Travelling in a self-contained vehicle is one of the underrated luxuries of motorhome travel. Having a toilet onboard gives just that little bit of extra comfort while travelling and is one of the main reasons travellers choose a motorhome over other camping styles. Whether it's having a convenient rest stop during a long day of driving or the ability to park up in some of Australia’s remote and untouched natural beauty, being self-contained comes with huge advantages.
However, your motorhome toilet is a lot different to your toilet at home, so it's important to know how to operate and take care of it properly. It may seem like an unpleasant job, but operating and maintaining your motorhome toilet is really simple. With the right cleaning and operational know-how operating your motorhome toilet can become a seamless part of your regular routine on the road.
There are plenty of options when it comes to motorhome facilities, including:
No matter which you choose, it’s important to understand how your toilet system works.
The most common motorhome toilet is a cassette toilet. These are permanently fixed to your RV, but the holding tank can be removed and emptied at a dump station. A cassette toilet is the middle ground option between the traditional gravity flush toilets with a large holding tank and the portable and composting toilets that can be easily moved but require frequent emptying.
Functionally, a cassette toilet operates very similarly to a regular toilet; use, flush and walk away. The biggest difference is that it has a limited holding capacity and will need to be emptied regularly. Most toilets have an indicator to let you know when it is time to empty the cassette. At this point, you can remove your cassette that’s located in a locked storage space on the side of your motorhome, and empty it at your nearest dump point. The thl road trip app is a great resource to help you find your closest dump point.
Although each motorhome is slightly different, using a cassette toilet is often similar across the board. Here is a step by step on using a cassette toilet for a KEA motorhome.
Make sure the cassette is open so that all waste can be directed there. You can also swivel most fixed toilets for a more comfortable sitting position.
Do your business and be sure not to put anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the hatch in the process. This will avoid any unpleasant blockages.
To flush the toilet, push the blue button that sits in a white and grey panel just below the lever. You don’t need to hold the button for any certain length of time.
As a first-time motorhome user, it’s vital to get into the routine of regularly checking the water levels of the toilet flush water tank to ensure you aren’t caught out mid-flush. Look at the pipe to the left of the cassette in the locker to check. When you notice it’s time to fill your motorhome water flush tank, pull the top nozzle and undo the cap at the top to fill using a freshwater hose.
When using a cassette toilet, you have to be very careful where you empty your waste. As these toilets use chemicals that can be harmful to our environment, they can’t just be dumped in a regular toilet. In fact, your cassette toilet shouldn’t be emptied anywhere other than a designated dump station.
Dump points to empty your RV waste tank include:
These spots may be hard to find, so it's worthwhile downloading the thl Roadtrip app as your online companion for finding dump stations on your Australian adventures. While some are free, others may ask for a donation. Be sure to carry some change just in case.
While it may feel a little alien at first, emptying your cassette will become a simple part of your motorhome routine with a bit of practice. For your first few times, it's worthwhile following a few simple steps to ensure there will be no mess.
Make sure the lever to the left of the toilet is closed to allow the cassette to be removed.
Find the toilet locker on the outside of your motorhome and unlock it.
You’ll see the cassette inside the locker. Lift up the lever at the bottom of the locker to release the cassette.
Use the handle to remove the cassette. It may be quite heavy, so use two hands and bend your knees to protect your lower back.
Carry or wheel the cassette to a dump point and put it on the ground. Unscrew the cap, lift the cassette carefully and tip the contents into the dump station. There is a button on top of the cassette at the back to push to release any pressure.
Once emptied, slide open the panel on top of the cassette and use a hose to rinse it with fresh water. Then, tip that into the dump station.
Add a small amount of fresh water and the prescribed amount of toilet chemical to the cassette before closing it and putting it back in the locker.
Most cassette toilets hold 18 litres, so it is advised to empty the toilet every 1 to 3 days. Be aware that this timeframe will vary depending on how many people you are travelling with and how frequently you use the toilet.
If you’re staying at a caravan park, it's worth getting in the habit of emptying before you leave. This means you can use the toilet throughout the night without having to leave the motorhome, and you won’t worry about where you will be able to empty it next.
Your motorhome toilet isn’t made of porcelain, so try to use soft-bristle brushes and avoid materials or chemicals that could be harsh or accelerate deterioration. That aside, cleaning the toilet itself is very similar to cleaning your toilet at home.
Top tip: If your motorhome toilet smells, the culprit is most likely your wastewater tank, not the actual toilet bowl.
Spray your toilet bowl with a suitable cleaner. Similar to cleaning the toilet at home, let it sit for a while before brushing. You can use a chemical sachet or a liquid. These aren’t usually stocked in your regular supermarket but can be found at most caravan and camping stores.
Get in there and give it a good scrub. Then, rinse with water.
Aside from cleaning the bowl, the best way to prevent odour is to add a treatment packet to your wastewater tank. This is as simple as opening the cassette and flushing the packet down the toilet.
Operating and emptying a toilet can be really simple. The benefits of being self-contained will always far outweigh the chore of emptying and maintaining your motorhome facilities. It will become a simple part of your motorhome adventure routine with some practice.
If you’re looking to refurbish or modify your motorhome toilet system, or you want to turn your motorhome bathroom into a shower toilet combo, stop by a KEA certified dealership to chat with one of our RV campervan sales teams. They have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to campervans, and will happily give advice on the best self-contained options for you and your motorhome.
If you’re still searching or looking to upgrade to the perfect motorhome for your adventures, check out the KEA website to see the range of motorhomes for sale, including KEA ex-rental campervans.
You can also stop by a KEA certified dealer where our team will happily answer any questions you may have regarding RV maintenance and self-contained vehicles. They can also give you a walkthrough of the motorhomes for sale and the different self-contained motorhome toilet systems on-site.