How to Fix RV Toilet Smells Bad When Flushed?

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Last Updated on March 28, 2022 by Ted Mosby

Struggling to fix the RV toilet stinks issue? Keep on reading the post to find the best solutions to this unpleasant and uncomfortable problem.

Having an RV means you have got a second home that you can take along with you no matter where you go. You can leave the city hustle behind, pack your stuff, and hit the road to explore peaceful places, breathtaking sceneries, and introduce yourself to nature to soothe your mind and soul.

However, one factor that you don’t want to discuss, but it’s quite crucial, is your RV’s holding tanks. It can be anything but glamorous. But you cannot overlook your recreational sewer tank as well, and in doing so, you will feel remorse about it.

If you want to become a successful RVer, you have got two options.

The first one is either you don’t use your recreational vehicle toilet at all (which can be achieved by staying at places with bathroom facilities) or to learn everything about your RV’s sewer system and how it works.

The second option would be great to consider since you will have your own private bathroom facility when on the road. However, to understand the RV sewer system, you have to learn how to empty and clean your RV’s holding tanks, as well as the know-how to handle displeasing odors that can arise anytime.

That being said, there are multiple places a sewer smell can come from, and the most noticeable of them is when the smell is coming directly from the toilet after you flush.

In that case, the very first question that will cross your mind is – why does my RV toilet stink when flushed? Followed by How to fix RV toilet smells when flushed?

This post will discuss everything related to RV toilet stinks and how you can fix that.

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So, let’s get started!

How to Fix RV Toilet Smells When Flushed?

Most of the time, the RV toilet stinking issue can be solved by DIY, and you don’t have to call a plumber – but not always.

If your RV toilet stinks, follow the below techniques to fix it by DIY,

1. Checking Damage or Leakage in RV Sewer System

RV Waste System

Your first step should be to check the RV sewer system to figure out if there is any damage or leakage. If your RV sewer line, tank, or toilet is damaged, you have to replace it by yourself.

But if you think you aren’t confident doing that by yourself, there is no shame in calling an expert.

However, if you have found a leakage anywhere in your RV sewer system, and more importantly, in your RV’s black water tank, you should consult with a dealer. Replacing the entire tank of your RV because of the leakage means you have to shell out a considerable amount of dollars ($350 to $600).

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Moreover, it will also leave you without your RV for three or more days.

The bottom line is, if your RV toilet, blackwater tank, or sewer line has leakage issues bring it to a dealer who can properly solve the issue.

2. Cleanliness of your RV Toilet

Cleanliness of your RV Toilet

Keeping your RV toilet clean all the time means it will eliminate the risk of any clog in the system. If an odor is coming directly from your RV toilet, you should deep clean it. But before that, you should make sure that you have checked all the sewer systems of your RV, and there is no clog, leakage, or damage.

Regularly cleaning your RV toilet also means that your RV’s black water tank will not be clogged, which will help to keep things running efficiently. However, even after cleaning your toilet, your RV toilet stinks still, you should add it to your RV maintenance expenses and bring your RV to an expert who can clean and maintain the sewer line, toilet, blackwater, tank, and toilet.

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For your assistance, here is how you can deeply clean your RV toilet to stop it from stinking,

How to Deeply Clean RV Toilet?

1. Clean and Scour the Blackwater Tank

Before cleaning your RV toilet, cleaning your RV’s black water tank would be great. Although it is a time-consuming process, if you are doing it for the first time or haven’t cleaned it for a long time, it could help you to fix the RV toilet stink issue.

If your RV toilet smells bad when flushed, chances are there is a dry build-up inside the tank. Keep flushing the toilet to get a good water flow against the blackwater tank’s sidewalls.

2. Use Cleaner to Get Off the Dried Built-Up

The next thing you have to do is to use a cleaner to get off the dried built-up of the blackwater tank. You should use a blackwater tank cleaner or pine-sol. This process is enough if you do it periodically and if your system is running smoothly.

3. Clean the Toilet Flapper

You should check the seal of the Flapper to determine whether it is properly sealed. If your RV toilet flapper is not sealing properly, it indicates that there is debris caught up on it.

In that case, use a wet rag to deeply clear whatever is caught in the toilet flapper.

Instead of using a chemical cleaner that can damage your RV toilet, consider using a toilet bowl cleaner. However, you can also find cleaners made specifically to Clean RV toilets.

Moreover, instead of using a bristle brush, I suggest using a handled sponge to keep the toilet materials safe.

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Furthermore, when cleaning your RV toilet, make sure that the cleaner covers all the bowl surfaces and then wait for at least ten minutes.

After that, flush the toilet and rinse it to make sure it remains wet.

3. Keep your RV Toilet Maintained Properly

Keep your RV Toilet Maintained Properly

Another best practice to eliminate the chances of your RV toilet stinking after the flushing issue is to keep it well-maintained. The above-mentioned ways should be a part of your regular RV cleaning schedule while rinsing the blackwater tank is muse each time your dump the tank.

Using RV-specific blackwater tank cleaners each time after dumping the tank will help you to eliminate the waste build-up chances inside the tank. Moreover, using RV enzyme toilet cleaning tablets is also a good way to keep things running smoothly.

The last and most important thing about your RV sewer system that also helps to prevent RV toilet stinking is it needs sufficient water to run smoothly.

If you often deal with chronic smell issues or dry build-up inside the blackwater tank, it is because your RV sewer system doesn’t get enough water when you flush the toilet.

4. Check Bathroom Vents and Keep Them Clear

All the recreational vehicles come with a venting system that helps to keep the toilet odors away. However, sometimes the vent pipe can have clogs or be blocked. It could be due to bugs nests or wasps, which can block air circulation.

You should check clogs on each of your RV tank vents and if you find any bug nests, dirt, etc. clear them out. You should keep checking them periodically to prevent blockages before the situation gets worse.

Again, it can be achieved by proper maintenance and routine checkups to keep the toilet odors at bay.

Reasons Why Your Camper Smells Like Sewage

When you figure out your camper smells like sewage after you flush, there could be any of the below reasons,

  • Your camper smells like sewage because there’s a blockage somewhere in your RV’s sewer system. There is a high chance the clog is somewhere in the black water tank that is forcing your RV toilet to smell bad after your flush.
  • You haven’t cleaned your RV toilet for quite some time.
  • Your RV sewer system is leaking from somewhere, causing your RV toilet to smell even after you flush the toilet.
  • The problem is with your toilet, either due to leakage or damage.

Any of these problems can cause your RV toilet to smell when flushed. If you are lucky and the problem is because of a clog, it can be easily fixed. However, you should also have a bit of knowledge about the tools that are necessary to clear the clog.

But, in case of any leakage or cracks somewhere in your RV system, you have to consult a professional who can help you to fix the issue.

So, why does the RV toilet smells bad when flushed?

Why does RV Toilet Smell When Flushed?

No matter how big your travel trailer or RV is, you know that it isn’t big enough to hide the smell inside your recreational vehicle. Regardless of whether the smell is coming from the bathroom, trash, or kitchen, you will smell it as soon as you step into the camper.

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Besides that, there are times when there is no smell until you flush your RV toilet. In that case, you have to figure out the cause as soon as possible before it gets worse. While knowing the common cause of why an RV toilet stinks is useful, it is equally important to learn how to fix it to get rid of the smell.

So, if you now have figured out why your RV bathroom smells bad when flushed, what should you do next? Here are the ways that you should try to fix your RV toilet smell.

Wrapping Up

Dealing with the RV stinking toilet is the worst and most unpleasant situation you can run yourself into. Clogs, blockages, leakages, and dirty toilets are the common reasons that can cause RV toilet smells bad when flushed.

So, how can you prevent such an unpleasant situation? Cleanliness and proper maintenance of your RV’s sewer system is the only and most effective solution to achieve that.

Above, I have outlined all the possible causes that can force your RV toilet stinks, and the solutions that you can use to fix the RV toilet smells a bad problem. Make sure to clean both the RV black and greywater tanks clean whenever you dump the tanks.

Using proper cleaning treatments will help to prevent waste build-ups inside the tanks. It will also make sure your RV sewerage system keeps running smoothly.

If you have an RV, you should not only keep it clean but also keep up with proper maintenance.

Furthermore, if you have queries or if you have found this post useful, you are always welcome to leave a comment below.


What is the most effective way that I can use to keep RV blackwater tank running smoothly?

To prevent waste build-up inside the RV black water tank, it is necessary to keep it clean each time you empty the tank. Moreover, you should make sure that your RV sewer system and blackwater tank are getting sufficient water.

Is it enough to dump your RV's black water tank to keep it clean?

No, you shouldn’t rely on dumping your blackwater tank and hoping it is cleaned. You have to use appropriate cleaning treatment thoroughly, such as cleaning chemicals to keep it clean. You should take the time to sanitize both blackwater and greywater tanks of your RV to prevent odors inside your RV.

How to fix the RV toilet that smells bad when flushed issue?

You should keep your RV toilet clean by using enough water, fixing blockages and clogs, and keeping the blackwater tank clean. Moreover, use cleaning materials to clean the toilet and the Flapper regularly. It will help to fix the RV toilet smells bad when flushed with problems.

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About Ted Mosby

I am Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a Freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. I own a Forest River Berkshire XLT Diesel 45A Class A Motorhome. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.