What toilet paper (TP) should you use?

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The black tank and it’s ooey-gooey contents are one of the most feared aspects of RVing. One decision that people fret over is the type of toilet paper to use. I remember back in my Mom and Step-Dad’s boat- my wife would complain that she could barely wipe before the paper was dissolving.

Taking that experience and moving into our pop-up, we both feared the toilet paper but feared the cassette toilet even more. I did not want to have to deal with a clog in that thing as I dumped it by hand and could only imagine the angst and horror that would ensure. We used the special RV toilet paper (say Thetford’s Aqua-Soft or Scott’s Rapid Dissolve TP) then. We never had issues, but that stuff is EXPENSIVE. And it isn’t the best feeling. And it dissolves incredibly quickly. And… well, we used it.

But, There’s a Better Way

RV Sewer System
RV Sewer System

Truthfully, with the fifth wheel- we have never used a single square of RV-specific toilet paper. We just use what we use at home. As long as you’re using a sufficient amount of water with each flush, any toilet paper that indicates that it is septic safe is safe for use in your camper’s holding tank.

Again, I’ll repeat – use plenty of water with each flush and wipe with what you like. The only issue I’ve ever had with clogs was during Calamity #7 of my Comedy of Errors trip and that was simply because my visitors weren’t filling the bowl with water before doing “business” that required toilet paper.

Scientifically Proven

I’ll even dazzle you with science. Last year, my daughter’s science fair project was to determine which toilet paper would work best. Because we procrastinated, we actually didn’t include any RV-specific toilet papers. We contacted a handful of our closest friends and asked for a toilet paper sample (unused, of course!). All told, we had 6 different brands from Scott’s single-ply to Cottonelle (super-thick single-ply) to two different 2-ply papers.

Science Fair Tests
Science Fair Tests

We performed 2 different tests. The first test was simply putting the paper in water and checking its consistency at periodic intervals (1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and 24 hours). The second test was more of the classic, put the paper in water and agitate it at periodic intervals (1 minute and 5 minutes).

Science Fair Tests
Science Fair Tests

We found that Scott’s broke down the best but I personally wouldn’t ever feel clean after wiping with it. And Cottonelle (which is what we use) was the worst. The Scotts didn’t hold itself together barely at all and was immediately safe for dumping. The Cotonelle did break down eventually but stuck together the most. Our conclusion- our preference stays and our TP doesn’t change.

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