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How to Clean Your RV Toilet Bowl

  • 5 min read

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Key Points:

  1. There are two basic types of cleaning products that will effectively clean the surface of your RV toilet bowl: chemical-based products and chemical-free products. We highly recommend avoiding chemical cleaners in your RV. 
  2. Avoid bristle brushes if you have a plastic RV toilet bowl because they will scratch it. Use a silicone toilet brush instead. 

Standard RV toilets are very different from home toilets. Besides the obvious differences like plumbing and water use, RV toilets are often made from different materials. Additionally, your RV toilet does not flush into a septic system or city sewage system like your home toilet does, so what you use to clean your toilet bowl will also affect your holding tank. In this guide we will go over choosing the right cleaning products, proper cleaning tools to avoid damage, and some best practices to keep your RV toilet working properly!

Should You Clean an RV Toilet Bowl Differently than a Home Toilet?

The physical actions you take to clean your RV toilet bowl is no different from your home toilet. The big difference between cleaning your RV toilet and your home toilet is what type of product you’re using and what type of cleaning tool you are using. Chemical-based toilet cleaners are often used to clean home toilet bowls, but with RVs, chemical cleaners are not the best choice, especially if you are sticking to The Unique Method. The cheap toilet scrub brush at the grocery store won’t cut it for your RV toilet. Let’s explore the best products and cleaning tools for RV toilet bowls.

Is an RV Toilet Bowl Different from a Home Toilet Bowl?

RV toilet bowls are made very differently from home toilet bowls. RV manufacturers are always conscious of weight when it comes to building materials, and the entirety of most home toilets are made of thick porcelain – way too heavy to put in most RVs. It’s more common to see newer RVs containing porcelain bowls, but it’s not uncommon to see completely plastic toilets even in some newer models. To err on the side of safety, we always recommend using a soft bristled toilet brush, regardless of the type of toilet bowl your RV has to prevent damage to the bowl. Even porcelain bowls may contain plastic components in the flush ball that can scratch if you’re not using a soft bristled brush. Cleaning products are especially important because they will also affect your holding tank after the cleaning solution is flushed.

Which Toilet Bowl Cleaning Products are Best for RV Toilets?

All toilet cleaners can fit into two categories that are relevant for RVers:

  1. Chemical-based
  2. Chemical-free

It is important to understand the difference between these two types of toilet-cleaning products because choosing the wrong one can affect the efficiency of your entire wastewater system. 

Chemical-Based Toilet Bowl Cleaners

When we refer to chemical cleaners, we are talking about chlorine or bleach-based toilet bowl know, the types of products you might already find under your home sink. While the chemical components of these cleaners work well to remove residue from your RV toilet, what do you do when you’re done cleaning the toilet? That’s right, you flush all that chemical cleaner into the black tank. If you are using bacteria-based tank treatments, flushing this type of cleaner into the black tank will start killing off all the bacteria in the tank, halting waste breakdown. So by using these cleaners, you’re also flushing money down the drain because the bacteria-based treatment you added to the tank is suddenly rendered useless. Avoid flushing money down the toilet and the potential problems caused by avoiding chemical-based toilet cleaning products.

Note: For more information on why it’s a good thing to have bacteria in your holding tanks, refer to our guide on Why Bacteria and Enzymes Are Good for Your RV Holding Tanks.

Chemical-Free Toilet Bowl Cleaners

The best type of toilet bowl cleaning product for an RV is one that is chemical-free, won’t damage the toilet bowl, and will boost the bacteria colonies in your black tank, like Scrub-It RV toilet cleaner. The great thing about Unique’s RV toilet cleaner is that it actually adds a boost of breakdown energy to the bacteria in your black tank. Basically, every time you clean your toilet bowl, you will also be strengthening the breakdown process inside your RV black water holding tank!

Note: Just because Scrub-It adds a blend of bacteria and enzymes to your tank doesn’t mean frequent toilet bowl cleanings with this product will replace the need for adding actual tank treatments. You should still be adding a high-quality tank treatment, like Unique RV Digest-It Plus regularly to be sure your holding tank remains odor and clog free.

What is the Best RV Toilet Bowl Brush?

Plastic RV toilet bowls (or porcelain toilet bowls with plastic components) can be very susceptible to damage if you’re not using the right cleaning tools. Abrasive tools you might use in a hardy, home toilet will easily scratch a plastic toilet bowl, which could lead to small waste particles and bacteria getting trapped in the tiny grooves. If your toilet bowl is scratched, you might know for certain the toilet is clean, but it might look super dirty because of the waste stuck in the small valleys of the scratches. This leads many people to unnecessarily spend money on replacing the toilet bowl to remove unsightly scratches.

Instead of a stiff, bristled toilet brush, we recommend using a silicone toilet brush. These brushes do a wonderful job of cleaning the surface of the toilet bowl but are still soft enough to not cause damage. Specifically avoid using scouring pads of any kind because they can cause a lot of irreparable damage to the plastic or porcelain of the toilet bowl.

How to Use Unique RV Toilet Cleaner

  1. Put a small amount of water into your toilet bowl and spread it around with a silicone bristled brush.

    IMPORTANT: Remember, DO NOT use a traditional toilet brush, scouring pad, or anything that could scrape or scratch the interior of your RV toilet bowl.

  2. Apply Scrub-It evenly on the inside surface of your toilet bowl.
  3. Scrub thoroughly with your cleaning tool.
  4. Let sit for a few minutes, but don't let it dry out.
  5. Flush your toilet, and rinse it well. 


Certainly, there are many differences between your home toilet and RV toilet, and selecting a non-abrasive cleaning tool and a toilet bowl cleaner that won’t damage RV toilet bowls are very important. Here’s a brief review of what we covered:

  • Home toilets and RV toilets are very different and need to be cleaned differently.
  • There are two types of toilet cleaners:
    1. Chemical-based cleaners – ok for home toilets, bad for RV toilets.
    2. Chemical-free cleaners – like Scrub-It RV toilet cleaner.
  • Never use stiff, bristled toilet brushes in RV toilet bowls, especially plastic ones; this can scratch the plastic bowl and lead to waste particles and bacteria getting stuck and making a home in the grooves. Use a silicone toilet brush instead.

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