How To Clean an RV Toilet with Vinegar

Cleaning an RV toilet isn’t the same as cleaning a regular toilet because harsh cleaners can damage the parts and the backwater tank. That said, you still need an effective cleaning solution to keep it smelling fresh and stain-free. 

Using white vinegar is an excellent way to clean an RV toilet but you need to follow the correct process. 

To clean an RV toilet with vinegar, flush the toilet and pour ⅓ cup of neat vinegar into the bowl. Then add a tablespoon of baking soda and allow the solution to bubble and work for half an hour. For stubborn stains, let the solution sit overnight if possible. 

Scrub the bowl with a silicone brush and flush. 

Cleaning my RV toilet isn’t my favorite task but I understand the importance of doing it regularly and using non-abrasive but effective products like white vinegar. 

1. Gather Your Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your RV toilet:

You could also use a suitable RV toilet cleaner (like this good one from Amazon made specifically for RVs). However, it works out much more expensive than white vinegar and baking soda and I find that it does the same job. 

Star Brite Toilet Bowl Cleaner - Formulated for Boat & RV Use

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I don’t recommend using brown vinegar because it could stain the toilet bowl. It also has a much stronger smell which may linger after cleaning. 

  • Non-abrasive brush (a silicone brush is a good option) so that you don’t damage or scratch the bowl. 

2. Flush The Toilet 

After gathering your supplies, flush the toilet to get rid of any residual waste or toilet paper.

RVs use less water than regular toilets for flushing and you may want to add a few cups of water yourself to give yourself a clear working surface. 

3. Pour ⅓ Cup of Vinegar Into the Toilet Bowl

Pour ⅓ cup of white vinegar into the bowl without diluting it. 

White vinegar is slightly acidic and its enzymatic action will help to break down stains, limescale and neutralize unpleasant odors in the toilet bowl. It’s also antibacterial and antimicrobial and will help disinfect your toilet. 

4. Add a Tablespoon of Baking Soda

If you don’t have baking soda handy you can skip this step. However, I recommend adding some as it’s mildly abrasive but the granules are fine enough not to damage any of the RV toilet’s delicate parts. 

When it comes into contact with the white vinegar, baking soda bubbles and the effervescent action helps the vinegar to remove more stains and odors for a spotlessly clean toilet. 

5. Leave the Solution for Half an Hour

To allow the white vinegar and baking soda solution to work its full magic, it’s best to leave it for half an hour. 

If your RV toilet is particularly dirty I recommend leaving the solution to soak overnight. This may not always be practical but the longer you leave it, the more time the solution has to remove all the dirt. 

It can be tempting to use bleach on stubborn stains and odors but you should avoid using it with RV toilets as it can corrode and damage some of the parts.

6. Scrub the Bowl with a Silicone Brush

Just as you shouldn’t use harsh cleaners in an RV toilet, you shouldn’t use abrasive cleaning tools. A silicone toilet brush will effectively remove any remaining residue that the vinegar and baking soda solution couldn’t get to. 

Give your toilet bowl a good and vigorous brushing and then flush the toilet to get rid of any remaining grime. 

If you’ve left the vinegar and baking soda solution overnight and your toilet still smells, the issue might be with your black water tank. 

Sometimes these tanks can accumulate toilet paper and waste matter along the walls and sensor probe causing it to smell and interfering with the toilet’s proper operation. 

You can clean your black water tank with white vinegar, baking soda and hot water and this useful guide explains exactly how it’s done. 

Alternatively, you could use a suitable black water tank cleaner. There are many black water tank cleaners available but the easiest method is to use a drop-in tablet like this one from Amazon that doesn’t involve any scrubbing or getting your hands dirty. 

Walex Commando RV Black Holding Tank and Sensor Cleaner Drop-Ins (1 Year Supply)
  • Restores Sensor Function
  • Removes Waste and Paper from the Tank Walls
  • Cleans Entire Tank in 12 to 24 hours
  • Advanced Super-Concentrated Enzyme Formula
  • Easy to Use Dissolvable Packet
  • Septic System Safe
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You simply drop it in the tank and the tablet will dissolve the paper and waste on the walls and sensor probe, leaving it smelling fresher.