A Creepy RVing Dilemma: Flush RV Toilet Paper or Toss It?

Before our minds descend into the septic tank to look at a creepy RV toilet dilemma (do you flush RV toilet paper or toss it?), I want to take a minute to wish my Halloween Hubby a very happy birthday today!

Las Vegas Halloween Fremont Street Experience
The love of my life!

Ghouls and goblins abound here at the Fountain of Youth near the Slabs, where we’ve landed unexpectedly early for the season. We won’t be partying Vegas style for Jim’s birthday this year, but we’ll be livin’ large at FOY until December 31. Stop by and say hello if you’re nearby.

And Now for Something Creepy: Flush RV Toilet Paper or Toss It?

Poop Doctors of Luckenbach Texas
Maybe we should ask the Poop Doctor?

Two nights ago while sitting in the spa we met a fascinating octegenarian who’s been RVing longer than we’ve been alive. Al’s a man of wisdom and appears to have all his wits about him, but he suggested something that made us cringe. His “best RVing tip” got me wondering how many others do what he does in the RV. What is it you ask? Well, here’s a synopsis of the advice:

“My best RV tip is: Don’t flush RV toilet paper! Toss it in the trash. That’ll save you lots of problems later on.”

I gagged as soon as he said it. Then I looked over at Jim and could tell he was thinking the same thing. Yeah, I’ve heard one or two other hard-core dry camping RVers mention this RV toilet tip before. But when they did I wanted to vomit. I must be a wuss but I just can’t imagine keeping a trash bin full of used TP in my tiny home, just a few feet away from where I’m sitting now. Trash cans full of TP remind me of some nasty restrooms in Mexico. The thought of keeping stinky, urine and poo soaked paper in my bathroom gives me the creeps. In my mind it’s almost as bad as the hippies who use re-usable wash rags instead of TP to do the deed.

So my quick question to you, dear readers, is:

Do you flush your RV toilet paper or put it in the trash? 

el caganer de monja
The caganer nun probably knows what to do.

If it goes in the waste basket, then what? Does it smell? How long does it linger till you toss the trash? Are we being foolish by not doing the same?

Knock on wood, our RV plumbing has never had an issue with toilet paper clogs. Jim says I’m going to jinx us now just by bringing up this subject. But I have to know. Are we too squeamish? Do we put our plumbing in jeopardy by flushing the TP? A major clog hasn’t happened once in our ten years of RVing and while I don’t like to say never, I imagine that if it were to happen it probably would have by now.

If you’ve been grossed out by a nasty, putrid RV toilet plumbing clog, and you think it was because of toilet paper, I want to know about it!



29 thoughts on “A Creepy RVing Dilemma: Flush RV Toilet Paper or Toss It?”

  1. I built and lived in a Tiny Home for three years and I had a compost toilet. So with that all toilet paper went in the trash can. Now that I am full time living in an RV I do the same thing. I have a regular little trash can next to the toilet and I do not have any issues with smell etc as long as I take the trash out ( I use walmart type bags as the trash can liners) in a timely manner. I do not have to even worry about what type of toilet paper to use, I use the cushy tushy type always, and I do not have to worry about it clogging my black tank and sensors.

  2. Both. When we are hooked up all TP gets flushed. When we are extended boondocking if it’s brown flush it down. We drink a ton of water so I pee a lot which means I use a ton of TP. When we are trying to conserve on tank space, I toss the pee pee TP in the trash. I have never noticed a smell.

  3. Rene, I was glad to find your blog on this subject as I’ve always wondered about it! We’ve been full-timers for 5 years, use Scott single-ply and appropriate amount of water with no problems. Chemicals are used while boondocking, but not on full hook-up as we dump weekly with no odors. A test for suitable RV TP: put a handful of tp in a quart jar with a lid, fill with water, put lid on and shake well. Tissue should dissolve if RV friendly. When we dump, we never “see” TP. Yeah, no tissue in the trash for us. Thanks for this discussion!

  4. After paying camping world hundreds of dollars during our rv life, its simple. We have a sprayer hose next to our commode which we use as a bidet! Rinse, then wipe, then dispose of paper in disposal can, emptied out every morning! No smell, no mess, clean pooper, no clogs!!!!

  5. We live in a parked 5th wheel and have a self converted van for weekend and vaca travel. We have always used a covered trash container for paper. Currently we have a slim lidded container that was meant for tp storage. Our ice bags fit perfectly for this receptacle, NEVER an odor, never touch anything, tie it off and add to our kitchen waste bag for disposal. I have a brass plate in the bathroom, from a small aussie antique shop, that reads “please do not put anything in this toilet that has not been eaten first.” FYI, inquiring about having our septic pumped after moving into a new house…gentleman said it should be pumped about every three years normal use. I asked if that was true if we never ever put any paper into the system. He replied, there would be no need to ever pump, because the system would then work as it was designed to. Clean, simple, efficient and definately no odor!

  6. 19 1/2 years full-timing in 4 different RVs, longest time in the same RV, 10 years and never, ever had a clog, always flush TP, never used Special RV TP except when Camping World gave it away free. We use Scotts, single ply TP. We use biologic tank additive, but not always on a regular basis. I think the key is dumping the Black tank when it is a least 3/4 full or more and to use a fair amount of water with each TP flush. If we are boon docking we either use the right amount of water and make a commitment to go to the dump station when needed or use the campground facilities. I think people get into problems when there isn’t enough water in the black water tank to breakup the TP. I wonder if people who use a macerator system have more problems? That might be a good followup question for your blog. We have used a macerator a number of times, but I make sure I use the back flush system as well. I have felt that the macerator might allow more liquid to pass quickly and solids may linger longer.
    I should also mention that I use the back flush system sporadically when dumping, maybe monthly or so, but not with each dump.
    We have been to Mexico and did the TP in the can thing when using the public bathrooms and was glad I wasn’t the guy who emptied the trash cans LOL.
    Travel Safe

    • Hey Larry! Thanks for sharing, since you more than anyone I know would have experience in this area. Regarding “I think people get into problems when there isn’t enough water in the black water tank to breakup the TP,” yeah, totally. I’ve been tempted to skimp on adding water to the black tank when we’re headed out to a dry camping spot, but when I think about the cost of doing so I add another bowl-full of water.

      Never used a macerator before and you bring up good points about it. Jim and I will have to ask our friends who have them what their experience has been. For now it sounds like the ol’stinky slinky might still be the best way to go.

    • We never flush tp in our 5th wheeler. I have a basket next to the toilet where there’s a roll of doggy poop bags. The used tp goes into a bag before placed in the trashed. I also use scented trash bags for any order control and never had any smell issues. It works great for us because we prefer to use regular tp and wet wipes.

  7. I think you really hit it home when you talked about how close the RV restroom is to everything else. Having poop and pee stained toilet paper sitting there grosses me out. And if I’m being completely honest, if you had asked the old time RVer how much these repairs cost, regardless of the price, I could justify it.

  8. I’ll be honest, I’ll start with TP. But I’ll finish with a non flushable wipe. Those get put into a small trashcan with a good lid. Never had a problem with the smell, but the majority of the ‘dirt’ ends up in the black tank that way anyways. I just like the fresh feeling you get from the wipes afterward.

  9. Two decades of dealing with RV holding tanks now, and never had an issue from dropping toilet paper into the tank. I use standard Scotts brand, since you do not need to use special RV paper. For chemicals we keep a gallon bottle of bleach in the camper and dump some in if it’s getting funky. If I’m in the mood, I will dump the tanks and then put 3-4 gallons of water into the tank, along with a long squirt of dawn, or clothes washing soap, before we hit the road. I have read warnings against doing everything I just mentioned, and really don’t pay attention, since it’s been working great.
    Yep, if you do enough research you will read, “Never use anything but RV paper, or it will clog” “Never put toilet paper in the tank at all, it will clog” “never use bleach, it will destroy the seals in the tank valves” “Always use proper (expensive) RV tank chemicals, it’s the only way to control odor” ” Always use lots of water in the black tank, or it will clog” “always use a rinse wand, or your gauges will fail” BLAH,BLAH, BLAH. A LOT of internet experts try to make the whole thing a lot more complicated and anxiety racked that it needs to be. I’ll try anything reasonable, once. As for saving poop paper in a can, not reasonable, not going to happen.

    • Kerry we use Scott TP too. It’s hard to believe that RV TP is supposed to be safer, since it’s thicker than Scott. I have to admit though that we have never given the “GEO” method with dish soap and water softener a try. Everytime I think about doing it, buying the chemical seems easier. I like your philosophy though: “I’ll try anything reasonable, once.” And yep, poop in a can is not a reasonable thing!

  10. We had a septic system in our S and B home and for 19 years we trashed the TP and threw it in the garbage. We used a sealed trash can, never had an issue with the smell or anything else. So, when we moved to our RV full time we just kept up the same practice with the same sealed trash can. It’s just a habit for us and we have no problem with what we are doing.

  11. I would not have a problem with just leaving “wet” toilet paper overnight and out with the morning trash. Poop has got to “go” no pun intended lol….My husband and I are “newbies” so I’m devouring ideas and “tips” for newbies and have wondered the same thing myself. To flush, or not to flush….that is the question? LOL

    • Hey Margie hope you’re finding lots of tips that will help you. It always pays to talk about these things with other RVers, even when it comes to poop!

  12. Never, we have been rv’ng for 30 years from truck campers to our current motorhome. We have no problems but we manage our tanks, use the right t.p. And enough water. And rarely ever use a chemical. It is not only the icck factor for us but there there is a reason for sewage systems. Do not put it in the mainstream garbage collection.

    • Bob I’m always amazed when people say they don’t use chemicals. I wonder if it has something to do with the placement of the black tank? Our first RV’s tank rarely stank after a few days but our current one has a black tank directly underneath the toilet and when that thing starts filling up, watch out! We definitely use chemicals in this rig.

  13. Flush or Toss TP
    My understanding is that in many countries (Mexico is one) with poor sanitary systems, it is common to put TP in a wastebasket rather than flush it down. I have run across this in my office building restroom (Southern California) when sometimes there is TP left on the floor rather than flushed and I assume this is because we have no wastecan in the toilet stall and the person does not want to carry it out to the trash can in the sink portion of the restroom.


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