Difference Between Normal & RV Toilet Paper

RV toilet paper and normal toilet paper look very much alike so does it even make sense purchasing RV toilet paper? Let's take a closer look at why there's NO alternative.

Are you going on a trip in your RV and wondering which RV toilet paper you should bring on the jouney? Unlike your average bathroom essentials, the toilet paper you’re bringing with you must pass a specific standard.

RV toilet paper is different from regular toilet paper in a few different ways – it dissolves faster and is more refined in the water. It’s really what separates RV toilet paper brands from other toilet paper brands that are intended for household use.

The fast dissolution is imperative for a cassette toilet to prevent bathroom issues that could lead to nightmarish situations on your next trip.

However, that type of toilet paper isn’t exactly cheap – which probably got you wondering whether or not you could just use the toilet paper you have at home. Luckily that’s exactly what I’ll be covering in the next few minutes. Tag along.

Do you actually need RV toilet paper?

The short answer is yes. RV toilet paper is a must for your road trip or long-term RV life. You can use normal toilet paper but it won’t be as smooth.

Some argue that RV toilet paper is simply a waste of money as it comes in at a higher price while doing the exact same as regular toilet paper.

However, that’s really not the case. It’s fast dissolving which prevents clogging. If you ask a bunch of RVers, the majority of them would probably be able to tell you the story of how they once clogged their RV toilet.

💡 Note: It might be a good idea to learn what to do if you end up clogging your toilet.

It’s something that happens quite often. I’ve tried it myself a few times. And let me tell you, cleaning a tank that’s all clogged up because of toilet paper is not exactly an experience worth trying more than once 🙂

I ended up purchasing the AmazonCommercial 2-ply toilet paper and I’ve been more than satisfied with it. You’ll pay just around $20 for a box of 24 rolls so it’s somewhat affordable.

Source: Amazon

It’s quick dissolvable and 100% biodegradable. You can also find a bunch of other alternatives on Amazon but they likely won’t be as affordable.

What’s the difference between RV toilet paper & regular toilet paper?

The primary difference between RV toilet paper and regular toilet paper lies in the types of materials they are made of.

Sure, both types of toilet paper share standard components such as bits of fibers, hardwood, and softwood. But RV toilet papers have different manufacturing standards that correspond to the sensitivity of the RV toilet sewage system.

Simply put, with RV toilet paper, you can flush it without the risk of clogging the toilet or causing unspeakable damage to the black water tank.

A household type of toilet paper is designed with strength and softness in mind. Although these two attributes seem to be contrasting, manufacturers have found the right materials and protocol to produce the optimum toilet paper. 

Hence, some brands with strong and thick toilet paper are naturally hard to dissolve in water which makes them far from suitable for your cassette toilet.

Why use RV toilet paper over regular toilet paper?

man holding toilet roll in hand
Image credits: Clay Banks

There’s no doubt, toilet paper that’s built for RVs should be preferred over regular toilet paper when you’re hitting the roads. But if you’re still in doubt, let’s go over some of the key features that makes the toilet paper THAT much better.

Dissolvability

This is by far the most sensible reason why you should ditch the regular toilet paper and convert to a more dissolvable alternative.

The rapid ability of this type of toilet paper to dissolve is one of the reasons why you don’t experience toilet clogs on the road. It’ll quickly disintegrate before accumulating in the black water tank.

Unlike regular toilet paper, which is made of multiple sheets of paper, toilet paper built for RVs is made of paper clumps fused together.

Once the paper touches the water, you’ll see the chunks break apart. It’s critical as the black water tank that collects the wastewater and whatnot is relatively small. Therefore, the volume decreases if the toilet paper is deposited in fine pieces.

Additionally, the RV is constantly moving. Hence, you could be rocking the tank constantly. However, if it’s filled with intact toilet paper and waste, it could be one shake away from disaster. That’s why a dissolvable alternative is generally regarded as septic safe.

But how long does it take for RV toilet paper to dissolve?

A piece of RV toilet paper can dissolve four times longer than residential ones. On average, it could take about 3 to 5 minutes for the RV toilet paper to disintegrate. Some brands have their toilet paper break apart for even less than a minute.

Biodegradability

Dissolvability often goes hand-in-hand with biodegradability. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find both terms used interchangeably.

However, there are critical differences between the two. If we’re talking about the rate of solubility, naturally, we are referring to dissolvability. This includes water as the solvent that dissolves the material almost 100% of the time.

On the other hand, biodegradability involves the work of microorganisms breaking down the material.

Toilet papers, in general, are biodegradable as they are made of wood fibers. But some brands decompose faster than others. In an RV situation, biodegradability plays a role in the continuous breakdown of toilet paper in the sewer tank. As one of your goals is to reduce clumpy or bulky wastes or materials, choosing a highly biodegradable RV toilet paper is beneficial.

Softness

Despite the apparent need for RV toilet paper to dissolve fast, it’s still hard to sacrifice the comfort and softness you get from regular toilet paper. 

However, you may not know it, but RV toilet paper can still be soft and fast dissolving at the same time.

A pivotal choice to achieve this texture lies in your choice of ply. I’d recommended you get 2-ply toilet paper instead of 1. Most 2-ply toilet papers are non-scratchy with softness that could cradle your bottom.

Nonetheless, some RV enthusiasts still pack 1-ply toilet paper because they assume that it’s going to dissolve faster. While there may be some truth to this claim, you’ll probably need more sheets when you use 1-ply toilet paper. As a result, you’re using instead of saving more papers.

What happens if you use regular toilet paper instead of RV toilet paper?

If you prefer using residential toilet paper over more dissolvable toilet paper, you might experience problems in your black water tank or sewer tank.

Since regular toilet papers dissolve rather slowly than their RV counterpart, the likelihood of these sheets balling up and accumulating in the tank is high.

Nevertheless, you can still use regular toilet paper in the bathroom, provided that you don’t flush it in the toilet. You can dispose the used toilet paper in the bin and discard the wastes in designated areas within your travel.

But honestly, get the RV toilet paper. I’ve tried to use normal toilet paper because I didn’t want to spend the extra money and it really wasn’t worth it. I’m all in on dissolvable toilet paper.

Final thoughts

When it comes to RVing, having a toolbox of knowhow about which items to bring can draw the line between fun and misery. I’ve been in your shoes before.

Imagine bringing tons of residential toilet paper with industry-grade strength that takes forever to dissolve. You’ll quickly find yourself with a clogged toilet and a problem every RVer dread.

With that, it’s best to buy RV toilet paper for your trip. It dissolves faster while retaining the soft texture for your tush. It might be pricier than regular toilet paper, but surely, it’s worth it.

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Jakob Staudal

I love to spend time outside and reconnect with nature every now and then and cut-off all the noise from social media and everyday life.