Do You Really Have to Use RV Toilet Paper?

RV toilet paper vs regular toilet paper. We’ve all seen the tests pitting one against the other online. So is it really necessary to use specialized paper when regular toilet paper is less expensive and readily available?

Seasoned RVers will have their own opinions on this based on personal experience, while newbies may be torn on the subject. Do you spend the extra money on special toilet paper and what can make toilet paper so special anyway?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between RV and regular toilet paper and why RV toilet paper may be essential for the smooth operation of your RV’s plumbing system.

What’s the Difference Between RV Toilet Paper and Regular Toilet Paper? 

Many RVers wonder about the difference between RV toilet paper and regular toilet paper. After all, regular toilet paper works fine in your home bathroom, right?

There is a notable difference, however, between regular toilet paper and RV toilet paper. The difference is mainly in the materials used to produce them.

While they make regular toilet paper primarily from wood pulp, RV toilet paper comprises recycled materials such as cellulose fiber. These fibers dissolve more quickly in septic tanks than traditional wood pulp-based products.

Having toilet paper that will quickly dissolve in your RVs black tank is critical to smooth operation. From tank sensors to the dreaded poop pyramid, toilet paper build-up can wreak havoc on your RVs black tank. 

Are RV Sewer Systems More Sensitive? 

Yes, RV sewer systems are more sensitive than traditional household systems. This is because of their smaller size and reliance on gravity instead of a pump to move waste through the plumbing system.

This is the reasoning behind these toilet papers. They break down faster and won’t clog pipes or cause backups. We have all experienced just how sensitive RV sewer systems can be and have had to deal with the results.

RV black tanks are sensitive, and here are just a few examples.

  • If there is too little water in the black tank and solids build up on the bottom.
  • If your RV is not level the black tank doesn’t empty fully.
  • Build-ups of toilet paper can affect tank-level sensors and block sewer hose attachments, and the list goes on.
Do you need to use RV toilet paper

Do You Really Have to Use RV Toilet Paper? 

The short answer, for most RVers, it’s best to invest in the right toilet paper. It will help keep your plumbing system functioning smoothly. It’s explicitly designed to break down quickly in a septic tank and not clog pipes.

Regular toilet paper may be cheaper upfront, but you could pay much more if it causes a plumbing issue. Let’s face it, even dealing with properly functioning black tanks is a nasty job, and you don’t want to add to it with blockages.

And, of course, those using compost toilets must use compost-safe toilet paper. Who knew there were so many rules for toilet paper!

What Can I Use Instead of RV Toilet Paper? 

While it’s highly recommended to use RV-specific toilet paper in your RV, you can use a few alternatives in a pinch if you don’t have access to it. 

These alternatives are typically more readily available and affordable than RV-specific toilet paper. However, they may be less effective in preventing clogs and other plumbing issues.

Some workable alternatives include:

  • Marine-grade toilet paper for boats and marine environments (the plumbing systems are very similar)
  • Some brands label their toilet paper as “biodegradable” or “septic-safe” to show that it breaks down more quickly in water than regular toilet paper.

What Is the RV Toilet Paper Test? 

The RV Toilet Paper Test is a way to determine whether a particular brand of toilet paper is safe to use in an RV’s plumbing system. 

The test involves placing a small amount of toilet paper in a jar of water, shaking the jar vigorously, and then observing how well the paper dissolves.

The test looks like this:

  • Fill a clear jar or container with water.
  • Take a small square of the toilet paper you want to test and place it in the jar.
  • Close the jar and shake it vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  • Open the jar and observe the toilet paper. If the toilet paper has dissolved completely, leaving no visible pieces or clumps, it is safe to use in your RV’s plumbing system.

If the toilet paper has not dissolved entirely or has formed clumps, it may be unsafe to use in your RV’s plumbing system, as it could lead to clogs, backups, and other plumbing issues.

The RV Toilet Paper Test is not foolproof and may not always accurately reflect how well a particular brand of toilet paper will perform in an RV’s plumbing system. 10-15 seconds isn’t much of a test, and it’s not the best recreation of what happens inside the black tank.

Although the test most people are familiar with involves agitating the toilet paper, this isn’t really accurate to what happens in most RV tanks. You are normally sitting at a campsite and dumping your tanks before heading out so not much shaking happens when the tanks are full.

Please note that Mike and Susan of RVBlogger now recommend Matt’s Liquified RV Toilet Treatment as their toilet chemical of choice. Matt’s Liquified was not invented yet when they made the above video.

Is RV Toilet Paper More Expensive? 

RV toilet paper can be more expensive than regular toilet paper. Companies design RV toilet paper to break down easily in septic tanks and other waste disposal systems, making it more costly to manufacture than regular toilet paper. 

Since RV toilet paper is less widely used than regular toilet paper, it may be more challenging to find and could cost more due to supply and demand. It’s also a specialty item and is often only found in RV and marine stores where everything is more expensive!

However, the cost difference between the RV and regular stuff typically isn’t huge especially when compared to more expensive brands. Also if you stock up on RV safe toilet paper on Amazon rather than going to dealers it will save you some money as well.

Therefore, the added cost is often worth it to avoid clogging or damaging your RV’s waste disposal system.

Is RV Toilet Paper a Waste of Money? 

Opinions vary if RV toilet paper is a waste of money. Some RVers say they’ve been on the road for years and have never had an issue with any type of toilet paper. 

However, others argue these pricier rolls simply aren’t worth it. They say it costs more for less product, has lower quality and comfort, and “rapid-dissolving toilet paper made especially for RVs and boats” is a marketing tactic. 

I will say this from experience if you keep plenty of liquids in the tank, regularly clean your tanks, and use RV-safe toilet paper, you can avoid any messy issues. Can the same be said for regular toilet paper?

Ultimately it’s up to personal preference whether or not it’s worth the extra cost. Full-time RVers and those who use their RVs more regularly may see more value in it than the weekend warriors.

Tips for Keeping Your RV Septic System Safe

4 Tips for Keeping Your RV Septic System Problem Free

1. Use Less Toilet Paper 

Using less toilet paper is essential for keeping your RV septic system safe. Toilet paper takes much longer to break down in the septic tank, so using too much can cause clogs and backups. 

Also, the more toilet paper you use, the quicker the tank will fill up and need emptying.

2. Don’t Flush TP 

This one isn’t for everyone (myself included). A pro-tip used by some RVers including many in the van life space is to avoid flushing toilet paper at all. 

It may seem like a minor change to your daily routine, but this small act can significantly impact the long-term health of your RV’s plumbing. 

Instead, use a dedicated trash bin for your used TP, and ensure you empty it regularly. One trick we learned while boondocking is to use Compostable Dog Poop Bags to place our soiled toilet paper before placing it into the trash bin. The dog poop bags are easy to use, compostable, and they eliminate any odors!

3. Add More Water 

Adding more water to your tank can also help keep your RV septic system safe. 

Every time you dump your tank, go back and add a few extra gallons of water to really flush it out. Then when your flushed out add a few gallons to the bottom of the empty tank before you use the toilet again.

This will prevent solids, including toilet paper, from sticking to the bottom and give it something to immediately start to dissolve in when flushed.

4. Regularly Treat Tanks 

There are lots of different tank treatments out there and everyone has their favorite. We highly recommend Matt’s Liquified RV Toilet Treatment. The important part is to use them regularly.

Regularly treating tanks with specially designated septic tank cleaners can make a difference in keeping everything clean and running smoothly. 

With consistent care and maintenance, you can ensure your RV’s septic system is in good health.

RV tank treatments and RV toilet paper work best together

Where Can You Buy RV Toilet Paper? 

You can buy RV safe toilet paper online at Amazon and in brick-and-mortar stores nationwide. Keep an eye out for special offers or packages that combine multiple rolls of TP, as these can offer better deals than buying individual rolls. 

You can often find these products at camping and recreational vehicle supply stores as well. If you have a trip planned, especially before a long weekend, don’t wait till the last minute to look for RV-safe toilet paper.

What’s the Best RV Toilet Paper? 

The answer to the best RV toilet paper brand is like asking people what their favorite peanut butter brand is. Everyone has their opinion based on preference.

Some RVers prefer toilet paper with a softer texture or easier to break down, while others may gravitate towards eco-friendly or biodegradable options. 

Ultimately, you decide which toilet paper is best for you and your RV. To help you decide, here are a few popular brands.

5 FAQs About RV Toilet Paper 

1. Is Single Ply Toilet Paper Okay for RV Use? 

Single-ply toilet paper is suitable for RV use. It is thinner than standard toilet paper and poses a lower risk of causing plumbing issues. 

The primary distinction between single and double-ply toilet paper lies in the thickness. 

Single-ply is notably lighter and thinner than its double-ply counterpart, which allows it to disintegrate more rapidly in water. 

2. Can You Use 2 Ply Toilet Paper in an RV? 

Yes, you can use 2-ply in an RV. The common misconception that you must use single-ply RV-specific toilet paper is mainly because of concerns about clogging or overwhelming the delicate RV plumbing system.

However, septic-safe toilet paper manufacturing advancements have enabled 2-ply products to break down quickly and efficiently as their single-ply counterparts.

If you need clarification on whether 2-ply is safe for your RV, you can conduct the dissolving test discussed above. 

3. Is Charmin Okay in an RV Toilet? 

Regarding the great debate about using Charmin in an RV toilet, the answer lies in understanding RV owners’ specific concerns.

While Charmin may be a popular choice for residential bathrooms, the critical factor to consider in an RV context is whether the toilet paper will break down easily and quickly without clogging the tank.

Some varieties of Charmin toilet paper are safe for RVs. For example, Charmin Ultra Soft is a good choice because its extreme softness results in rapid disintegration. 

Another option is Charmin Essentials Strong, a 1-ply toilet paper that dissolves quickly.

However, it’s important to note that not all varieties of Charmin toilet paper are safe for RV use, such as Charmin Ultra Strong, because it does not dissolve as easily.

4. Can You Use Scott Toilet Paper in an RV? 

Yes, you can use certain Scott toilet papers. Renowned for its single-ply toilet paper, each roll boasts 1,000 sheets ensuring you enjoy an extended supply. 

In addition, Scott has gone the extra mile to put your mind at ease by developing a “rapid-dissolving” toilet paper explicitly designed for both RVs and boats.

5. Is It Safe to Use Costco Toilet Paper in an RV? 

Yes, Costco toilet paper is considered safe to use in RVs. As a budget-friendly option, Costco toilet paper is crafted without harsh chemicals, ensuring it won’t harm your RV’s plumbing system. 

Plus, it’s made from recycled paper without added fragrances or dyes. With its large rolls and long-lasting supply, Costco toilet paper is an excellent economical choice for RVers. 

Final Thoughts About Using RV Toilet Paper 

 Many new RVers wonder whether it’s really necessary to use RV toilet paper. Our opinion is yes. Using a quick-dissolving RV product that breaks down better combined with RV black tank chemicals is your best bet.

If you can’t find RV-specific TP, look for words like septic safe, dissolves quickly, and RV friendly on the packaging.

Dealing with a black tank issue on vacation is not the way you want to spend your time. The extra few bucks per package or a 20-minute drive to the RV dealer to pick up some of the good stuff will be worth it.

For more information, check out our article on RVBlogger called Is Special RV Toilet Paper Really Needed in an RV?

Related Reading:

11 Proven Ways To Eliminate RV Toilet Smells

How To Use An RV Sewer Dougnut And What It Looks Like

8 Best Travel Trailers Without Bathrooms

10 Best Teardrop Campers With Bathrooms

About the Author:

Mike Scarpignato is an avid RVer who owns a Class C RV and a Class A RV. He loves to travel with his wife Susan and write blog articles about the RV lifestyle.

Mike and Susan also make YouTube videos on the RVBlogger YouTube channel.