Toilet Tips That Will Keep Your Whole RV Smelling Fresh

When you're on hour eight of a 10-hour RV trip, the snacks are running out, and the kids are fed up with being stuck inside, the last thing you want to be dealing with is foul smells from your toilet. Luckily, there are actually several easy ways to both prevent and treat bad road trip smells without just masking them or shelling out tons of cash.

Stopping bad odors before they start is the first line of defense in keeping your RV smelling fresh for your entire trip. Our number one prevention tip is to keep enough water in your black tank (the tank that collects waste and wastewater) so that solid waste won't dry out, get stuck in your tank, and start stinking up the place. You can do this by adding about six to seven flushes of water from your toilet when you empty your black tank. Additionally, while it might not be all that environmentally friendly, add an extra flush of water every time you go number two.

Our second prevention tip is to use RV toilet paper, not regular toilet paper. Regular toilet paper is not well-suited to RV black tanks and can cause a build-up of solids. RV toilet paper is specially designed to biodegrade in black tanks and prevent clogs that can create bad smells.

Your RV already smells – here's what to do

If the smell of your RV is making you gag, chances are the problem is coming from your toilet. If this is you, you've got a problem on your hands that can't be ignored. First, you'll want to empty out your tank and see if there's a clog. If nothing comes out or very little waste comes out after a week-long trip, you've got a clog that needs to be resolved. To do this, fill your tank with fresh water and use a black tank treatment that will break down any organic material in your tank. These products may come as a liquid or powder and will usually be labeled as an enzyme, chemical, or probiotic treatment.

If the problem is not a clog, it may just be that your toilet has got a little build-up around or under the flapper, or the part of the toilet that opens to deposit waste into the tank when flushing. There's no way around this. You'll have to grab a disposable towel or brush and get in there with some cleaner. Just be sure to avoid using harsh chemicals on the seal that prevents odors from coming up out of your toilet, as they can cause the rubber to break down.