What is a cassette toilet?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What is a cassette toilet? We will explain how an RV cassette toilet works, how to maintain and clean it.  We will also give you recommendations on the best cassette toilets for RVs. 

What is a cassette toilet?

An RV cassette toilet is a self-contained type with an integrated and removable tank. So generally, but not always, cassette toilets are portable.

Cassette toilets are strong and durable. They use chemicals to break down solids and minimize odour. They have a removable tank (or “cassette”) with a capacity that ranges between 20 and 26 litres.

Some models incorporate a level indicator and a gas valve so that it does not produce odours. It is necessary to clean it when emptying it and in general, they have a bag and a harness to transport it when unloading or even on wheels.

Advantages of the cassette toilet:

  • Economic
  • Easy to install, no pipes needed that could freeze in winter
  • It can be portable, since they are self-contained, you do not need a fixed space in the mortorhome
  • It is not necessary to move the motorhome to unload it, you take the cassette out and unload it in a gas station, public restrooms or unloading areas

Disadvantages of the cassette toilet:

  • Having a smaller tank means it needs to be flushed more often. However, you can travel with an additional tank to increase capacity.
  • Manual handling to download
  • Tank can be heavy when full
  • Use chemicals, otherwise, they can produce odours.

The most popular brands of cassette toilets for RVs are Thetford, Coleman, Waterdog, Dometic and Practi Potty.

How to clean a cassette toilet?

Cassette toilets come with a list of recommended disinfectants for use in the sewage tank. Ultimately, you can get by with a simple mixture of water and bio-liquid detergent. The residue will be removed in liquid form, making it a clean and easy task to do. Afterwards, you can pour water and ammonia around the tank to keep it smelling fresh.

Buying a toilet with an airtight seal and flushing it often will do wonders to keep odours at bay and keep your van or RV smelling fresh.

How to avoid bad smells from an RV cassette toilet?

 To understand how a motorhome chemical toilet works, you have to know that black water can give off bad odours that are sometimes foul-smelling. This can be due to several things:

  • Improper use of chemicals: not enough blue product, inappropriate dosage, etc.
  • Oil changes that are not regular enough
  • Too much heat in your recreational vehicle

All these factors lead to a proliferation of bacteria responsible for bad odours.

Finding the right dosage can take time. The dosage depends on your lifestyle and the season. In summer with high heat, it may be necessary to overdose on the blue product. In winter, however, the cold slows the growth of bacteria, so you can use fewer chemicals.

To avoid bad odours in your chemical toilets, you must empty your cassette every 2 to 5 days.

It is possible to neutralize bad odours from chemical toilets in several ways:

 Now it’s up to you to choose the solution that best suits your lifestyle to maintain it.

How to make your cassette toilet last?

One of the disadvantages of having a cassette toilet is that liquids can freeze in winter. You don’t want to have to buy a ton of replacement parts every year, so knowing how to overwinter is a great solution. Green antifreeze is inexpensive and can be purchased at any RV dealer or online.

Quick dissolve toilet papers can be purchased and used with a cassette toilet. However, we recommend using a separate wastebasket for the toilet paper, to help the cassette toilet not end up clogging.

What toilet paper do I use for an RV cassette toilet?

Many of you are wondering, can we use regular toilet paper or do we need specific paper? It will all depend on your toilet, it is best to opt for single-ply toilet paper so that it can easily fall apart in your cassette. For dry toilet holders, you can therefore prefer unbleached recycled fibre toilet paper.

What to look for in a cassette toilet?

The most important criteria when looking for a cassette toilet for your RV is the adequate size and storage capacity. In a tight space in a van, size matters. A portable toilet should be small enough to fit in a confined space. A toilet with a sturdy lid can also be used as an extra seat for a desk or table. This makes proper height an important consideration.

If the bathroom is only removed for emergencies, choose something small and squat down. For dual-use seats, a taller cassette toilet might be more comfortable.

Consider how much time you want to spend searching for a dump station. Do you have more than one traveller? An average cassette toilet will last about 50 flushes. Having access to flush stations frequently can lead to a smaller toilet facility. On the other hand, if you want to be in nature for long periods of time, it may be better to choose something bigger.

A larger cassette toilet will weigh more than a smaller one. Deliberate the weight of the toilet when it is full, not the weight of the product itself. A toilet filled with chemicals will weigh up to 20 kilos. When it’s time to flush the toilet, that weight will need to be loaded and flushed into a flush station.

Characteristics of the cassette toilet:

  • Some cassette toilets come with a flush pump, and some come with a battery drain.
  • It can be difficult to see when a portable toilet is filling up. Some have coloured indicators that tell you when it is time to empty.
  • Lid closure: Be sure to choose a toilet with tight lid closure and a gasket between the upper and lower tanks, to reduce odour.
  • Carrying handles: you will be looking for a brand that can be easily carried to the unloading station.
  • Drain Spout: To avoid residue during cleaning, be sure to choose a brand that has an easy-to-drain spout.
  • Discharge nozzle: choose a three-way nozzle instead of a single one to keep things cleaner.

Our recommendations  for the best cassette toilets for RVs

  1. Thetford 92820 Porta Potti Qube 365
  • Dimensions (height x width x depth) 414 x 383 x 427 mm
  • Water tank capacity: 15 L
  • Waste tank level indicator: Yes
  1. BranQ – Toilet for Camping 1306
  • Volume: 22 liters.
  • Ideal cheap camping toilet
  • Very resistant
  1. HOMCOM Portable cassette toilet 
  • High safety
  • Ideal for the elderly, the sick, people with physical disabilities
  • Innovative design
  1. Domocamp cassette toilet
  • Perfect disintegration
  • Odour control for up to 5 days 
  • Ideal for the sewage tank.

The bottom line

The toilet of an RV does not work the same as the one at home. It is similar, yes, but in the WC of these “house vehicles,” the waste does not go down the drain but remains in a receptacle called a sewage tank, which has a hermetic lock that, in most of them, has a manual system.

Do you have any other questions regarding RV toilets? Don’t be afraid to ask!

FAQ on What is a cassette toilet?

Can you put a regular toilet in an RV?

We do not recommend putting a regular toilet in an RV unless you plan to transform your RV into a stationary home for a longer period. The main reason why you shouldn’t install a regular toilet in your RV is that a regular toilet, being made of porcelain, is harder to pin to the wall of an RV

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 cassette toilet work?

Here’s how an RV cassette 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.

How to dismantle an RV toilet?

To dismantle an RV toilet, you will need 10 pan-head screws to unscrew to release the toilet block, then screws in the floor will have to be found and unscrewed. Disconnect by locating all the wires and pipes that supply the toilet


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