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How to Unclog RV Toilet? – Time to Save on Plumbing Costs!

how to unclog rv toilet
Written by Kai Michel
Last Update: August 10, 2023

An RV is a sheer delight. Imagine, you are cruising along a scenic road close to dusk taking in the breathtaking atmosphere. And your toilet does a spoiler. Your RV gets gassed up and in an instant euphoria turns to exasperation. Guess what? It will happen at a time least expected. Murphy’s Law?

You need to act and fast to clear that toilet and your head. Well, we will teach you how to unclog RV toilets here. Read on.

Signs You Have an RV Toilet Problem

  • The first telltale warning is the foul odor. When you peer into the toilet, in all likelihood, you will see nothing.
  • Attempt to empty the tank. Get the valve of your black water tank and open. The valve may be tough to open. Do not use excessive force if this is the case. Get it free first. If need be, use the help of your dealer.
  • Connect up to pump out at a reception facility. A transparent hose adapter admits to see if the tank is emptying. There will be a gurgle too as the tank empties.
  • You don’t see or hear anything and the tank is not empty, you have a toilet clog on your hands.

How to Unclog RV Toilets? – Best Methods Explained

How to Unclog RV Toilets

Clearing an RV Toilet Clog Using A Plumber’s Snake

A plumber’s snake is an essential tool that you need to include in your RV toolbox. They are pretty efficient but it would be a lot swifter to unclog that toilet if you could help along. Before deploying the snake, it helps if you pour a kettle of hot water into the toilet bowl. Hot water will soften and separate whatever is causing the blockage making it a lot easier for the snake to clear the drain. Once the tip of the snake has reached the blockage, you will know from the increased resistance. Vigorously, rotate the snake so that it chops off the clog.

Unclogging an RV Toilet That Refuses to Drain

This one is a headbanger for most RV regulars it is part of the drill. However, there are two primary methods of how waste settles in the holding tank. The most common profile is the pyramid, the other being compact. RV toilets are somewhat different from traditional toilets. So the problem of your RV toilet clogging up needs a different approach. There are seven simple steps to do.

  • The valve of the black tank needs to be closed.
  • Add water to the tank
  • Pour a bottle of tank cleaner into the holding tank
  • Allow the cleaner to sit for at least 30 hours
  • Open valve and empty tank
  • Rinse the tank

Clearing A Clogged RV Toilet Using A Plunger

These are also known as force cups. It is a simple arrangement; a rubber suction cup attached to a shaft. It has been in use for centuries and ranks foremost in tackling line blockages. They can create a surprisingly strong vacuum, which is a suction force. It is the first step to unclog drains and when used in conjunction with a snake, almost always effective. For best results, air vents should be taped off so that air does not enter. Make sure the toilet bowl has water in it as the plunger is designed to agitate the water. Any air present will render the process ineffective.

After pumping energetically, some 20 times or so, you will be rewarded by a gurgle which indicates that the blockage is on the move or free.

Flush to see if this does the trick. If need be, follow up with the snake.

Clearing an RV Toilet Using Ice Cubes

This method has stood the test of time as a proven tank clog tamer.

  • Pour enough water into the tank up to ? of the tank’s capacity
  • Top up the remaining capacity with ice cubes.
  • Start your RV and go for a spin.
  • The little bumps and jolts should get the cubes working to dissolve the tissues mostly

Use Boiling Water to Unclog RV Toilet

This is as basic as it comes. Hot water when poured into the toilet bowl is greatly useful as a first measure to get rid of those untimely clogs. Fill up the bowl half full of hot water and keep driving so that it sloshes around. This assures a thorough job as the water can reach into the far corners of your black tank. Repeat at least twice.

Septic Safe Declogger

Chemicals are always a last resort, so don’t dash off without trying to be more eco-friendly. These chemicals are of course detrimental to the holding tank, seals, and pipes. In this age with rules and regulations in place, this is well monitored.

The best effect is achieved after you load your tank, which is to ride a bit. This sloshes the chemical around and you get a super clean tank. When chemicals come into play, safety precautions must be adhered to for personnel safety follow-please use safety goggles, gloves, and as advised.

Tips for Preventing a Clog in the Future

  • Regular tank cleaning is a must to get rid of the gunk and grime. If your black tank has no sensors, mark your cleaning dates on a calendar.
  • If your tank does have sensors, it is important to clean them, have them serviced and calibrated from time to time.
  • Do not use cleaners not recommended for black tanks.
  • One of the main culprits for clogs is non-biodegradable toilet paper. Switch over to the degradable type which the black tank can handle.
  • Do not keep the blackwater tank empty. Fill it halfway so that any deposit sinks easily to the bottom.
  • Performing an additional flush will help in preventing clogs.
  • Avoid the use of pressurized air. All it will accomplish is to distribute the contents to unreachable areas.
  • Toilet snakes are best not used in black tanks. They could cause unwanted perforations.


1. Can you plunge an RV toilet?

Ans: Unfortunately, the force of the suction is strong enough if the clog is close to the top. If the clog is located deeper, a plunger may fail to dislodge the clog.

2. Why Is My RV toilet backing up?

Ans: The reason this happens is most often toilet paper. A build-up occurs. Toilet paper and other substances tend to occupy the lowest point that is the drainage point, choking it up first. If this is not cleared, it travels upward and back into the toilet.

3. What do I do if I can’t unclog my toilet?

Ans: Go to a reception facility. Some have extraction methods. This will solve your problem. The other option is to manually unship the back tank and carry out a manual cleaning.

4. Can bleach unclog a toilet?

Ans: Unclogging an RV toilet using bleach is a possibility. Put 2-3 cups of bleaching powder, wait around 10 minutes for it to work, flush.

5. What liquid can I use to unclog a toilet?

Ans: The best first approach is to dump liquid soap into the bowl. The soap being denser will sit low and dispense with time. Most importantly, it acts as a great lubricant.

6. Will Poop dissolve in a clogged toilet?

Ans: Poop is organic in nature. It can never be fully dissolved.

About the author

Kai Michel

Hello, this is Kai, addressing homeowners in need of some help with their home renovation projects. I’ve worked on numerous toilet repair projects over the years that incorporated a wide variety of tasks, from repair to renovation and maintenance. Besides acquiring a degree on the legal codes and procedures, I gathered vast insights into bathroom settings, toilets, showers, fittings, and other household appliances, fixtures, and components. This helps me guide my clients through their home improvement and interior development plans. Since maintenance is my area of expertise, I can assist people in all phases of the actual ‘improvement’ process. To get my messages even further, I contribute to this site through my blog posts. Check my content here for expert suggestions!

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