Cleaning a cassette toilet is not all that different from cleaning a household toilet, with the exception of having to empty the holding tank (cassette).
Here’s how to clean a cassette toilet from start to finish.
P.S. If you’re not sure if you can poop in a cassette toilet, here’s the full scoop on doing numbers twos in the caravan loo!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.
How to Clean a Cassette Toilet
I always give the toilet lid and bowl a good clean before emptying the cassette, provided that the cassette isn’t completely full. That way, the water you’re using to clean with isn’t occupying space in the freshly emptied cassette, which you’ll need for the next camp.
Wipe the Lid & Toilet Seat
Start by wiping over the toilet lid and seat (including the undersides), just like you would at home.
You can use an antibacterial microfibre cloth, spray ‘n’ wipe, disinfectant, white vinegar or whatever you prefer.
Never use bleach to clean your toilet cassette as it can damage the plastic and seals.
Wipe Around the Outside of the Toilet
Use your cloth to wipe around the outside of the toilet.
Pay special attention to the base of the toilet where drips of urine can sometimes end up. If you don’t keep this area clean, it can end up making the bathroom smell like urine.
Scrub the Bowl
Next, use a toilet brush to scrub the cassette toilet bowl.
One of the most handy caravan mods we made was attaching a wall-mounted toilet brush holder to the wall beside the toilet. It also worked well as a toilet roll holder, with space for two rolls.
I often found that the regular toilet roll holder would allow the roll to spin around while in transit, resulting in a pile of unravelled toilet paper upon arrival at the next camp.
Empty the Cassette
Below are the full step-by-step instructions on emptying a toilet cassette.
Step 1 – Open the cassette storage cabinet
Locate the storage hatch on the outside of your caravan, which gives access to the toilet cassette.
Step 2 – Release the lock & slide out cassette
Lift the handle, which locks the cassette into place, then slide the cassette out of the hatch.
Step 3 – Agitate the contents
If the caravan hasn’t been in transit, it can help to agitate (shake) the cassette contents, which will aid in breaking everything down for easier emptying. Once you’ve done that, wheel your cassette over to the Dump Point.
Step 4 – Twist open the spout & remove cap
Find the cassette spout, twist it open for emptying and remove the cap.
Step 5 – Release the pressure
Hold the cassette up with one hand using the handle and use your other hand to push the little round button in. This button allows air into the cassette, which releases the pressure and helps the contents flow out.
On the Thetford cassette, the little button will be orange. However, it might be a different colour if you’ve got a different branded cassette.
Step 6 – Empty the cassette
Tip the cassette up and empty the contents out of the spout into the Dump Point drain (while pushing the air release button). You might need to give it an extra shake if there are still some solids and toilet paper that haven’t broken down.
Step 7 – Rinse out the cassette
There should be a hose provided at the dump point for the area, plus rinsing out your cassette. Add 1 – 2 litres of water into the cassette via the spout. Agitate the water around inside the cassette to give it a good rinse. Empty the water out into the Dump Point and repeat the process a few times.
TIP – Add a squirt of detergent into the end rinse for a deeper clean.
Add RV Toilet Chemical
Once the cassette is all emptied and rinsed, you will need to pop in your toilet chemical so that the loo is ready for its next use.
Sodium percarbonate is the active ingredient in all RV toilet chemicals, which is a mixture of sodium carbonate (washing soda) with hydrogen peroxide (an antimicrobial agent).
Hydrogen peroxide is particularly important as it oxidises the smelly compounds and nitrogen-containing compounds like skatole, which is found in human waste.
There are a variety of RV toilet chemical options to choose from. Some people like the convenience of the pod-style chemical as no measuring or additional liquid is required.
Others go for a liquid, such as the Thetford Aqua Kem Blue, which is one of the original camping toilet products.
You may have heard of people using the cheap store brand Napisan as a caravan toilet chemical, which is actually the option I’ve always opted for. Napisan contains the same active ingredient as the other products (hydrogen peroxide) and is safe to use in Dump Points.
The benefit of using Napisan is that it’s easily accessible, particularly when you’re travelling through regional and outback Australia, plus it’s much cheaper.
Using Napisan as an caravan toilet chemical:
- Mix one tablespoon of Napisan into 1 cup of water
- Pour into the cassette once emptied & rinsed
Once you’ve added your chosen chemical into the caravan toilet cassette, you can twist the cap back onto the spout and fold it away.
Wipe out the Inside the Cassette Hatch
Before putting your cassette back into the hatch, be sure to give the cabinet a good wipe with a damp cloth and some disinfectant.
This will help to keep the inside of the unit dust-free and eliminate any potential toilet smells.
Sometimes little drips of urine can make their way down into the hatch, particularly if the seal has dried out. If that’s the case, don’t stress, oiling the seal is a simple task, which we’ll cover next.
Oil the Cassette Seal
Over time, the rubber seal on the caravan toilet cassette cartridge (around where the flap opens and closes) will dry out over time.
Re-oiling the cassette seal only needs to be done every few months or so – not every time you empty it.
The main problem is that if the seal perishes, you will end up with a leaking cassette, which no one wants to have to deal with!
Even as the seal dries out, small amounts of leaking urine will begin to occur.
Re-greasing the seal is super easy and only requires an old rag and some olive oil.
How to Oil the Cassette Seal:
- Slide the flap cover out
- Use a damp rag to clean up the flap, seal and surrounding area
- Put some olive oil on a rag and rub it into the O-ring seal. You can either leave the seal in place or pull it out to re-grease.
- Throw out the dirty rags
- Slide the cover back in
Secure the Cassette Back in the Hatch
Once you’ve finished cleaning the cassette and the storage hatch, slide the cassette back in, making sure that the handle locks into place
How to Clean a Cassette Toilet FAQs
Yes, white vinegar is perfectly fine to use in a cassette toilet. You can give the cassette a deep clean by pouring a mixture of vinegar and water in, giving it a good shake and letting it sit for 12 – 24 hours. Empty the vinegar out, rinse and add your toilet chemical ready for use.
CLR (Calcium Limescale Rust) can be used on a toilet cassette to remove limescale. Citric acid (dissolved in water) is also a good item for removing limescale from a toilet cassette. Apply the product and leave sit for 24 hours, then rinse off.
No, you should never use bleach in a cassette toilet as it can damage the plastic and seals, causing future leaks and issues.
Caravan Maintenance & Service Log
Log and track all of your caravan maintenance and servicing requirements.
- 7-page Planner (digital & printable)
- Caravan Service History Log
- TICK OFF checklists
- COMPLETE maintenance tasks
- ADD in extra tasks
- RECORD maintenance & service dates