet paper
If you use regular toilet paper, try to just use a bit less than you would at home, if you can help it. A larger wad of toilet paper will dissolve slower.
While we can’t offer a specific way of doing this, keep an eye on the kids. My kids will use a fist full of toilet paper. You don’t need to use a fist full of toilet paper - especially in an RV.
Pricing in the long run
Let’s say you use regular toilet paper on repeat in your RV. Eventually, you might have a slip up and the toilet paper gets clogged in the septic tank. Either opening the waste tank, draining it, then trying to fix it yourself or calling an RV plumber to do it for you.
If you aren’t the kind of person to do things yourself, this could cost a couple of hundred dollars per trip, when it happens. On top of the extra amount, you’ll have to wait on someone else’s timeline to get your septic tank cleaned up.
We would argue that RV safe toilet paper is more like insurance. Yes, it does cost more per roll and sheet and quite honestly, some people don’t find it especially helpful to do its own job - but if you want to avoid doing septic tank maintenance, the price paid might be worthwhile to some.
Other suggestions to improve your RVs septic system
We have one thought for that is especially true if you elect not to use RV friendly toilet paper: Don’t open the valve to your black tank open unless you are actively dumping. Leaving the black tank valve open lets the liquid (urine or water) drain out immediately, but the solids tend to get left behind. Solid waste in a black tank for even a little too long is bad news. It will harden leave and leave a “poo pyramid” along with any non-liquids like toilet paper that might be left over.
What should I do
Switching back and forth between RV friendly and septic safe standard toilet paper won’t matter a whole lot. Consistency of use isn’t all that important either - you’ll know in the short term about any problems.
Our suggestion is to decide what you value. You might not friend RV friendly toilet paper very comfortable. The idea of toilet paper nearly falling apart promptly after wiping isn’t appealing to some either. Find your own balance for these purposes. You might even end up deciding which kind of toiler paper is best for you based on what is available at your local store while on the road.