Is RV Toilet Paper Absolutely Essential in 2023? Or Is Septic Safe Practical?
(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
By Kelly Beasley
Last Updated: January 26, 2023
To use RV toilet paper or regular toilet paper... it's an age-old controversy among people in the RV world.
(Oh hey, we are the oddballs that LOVE talking about poo! It's true. To be fair, we're kind of forced to.)
The big question is usually this: What is the best toilet paper for RVers?
- What's safe to use?
- And can you use any ordinary stuff from the grocery store?
- Or do you have to purchase RV 'safe' or septic safe TP?
Spoiler alert: You do NOT have to use TP explicitly made for RVs!! But you do have to know a few things about doing so if you choose to go this route.
Fast fact: We do not put any TP down our camper toilets.
This way, we could use whatever toilet paper and any amount of it we pleased without any worry of a clog.
While we both believe in and utilize this method for boondocking, we both used to flush using septic-safe paper.
Neither of us has ever had clogs. RV friendly toilet paper need not apply.
If you ask us, RV toilet paper is unnecessary. On top of that, it's HORRIBLE stuff.
And hey, it's expensive!
There are much better ways to wipe your hind end.
Let's get down to the why's and how's so you can figure out what you'll use in your camper.
RV Sewer Systems
An RV's sewage system is not like your home toilet that is connected to a septic system or septic tank.
It has its own tank that holds all that goes down until you dump it into an appropriate place.
Sewer pipes in a recreational vehicle are smaller than home pipes.
Some RV plumbing has angled curves (poor design). These tanks are prone to clogging. Motorhome and travel trailer systems are just different than what we are used to.
That's why you need to be educated to keep from getting the dreaded black tank clog!
What you put into it is the only thing that clogs it. This is why you NEVER put anything down the hatch but bodily fluids and toilet paper.
No makeup wipes or disposable body cloths or diapers... (WHO would put a diaper down an RV toilet??? But... it has happened.)
It's easy to avoid clogs if you take a few precautions.
What Makes RV Toilet Paper Special?
If you've ever used commercial toilet paper in a public restroom, you know what RV toilet paper is like.
Toilet paper for RV use is going to be a rapid-dissolving brand, it's going to be super thin, and it feels like one-ply, even if it's not.
You'll likely need to use more of it to avoid skin-to-skin(?) contact when it's not wanted (EW!).
It's also likely to be more expensive than the regular stuff.
But it's heralded to be quick-dissolving, so there is the promise that you won't get a clog if you use it.
That's fine and all.
But there are other ways to avoid a clog while still enjoying the comfort of other types of toilet papers. The good kinds!
The Benefits of RV Toilet Paper
If you're adamant about using this stuff, fine.
Here are a few situations when RV toilet paper may benefit you.
- You Have Kids: If you have kids too young to trust not to overuse paper, you may want to use RV TP, or at least septic-safe TP.
- Using Regular TP Will Keep You Up At Night: If this is you, go ahead and get RV toilet paper for RV use.
Other than that, we simply cannot condone spending the unnecessary money and scraping your behind with the stuff!
Do You Really Need RV-Safe Toilet Paper?
No, you sure don't need to use RV-safe toilet paper!
You can use whatever TP you want to, as long as you follow a few precautions (precautions below).
The problem with regular toilet paper isn't so much that it's not 'fast-dissolving.'
It's that people use too much at once and not enough water per flush.
This is especially true when people are on dry camping trips and are trying to conserve their water supply. (What's dry camping?)
Can You Use Regular Toilet Paper In An RV?
Yes, you can use regular paper in a recreational vehicle.
That said, it's a good idea to use septic-safe paper.
But if you do, be sure to apply some of the following tactics.
How To Use Regular Toilet Paper In An RV
Marshall and I used septic safe toilet paper without any clogs.
Yes it's true, more than half of the grocery store paper you'll find is septic-safe.
There are ways to make any TP camper safe toilet paper. Here are the best ones for your RV bathroom:
- Don't flush it. Put it in a special wastebasket.
- Tear it up before you use it.
- Don't use a huge wad all at once. Count squares, lol!
- Use plenty of water when flushing.
- Use holding tank chemicals to help break everything down.
It's not rocket science. It's just something you have to be aware of.
Use common sense, and your RV sewage holding tank will be free of a black tank clog.
How To Use ANY Brand Of Toilet Paper In Your RV Without Risk Of It Clogging, GUARANTEED
There is one secret to avoid all risk of clogging by paper, AND to use whatever kind you like.
Here's the secret:
Don't Flush It!!
Strange as it is for Americans to wrap their heads around, most other countries do this as a common practice.
- No, it's not stinky. No more stinky than you smell it temporarily when it comes out.
- No, it's not gross- you put it brown facing down. It looks like a bunch of regular TP in the basket. Also, you can put a lid on it.
- No, it's not unsanitary. Flies don't come and lay eggs. It is literally out of mind if you do it right. Just line a basket with a plastic grocery bag. When it's full, tie it up and throw it away! There's SO MUCH peace of mind using this method.
Bonus: If you are dry camping, you save a lot of room in your black tank. If your black tank is your limiting stay factor, now you can stay more days!
The RV Toilet Paper Test
If you've been scrolling the internet for camping related things, you might come a cross the old TP dissolving test.
Some people test their RV safe toilet paper brands before 'trusting' it to dissolve quick enough to use.
Personally, neither of us has felt the need to go through the trouble. But if it helps you feel better about it, you can try it.
The RV Toilet Paper Test:
- Put a square in a jar of water
- Shake it once
- Let it sit overnight
- Observe how much it dissolves in 24 hours
- Best to test a few brands, so you see how they compare
This is unnecessary if you just use the precautions mentioned on this page.
Is There A Limit To How Much RV Toilet Paper You Should Use?
Yes, and isn't there a limit to just about anything? Be a little skimpy.
Just make it a new habit that when in the camper, to be as skimpy as you can with each flush.
It's simple logic. The more paper you try to flush (among, ahem, other things) at once, the more risk it will clog.
Use maybe 5-10 squares at a time. You'll get a feel, and it's not like you will have to count every time. The less, the better.
And it's best if you tear it up before you use it. This helps a lot!
Even if you were using 'RV toilet paper', it can clog if you use enough of it at once.
Top RV Toilet Paper Brands
So, if you are still leaning towards getting specifically made RV toilet tissue, there are quite a few brands to choose from.
Remember, motorhome, and travel trailer safe toilet paper brands are typically more expensive than regular TP brands.
Even so, here are a few popular ones:
Thetford Aqua-Soft Toilet Tissue
This stuff comes in 2-ply but feels like one. Trust us, it's just awful.
It only comes in 4-packs, and it isn't cheap. But hey, you can find it in almost any camping store or big-box store like Walmart. (Can you sleep in a Walmart parking lot?)
Freedom Living Septic Tank Safe Toilet Tissue
Again, this claims it's 2-ply, but if you've ever put any RV TP in your hands, it seems to dissolve down into nothing.
At time of press, EIGHT ROLLS cost a whopping $31.19 at Walmart. Holy cow!
Valterra Q23630 Softness 2-Ply Toilet Tissue
At least Valterra has some 'padding' in their TP.
You know, raised decorative bits. It's also a 2-ply paper.
Personally, I have not used this, but it looks better than most. Still, this will set you back about $3 per roll.
Camco RV TST 2-ply Toilet Tissue
Not much else to add here. To me, this stuff feels the same as the rest of them. Maybe one of the worst.
But hey. It's only about $1.50 per roll, depending on where you buy it.
Scott Rapid Dissolve Bath Tissue
Literally only one-ply, this one also makes the list of RV safe toilet paper. It's made for boats and RVs.
You pay a premium for it and it's also pretty awful. Try at your own risk.
Oh, AND it's insanely expensive!
What Brand Of Toilet Paper Is Best For RV?
Honestly, you should conclude after reading this that the answer is:
Your favorite septic-safe brand from the grocery store.
Use it with the few precautions listed here, and you are fine using any septic safe toilet paper for RV use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kirkland (Costco) Toilet Paper RV Safe?
Yes, it's safe to use Costco toilet paper in an RV. And it's septic-safe.
No, it's not recreational vehicle paper, but any septic-safe brand is safe enough to use as your camper toilet paper.
As with any motorhome toilet paper, use it sparingly and use enough water for the amount of TP you use.
Is Scott Toilet Paper RV Safe?
Scott is another RV safe toilet paper brand as it's septic-safe.
But their Scott Rapid Dissolving toilet paper is about the most expensive toilet paper for RVs you can buy. And again, necessary? No.
Don't waste your money.
Is Charmin Toilet Paper RV Safe?
This stuff is thick, which is nice when wiping, but not so nice if it gets clogged. Just tear it up before use and used properly, Charmin is RV safe.
I love Charmin, and it was my travel trailer toilet paper for a couple of years before I started using the wastebasket.
Go for it!
What kind of toilet paper to use in an RV is pretty much up to what type of habits you can get yourself used to.
If specific measures are taken, you can use any septic-safe brand you want. It doesn't have to be RV specific.
Is RV toilet paper necessary? No.
The main thing you are avoiding is a black tank clog (Or a clog in your pipes).
If you use septic-safe, use plenty of water when you flush, OR don't flush your TP at all, OR tear up your TP before use (there are other things you can do, too), you will be fine.
The best toilet paper for RVing is the one that works FOR YOU.
How you choose to work it is up to you.
Marshall and I don't have to worry AT ALL about it by not putting it down the toilet. You might choose another route.
Figure out your comfort zone, follow the tips here to minimize the chance of a clog, and enjoy your trip.
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.