Is RV Toilet Paper Necessary?

  • 6 min read

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Key Points:

  1. RV toilet paper tends to be more expensive for less product and less quality, and it can be exceedingly uncomfortable.
  2. Several standard brands of toilet paper will work just as well as RV toilet paper and aren’t any more likely to cause clogs than RV toilet paper will.
  3. Use the toilet paper test to determine if your preferred brand of toilet paper is okay to use in your RV.
  4. Treat your black tank with lots of water and a high-quality, waste digesting tank product, which will help break down all kinds of toilet paper.

“Rapidly dissolving toilet paper...just how rapidly are we talking? I don’t want to play Beat-the-Clock-in-the-Thicket.” Comedian Bill Engvall quipped about the risky feeling of using fast-dissolving camper toilet paper long ago, and many new campers wonder the same thing. Will I have enough time to finish business before it dissolves? Do I really need such a specialized type of toilet paper in an RV? The short answer is no, you really don’t. In the current economy, you really have to watch product prices and get as much as you can for as little cost as possible. You won’t accomplish that if you choose to use RV toilet paper because it often demands more money for less product and less quality. But if you are one of those who insists on only using RV toilet paper, we have some affordable options that we will cover. In this article, we will discuss some of the differences between RV toilet paper and regular toilet paper, a value/cost analysis between RV toilet paper and regular toilet paper, and even an easy test you can perform to make sure your preferred brand is okay for your holding tank.


Differences Between RV Toilet Paper and Regular Toilet Paper

What are the differences between regular toilet paper and RV toilet paper? That’s easy.

  • Cost - specifically labeled RV toilet paper is nearly always more expensive than the same amount of regular toilet paper
  • Comfort - RV toilet paper is usually more coarse and isn’t very comfortable to use
  • Quantity - even though you pay more for it, you usually get much less than you would for the same price of regular toilet paper

Specifically labeled RV toilet paper or septic-safe toilet paper is usually labeled as rapidly dissolving, which is why they claim it’s better for RV and septic tank use. However, there are quite a few brands that sell regular toilet paper that dissolves just as quickly as RV toilet paper, is less expensive, there’s more in the package, and it is much more comfortable on your skin. RV toilet paper also tends to be thinner or just 1-ply, which means that you’ll probably use more to “get the job done,” and you’ll be spending more money because you run out faster; so the difference in a nutshell is this:

  • RV toilet paper costs you more for lower quality and quantity and you may be using more of it to finish your bathroom trip, necessitating the purchase of more much sooner.
  • Certain brands of regular home TP cost less for higher quality, more product, and still dissolve properly for RV holding tanks.

Some brands are better to use in your RV holding tank, so consider carefully when you buy; if in doubt, use the toilet paper test to be absolutely sure your chosen TP hits high marks.


Toilet Paper Test

Are you ready for some scientific experimentation! If you have a specific brand of toilet paper you’d like to use in your RV, but want to be sure it will be acceptable to use in your tank, administer this simple test.

  1. Take a clear jar and fill it about halfway full with water.
  2. Place two clean squares of your chosen toilet paper brand in there.
  3. Screw on the lid tightly, and shake for about five seconds.
  • If the toilet paper breaks up into a bunch of tiny pieces, this is probably a preferable brand to use in your holding tank.
  • If it doesn’t or only breaks up into a couple large chunks, you may want to find another brand that dissolves better or use a high-quality bacteria and enzyme tank treatment, like Unique RV Digest-It.

Note:To be clear, this test will only be accurate if you shake the jar for a few seconds. If you shake it long enough, almost any type of paper will dissolve and break into chunks. Shaking for only a few seconds will let you know if it’s designed to break down quickly regardless of any jostling.


Cost Analysis – RV Toilet Paper vs. Regular Toilet Paper

If you performed the toilet paper test on your preferred brand, and it did not produce the expected results, there are quite a few brands you can choose from that dissolve just fine without the high price tag that comes along with products specifically labeled for RV use. Many in the RVing community have held the following home brands up as equally effective as RV-specific toilet paper.


Regular Toilet Paper

Brand Roll Count Amazon Per Roll
Angel Soft 36 rolls, 425 sheets each $54.85 $1.52
Kirkland 36 rolls, 425 sheets each $35.40 $0.98
Scott 36 rolls, 100 sheets each $49.40 $1.37
Seventh Generation 48 rolls, 240 sheets each $37.00 $0.77
Great Value 18 rolls, 308 sheets each $23.00 $1.27

**Prices as of 12/1/2021


Buying the above brands in large quantities keeps the per roll cost down to about a dollar and a half each or much less. Compare the per roll prices above to some of the per roll prices of specifically labeled RV or septic safe brands below.

Note: Some brands do not sell RV-specific toilet paper rolls in packs larger than four, eight, or ten, which is why the quantities in the following table vary so drastically.


RV/Septic Safe Toilet Paper

Brand Roll Count Amazon Per Roll
Thetford Aqua Soft 24 rolls, 396 sheets each $45.90 $1.91
Camco 12 rolls, 500 sheets each 31.95 $3.09
Freedom Living 8 rolls, 500 sheets each $24.95 $3.12
Scott Rapid Dissolving 48 rolls, 231 sheets each $32.88 $0.69
Valterra 40 rolls, 400 sheets each $84.88 $2.12

**Prices as of 12/1/2021


Scott Rapid Dissolving toilet paper is the one exception in this list that offers an agreeable price point, but it’s clear that RV toilet paper in general demands more money for inferior comfort and quantity. Simplify your life by choosing a product from the regular toilet paper chart or confirming your favorite brand will break down well in your RV by administering the toilet paper test. Then you’re only buying one brand for your home and your RV!


Treatment Products Make a Dissolving Difference

It’s true; the type of treatment product you choose to use in your black water tank will hasten or halt the breakdown of toilet paper of any kind. Even the faster dissolving toilet paper can benefit from a treatment product that will assist in the breakdown process. The best way to do this is using a high-quality, waste-digesting tank treatment like Unique RV Digest-It, which inserts aerobic (good) bacteria into the tank that will break down waste and toilet paper without increasing current odors. Any time you use bacteria-based treatments like this, you’ll also need to use plenty of water in your black tank. Enough water not only keeps waste and TP wet and broken up, it’s also one of the crucial elements aerobic bacteria need to reach and break down the waste and toilet paper efficiently. The best way to ensure your bacteria-based tank treatment is at the peak of its breakdown potential is to follow The Unique Method, a 50/50 tank care approach of using the right products coupled with the right care habits.

There are some treatment products that we recommend avoiding because from our testing and feedback from the RVing community, we find they actually hinder waste breakdown rather than accelerate it:

  • Happy Campers
  • Walex Porta Pak
  • Walex Commando
  • Camco TST Max Liquid
  • Thetford Aqua-Kem, Campa Chem, and Aqua-Max
  • Thetford Tank Blaster

Unique RV Digest-It will provide all the benefits these products claim to deliver with little impact to humans or the environment.


Review

Choosing toilet paper for your RV doesn’t have to be time-consuming or financially painful. Here’s a brief review of our recommendations regarding toilet paper use in RVs:

  • RV toilet paper and regular toilet paper aren’t that different in construction, but share huge differences in value.
    • RV toilet paper tends to be much more expensive for less product, lower quality and comfort, and often you have to use more of it to finish business, which could lead to clogs and spending money on more TP sooner.
    • Regular toilet paper brands may be just fine for use in your RV; there are several that dissolve just as well as RV toilet paper and offer lower cost, higher quality, comfortable on the skin, and waste is reduced because you use less to “get the job done.”
  • Administer the toilet paper test to see if your preferred brand will dissolve well in the holding tank.
  • Choose a high-quality, waste-digesting tank treatment to aid in the breakdown process of the toilet paper, which will help avoid clogs and sensor misreadings.





Adopt The Unique Method

You bought your RV so you could enjoy life and spend time with family and friends. The last thing you want to do is waste precious time and money on fixing wastewater holding tank problems. Keeping your tanks in peak operating condition doesn’t have to be hard, confusing, or expensive if you follow our proven process: The Unique Method.

The Unique Method is a comprehensive tank care plan that we developed after years of conversations with real customers facing real problems. The Unique Method provides you with simple, preventative steps to stop odors, clogs, and sensor problems before they start so you can spend less time worrying about your holding tanks and more time enjoying the freedom and adventure of RVing. Try it yourself and see why thousands of campers trust their RVs with The Unique Method every day.

If you need more help with anything covered in this guide or simply have a comment, we’re here to help you anytime!

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