RV toilet paper. Believe it or not, it’s a common topic of discussion among new AND seasoned RVers alike. We’d be willing to bet that almost everyone who has ever owned any type of motorhome or camper with a toilet and a black tank has either participated in this conversation or has done some Googling into the question of whether or not some sort of special toilet paper is necessary for the toilet paper to be “safe” for their RV toilet.
We’re here today to tell you that “RV toilet paper” is a ruse…and an expensive one at that. And it’s not even the cost that’s the worst part. So we’re just going to be blunt here and say out loud that we’ve never seen a product specifically sold and marketed as “RV Toilet Paper” that wasn’t absolute ???? from a quality standpoint.
If we’d fallen for this without doing our own research and experimentation, just imagine the extra money we’d have… uh… flushed down the toilet… over our nearly two decades of full-time RVing — on lousy-quality toilet paper of all things! ????
That said, if we had a dollar for every time we’ve been asked about “RV-safe toilet paper,” we’d be rich (especially if we were to add in the money we’ve saved buying our regular, ordinary toilet paper over all these years). So, let’s get to the big question…
Is it OK to Use Regular Toilet Paper in an RV?
The short answer is yes, with some clarification to follow. But before we go any further, let’s be clear: toilet paper is one product. “Flushable wipes” are something else entirely. So don’t confuse or equate the two. They’re not the same.
We’re not talking about flushable anything here, other than toilet paper. We don’t recommend flushing ANY kind of “wipes” down your RV toilet. And we don’t think you’d appreciate the end results, were you to do that. Wipes don’t break down, and you don’t want them in your RV toilet, septic system, or sewer.
Now that we’ve flushed that out of the way (sorry), let’s get back to the topic at hand.
We’re confident in telling you that it’s OK to use regular toilet paper in an RV for several reasons. First, we’ve tested regular toilet paper (more on that below), and more importantly, we’ve used regular toilet paper in both of our RVs for nearly two decades, without a single issue.
And if our first-hand experience over all these years of full-time RVing doesn’t convince you, well — that would really stink (again, sorry).
What Makes RV Toilet Paper Special?
Not much, really – other than its “special” pricing and inferior quality. “RV Toilet Paper” is the polar opposite of the old saying “You get what you pay for.” Quite the contrary, if you go into the camping section of any store that has one and find “RV Toilet Paper” there, you can rest assured that you’ll pay more for it than just about any other brand on the market. And in the name of being safe to put into your black tank, the quality is so poor that it will fall apart in your hand during use. Need we be more graphic? We think you get the idea.
The only thing you really need to consider when buying toilet paper for use in your RV is whether or not your bathroom tissue will break down in your black tank. If not, too much of it could plug up the system. And you don’t want to know how that ends!
Let’s look at a couple of the most common, popular toilet paper brands to see if they might qualify as RV-safe toilet paper.
Is Scott Toilet Paper Safe for an RV?
The most well-known variety of Scott toilet paper (single-ply 1,000-sheets-per-roll) is absolutely RV safe. But Scott, along with many other companies, also uses some marketing hocus-pocus to get you to buy their special “rapid-dissolving” toilet paper made especially for RVs and boats.
Scott’s famous 1,000 sheets-per-roll toilet paper is a single-ply tissue that has always been billed as “septic safe and sewer safe.” With the popularity of RVing and the equally popular ruse of telling RVers that we need to use special toilet paper made just for RVs (and boats), some toilet tissue companies seem to be taking marketing advantage. There’s just no reason to spend more to get something you don’t need, sacrificing quality in the process.
For example, if you look at the Amazon product description for regular Scott brand toilet tissue, here’s what you’ll find:
“Scott 1000 bathroom tissue dissolves quickly, so it’s kinder to your plumbing and is sewer-safe and septic-safe. Scott 1000’s fast-acting break-up makes it safe for RV or boat use as well.”
Here’s the product:
- 32 REGULAR-SIZED ROLLS: 32 rolls of Scott 1000 Toilet Paper, 1-ply—the same trusted performance and long-lasting rolls, now with a new look;...
- A TRUSTED BRAND: For generations, you’ve trusted Scott—our septic-safe toilet paper uses clog-free technology, lasts longer and dissolves faster*...
Prices fluctuate, but as of this writing, Scott’s plain old ordinary toilet paper (used in sticks & bricks houses everywhere) is priced at $16.47 for 32 rolls of 1,000 sheets each. That works out to about $0.51 per roll or about 5¢ per 100 single-ply sheets.
But look what else we found on Amazon — Scott’s “Rapid-Dissolving” toilet paper “Made For RVs & Boats” with a current price of $35.99 for 48 rolls, also single-ply. That works out to about $0.75 per roll, which at first glance appears to be only about 50% more expensive than the regular Scott variety at $0.51 per roll.
But the special/magic/exclusive RV toilet paper only has 231 sheets on a roll! That works out to an actual price of about 32.5¢ per 100 single-ply sheets, or MORE THAN SIX TIMES THE PRICE!
AND… without having personally tried this specific magic “RV toilet paper,” we can tell you from the experiences we’ve had with similar brands how they probably achieve their magical fast-dissolving qualities. They make it so that it will fall apart far more quickly than required. So quickly, in fact, that these types of toilet papers fall apart from just the pressure of a single finger! (sorry… did we get too close to being graphic there?!)
As mentioned, prices vary. But these are the lowest prices we could find at this time for these two toilet paper choices. SO WHY WOULD YOU PAY FAR MORE FOR SOMETHING INFERIOR THAT YOU DON’T EVEN NEED?! To make matters even worse, because of the flimsy nature of “RV toilet paper,” you’ll need to use even more of it with each use.
Marketing Scott’s “special” RV toilet paper as “rapid-dissolving” is almost certainly fair because it surely does dissolve rapidly. But what they’re not telling you is that Scott’s regular toilet paper, found on grocery shelves everywhere, also dissolves quickly. And in fact, it dissolves rapidly enough to be used safely in RV toilets.
Even Scott admits this when they state in their advertising that their regular toilet paper is “Safe for RV, boat, and camper use.” If you ask us, the whole thing is pretty crappy.
Is Costco Toilet Paper RV Safe?
Well, this one we can answer from personal experience — a whole lot of experience. We’re avid Costco shoppers, and our favorite brand of toilet paper just happens to be Kirkland, which is Costco’s house brand.
Kirkland is a very popular brand of toilet paper. In fact, according to Reader’s Digest, Costco’s best-selling item is — you guessed it — Kirkland toilet paper!
If you want to know if Costco’s Kirkland toilet paper is safe to use in your RV, we’re here to tell you that it absolutely is. We base that statement on data we’ve compiled ourselves over nearly two decades of use in two different RVs. We’ve never had a problem. Not once.
Kirkland toilet paper isn’t as inexpensive as Scott’s regular 1,000-sheets-per-roll variety. But it’s our favorite because it’s strong and soft at the same time… and 2-ply, too. And even at $20 for their 30-roll pack (which is the current online price, though again that will vary at warehouses), that works out to about 17.5¢ per hundred sheets (30 rolls with 380 sheets each). But since they’re 2-ply, and you can use less of it each time, it’s really closer to half that price when compared to the Scott tissue.
How to Test if Your Toilet Paper is RV-Safe
Not enough testing for you? Have your own favorite brand? You can test it yourself. In fact, you can test ANY toilet paper the same way we demonstrated in the video below. We’d suggest starting with your family’s favorite to see if you can use it on your RV.
Following along with the video above, here are the steps for a simple test for safe RV toilet paper. This test works with any type or brand of toilet paper, both single-ply and 2-ply, regardless of whether the packaging specifies “RV-safe” or not.
- Fill a glass jar about halfway with water.
- Put two squares/sheets of toilet paper inside the jar.
- Put the lid on the jar and tighten it.
- Shake the jar for 5-10 seconds.
If the toilet paper falls apart into little pieces, then it’s RV safe.
For comparison, try the same test with a tissue – not toilet tissue, but a regular facial tissue from a box. We tried this test as well, and no matter how much we shook the jar, the tissue didn’t break down, an indication that it’s not safe for your RV toilet, or your home toilet either. So don’t flush facial tissues down your RV toilet!
Is There a Limit to How Much Toilet Paper I Should Use?
Yes. Even with toilet paper that you’ve tested and know will break down, using giant wads of it can cause problems.
First of all, the opening at the bottom of your RV toilet is only so large… so if you wrap half a roll of toilet paper around your hand each time you use the toilet, you could be in trouble. That large ball of toilet paper could easily block up the toilet, preventing it from flushing completely (or at all!).
Secondly, even if it DOES flush down, a large ball of toilet paper is less likely to break up completely in the tank. That could leave a big chunk of it floating around… one that’s large enough to block up the pipe and/or valve for your black tank drain. And if THAT happens, you could be in a whole world of hurt the next time you try to dump your black tank.
So, use enough TP to get the job done, but try to avoid using too much. It could cause you serious trouble down the road!
We’re left to conclude that anything specifically advertised as “RV-safe toilet paper” is a ruse – a marketing trick designed to get RVers, especially new RVers, to spend more money on a product they’re being told is safer for their RV than regular toilet paper. No, it’s not. It’s a marketing ploy, and we’re not falling for it. Pass the word to your fellow RVers, and join the… movement. ????
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