Why Does My RV Toilet Stink? – Toilet Odor (Solved!)

Why Does My RV Toilet Stink

Do you know why your RV toilet stink? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

Because RV toilets are confined in small areas, a stinky RV toilet can become noticeable fast. If you notice that your RV toilet is stinking, there are five possible reasons for the issue: the toilet is dirty, the black tank is clogged, the black tank has build-up, the vent pipe is clogged, or you have bad parts.

So, why does your RV toilet stink?  If your RV toilet stink, chance is that one of the following problems is the case:

Nr #1: It’s Dirty

Nr #2: Black Tank Is Clogged

Nr #3: Black Tank Build up

Nr #4: Vent Pipe Is Clogged

Nr #5: Bad Parts

Why Does My RV Toilet Stink – Toilet Oder

It’s natural for toilets to start stinking after a while. Although this is normal, you want to fix the issue fast so that you don’t have to offend your nose longer than you have to.

Here are five possible reasons that your RV toilet stinks:

It’s Dirty

The most obvious reason that your RV toilet stinks is that it is dirty. Sometimes, your RV toilet can be dirty while looking clean.

Many RV toilets are made from plastic, which latches on to odors long after the waste has been flushed away.

So, don’t think that your RV toilet is clean just because the bowl is white. You never know what bacteria and odors are lurking on the toilet bowl’s surface.

Read also: Why Does My RV Water Smell Like Sulfur? – 4 Ways to Fix It

Black Tank Is Clogged

The black tank is where your toilet waste is stored after you flush it. It’s important to dump the black tank frequently so that it doesn’t get full.

Sometimes, the black tank can become clogged from poor maintenance or accidentally flushing the wrong items. In most cases, black tanks get clogged simply because there is more toilet paper than liquid.

Read also: Can I Use Drano In My RV Toilet – How To Unclog (Explained)

Black Tank Build up

Just as your black tank can get clogged, it can also suffer from buildup. Build-up happens whenever the black tank has been used for a long time and solids start sticking to the bottom or walls of the tank.

Although some build-up is inevitable, too much of it can cause a foul odor that’s impossible to ignore.

Vent Pipe Is Clogged

RV toilets come with a vent pipe that allows all methane gases to escape. If this vent becomes clogged, the gases cannot leave through the RV roof.

Instead, they escape from your toilet whenever you flush. Methane gas does not smell good and will cause the toilet to stink as a result.

Bad Parts

The last possible reason that your RV toilet stinks is that there are old and bad parts. More specifically, a bad flange or bowl seal will lead to smells since the toilet is not properly sealed.

You should be able to tell bad parts are to blame by seeing if they look worn down and broken.

Read also: This Is Why Your RV Toilet Vacuum Breaker Is Leaking (Solved!)

How to Fix an RV Toilet That Stinks

Here is how to fix your RV toilet that stinks based on the issues described above:

Clean the Toilet

No matter why your toilet bowl stinks, it’s a good idea to clean it. Even if you know that the smell is coming from an old flange, there’s no harm in cleaning the toilet.

You can begin fixing your toilet by cleaning it or you might want to end the process by cleaning your toilet. It doesn’t matter when you clean it, so long as you clean it.

Luckily, doing so is super easy, and you probably already know how to do it yourself (or at least we hope!). Simply get an RV-safe bathroom cleaner.

Use a toilet scrubber to really get in there and make sure that all particles are removed from the toilet bowl.

Once again, just because the bowl looks clean does not mean it actually is.

How To Get Your Camper or RV Toilet To Stop Smelling >> Check out the video below:

Clean and Unclog the Black Tank

Smell or not, you will need to clean out your black tank. It’s recommended to clean the black tank after every dump. This will remove any black tank build-up that is causing your RV toilet to smell.

You should be able to flush black tank cleaning agents down the toilet, but you also might want to deep clean and spray hose the walls after you dump out the contents if there is a lot of build-ups.

If your black tank has a lot of build-up, there might even be a clog. Often, the clog occurs at the entrance of the black tank, preventing waste from going into the tank.

Unfortunately, simply using black tank cleaning agents will not remove tough clogs.

One of the easiest ways to unclog a black tank is to add ice down the toilet. Then, drive your RV around to allow the ice to break up the clog on its own.

As the ice melts, it will further wash the clog into the black tank where it belongs. You may want to try boiling water, which helps to break down toilet paper as well.

If that doesn’t work, you can purchase special RV black tank chemicals. These chemicals will be heavy-duty and are guaranteed to break down the clog.

I don’t recommend starting with this option since these chemicals can be so dangerous and difficult to work with.

However, they may be the last resort for serious clogs.

Unclog the Vent Pipe

You can determine that your vent pipe is clogged simply by looking down into it. If you can’t see down, you can try a garden hose instead.

If the garden hose can’t get down, there’s obviously a clog.

In most cases, simply turning on the garden hose and allowing water to flow into the pipe will be enough to fix the vent pipe clog.

Replace Worn Parts

If any toilet parts are worn, cracked, or broken, you will need to replace them. We recommend watching a lot of tutorials on how to do this first and reading articles specific to the issue.

How to Prevent Your RV Toilet From Smelling

Once you fix your smelly RV toilet, you want to keep it smelling fresh. Although you will likely have to clean out the black tank and certainly need to clean out the toilet at another point, here are some tips to keep your RV toilet from smelling again:

  • Clean your toilet bowl regularly.
  • Use minimal toilet paper.
  • Don’t flush anything other than RV-safe toilet paper and human waste down the toilet.
  • Add cleaning chemicals to the black tank every time you dump it.
  • Clean out the black tank every time you dump it.
  • Check the vent pipe on a regular basis.
  • Check toilet parts every season to make sure they are still in working condition.
  • Add air fresheners to the bathroom.

If you notice that black tank issues are a recurring them with your RV toilet, try adding more water before you flush.

That way, the ratio of waste to water will become more balanced, resulting in fewer clogs and less build-up.

Even throw in some black tank chemicals on occasion too.


A smelly RV toilet can turn your family vacation into a nightmare. Most likely, the toilet is smelling because of a dirty bowl, clogged black tank, black tank build-up, clogged vent pipe, or bad parts.

Fixing your toilet based on the diagnosis will help to remove the smell, but you need to continue to maintain the RV toilet to prevent it from smelling again.

Here are some of my favorite services, products, and Stores

Thank you for reading this article. I hope it helps you find the most recent and accurate RV, camping information. Here are some services, products, and Stores that I use and hope you´ll also find helpful.

There are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I´ll earn a small commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact what I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family.

To see all my of most up-to-date recommendations, check out this resource that I made for you!




Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

Recent Posts

error: Content is protected !!