When RV toilet water won’t go down, you don’t give it much thought. If you don’t have a plunger and your toilet stops working or becomes clogged, it might be more than just an annoyance. Don’t forget that a totally clogged toilet might utterly derail your trip.
Despite the fact that plunging the drain often works, sometimes an auger needs to be sent through the pipes to get rid of the obstruction.
Here, you’ll learn to recognize the warning symptoms, make an accurate diagnosis, and find a solution, be it a commercial product or some tried-and-true methods from around the house. Let’s get this going and flush the clogs away once and for all!
Signs That You Have a Toilet Problem
You can tell there’s an issue with the plumbing in your RV or camper when a pungent smell fills the entire interior. There may or may not be visible signs of a problem when you peek into the toilet, but there is no mistaking the stench if there is an issue. Your first step should be to open the black water tank valve as you become aware of the problem.
It might be the case that the valve is malfunctioning if it is difficult to open or close. Whether that’s the case, you’ll need to check if a dealership can fix your motorhome’s issue. Some people can, but most can’t.
- You can observe whether something is coming out of the tank with a transparent sewage pipe connection.
- Just listen if you don’t have that instrument. If you hear noise, you know the tank is draining.
- Your black water tank is either totally or partially congested if you don’t see or hear anything unusual happening in there.
How Does My RV Toilet Get Clogged?
How did your RV toilet get obstructed in the first place? It is a concern you could have. Nobody knows for sure what causes a blocked RV toilet or black water tank, but there are a few common factors.
When wastes and toilet paper don’t disintegrate in the tank, that’s the major cause of a blocked black water tank. However, since your various surface wastes won’t decompose without assistance, doing anything with your RV toilet and sewage system will eventually result in a blocked toilet.
It’s also more probable that your RV’s toilet may become blocked if the temperature outside is either cold or extremely hot. Your black tank is placed below your rig, thus in cold weather, the different wastes in it tend to congeal more commonly.
Extreme heat is one of the leading causes of RV sewage system backups because it causes black tank fluids to vaporize. To guarantee that your RV’s black tank is completely empty, avoid dumping any liquid trash into it.
Regrettably, many RVers have experienced the frustration of a blocked black tank. You’re not alone in this predicament, and happily, numerous businesses provide solutions to the common problem of clogged RV toilets.
How to Clear the Waste Matter From Your RV’s Tank
What you need to do is as follows
Step 1: Put on safety gear and instruct your assistant to do the same.
Step 2: Put your assistant at a convenient spot near the valve for the sewage system.
Step 3: Put the bucket just under the drain pipe.
Step 4: Flip the switch or release the pressure.
Step 5: You should have your assistant open the septic tank.
A little amount of sewage may now be slowly leaking out of the tank. Drop it in the container until it’s empty. It’s time to take action if there is no “drip.”
Step 1: Gentle upward pressure applied to a plumber’s snake should eventually result in contact with the obstruction.
Step 2: Repeatedly, try raising and lowering the dowel to see if you can induce motion.
Step 3: Avoid getting in the way if this happens; the mess will need to flow freely from the hose into the bucket.
Step 4: Close the sewer tank valve and have your buddy discharge the contents of the bucket into a toilet or dump station if just a little quantity drains.
Step 5: The next step is to carry out the same actions as previously.
There are two possible outcomes now:
- After a certain number of attempts, either nothing will happen
- When the obstruction is removed, the contents of the tank will spill out in a gush.
The first scenario necessitates seeking outside assistance.
When it comes to the second,
Step 1: The valve to the septic tank must be shut off promptly, have your assistant do it.
Step 2: You may use the tank as a connection point for your sewer hose, which will lead directly to the drain.
Step 3: Leave the tank open and the rest of the garbage will fall down the drain.
Step 4: Put down the bucket and use the hose to clean up the rest of the clutter.
Diagnosing Your Problem
Diagnosing the cause of the blockage in your RV’s storage tank is the first step in the process of clearing it. Your recreational vehicle’s toilet might get blocked for a variety of reasons:
- You have invented the pyramid plug.
- There is an obstruction in the pipe connecting your toilet’s commode and its storage tank.
- Your tank or drain line is clogged due to compacted trash.
- The sensors in your tank are broken, fooling you into thinking the tank is full when it isn’t.
If you’re having trouble pinpointing the source of your problem, the following methods can help:
Diagnosing A Pyramid Plug
You should release waste by opening the valve to the toilet. There might be an issue if nothing comes out. Turn off the water to the toilet. The toilet has to be flushed. Do you think it went down the drain and into the tank? In that case, your plug is not a pyramid.
There is either an obstruction in the pipe between the toilet to the tank or a pyramid plug preventing water from flowing properly. Let us explain everything to you in plain English…
Pyramid plugs are fairly prevalent, and may be recognized by the fact that water does not drain from the toilet bowl into the tank. You will most likely have a pyramid plug if you have ever forgotten to close the valve to your black tank.
The pipe connecting your toilet and holding tank is most likely clogged if you never open your black tank valve. There’s probably too much paper down the drain, which has caused a clog.
Diagnosing A Blockage In The Line Between The Toilet And The Tank
When in fact they have a clogged line, many individuals worry that they have a pyramid plug. If you have a clogged line or a pyramid plug, the first thing you should examine is whether or not you left the black tank valve unlocked.
If so, you’re likely coping with a pyramid plug. Unless you are emptying your black tank, you should maintain the valve closed at all times, as suggested by The Distinctive Technique. If the valve to your black tank is left open, a pyramid clog can form in the tank.
If you have maintained the valve on your black tank closed, the issue is most likely just a clogged drain.
Diagnosing A Clogged Holding Tank With Compacted Waste
You should release waste by opening the valve to the toilet. There might be an issue if nothing comes out. Turn off the water to the toilet. The toilet has to be flushed.
Do you think it went down the drain and into the tank? If that happened, the tank can be plugged in. Go outside and turn the valve for the toilet’s waste tank to the “open” position.
To clarify, the water you used to flush came straight from the tank? If water comes out, then you don’t have a blocked tank; instead, faulty sensors are giving you false alarms about waste buildup in your tank. If almost no water flowed out, the tank is likely full of sediment and debris.
Diagnosing Misreading Sensors That Lead You To Believe You Have A Clogged Tank
There is no blockage if water can be added to the tank and water flows out when the black tank valve is opened. As a result, your sensors are probably dirty and giving you false readings.
Stuck or Broken Slide Valve
A stuck slide valve is one of the most infuriating problems a camper van owner may face. If this valve is blocked or difficult to open, not only is it inconvenient since it slows down the process of emptying the vehicle’s tanks, but it also usually indicates that repairs to the waste valve are needed soon.
Even though it seldom happens, the slide valve in your RV might get jammed if it is not placed properly. If that’s the case, you’re in luck; the issue should be easy to solve with minimal time and materials expended.
Check for Water Pressure
It may be quite frustrating when the water pressure in your RV is low. It’s likely that you have a problem somewhere in the water system of your RV if you’re experiencing low-pressure showers or a lack of pressure while you’re flushing the toilet, or doing anything else that requires a substantial flow of water.
What Products Should I Purchase for Unclogging My RV Toilet?
Since a plunger won’t clear a blocked toilet in a recreational vehicle, you might be wondering what you can use. Here are some of the best accessories you can buy to protect your RV’s sewer system from backups, as recommended by this expert.
If your RV’s toilet is clogged, a black tank cleaner is your best bet for removing the blockage. If you need a quick and simple solution to a blocked toilet, you can trust the efficacy of chemical-based remedies like those mentioned above.
This is information that every RV camper should familiarise themselves with before setting out on their first trip.
It’s possible that you’ll find one type of form more user-friendly than another, and you’ll almost certainly have your own preferences.
Did you know you can use merely water to clear a blocked toilet? There are a variety of RV-specific cleaning chemicals on the market that may be used to flush out the contents of your black tank.
Maintaining a clean holding tank ensures that the tank sensors in your tank continue to function properly. This method is also useful for keeping the tanks smelling fresh after they have been emptied.
We definitely suggest this solution from Camco if you are a full-time or anybody else who wants to have their black tank cleaned regularly with no effort. Connecting your RV to a sewage line is a breeze with this device since it simply clips into your sewer hose.
You can attach the Rhino Blaster Tank Rinser to the drain of your RV with ease. The 45-degree angle ensures that water can jet straight into the outlet, washing away any buildup. If you use the Rhino Blaster Tank Rinser, you can see that the water is clean because of the transparent elbow. Water can’t get sucked back into the hose thanks to a vacuum breaker.
Steps to Unclog Your RV Toilet Bowl That Won’t Drain
The good news is that installing a pyramid plug doesn’t have to be a major hassle. You should keep in mind that it will take some time for the RV Holding Tank Cleaner to do its job effectively.
You should do this soon before bedtime or if you have access to another toilet for the next day or so.
Unclog an RV Toilet Using a Holding Tank Cleaner
Step 1: Turn off your RV’s black tank opening so that the solvent can’t drain until it has cleared the clog.
Step 2: Put a few gallons of water into the tank before you add the cleaning. This should be done only if there’s enough space for the water. Leave this step out if you know that adding water will cause it to overflow. The better the end product, the more water you may add to the process at this stage.
Step 3: Use the RV toilet to introduce a bottle of holding tank cleaner to the tank. You should finish the bottle off.
Step 4: The cleaning solution needs to rest for 12 to 27 hours now. It’s best to let it sit in the tank for as long as possible. The longer the cleaner can sit in the tank to liquefy the clog’s contents, the easier it will be to drain.
Step 5: After letting the cleaner do its thing, you may let the waste drain by opening the black tank valve. Make sure the tank is fully empty.
Step 6: You should use the tank rinser to get rid of any leftover particles now that the tank is empty. The tank rinser is the toilet’s flushing mechanism. It takes around 20 minutes to rinse thoroughly.
Step 7: When you’re done rinsing, make sure to shut off the water supply to the black tank. Keep the RV black tank valve closed except for dumping, and shut it again afterwards. Doing so will avoid the formation of a pyramid plug in the future.
Make sure the cleaning you choose is septic-safe if you don’t use the one we suggested above.
Step 1: A toilet plunge is a dirty business. To reduce the amount of time spent cleaning up, try putting a few used towels or rags around the toilet’s base. During diving, any water or dirt that splashes out will settle on these materials.
Step 2: Take precautions by using gloves.
Step 3: Get a cup, bowl, or other container and scoop out half the water if the toilet bowl is overflowing. Fill the basin up to halfway with water if necessary. The aim is to make sure the plunger’s head is completely underwater.
Step 4: Place the rubber cup over the drain hole in the toilet, then lower the plunger into the bowl at an angle.
Step 5: Put your hands around the plunger’s handle. To avoid destroying the seal surrounding the hole, vigorously lift and lower the cup. After doing so for another ten to twenty seconds, you can take out the plunger.
Step 6: Please flush the toilet. If the toilet still flushes normally, you’re done. If the clog persists, try the steps again.
Step 7: A toilet auger might be used if the issue persists.
Step 8: Wash your hands, the towel you used, and the bucket you dumped or drained water from before reusing them.
Home Remedies for a Clogged RV Toilet
What can you do if your black tank is blocked and you don’t have the means to buy the aforementioned products? It’s a relief to know that inexpensive home remedies may be performed whenever and wherever they’re needed.
Use Boiling Water to Unclog the RV Toilet
To unclog a black tank without breaking the bank, you can use hot water. Black tank solids, especially paper materials, can be easily decomposed by boiling water.
Before pouring it into the toilet, the water should be brought to a boil and let to cool for just a second. If your RV septic system tank is plugged in, you should empty at least a gallon. After waiting an hour or so, try draining your tank again.
You may do this as many times as you like, and remember that more water is always better. Most recreational vehicles are constructed with metal or plastic that can withstand high temperatures, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your belongings being damaged. However, if you possess a less sturdy setup, keep this in mind and allow your water to cool for a little longer.
Dish Soap or Vaseline
Want an alternative way to clear a clog completely that won’t break the bank and makes use of things you might already have in your vehicle? Look at this tried and true home treatment using dish soap or Vaseline!
Add a whole bottle of dishwashing liquid or a few capfuls of laundry detergent. Wait for it to settle in your tank, then try draining. Although this technique seems to work best as a preventative measure, several campers have found it useful in dealing with already-existing jams in their RVs.
Keeping things moving in your black tank can be as simple as adding a big amount of dish soap or other lubricants (like laundry detergent). When it’s time to empty your black water tank, these soapy things can cover the inside and help prevent any solids from flowing.
The use of dish or laundry soap as a deodorizer is not only practical but also inexpensive. If you don’t have any petroleum jelly on hand, Vaseline works just as well.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
This method may or may not work, however, it has shown promising results in my rig. Put a full baking soda box into the toilet’s waste tank. Then, pour in a quart and a half of vinegar.
While the combination of these two items may not be the most pleasant smelling, it can help to release clogs in black water tanks by fizzing and agitating the contents.
Using an ice cube to dissolve sediments in your black tank is a time-tested technique that has been used by RVers for decades. The greatest thing is that you can buy ice at almost any gas station or campground, making this a super-convenient and low-cost DIY solution.
Flushes work best when a full bag of ice has been emptied into the black tank. Close all the valves before heading out for a drive. The more your gas tank is jiggled around, the better, so feel free to run over any speed bumps you come across.
After driving for 30 minutes to an hour, you should return to the dump station and try to empty your rig’s holding tanks. Whatever sediments you have in your tank that may block your sewer system should now be released or crushed by the ice.
If you use ice, you may increase the amount of water already in your tank, which can speed up the process of flushing solid waste out of your black tank during the draining process.
Black Tank Cleaners
The potent combination of enzymes and bacteria found in black tank cleaners is without a doubt the superior option to unclog an RV toilet, tanks, and sewage systems. The formulation of Tank Cleaner is noticeably more potent than that of any other product now available on the market.
It is also the only solution that is truly capable of fixing the most difficult issues, such as pyramid clogs, compacted tanks, or line blockages. You may give other products a shot, but the truth is that there is really just one remedy that will work properly: Unique Tank Cleaner.
Tank Cleaner has the additional benefit of being able to be used as part of your regular maintenance to do a thorough cleaning of your black water holding tank.
Other Unclogging Methods and Solve the Problem to Try
One of the easiest ways to clear up a clogged RV toilet is to utilize an RV Holding Tank Cleaner. However, other methods exist as well to find a solution for unclogging.
Use a Plunger To fix a clogged RV toilet
A tried and true strategy that, with some creative problem-solving, can be implemented in a recreational vehicle.
For obvious reasons, this is the method most people go for first when trying to flush their RV toilet.
This isn’t usually the most efficient method, but it can be useful sometimes. Only if the clog is somewhat close to the top of the RV toilet will the suction and force of the plunger be sufficient to remove it.
A blockage further down in the black water tank will be too stubborn for a plunger to remove.
Using Plumber’s Snake to clear a clog from your RV’s toilet
Flexible snakes can unclog an RV toilet. A snake may not work on a serious obstruction.
This is messy. You’ll need support and the following supplies:
- Flexible plumber’s snake
- Gloves disposable
- Clothing disposable
Follow these steps to clear a blockage using a plumber’s snake:
Step 1: After putting on protective gear, have one person drop a bucket beneath the black water tank’s sewage opening. Also, shut the black water tank.
Step 2: Before using your snake, empty the sewer tank into a bucket.
Step 3: Now, the snake may be inserted into the toilet and through the pipes until the blockage is reached.
Step 4: Move the snake up and down to break up the compaction until it falls into the dark tank.
Step 5: Then close the sewer valve.
Step 6: Connect the sewage hose to the tank. Then open the black water tank and drain the waste.
Step 7: Drain the hose and bucket.
Take it to a dealership
When everything else fails, take your RV to a service centre and have them use a tank wand to spray out the blockage.
Their tank wands shoot high-pressure water at obstacles, shattering them enough for the crew to go through. The average price for this is $200.
How To Prevent Clogs In Your RV
Suppose you have successfully unclogged your black water tank and are determined to avoid this problem in the future. To your credit, you did that! Is there anything you can do to keep the drains clear?
Use Less Toilet Paper
Even though it’s not ideal, using less toilet paper is a simple remedy to a blocked RV toilet. This is especially true if you’re travelling with a family that’s used to indoor plumbing. It’s a great option because it doesn’t break the bank.
We’re not suggesting you forego TP altogether, but you may save money by using fewer sheets than usual. In the long run, your septic system will appreciate your efforts.
If your RV is picky, you may want to check into RV-specific toilet paper. RV toilet paper is more expensive than other types of toilet paper, but it degrades quickly and can be found in most places.
Use Drop-In RV Toilet Cleaners
Drop-in chemical cleansers are also available for use in the bathroom and kitchen. Once again, check to see that the cleansers you plan to use in the drop-in dispenser are septic-friendly. There are a wide variety of drop-in cleaners on the market; however, not all of them are appropriate for use in septic systems.
Keep Your Black Water Tank Valve Closed
Prevent clogs by always closing the toilet valve to your black water tank. Because this breaks up clogs, we’ll be delving further deeper. As in, how do you unclog an RV toilet? If the black tank valve is left open, any solid waste, toilet paper, and water in the tank will mix and splash about. When solids are mixed with liquids, they are dissolved.
They will all come out easily when you drain the tank. Keeping the black tank valve open will allow water and solid and liquid waste to flow into the sewer hose line during normal use. Since liquids go from the tank more quickly than solids, the latter are left behind.
The tank’s flat bottom makes it difficult to remove particles if they become trapped. Without water to flush them away, sediments build up in the toilet as it is used more frequently. The sediments will eventually clog the sewage system, making it impossible for solid waste to be removed.
Use More Water When Flushing
If water is the key to dissolving those bothersome solids, then certainly there would be more of it if it were available. Correct. Waste and toilet paper are flushed down the drain with the help of water.
Your RV toilets are more likely to become blocked if you do not flush with the appropriate amount of water. If you constantly flush the toilet twice after using it, you won’t have to worry about this happening.
Water, water everywhere! The elements that might cause a blockage are more easily moved and broken down if more water is used while flushing the RV toilet. Therefore, the less likely a blockage will be, the greater the water usage.
Keep the Toilet Cover Down
Closing the lid after each use can help prevent blockages, especially in households with young children. Things like crayons and hairbrushes won’t accidentally end up in the commode anymore.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Regular RV toilet maintenance can prevent obstructions. It’s not unlike maintaining a house bathroom. Regular maintenance should include a check routine and monthly and annual cleaning duties.
This depends on how often you use your RV. Full-time RV owners must undertake these activities more regularly, like a homeowner who cleans the bathroom once a week. Always drain and clean your black water tank.
This will alert you to any blockages early, allowing you to attack and address the issue before it becomes a major problem. You may also use our RV holding tank cleaning. Use it once a year to winterize your RV and make sure everything is clear and ready.
How do you force toilet water down?
Throw in a cup of baking soda. The solution will start to bubble as you slowly add 1 cup of vinegar (white or apple cider). Toss it in the toilet and flush it after 20 minutes. Make that water is draining regularly again from the toilet bowl.
Will a toilet eventually unclog itself?
Water-soluble clogs in toilets have the potential of dissolving over time in the water and allowing the toilet to function normally again. Therefore, clogs consisting largely of toilet paper can dissolve on their own.
Why doesn’t the water go down when I flush the toilet?
Problems with the trap, the flapper, the rim jets, the float, or the handle and chain are frequent reasons for a toilet that doesn’t completely flush.
There’s nothing more annoying than a backed-up toilet in a recreational vehicle. The good news is that it doesn’t have to spoil your camping adventure.
You can get back to enjoying your camping trip without worrying about a blocked toilet if you follow our recommendations for both useful RV toilet items and home remedies.
Do you recall ever experiencing such problems with your RV? If so, please explain your way to overcoming it. We encourage you to share your perspective with us by leaving a comment below.
I`m a current Law Enforcement Officer working within the Counterterrorism Bureau in New York State. I have been Camping for over 20 years. My styles of camping include tent, car, truck, van, and RV travel trailer. I have a YouTube channel where I teach all types of camping with an entertaining method: https://youtube.com/@TheSmallsRVAdventures