Dear RV Shrink:
We seem to have an appearance issue with our RV. Not the exterior, not even the interior. It seems to be below our porcelain toilet. My wife continues to be fixated on the stains she can see when the toilet is flushed. The stains are below the ball valve in the toilet. She is embarrassed that these stained plumbing pipes can be seen every time the toilet is flushed.
Do other people stress about such things, or is it just my wife? Seldom do other people use our facilities. I can’t imagine they stare in disgust at our stained pipes. The valve only opens for a half-second. I have tried several times to remove the stains just so I don’t have to hear about them any more, but they seem permanent. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.—Strained over stains in Stratford
I have never had anyone complain about this problem before, but I am flush with ideas to help you solve it. You should be able to clean the pipe without removing the toilet. You can try several cleaning agents, but what works best is “elbow grease.”
Stubborn stains are often a result of water deposits. A common problem RV owners experience is calcium buildup on the toilet seal. I suggest using white vinegar on a regular basis to keep the seals clean and working properly. In your case, I would suggest using it often, using a long-handled scrub brush that can reach in and get your pipes clean and then keep them clean so that staining does not build up over time. If you want to use something stronger, like LimeAway, I would suggest doing it just before you plan to dump.
Two things to consider when using various products on RV plumbing. If you end up scratching plastic parts they will stain easier. If you are using harsh cleaning products that end up in your holding tank they will likely kill the digestive system in your tank and inhibit waste breaking down properly.
Using the above method, you should see progress fairly quickly. Once you have them spit-shined and gleaming, adopt a routine of precautionary maintenance so they do not build up again.
You will know when they start to become a problem. Your wife will tell you!
—Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including Book 2 in his two-book series: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.