Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Is reusable toilet paper a good idea in your RV?

We came across an article recently about what is apparently a hot topic on Twitter and other social media sites — using reusable toilet paper.

For RVers, the topic might have a little more relevance than for residents of traditional homes. Some RVers report they never put toilet paper into their black water (sewer) tanks. They claim, with ample evidence, that toilet paper (some is worse than others) can often render tank gauges inaccurate, or can plug the tank to make emptying it difficult or impossible.

One woman who uses reusable toilet paper wrote: “I personally use a microfiber cloth most of the time. I use one for number 1 and another for number 2. They are washed after each use, both cloths are different color so I know which is which. I wash them by hand in hot soapy water, rinse in cold and hang to dry in the bathroom. This helps to eliminate smells and stains so each time I use them I know its okay. I soak them in a diaper sterilizer used for cloth diapers for 24 hours then I boil up in an old pot on the stove and reuse again and again. I’ve been doing this for ages and have never had a problem. I was having personal problems with the chemicals in toilet paper. When I go out and need to use toilet paper I need to apply cream to the area after use to protect my skin from the chemicals.”

Another woman noted: “I wiped my son’s butt with a wipe, which I dropped into a pail, where it sat for a day or two before I threw into my washing machine on the sanitary setting. So, why not add my own?”

The website Lifehacker.com noted: “The downsides of cloth wipes are obvious: You have to keep a sealed hamper, and you have to do more laundry. Cloth users argue that it’s really not a big deal, that it’s no worse than dealing with dirty underwear, as if dealing with dirty underwear isn’t already bad. They insist that the practice is hygienic, that the wipes don’t smell much, that it’s all not a big deal really.”

What do you think?

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodburyhttps://rvtravel.com
I'm the founder and publisher of RVtravel.com. I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.


  1. I have used flannel squares for #1 for nearly a year and no issues with smells in my house or rv bathrooms. They are washed in hot water and dryed in a dryer all of which kills bacteria. I do use toilet paper for #2.

  2. That is gross say DW! Actually I classify that as very similar to wiping your butt and putting the nasty paper in a trash can, who gets the displeasure of emptying the trash can?

  3. Really? I have got to say that this is one most unbelievable idea I have heard about in a long time. I don’t think that those who choose to use “reusable toilet paper” are capable of thinking things through. Shhhhh. Don’t tell them about Bidets. Well, it is probably ok since the reusable TP crowd likely think that a Bidet is just too technological and won’t work.

    Reusable TP has to be a joke. I hope that I have not offended anyone, but I think that anyone who takes reusable TP seriously would be pretty hard to offend.

  4. Just nasty! I can just imagine someone (grand kids)wiping their face with something someone wiped their butt with though it had been washed. Nasty, Nasty

  5. If you want to be a Greenie, look at all the extra laundry/water use. “We’re doing laundry anyway”, increased load size increases water/chemical usage. I remember all those “Washed” diapers. They were NEVER “Clean” again.
    If you have medical issues, I sympathize.
    Otherwise I think you’re fooling yourself. Little bit of TP vs all that labor/water/chemical use.
    16 yrs FT. We put TP in trash, empty daily. No tank issues.

  6. In a sticks and bricks, I can understand using it. And it makes a certain amount of sense when you are boondocking out on BLM land and don’t want to drive to the dump (I’d imagine that TP would buy you a spare day). Personally I’d think a bidet would be better, then use this for a ‘final wipe down’. But, I’m not motivated enough, financially or ecologically, to try it out.

    • Hi, Gary. We have a lot (a lot!) of new readers who weren’t around a year-and-a-half ago. “Retreads” are for their benefit, mainly. If you remember our previously run articles, good for you (good memory). And no one is making you read them again. Just sayin’. Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane

  7. I recycle a lot of things, but this is one thing I just cant do. We use wet ones (diaper wipes) if we don’t want paper in to toilet. I’m sure reusable toilet paper may seem like a good idea to some people, But I’m thinking they are from the generation of cloth diapers too?

  8. Ok if you have the diaper/TP man coming around twice a week to pick up your pail. I’m glad we have a washer and dryer in the MH, it turns my stomach to think someone else is washing their clothing in the same washer. And just think how people are knocked for handling the stinky slinky without gloves, this is way worse!

  9. We do something a little different. We use the cheap Walmart, strong, 2 ply TP, but we don’t flush it. When done, we carefully fold the square over several times to seal any residue inside, give it a little twist to prevent it from opening up, & drop it in an open wastebasket next to the toilet. We have no odor problem & empty it every 5-7 days. We’ve been doing this for the last 6 years of fulltiming with no problems.

    • that’s a good idea. I suppose one could also use those diaper/kitty litter genies.
      We’ve been using septic safe tp and enzymes that seem to work fine for us, though.

    • Got used to doing this in Mexico where you can’t flush paper. I never liked putting paper in the black tank anyway. Added a bidet attachment, too.

  10. Reconnect the RV toilet spray hose direct to the water supply pipe, so it works anytime, not just with the toilet pedal activated. Now you have a “bidet” that can clean you and also the toilet, so you use just one small TP wipes all dry. Works so well i built the same in my home bathroom.

    • In theory it’s a good idea, but potentially has a flaw. In the factory set up, the vacuum breaker provides the seal to stop the flow of water & the sprayer head provides a secondary seal. If you bypass the vacuum breaker & hook directly to the water line, the cheap, lightweight sprayer head is the only protection against a flooded rv. If it fails, you have a flood.

    • Really, an ‘rv bidet’ would be a good thing to offer on newer rigs.
      Anybody listening?

      Then there’s the cheaper version – a ‘peri-bottle’ you can order on Amazon 🙂

  11. Using cloth for toilet seems to be much more work than just using toilet paper and putting it in trash?? We use a bidet which washes you and air dry s you . You would need electric, and water tanks would fill faster but wouldn’t that worth it rather than washing, boiling, taking time to hang ?? And a bidet keeps your sear warm.. I miss my one at home when traveling

  12. Oh hell no! It never ceases to amaze me how much discussion there is regarding toilet paper. IMHO just use paper that degrades, drop it down the crapper, and make sure you maintain your tank properly. I can understand if you are allergic to the paper but for the rest of us it should be easy.

  13. Okay, first of all, just ewe. Second, living in a camper, it’s much easier to burn toilet paper in the firepit than it is to wash dirty wipes. Third, as the owner of a certified tree farm, I can assure everyone that trees used to produce toilet paper are a renewable resource unlike those in the Amazon Rain Forest, so no one need feel guilty about using toilet paper, or most paper products purchased in the US for that matter.

  14. Most Americans have never been outside of their comfort zone. The world is a big place and many people, cultures and countries do things in a variety of ways. In the case of wet wipes, bottled water, and the like, they are all marketing techniques devised to sell more products and in turn do more harm to the environment.

  15. What do you think they used to do in the old days??

    Diapers were all cloth. They were washed over and over. Kids did their business all the time in them.

    These days, people are just plain spoiled to disposable diapers.

    Do you know how many disposable diapers of trashed each day? Just read this one article: https://oureverydaylife.com/environmental-impact-of-disposable-diapers-5088905.html

    So…The idea is not such a bad idea really. You’ll clog less septic systems; cut down less trees, and spend less on paper. Sure, there is the laundry factor but in the end, which is a better value and less stress on the planet?

    I had forgotten about those days, but this article brings up a very interesting point.

    Have we been brainwashed by all of these toilet paper commercials? The rich get richer!

    • I think people have really forgotten the days before disposable diapers and before TP was available. I remember helping my mom “rinse out” my brothers poopy diapers in the toilet and then put them in a bucket to wash. We only had one washer so I guess all our clothes went in the same machine (not in the same load) that she washed diapers in. We didn’t have a dryer so it all went on the clothes line (anyone remember those).

      To each their own as far as what they use to clean up after using the toilet. I would hope that everyone remembers to wash their hands afterwards. That is probably a bigger issue than reusable toilet paper!

      • Yes sir,
        Remember that moment well. Seems that the material used was pure cotton closely milled fabric? In my early era, we did not have the tragic plastic waste problem of today. Granted, I sure don’t want to rinse and boil diapers but we were much better off. Namaste’

    • Yep that’s what that female astronaut did on her journey from Houston to Cape Canaveral to see her boyfriend, I’ll bet that was a smelly reunion, imagine wearing the same diaper for 2 days. Then running into the arms of your lover, that would be true love!

  16. Ummmmm, let’s see. After washing fecal matter off the reusable toilet paper, said wash & rinse water go down the drain.

    Haven’t you just turned your grey water tank into a black water tank?

  17. I could definitely go with the bidet, but don’t think I could go with the reusable stuff.

    When my son was potty training on his “little” seat, I would actually keep the seat in the car for emergencies. I just folded a diaper and put it in the bottom of the catch container and when through, we disposed of it as a regular diaper. Maybe we need adult potty seats with disposable diapers!?!?!

  18. Reminds me of my father who I hope kiddingly said he only uses one sheet of tp. To wipe his finger off. Both ways sound gross. No thanks.

    • LOL! Reminds me of people I know who went to India back in the late ’60’s. They always said, “Eat with your right, and wipe with your left”

  19. I have used reusable TP for years. I have age related health problems that keeps me from using paper. I have a bale of cloths I get at my golf club. After use I put the cloths in a zip lock bag and wash them with my usual laundry’s I keep a good supply of cloths at my toilet and always carry a zip lock with cloths with me at all times. When you get old you must make adjustments or QUIT doing the things you love. Quitting leads to boredom and early deaths.

    • See, I knew this kind of thing happened all the time. That is so gross. So other RV’ers use a washer you previously used for your, excuse the term, sh**? I would think that e-coli infections might lead to deaths.

      • That’s not his concern, he’s long gone by the time you use the same washing machine, just one of the reasons we have our own laundry facilities.

  20. HHMmmm ~ there are those that don’t flush it but save it. I see containers on their mantel labeled with the city/state they pooped in as the goal. Now washable, thanks but I’ll keep that out of my washer and dryer. Next will be edible toilet paper to 100% recycle I suppose! I’ll stay with the old way, poop/toilet paper wipe/flush it all/wash hands. Anything else is just weird and unsanitary to me!

  21. I mean really, its basically like washing cloth diapers, but no I have no interest in using it. I was glad when the last kid was out of diapers and have no interest in reliving those days.

  22. +1 for the bidet seat. Use them at home and in rv. Toilet paper used for drying goes into trash can. No mess no odor. If you step in dog poop do you wipe it off or wash it off, yes, I thought so.

  23. We keep a small sealed trash can by our toilet that a plastic grocery bag fits into. We put ALL our toilet paper into it and change the bag every few days. Works great and no TP in the tank to block the sensors or the drains. 😀

  24. My wife has used something similar. It’s not as bad as it sounds. The first wipe for #2 is with toilet paper and then a cloth is used for final cleanup. The cloth can be wetted.

    She kept a plastic coffee can with lid filled with soap and bleach next to the toilet. It didn’t smell and she’d wash the cloths once a week.

  25. I’m retired. I have better things to do than wash toilet paper or sit on the bidet for a cycle. For me it’s get ‘er done, wipe and wash my hands. I can always come back for seconds. Keep your washable TP and hopefully I won’t be visiting your place of pooping.

  26. No worse than dirty underwear? Really, my underwear never gets THAT dirty. When boon docking, I would think you would use a lot more water doing all that washing. I can see using personal wipes, throwing them in a sealed trash can and then throwing away, but washing your toilet cloths?

  27. I have made my own wipes from Viva paper towels. We have a container with a lid with a plastic bag next to the toilet. We feel cleaner but its not recyclable. I have problems with toilet paper as well.

    2 cups warm water
    Small Dab of coconut oil
    Small amount of hand soap
    Drop of tea tree oil

    Cut Viva towel in half
    Add ingredients to round container with lid. Place paper towel in container. When you see towel soak up half of liquid turn towel upside down and place in container. Place lid on the container. Let set about five minutes. Pull cardboard roll out and pull first sheet from the middle. We love it. No paper in the tanks.

  28. Good God maybe someone is selling fridges to Eskimos! If there’s a loonier item this year on this forum it’ll take a dam good one to top this. The author, creator whatever will have a tough time dreaming something better for April !st

  29. Why would I want to use reusable toilet paper and have to jump through hoops to maintain clean sanitary conditions when the crap and paper will all decompose and be processed, then returned back to the environment? Makes no sense to me.

  30. To stay on topic, I personally wouldn’t be comfortable using reusable wipes mostly because of what I perceive are the storage and then sanitizing challenges. Just having to deal with processing them afterwards seems awkward to me. RV bathrooms are not large spaces, and RV odor management has its regular set of challenges.

    However, I have a suggestion/solution. I have a BioBidet BB-2000 toilet seat installed in our Newmar DutchStar 1/2 bath. By using it everyday, I find that it has significantly cut down on the use of toilet paper. We have Camco RV fast-dissolving toilet paper in our rig, and after using the bidet for one full 3-minute spray cycle, only a few sheets of toilet paper are needed (if at all really). Actually, the toilet paper is more of a “confirmation” that my posterior is clean. The BioBidet seat is remarkably efficient/effective. I also enjoy the heated seat on cold mornings. Here’s a link.


    For installation, you’ll need to have an electrical outlet available on the wall near the floor & rear of the toilet (to plug it in). Tapping into your toilet’s existing water line is relatively straight/forward provided you already have reasonable plumbing skills/knowledge.

    And one more thing: if you’ve ever had a colonoscopy procedure, then you know that the 24 hour period prior to it is the hardest part. Since we’ve had our BioBidet toilet seat, prepping for a colonoscopy has never been easier.

    • I decided to check this out on the “School of YouTube”. There were many vids (of course) but this one was sort of, um, special. This guy does one of those reviews where he goes from opening the box to installing to using it – sort of. It’s funny, and the language is a bit sketchy in a couple of places but nothing adults can’t handle. It looks to me like you would spend more time on the pot using one of these than the typical American loo, and of course, you need plenty of water (and power) so I don’t think it lends itself well to boondocking.


  31. So, big deal! It’s kinda like a long, skinny diaper without the safety pins. It’s only a matter of time before one graduates to adult diapers, so maybe it’s okay to start gettin’ used to it early. Just sayin’ …

    And it does seem a bit more environmentally friendly than all them “wads o’ crap” called disposable diapers that get tossed into the trash every day.


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