Do Cassette Toilets Smell?

So many of my friends avoid purchasing or using a cassette toilet for a fear of them smelling. Instead, they opt for alternatives which are often expensive and inconvenient.

Cassette toilets don’t have a bad smell provided that you use them as they are intended and clean them regularly. Without proper maintenance and care when using the cassette toilet you will begin to notice a horrible smell that can be particularly difficult to remove from your caravan or RV.

There’s a lot to note about using, maintaining and correctly cleaning a cassette toilet. I’ve outlined everything you need to know below to ensure that you’re never left with a smell cassette toilet again.

Do Cassette Toilets Smell?

The answer to this depends on the way you use the one in your van because your use determines whether it gets messy or not. Mostly, when used for strictly urinating, it does not have an unpleasant odour. However, if you decide to take a number two in your cassette toilet and not dump it quickly, that could give you a problem. 

Cassette toilets are normally used as last resort when there is no alternative and are better suited for urinating rather than taking dumps because the bad smells come when the waste liquids and solids come together and sit for some time. If you have a cassette toilet in your RV, use it only when necessary, mostly to urinate. Using it this way and cleaning out as soon as possible would ensure it does not stink up your van because it would not have enough time to sit and develop into something unpleasant. 

Usually, cassette toilet owners use vinegar and certain chemicals on the toilet after using it so it can have a fresh and unoffensive smell when the toilet is opened, and the waste material is being discarded. With the use of these chemicals, the toilet does not stink up the car before waste disposal. As mentioned before, use it for urinating if you can and if you have to take an emergency restroom break, dispose of the waste right after. Make sure they clean the toilet well and verify that there is nothing left in it.

The people that use cassette toilets for both solid and liquid waste and let the waste sit for a long time had a terrible experience when trying to dispose of it later. This is because the smell was so horrible that most of them could not stand the thought of using that toilet anymore. However, cassette toilets can be great and very useful if used and taken care of the right way.

How To Prevent Cassette Toilets Smelling

Use of Chemicals

To ensure your cassette toilet does not stink in the first place, there are chemicals designed exactly for this purpose. When they are used, they break down waste materials and toilet paper, while also making both the toilet and tank for the waste materials smell fresher, thereby making people able to stay in the RV comfortably.

Chemicals like this are similar to those for dishwashers and often come in portable packets that should be dropped at the bottom of the waste tanks. Whenever wastewater gets into the tank, it mixes with the chemical “packet” and works its magic.

Also, this chemical can be in liquid form, which is poured into the tank to serve the same purpose. When going for relatively short trips, a small amount of the chemical would be more economical would be more effective than dropping a full “packet” of the chemical into the tank and would have the same desired effect.

The liquid form of the chemical also works when you have to take a longer trip that would not last up to a day or when you are preparing to spend a night in the RV. However, if you want to spend more than a day in the RV, you should use a packet of the chemical instead of the liquid form. Both forms of the chemicals are biodegradable and are okay to be disposed into regular sewage systems. 

Frequent Cleaning and Waste Disposal

Cassette toilets need to be emptied and cleaned up as often as possible because if they are allowed to sit with waste materials, they will generate bad odours that will sweep through the entire RV and make it uninhabitable for the occupants. This can be avoided by disposing waste at every given opportunity.

Avoid Letting Liquid and Solid Waste Mix

This point has been made before; a cassette toilet should not be treated the same way a home toilet is. Even though in theory, you can use them the same way, it is unadvisable because it would stink up your van, so they should be used mostly to urinate.

When solid and liquid waste combine, it does not have a good outcome since the whole thing would marinate and your experience when emptying the place would not be good.

Make Sure The Waste Tank Does Not Get Full

Usually, it is ideal to start thinking about getting rid of your waste as soon as the tank gets half-full. This helps the waste not to pile up and overwhelm the chemicals you have put to break it down.

Also, letting it get full can put you in a tight spot if you get to a location where it is impossible to dispose of waste and clean the toilet. This would make offensive odours slowly start to take your RV, and this will gradually become an inconvenience. However, in some emergencies, the waste tank would get filled up, and there is nothing you can do about it. 

Ensure Clean Water Is in The Bowl at All Times

Try to leave fresh water in the toilet bowl every time; it would help prevent bad odours from escaping the holding tank. This would work just like a P-trap in regular plumbing.

As water stands in the P-trap, it prevents sewage gas from coming into the living area and polluting the air. To have this same effect in your RV, let some freshwater stand at the base of your cassette toilet and make sure that the toilet is tightly fastened to the RV, so water does not splash around as the vehicle moves. You do not have to put much water in the toilet bowl; just a little would do.

When To Empty A Cassette Toilet

When on a trip, make sure the waste tank is emptied at least once a day even though it might seem inconvenient to do. Most times, people let the waste tank fill up because it is easier to make use of the facility and dispose of the waste once a week.

Doing this can have terrible repercussions and if you cannot afford to discard your waste every single day, do not let it exceed three days because letting it stay for more days would lead to a smelly cassette toilet.

When To Clean A Cassette Toilet?

Before embarking on your trip, the cassette toilet should be thoroughly cleaned. For perfect results, you should dismantle the entire thing so every nook and cranny can be reached and attended to. Use the instruction manual that comes with the setup to guide you when dismantling the equipment and take note of the position of all parts of it. This is to ensure the cassette toilet does not fall apart when in use during your trip. The manufacturer might specify the type of detergent or cleaning agent suitable for the equipment, so follow the instruction carefully to ensure the cassette toilet remains in good condition.

After every waste disposal, take your time to clean the facility by running clean water through the toilet and the waste tank, swirling it around and throwing it away. Repeat this action multiple times until the water coming out becomes clear. If the water coming out you are ejecting from the waste tank remains coloured or has particles in it, that means the facility has not been sufficiently clean and could produce offensive odours. Adding some white vinegar to the freshwater, you would use to clean the toilet helps a lot. Alternatively, you could use commercial toilet cleaners in place of white vinegar.

When cleaning a cassette toilet, do not use hard brushes because they can cause scratches on the surface being cleaned, which could allow dirt to collect there. Also, wipe the exterior with a damp cloth to keep it looking fresh and replace old water in the freshwater tank with cleaner water regularly. 

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