An RV toilet snake is one of the most useful tools for fighting tough clogs. These handy items are pretty compact, but they unclog clogs better than most plungers.
If you are going camping in your RV any time soon, we highly recommend getting an RV toilet snake to keep on board.
With that being said, an RV toilet snake should not be your go-to choice if you notice your toilet is having difficulty flushing. The RV toilet snake should be reserved for clogs that have not been fixed with other methods, as well as problems that are not caused by a full black water tank.
In this article, we are going to tell you all of the facts you need to know about these nifty devices.
Table of Contents
What Is an RV Toilet Snake?
Let’s begin by answering the most basic question about RV toilet snakes: what is it? An RV toilet snake is simply a wire coil that comes with a corkscrew-looking tip or nozzle. This tool feeds into your RV toilet pipe so that you can find and remove the clog.
RV toilet snakes are very similar to regular toilet snakes. The main difference is that these snakes can be designed slightly differently, including a smaller design to account for the RV’s different piping system.
We recommend getting an RV toilet snake to keep in your RV and a regular toilet snake to keep in your home bathrooms.
“Even if you use a small-sized regular toilet snake, the snake may still be too large for the RV toilet. Most RV toilets are placed directly above the black water tank, meaning the pipes are incredibly short, if existent at all.”
If you have too long of a snake, you could accidentally enter the black water tank, leaving yourself with a disgusting mess.
With an RV toilet snake, however, the snake is small enough so that you shouldn’t worry about accidentally reaching the tank.
How Do RV Toilet Snakes Work?
RV toilet snakes work very similarly to regular toilet snakes. It includes an auger’s cable, or the snake, and a handle. Whenever you turn the handle clockwise, the cable extends into the toilet drain.
While in the drain, you can locate the clog within the pipe.
Once you locate where the clog is within the piping system, you push the cable back and forth. Then, begin to bring the cable back towards the casing.
This should break the clog enough so that you can eventually flush the toilet.
Many people make the mistake of believing the purpose of the snake is to bring the entire clog up the drain. This is simply not the design of the snake, and you will be wasting a whole lot of energy if this is your goal.
You should be able to bring part of the clog up so that the rest can be broken down and be flushed away.
How to snake an RV toilet >> Check out the video below:
When Should You Use an RV Toilet Snake?
Generally speaking, we recommend trying other unclogging methods before reaching for your RV toilet snake.
As we mentioned above, RV toilets are designed very differently than regular toilets, meaning they don’t have long pipes.
Whenever you use an RV toilet snake, you run the risk of entering the black water tank and making a disgusting mess in your bathroom.
Because of this fact, you always want to try other unclogging methods first.
For example, we recommend using boiling water, some other unclogging mixture, or a plunger before reaching for your RV toilet snake. We also recommend checking the black water tank to make sure it is not full.
Even if the sensor says that the tank is not full yet, we recommend dumping it out.
Once you try other unclogging methods and dump out the black water tank, you can then use your RV toilet snake if the clog is still present.
At that point, the toilet snake should hopefully clear the issue. If it doesn’t, you should talk to an RV professional to help locate the cause.
How to Unclog an RV Toilet Using an RV Toilet Snake
After you have tried unclogging your RV toilet with other mediums to no avail, it may be time to pick up your RV toilet snake.
Because this tool can be so difficult to use in an RV toilet, it requires a whole lot of carefulness and care during use.
It’s important to note that most RV toilet clogs happen because of a buildup caused by the toilet paper. This buildup is most likely to happen at the base of the black water holding tank.
Once you remove this build-up, the toilet should flow as normal again.
When you are using the RV toilet snake to break up this buildup, you want to be gentle and careful. Remember, the goal is to break down the build-up enough so that it can flush properly.
What You’ll Need
Since using an RV toilet snake to unclog messes can be dirty and gross, you need to have a number of items in the bathroom. Here is what you will need to get before getting started.
- RV toilet snake
- Disposable gloves
- Disposable clothing
We want to reiterate again that it is crucial to have all of these tools. These items will keep you and your bathroom safe as you are trying to unclog the RV toilet using a toilet snake.
Once you have all of the items on our list, it’s time to start prep. Begin by putting on all of the protective gear, including goggles, disposable gloves, and disposable clothing.
Additionally, place towels you don’t mind throwing out or paper towels around the toilet and set the bucket underneath the black water tank’s sewer aperture.
The last prep step is to drain waste into the bucket. You do this by opening the sewer tank. Allow any excess waste to fall into the bucket.
Snaking the Drain
Now, it is time to start snaking the drain. Gently insert the snake into the toilet. Slowly press the snake through the pipes until you hit the clog.
The clog should be pretty close to the toilet itself since RVs have very little piping to begin with.
At the clog, gently move the snake up and down in order to loosen the compaction. If the clog is caused by toilet buildup, you should feel the clog break up and fall into the black water tank.
If the clog is caused by something else, it may take a bit more effort.
After the clog falls into the black water tank, close the sewer valves and connect the sewer hose back to the tank and outlet.
Open the black water tank, allowing the waste to drain into the sewer. Finally, empty and clean out the hose and bucket and throw away any contaminated items.
How To Prevent RV Black Tank Clogs
We have received so many questions on how to prevent RV toilets and black tanks from clogging. Well, after multiple black tank blockages, we finally feel qualified to offer our tips & tricks in the form of a how-to for how to prevent clogs and blocks.
We explain our typical process for RV black tank management which works perfectly and keeps our tank clog-free.
To prevent RV black tank clogs just check out the video below:
How To Unclog a RV Toilet Holding Tank
This is how to fix a blocked black tank in your RV, travel trailer or 5th wheel. It works every time for us!
Best RV Toilet Snakes
If you do not have an RV toilet snake yet, you need to buy one. Once again, we don’t recommend buying a regular toilet snake unless you can find one that is small and very flexible.
To help you out, here are our top two favorite RV toilet snakes on the market.
Best Overall: Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve
Our favorite RV toilet snake is the Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve. This snake provides rotary cleaning action, allowing it to dislodge stubborn waste. We specifically like this RV toilet snake because it is highly flexible and more compact than other options.
Because it is so flexible, it is great for toilets where the tank is located underneath or offset in some way. It also has an easy-grip function, which makes it easy to hold and control during use.
Our favorite aspect about the Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve is that it comes with a rinser at the end, not just a regular tip.
This makes it easier to flush any regular buildup. On top of these factors, the snake is pretty affordable and highly durable!
“One potential drawback about this snake is that the rinsing power may not be powerful enough if the clog is caused by items that are not regularly found in RV toilets.”
Because most RV clogs are caused by hardened waste and toilet paper, though, this won’t be an issue for most people.
Because of this fact, the Camco RV Flexible Swivel Stik with Shutoff Valve is the best overall RV toilet snake. We highly recommend this option because of its flexibility, high power rinsing, and affordability.
Budget Pick: Vaalterra A01-0187VP Flexible Tank Wand
If you are looking for an RV toilet snake that is durable, efficient, and highly affordable, we recommend the Vaalterra A01-0187VP Flexible Tank Wand.
This toilet snake isn’t as effective as our top pick, but it still gets the job done for most clogs and can save you a couple of bucks.
The Vaalterra A01-0187VP Flexible Tank Wand is about 40 inches long and is incredibly flexible. It has the ability to bend at about 90 degrees, allowing it to turn under the toilet.
It even comes with a multi-jet nozzle, allowing you to clean tanks and ensure nozzles are working properly.
As our budget pick, this model is incredibly inexpensive. Our best overall pick, which was also pretty affordable, is a couple of bucks more than this one, making the Vaalterra A01-0187VP Flexible Tank Wand the best pick if you are on a tight budget.
One of the downsides about the Vaalterra A01-0187VP Flexible Tank Wand is that it isn’t as effective as our best overall pick.
It is more efficient than the majority of other RV toilet ones, but it may not be powerful enough or the toughest of clogs.
Nevertheless, the Vaalterra A01-0187VP Flexible Tank Wand is a great choice if you are on a tight budget. Because of its nozzle and flexibility, it will be able to handle most clogs without ruining your budget.
How are RV toilet snakes different from regular toilet snakes?
There are very few RV-specific toilet snakes purely because of the nature of RV toilets. RV toilets are typically placed right above the black water tank, which makes it difficult to use these tools without leaving a mess in their wake.
Nevertheless, there are toilet snakes made specific for RVs. Toilet snakes are typically smaller than traditional options since RV toilets don’t come with a lot of piping.
Additionally, RV toilet snakes often come with nozzles so that you can clean out the black water holding tank while unclogging the drain.
What if the toilet snake does not unclog the RV toilet?
We generally recommend using RV toilet snakes as a last-ditch effort to clean out an RV toilet. Because of this fact, you may need to see a professional if the toilet snake does not properly remove the clog from your RV toilet.
If you have gone through the steps of using cleaners, boiling water, plunger, and snake to remove the clog to no avail, it’s time to see a professional.
You also may want to check the black water holding tank one last time to make sure that it is not overfilled.
What are other methods for removing an RV toilet clog?
There are many ways that you can remove a clog from an RV toilet. One of the easiest methods is to simply clean out the black water tank.
If your RV toilet is clogged, the black water holding tank is probably due for cleanup anyways. Cleaning this tank will likely fix many issues.
Another easy method involves using boiling water. With this method, all you need to do is boil a medium pot of water.
While that is boiling, turn off the water connection and open the toilet valve. After the water is finished boiling, pour it down the toilet. You may need to repeat this process two or three times.
Let the boiling water sit and cool in the toilet for a few hours if not overnight before flushing the toilet again. For this method to be as effective as possible, make sure that the water is at a rolling boil when you pour it.
You can also drive the RV immediately after pouring the water down the toilet to distribute the water more evenly throughout the tank.
Another common method for removing an RV toilet clog is a plunger. You would use the plunger just as you would with a household toilet.
If there isn’t already water within the bowl, add some. Then, place the plunger completely over the hole and pump it 15 to 20 times. You may need to repeat this process two or three more times.
Finally, our last method for removing an RV toilet clog involves using a septic-safe toilet unclogger. It’s important that the mixture you select is septic safe and suitable for RV toilets. Follow the instructions on whatever mixture you select.
For best results, drive the RV around for about 30 minutes to distribute the liquid in the tank more evenly.
When using a mixture, be very careful. These chemicals are highly harmful if ingested or even rubbed on the skin. We recommend wearing gloves and clothing that covers your entire body while using the mixture.
How do you prevent an RV toilet from being clogged?
One of the most basic tips for keeping your RV toilet free from clogs is to use RV-specific toilet paper. This toilet paper breaks down easier, leading to fewer clogs.
Another great tip is to clean out your black water tank every time you dump it and never store your RV without cleaning out the black tank first.
These two simple tips will help keep the waste clean and not clogging up the toilet or tank.
Preventative treatments can also go a long way in preventing RV toilets from clogs. For example, we recommend pouring boiling water down your toilet after every couple of RV uses.
You may even want to pour boiling water down the toilet after every trip. This will simply keep the toilet and black water holding tank cleaner for a longer time.
How Do You Get Rid of The Poop Pyramid In RV black?
To get rid of the poop pyramid in RV black tank just check out the video below:
RV toilet snakes can be a helpful tool to keep your RV toilet functioning as it should. However, it can be a bit more difficult to use this tool than other unclogging methods purely based on how RV toilets are designed.
Still, RV toilet snakes are a great choice if the other methods don’t work. Just remember to be patient and gentle while using it.
If not, you could accidentally push too hard into the black water tank, leaving you with a disgusting mess to clean.
By following our steps and using the recommended toilet snakes above, clearing out an RV toilet clog with an RV toilet snake should be no problem. Good luck!
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