Can you put tampons in an RV toilet?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you put tampons in an RV toilet? Although a sensitive topic for some, it is a matter that every RV owner must know. We will explain how RV toilets work and what to do if you manage to clog one!

Can you put tampons in an RV toilet?

In theory yes, you can put tampons in an RV toilet, but we DO NOT recommend it! Although tampons are biodegradable in landfills, they cannot be processed by wastewater-treatment facilities and can clog your RV toilet and damage your recreational vehicle’ septic system. 

Can I dispose of tampons if I have an RV septic tank?

Yes, if you use 100% cotton tampons, they can biodegrade in septic tanks or chemical toilets.

No, if you use conventional tampons, because they are generally made with plastic wrap that interferes with their division and biodegradation.

Biodegradable and disposable, is it the same? No! Think of a 100% cotton t-shirt. That it is made from natural materials means that it would be completely biodegradable and would return to the earth when left in the ground (humus). However, the journey from our RV toilet to the sewage is relatively quick, and along the way there are a few hairpin turns and tight areas to get around. This is why only pee, poop, and toilet paper are appropriate.

So what should I do with my used tampons?

It is always a good idea to have a trash can next to the RV toilet, ideally with a biodegradable bag inside. The most common and simplest practice is to wrap your tampon in toilet paper and put it in the trash. If you empty the basket regularly, there should be no problem.

How does the toilet of an RV work?

Most RV toilets are composed of two fundamental elements; the sewage tank, which functions as a receiver for waste and the tank, where the pink liquid is deposited, which aromatizes and disinfects when flushing, to keep the device clean.

On the other hand, the hatch that divides the sewage compartment from the entrance is also important, in this way, it is possible to keep the strong smell of chemicals at bay. However, it is advisable to open the toilet lid only when it is going to be used and close it immediately afterwards.

Generally, the chemical toilet has a light or coloured plastic that indicates when the tank is reaching its maximum capacity. It is important to be attentive to this element to carry out the emptying on time, in this way we can avoid unpleasant accidents.

The use of these devices is very simple, to begin, you have to place the clean water and the blue additive liquid in the sewage tank, to help break down the waste. Likewise, it is important to fill the cistern with the pink substance that is used to perfume and cleans the cup. If you have already carried out these basic steps, then you can open the hatch that serves as the separation between the toilet bowl and the tank, so that the excrement can fall inside.

Once the needs have been done, it is time to pull the chain, pressing the corresponding button depending on the model. Some expert users recommend flushing the toilet before using the toilet, since the cleaning liquid helps to prevent the excrement from adhering to the bowl, making subsequent cleaning easier.

How to empty the RV toilet?

This is the process most feared by beginner users, due to indirect contact with its content, however, it is good to know that due to chemical additives and cleaning substances, these faecal residues do not have the characteristic odours, therefore, it is much less unpleasant than some think.

However, it is essential to take into account certain precautions when emptying the waste. First of all, it is advisable to use rubber gloves, because the chemicals used to break down organic matter are very toxic to the skin. This is one of the reasons why the toilet deposits should be emptied only in the sites-enabled for this purpose, such as service areas and campsites.

It is good to note at this point that some tanks can weigh 20 kg or more, therefore, it will take the participation of two people to transfer it to the place of emptying. However, some models have wheels for easy transport.

A chemical toilet drain is easy to recognize, as it is similar to a bidet, so it has a hose and in some cases, it also has a metal element to help dump the tank. In this way, you only have to unscrew the cap of the tube and proceed to turn the mouth of the container towards the drain. 

What to do if my RV toilet is clogged?

If your RV toilet is clogged (because of tampons or not), follow the below tips:

  1. Use a plunger: This is a fairly simple solution and one of the most popular drain unblocking equipment. Sometimes it only takes one or two tries and your problem can be fixed in a matter of seconds:

First, make sure there is water in the tub or sink. If there is not already, add 2 to 3 cm;

Next, block any adjoining drain or vent to ensure that there is only one air inlet in the clogged drain;

Then cover the drain completely with the diver’s head, which should form a suction cup from which air cannot escape;

Using both hands, push and pull the diver’s head up and down. It doesn’t matter which way the air passes, as long as movement is created in the drain to dislodge the blockage;

After a few back-and-forth movements, remove the plunger to see if the water is flowing. Then repeat these gestures if necessary. It might take three or four attempts to dislodge some blockages.

  1. Use a mix of baking soda and vinegar: Baking soda and vinegar, when mixed together, can create an impressive chemical reaction that can also be mildly corrosive. This recipe can sometimes eat away at what is clogging your drain.

Just mix the two ingredients. As soon as everything starts to sparkle, pour the mixture down the clogged drain and fetch some boiling water to rinse off the corroded debris.

  1. Or, baking soda and salt: Another potential chemical reaction that you may be able to create from ingredients in your kitchen can be achieved with a mixture of salt and baking soda.

Mix 125 ml (1/2 cup) of baking soda with 125 ml (1/2 cup) of salt and pour everything down the drain.

About 20 minutes later, add boiling water to it. Pour the water down the drain and watch the chemical reaction take place.

  • Some alternative cleaning products for your RV tank are Cascade Platinum Pods, Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda or Drano Max Gel Hose Unblockers. 

Fixing a clogged drain sometimes takes creativity, but sometimes it’s not enough. In this case, call on the real specialist: the plumber!

The bottom line

The way RV toilets work is not so complicated, really. We recommend you read our other articles on how to properly use, clean, maintain and repair an RV toilet for more tips and tricks on an easy journey! 

Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on Can you put tampons in an RV toilet?

Why shouldn’t we throw wipes in the toilet?

We shouldn’t throw wipes in the toilets because it entails a risk for your individual sanitation system (pipe blocked by your wipes) but also for the collective sanitation system (wastewater is no longer collected and cannot be drained into the collector).

Where to throw sanitary tampons?

If you don’t know where to throw your tampon, wrap it (either discreetly with toilet paper or in the wrapping paper of your new tampon) and throw it in the trash. After all, it’s as easy to throw it in the trash as it is in the toilet. Make sure to throw the applicator in the trash as well.

Does cotton block the toilet?

Yes, cotton can blog the toilet, because it cannot dissolve in water. Instead, cotton your toilet, especially cotton swabs that can get stuck in the pipes.

Can you use flushable wipes in an RV toilet?

No, you should not use flushable wipes in an RV toilet! Truth is, flushable wipes and not that flushable and frequently clog pipes, are sometimes found in rivers, and are a plague for wastewater treatment plants.

How to clean an RV toilet bowl?

To clean your motorhome toilet: Thoroughly dry the gaskets and the valve and coat them with Thetford Lubricant Spray. Wipe them off with a cloth or sheet of toilet paper

How does an RV chemical toilet work?

Here’s how an RV chemical toilet works: With the chemical product, like a water treatment plant, faeces are broken down in the toilet with the help of bacteria. The tank also contains perfume substances to prevent bad odours.

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