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How to Unclog a Toilet in a Camper

Updated on January 28, 2024



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Traveling in an RV camper can be fun and exciting. You get to experience new environments, travel across the natural landscape, and soak in the memories you make on the way. However, camper traveling isn’t completely void of all problems. Traveling in an RV camper can be problematic for people who don’t take care of the toilet and the drainage system within the camper.

how to unclog a toilet in a camper

If you are worried about why you have a recurring clog in your toilet or your drains, you are in luck. In this article, we look at the reasons for a clog, how to get rid of one, and future tips for drainage safety inside your camper.   

Through our years of experience working with RVs and campers, we have come across numerous reasons behind a recurring clog. These reasons are common among campers in the USA, and you might witness the same. 

Why is Your Toilet Camper Clogged?

Well, there are multiple reasons for a clog inside your drainage. To start with, chances are that you could be clogging it yourself. As we know, the drainage in your RV camper is already vulnerable to leaks and damages. You cannot stuff it with solid waste of your own to further aggravate the damages.

You can only work on proper remediation from a clog once you recognize the reasons that led to one. Study the reasons mentioned in this section to find out what exactly went wrong with your drain:

You’re clogging it

At times, there is nothing wrong with the drain, but the drain develops a clog because of negligence. Toilet drains aren’t meant to handle any solid littering. Things like toilet paper rolls, toys, and hair rolls aren’t supposed to go inside the sewer. If you have a habit of doing so, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a drain backup every once in a while.

Drains get clogged if the wrong things are stuffed inside of them, and if you’re in the habit of doing so, then the recurring clog could be related to your careless attitude. Since change starts from within, try implementing the change by yourself, and then expect others around you to follow.

Most clogs are caused by negligence or lack of concern by the people in the RV or camper themselves. You need to follow protocols inside the RV toilet and ensure that you toss the solid waste in a proper bin rather than flushing it inside the toilet. The accumulation of solid waste with years of negligence can cause a pretty nasty clog.

Flapper Needs Fixing

The flapper is a round device that sits inside your toilet to control and regulate the pressure of your flush. If a flapper inside a toilet is broken, the water coming out is barely enough to wash down what needs to be washed and can create an accumulation inside the drain. 

There needs to be enough water pressure to cancel out the chances of an accumulation inside the drain. If your flapper isn’t working right, the water pressure wouldn’t be sufficient, and your toilet would barely serve the purpose.

Poor Toilet Health

If the reasons above aren’t the main cause of concern, it could be that the toilet isn’t workable anymore. In such cases, it is best to get a replacement.

Unclogging a Toilet in a Camper

Having studied the reasons, we now move towards the steps you can follow for unclogging a toilet in a camper:

Turn off the Main Water Line

Noticing a clogged sewer line is just half the battle. The other half is working on rectification. The first step is to turn the main water line off not to aggravate the situation. You don’t want the main water line to be kept on and then flood one of your bathroom floors with raw sewage spread.

Practice DIY Drills

Once you shut your main water line off, you can practice some DIY drills to see if they work. The chances are that DIY drills won’t be effective enough in fighting the main cause of the problem. You should check if drain cleaners work on the sewer backup or not. Drain cleaners may work based on the extent of the emergency.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A common drain cleaning solution used to degrease the drain’s walls and ensure a smooth water flow is baking soda with vinegar. You can mix the two to form a foamy texture, with bubbles on top of it.

The grease along the corners of your drainage pipes can get very sticky over time and may even attract clogs and other damage. A good combination of baking soda and vinegar will ensure that the clog is cleared away and there is no leftover damage on the drain.

Call a Plumber

It is technically impossible for you to clear away a sewer clog with your own bare hands without the help of a proper plumber. The process can be quite extensive and can drain the life out of you. Keeping this in mind, you must call a plumber and have him work with you to improve the situation. Since you are on the road, you can even drive your RV to a plumber.

If a major problem causes the sewer clog or backup, you will have to work on it to remediate the root cause. The professional you hire will know how to unclog a sewer and work with you to improve the situation. Many RVs also tend to have a sewer line cleanout, which you can use to clean the mess from the clogged drain.

Toilet and Drainage Cleaning Tips in a Camper

The entire process may seem like a daunting task for all who aren’t well-versed in cleaning the drainage system. Camper toilets can be complicated and contain all the waste and water we flush down. A bad sewerage line can stock up solid accumulations over time and can form blockages, which may need cleaning.

Failure to clean your drainage system in time may eventually mean that you have a sewerage line that is fully stacked with solid accumulations and needs serious cleaning. In the worst-case scenario, you may even experience a sewer backup due to the lack of care and concern regarding this major problem.

All drainage lines inside your camper directly run to the sewer system for your RV. Whether in a shower, toilet, or sink, every drain ultimately joins the main sewer line for the RV. These lateral lines run to the main disposal tank, so problems in one of your drains can lead to a cascading effect of disconnections and sewer backups.

Performing a sewerage and drainage clean-up in your RV can be extensive. We now look at how you can avert the problem and what can be done to keep a sewer at bay.

Clean Your Lines Frequently

You should make sure that you clean your sewerage lines frequently. Frequent sewerage cleaning procedures will ensure no buildup inside the drainage system and the entire system is working as smoothly.

You can run these drain cleaning procedures with enzyme cleaners. Enzyme cleaners come in various shapes and forms and can be used to clear your drainage lines. You will have to read and follow the instructions mentioned on the back of the enzyme cleaner to run the process successfully.

The enzyme cleaner follows a biological process, so you will have to wait for the results to appear over time.

Get a plumbing Snake.

Plumbing snakes can be extremely handy for clearing clogs and cleaning away your drain. You can easily clear minor clogs and disruptions in your drainage system using a proper snake. A snake is an augur that is dragged inside the drain you want to clean. The snake comes with a twisted end, which you can use to cut and twist through the clog.

Snakes may not be the ultimate solution for drain cleaning, but they can come in handy to clear away small clogs. However, use your plumbing snakes carefully to don’t damage the actual drain.

Preventative Cleaning

If you want to regularly clean your drains and ensure that your sewerage system is free of errors, you should believe in preventative cleaning. Preventative cleaning usually involves regular cleaning as a form of maintenance, rather than waiting for a sewer backup or for your drainage lines to get messy. Preventative cleaning can either be done by a professional or by yourself.

The clogs inside your drain can be mitigated and avoided if you follow preventative cleaning methods. These methods ensure that all clogs are cleared from the word go and there is no debris accumulating in them.

Use Drain Cleaners Sparingly 

You shouldn’t use abrasive drain cleaners or chemical components frequently on your camper toilet, as they can erode the metal strength. However, you can occasionally use them to clean the drain as part of your preventative measures.

Make sure that you let the strength of the drain cleaner work its charm without using too much water in the mixture. The drain cleaning mixture needs to sit inside the drain to dissolve all waste building up inside there. Reducing the buildup of debris inside your drain will help you prevent clogs.

Drain cleaning can be an extensive procedure, but with routine checks and thorough cleaning procedures, you can help elongate the life of your drain and minimize expenditure.

A clog in the drain can also lead to water damage inside your bathroom. A major drain clog doesn’t pop up suddenly but keeps giving subtle signs that you have to notice and tend to almost immediately. If you see signs of a clog forming in your drain, you can take the rectification steps to unclog the drain immediately. The best practice to follow here is to call a professional plumber and have them repair the drain.

Additionally, you should follow safety tips with your drain to not toss your trash and other solid items down the drain. It would help if you preferably had a trash bin in the bathroom, which you can use to toss all your trash and your solid waste in one place.

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<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!