The steps on how to use a cassette toilet aren’t too different to how you’d use a household toilet. The big difference comes at the disposal end of things.
Although this post covers all things cassette toilets, there are a couple of other caravan toilet types, which also work really well.
Here’s everything you need to know about cassette toilet chemicals, using a cassette toilet, emptying the cassette, plus extra tips from my own experience.
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Adding Chemicals to Your Cassette Before Use
Before sitting down to use your caravan cassette toilet for the first time, you will need to add some chemicals into the cassette itself.
These chemicals are designed to help break down the contents as well as reduce the potential smells that can come with storing waste since you won’t have the benefits of a plumbed sewerage system.
There are a range of RV toilet chemicals on the market, which will all do the job, so which one you decide to use is simply a personal choice.
Although it can be a controversial campfire topic, many caravanners use Napisan (or the cheap home brand alternative) as their cassette chemical.
I can personally vouch for the effective use of home brand Napisan in the toilet cassette as that’s what I’ve always used myself.
Napisan contains the same active ingredient (sodium percarbonate) that’s found in specially designed RV toilet chemicals. In essence, it’s a mixture of sodium carbonate (washing soda) and hydrogen peroxide (an antimicrobial agent that naturally occurs in the human body).
The purpose of hydrogen peroxide in a cassette toilet is to oxidise the smelly nitrogen-containing compounds like skatole, which is found in human waste.
Napisan is perfectly safe to be disposed of in Dump Points with the rest of the waste and is no different to the other RV toilet chemicals.
If you want to go for the proper toilet chemical, Caravan RV Camping and eBay both sell them. You have a choice between a pour-in liquid or a pod-style tablet or sachet that can easily be dropped straight into the cassette.
|How Much to Add to the Cassette|
|Napisan||– 1 tablespoon of Napisan|
– 1 cup of water
Mix together & pour into cassette
|RV Toilet Liquid||Directions on bottle|
|RV Toilet Pods||1 pod/ capsule/ sachet|
How to Use a Cassette Toilet
Here’s how to use a cassette toilet, with all of the insider tips along the way.
STEP 1: Open the flap
At the bottom of the toilet bowl, there is a flap which is the entry point into the cassette. This flap needs to be opened before you use the toilet so that the toilet waste is able to go straight down into the cassette. To do this, simply slide the handle on the front of the toilet across, which will open up the internal flap.
NOTE: If you open the toilet lid first, then slide open the internal flap, be prepared to get a surprise splash in the face! Sometimes there’s a little water sitting on top of the flap, which is why you should get in the habit of keeping the toilet lid closed whenever you open that flap.
STEP 2: Open the toilet lid
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Open up the toilet lid so that you can use the loo.
STEP 3: Use the toilet
Sit down and use the toilet for all that it was intended for. And yes, you can definitely poop in the caravan toilet. It all gets emptied out the same way.
NOTE: Some people prefer to keep the flap closed (with a dash of water on top) while they’re using the toilet, then open it up afterwards. But, I’ve found that makes too much unnecessary mess. Try both ways and see which one you prefer.
STEP 4: Close the lid & flush
Once you’ve finished your business, close the toilet lid and flush using the button at the back of the toilet. You may need to open the lid and check that everything has gone down into the cassette. If not, flush a little more.
STEP 5: Close the flap
Slide the handle back across to close the internal flap once all of the contents have been flushed into the cassette. Be sure to have the toilet lid closed so that you don’t get any splashes!
Some toilets have a separate flushing tank that needs to be filled via a hatch outside the caravan. The light there will indicate when it’s full.
However, most cassette toilets are plumbed into the main caravan water tanks, so as long as your tanks have water, you can flush the loo.
How to Empty the Cassette
Once you’ve been using your cassette for a few days (or up to a week), you will need to empty it.
Most cassette toilets will have a float in them, which will trigger a light to switch on (near your ‘flush’ button) when the cassette is full.
However, if you are too vigorous when you’re swishing water around inside the cassette while rinsing, it can cause that float to dislodge and stop working. That’s exactly what happened to ours.
But, don’t worry. You will still quickly get to know when the cassette is full and needs emptying just by taking a look into the cassette through the open flap on the toilet.
Here’s how to empty a caravan toilet cassette…
STEP 1 – Open the toilet access hatch
Open up the toilet access hatch door on the outside of your caravan.
STEP 2 – Remove the cassette
Lift the orange lock and slide the cassette out of the hatch.
STEP 3 – Agitate the cassette
If you haven’t been driving, it helps to manually agitate the cassette, which helps to break down the contents. Then pull up the handle and roll the cassette over to the Dump Point.
STEP 4 – Open the spout
Twist around the outlet spout and unscrew the cap.
STEP 5 – Release the pressure
Hold the cassette up with one hand using the handle. With your other hand, push the orange button to allow air into the cassette, which releases the pressure (and helps the contents flow out).
STEP 6 – Empty the cassette
Tip the cassette up to empty the contents out of the spout. If there are still some solids and toilet paper that haven’t broken down, add a bit more water and give it a shake to help them out.
STEP 7 – Rinse cassette
Use the hose at the Dump Point to add 1 – 2 litres of water into the cassette (via the spout). Give the cassette a good rinse by agitating the water. Repeat this a few times until you think it’s clean enough. Adding a squirt of detergent into one of the rinses helps to give it a deeper clean.
STEP 8 – Add chemicals
After the cassette has been rinsed, you can add in the toilet chemicals.
Put the cap back on the spout and fold it away. Slide the cassette back into the hatch and make sure the lock has clipped back in. Close the hatch door and lock it with your key.
Extra Cassette Toilet Tips
Where to Empty the Cassette
While travelling, the cassette needs to be emptied into a Dump Point.
Dump Points are a free resource, provided by local councils all across Australia. Most towns will have a Dump Point, which can often be found near the Information Centre.
Dump Points are often distinguishable by their blue lid (pic above). All you need to do is open that blue lid, empty your cassette contents down the drain, rinse both the Dump Point and your cassette, then you’re all done.
Here’s how to use dump points if you’ve never had need of them before.
|Dump Point Tip!|
Put the lid from the cassette spout on the ground, not up on the edge of the Dump Point. They have been known to accidentally get knocked down into the hole, never to be seen again!
Can You Empty a Cassette into a Normal Toilet?
You can empty your cassette into your household toilet at home if you choose to do so.
However, never empty your cassette into a public toilet, campground toilet or down the stormwater drain.
What Toilet Paper Can You Use?
Much like the expensive RV toilet chemicals, you can also buy “RV Toilet Paper,” which is supposedly designed to break down more quickly.
I always just used the cheap supermarket toilet paper, which is pretty thin and will break down quicker than Kleenex. That seemed to work well and was much easier to get my hands on when travelling through rural and outback regions.
|Space Saving Tip!|
Instead of flushing the used toilet paper into the cassette, put it into a plastic bag (inside a lidded bucket) beside the toilet.
That way, you don’t have to waste space in the cassette with paper, plus you don’t have to worry about whether it’s dissolving quickly enough or not.
Oil the O-ring
Every so often the o-ring seal that sits over the cassette flap will need to be cleaned and oiled. This is an easy job that only requires a rag and some olive oil.
How to Oil the Cassette O-ring:
- Use a damp rag to clean the area
- Put some olive oil onto the rag and re-grease the o-ring
- Discard the rag
You can also pull the o-ring out for a more thorough clean every so often.
What to Do About a Smelly Caravan Toilet?
The main reason for a caravan toilet getting smelly is the build-up of methane gas, which is created and released from the dried-out waste. This can be made worse and happen much more quickly in hot conditions.
The key is to always make sure the cassette contents are always wet. This is another reason for not putting toilet paper into the cassette because it just means you need to add a whole lot more water to keep things from getting smelly.
Along with that, keeping the cassette cleaned and emptied regularly will help to curb the nasty smells.
Check out the article below for more on smelly caravan toilets.
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