There isn’t a soul on the planet that would choose to use a gas station bathroom on a road trip unless the circumstances were dire. If your road trip is facilitated by the use of an RV, you can thankfully avoid this horror, but the trade-off is you need to make sure your RV bathroom doesn’t become clogged by using improper toilet paper.
Invention of toilet paper
Joseph C. Gayetty (c. 1817-1827– c. 1890s) was an American inventor credited with the invention of commercial toilet paper. Gayetty first marketed toilet paper on December 8, 1857. Each sheet of pure Manila hemp paper was watermarked “J C Gayetty N Y”. The original product contained aloe as a lubricant and was marketed as an anti-hemorrhoid medical product.
It was the first and remained only one of the few commercial toilet papers from 1857 to 1890 remaining in common use until the invention of splinter-free toilet paper in 1935 by the Northern Tissue Company.
What to know before you buy RV toilet paper
It’s all about how quickly the sheets of toilet paper begin to dissolve with toilet papers specifically marketed to RV use being “rapid-dissolve.” However, most standard toilet papers still dissolve quickly enough to be used safely. The sewage system of an RV can become clogged if you use toilet paper that doesn’t dissolve quickly enough so if you’re unsure just test it by placing some sheets in water. If it starts to dissolve within five to10 seconds, it should be fine.
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Toilet paper break down test
If there is ever any question about whether some toilet paper can be used in an RV, try this…
Using a regular clear water glass (about 10 oz.), fill it half-full of water.
Drop in a couple of clean pieces of toilet paper.
With one hand on top of the glass to seal it and the other on the bottom, shake the glass two times vigorously—but no more. Set the glass down.
Look to see if the toilet paper has dissolved/disintegrated.
If so, that toilet paper is probably safe to use in your RV. If the sheets of paper are still in large pieces, don’t use it. Also note that shaking the glass more than two times will nearly always cause the paper to dissolve!
There are many brands of toilet paper that can be called RV Friendly that aren’t necessarily advertised as an RV toilet paper, and some toilet paper that is advertised as RV toilet paper but does not pass the break down test. I encourage you to do your own test and select an appropriate brand that meets your needs and budget.
Toilet paper comes in either one-, two- or three-ply forms with the higher the number of plies typically meaning higher levels of thickness, durability, absorbency, and softness. Most toilet paper is two-ply with three-ply toilet papers being considered a premium item and one-ply being considered cheap. Some one-ply and three-ply options can be qualitatively equal to two-ply options though so always check the user reviews to find a good deal or make sure you aren’t overspending.
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The size of a toilet paper roll is more important for RVs than other uses as RVs have limited space both in use and in storage. Larger rolls will last longer without needing to be replaced but smaller rolls mean increased space inside the RV. Consider the overall size of your RV carefully before purchasing a package of toilet paper.
What to look for in quality RV toilet paper
Strength vs. softness
The construction process of toilet paper that leads to a particular roll’s qualities is mostly dependent on how much of the materials used are recycled vs. virgin (new). Recycled materials typically lead a toilet paper to have less softness but increased strength while virgin materials lead to the inverse effect. Both options are equally good choices with the deciding factor being your personal preferences.
Many toilet paper brands use textures to accomplish various goals. Some textures increase the strength of the toilet paper. Others, like pleating and quilting lead to greater adhesion and softness, respectively. Other textures are simply the logo of the brand embossed onto the toilet paper. Many consumers have personal preferences when it comes to textured toilet paper so feel free to experiment to find what works for you.
How much you can expect to spend on RV toilet paper
When shopping for RV toilet paper the cost to look for is the price per roll, not the overall cost of the package. Most toilet paper can be considered inexpensive for less than $.50 per roll while expensive toilet paper typically costs $1 per roll or more.
Toilet paper orientation
Does it really matter what orientation the roll is situated in when placed on a toilet paper holder? Yes and no. Those more opinionated than others might struggle to utilize an orientation that goes against their views, but on a technical level, there isn’t enough of a difference to argue the point. That said, the over orientation is used for the original toilet paper patent while the under orientation has been noted to be a little more difficult for young children and playful pets to fully spin out (which could be a good thing).
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Never—NEVER leave your black tank valve open while parked and hooked up to the sewer. If you do, the liquids will trickle out and the solids will build up in the tank. Not Good!!! Doing this may cause you to actually have to replace the tank! Keep the valve closed until you actually dump the tanks.
Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from the Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes.
—Yan Zhitui (531–591)