The Ultimate Guide to Caravan Toilets (Caravan Cassette Toilets)




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Embarking on a caravanning adventure? One essential aspect to consider is properly using and maintaining your caravan toilet. A well-functioning loo ensures comfortable travels, keeping things hygienic while avoiding unpleasant odours and potential mishaps.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore different types of caravan, motorhome and camping toilets, their components and functions, top tips for efficient usage, and how to maintain them effectively. One of the most popular makes is the Thetford toilet with a Thetford cassette.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three main types of caravan toilets: cassette, portable chemical, and composting.
  • Caravan toilets have several key components, including the bowl, flush mechanism, waste holding tank, and ventilation system.
  • Proper maintenance practices, such as using designated cleaning products for plastic surfaces and following chemical concentrations, can ensure smooth operation throughout your journey.
  • Different types of chemicals play a crucial role in effective waste management, such as blue chemicals (waste tank additive), pink chemicals (flush-tank additive), and green chemicals for eco-friendly users.

Types Of Caravan Toilets

There are three main types of caravan toilets: cassette toilets, portable chemical toilets, and composting toilets.

Cassette Toilets

Cassette toilets are an excellent choice for touring caravan owners looking to enjoy the comforts of home whilst on the road. They are by far the most popular choice.

At the heart of every cassette toilet is the removable waste holding tank, which can be effortlessly taken out and emptied at designated disposal points when necessary. The compact design maximises space in your caravan bathroom while ensuring efficient use of water and chemicals throughout your trip.

Thanks to their rotating spout feature, emptying waste from these tanks has become a less messy task compared to other systems. Additionally, most models come with built-in indicators that signal when it’s time for maintenance or tank emptying, making them user-friendly even for first-time caravanners.

Thetford C200 Series Fresh Up Kit Replacement Cassette with Toilet Seat Caravan Motorhome*
  • Fresh-up set C200
  • With wheels and handle
  • Consists of: toilet seat with lid, waste tank with wheels and handle
Thetford Fresh Up C400, C402, C403 Toilet Seat, Tank with Wheels, Cassette*
  • Have you bought a used motorhome or a caravan? Freshen up your toilet now. FreshUp consists of a toilet seat and a cover, matching faeces tank with spout as well as free sanitary additives to complete the revitalisation of the toilet.
  • Suitable for all C400, 402, 403 toilets.
  • Hygiene for your toilet.
  • Contents of delivery: 1 x tank with wheels, 1 x toilet lid.
Thetford 33209 Holding Tank for C220 S/CS/CW Cassette Toilets-Moon Gray*
  • Holding tank
  • Fits C220 S/CS/CW Cassette toilets
  • Color: Moon Gray
  • Thetford part number: 33209
Thetford C400 Cassette Waste Tank Right Hand Spare Replacement Caravan Motorhome Toilet*
  • Model Number: 26634
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Package Weight: 2879.97 grams
  • Package Dimensions (L x B x H) in cm: 72.8 x 27.8 x 24.6
Thetford 20087762 Fresh-Up Set C220*
  • Fresh up set for C 220 with wheels and handle.
  • With the fresh-up set, old toilets get a new shine again.
  • Complete set consisting of: Toilet seat, lid and waste tank with handle and wheels.
Thetford Fresh Up Set for Cassette Toilet C400*
  • Model Number: C400
  • Package Dimensions : 67.0L x 38.0W x 40.0H (centimeters)
  • Package Weight: 6600 grams
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
Thetford C250 Toilet Fresh-up-Set*
  • White River Outdoor have a lifetime of experience and enthusiasm for all things outdoor
  • Item Package Length: 29.0 cm
  • Item Package Width: 38.0 cm
  • Item Package Height: 49.0 cm

Portable Toilets

Portable toilets are an excellent alternative for caravan owners who may not have a built-in cassette toilet or prefer the flexibility of a standalone unit.

One of the main benefits of using portable toilets is their ease of transport and compact design, allowing you to place them in various locations within your caravan. They also offer greater freedom when it comes to finding suitable disposal points at campsites or public facilities.

To maintain optimum performance, portable toilets require regular cleaning and proper chemical treatment just like cassette toilets. Eco-conscious caravan owners can opt for green chemicals that provide efficient waste breakdown while being environmentally friendly at the same time.

Thetford 92820 Porta Potti 365 Portable Toilet, White-Grey, 414 x 383 x 427 mm
15,053 Reviews
Thetford 92820 Porta Potti 365 Portable Toilet, White-Grey, 414 x 383 x 427 mm*
  • Thetford Porta Potti Qube 365 White with Piston Pump 2012
Hi-Gear 10 Litre Lightweight Portable Flushing Toilet, Emergency, Ideal for Festivals, Fishing Trips and Travelling, Camping Equipment, Grey, One Size*
  • PORTABLE – This lightweight toilet offers a domestic toilet experience no matter where you use it. Constructed with high-quality ABS plastic, this sturdy portable potty offers handles and a full-sized seat and lid to welcome users.
  • VERSATILE – Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, this portable toilet is perfect for long distance and caravan travel, boating, hiking and camping and fishing, and even living off the grid when necessary for construction, renovations, and prepping.
SEEZSSA 24 L Portable Camping Toilets Emergency Commode Porta Potty with Waste Level Indicator & Removable Tank for Pregnant Women Elderly Indoor Outdoor Hiking Travel RV Caravan Easy Cleaning, White*
  • Stable Structure – The 24 L SEEZSSA portable toilet was made of high-density polyethylene with an adult-sized seat and the lid is sturdy, thick wall construction, strong enough to stand on. Handles on each boat toilet tank make transporting this simple. (Not include storage bag)
  • Large Capacity & Paper Storage Function- The camping commode offers a 20 L fresh-water tank and 24 L waste holding tank, which could flush 100 times at least. Completely self-contained operation and no external water or power connections required. Feature with a small switchable storage compartment in the sewage tank, which can hold toilet paper.

Composting Toilets

Composting toilets offer an eco-friendly alternative to traditional caravan toilet systems. These innovative designs operate without water, chemicals or odour control additives, making them a sustainable and environmentally conscious choice for touring caravan owners.

One key advantage of composting toilets is their low maintenance requirements compared to cassette and portable options. They don’t require emptying as frequently due to the reduced volume of waste produced and are generally easier to clean.

Additionally, as no chemicals are needed in the process, users can avoid the hassle and cost of purchasing toilet additives.

Components And Functions Of Caravan Toilets

Caravan toilets have several key components and functions, including a bowl, flush mechanism, waste holding tank, and ventilation system.

Toilet Bowl

The bowl is the most prominent part of a caravan toilet, where all the magic happens. The shape and size of the bowl might differ depending on your caravan model, but its function remains the same.

It is where you do your business before disposing of it in the waste tank or cassette. When using a caravan toilet, it’s important to keep the bowl clean and hygienic to avoid unpleasant odours.

This can be achieved by using designated cleaning products for plastic surfaces that won’t damage any delicate parts of the flushing mechanism.

Not all types of paper should be used in caravan toilets as they may clog up pipes or degrade poorly in chemical waste disposal points.

Flush Mechanism

The flush mechanism is an essential component of any caravan toilet system. It enables the user to dispose of waste by flushing it away with water and chemicals. Two flush systems are available: manual hand pump or electric flush system. All new caravans will be electric, but holder models may still have a manual pump.

The manual hand pump requires physical effort by pumping a lever, while the electric flush system uses an impeller pump that operates at the press of a button.

To maintain your caravan toilet’s optimal performance, ensure that your separate flush water tank remains full before each use and follow chemical concentrations according to packaging instructions when adding blue or pink chemicals to assist with the waste breakdown and odour control.

Ignoring red indicator lights could lead to problems such as not being able to flush properly caused by jammed impeller pumps due to ignoring warnings about cassette level capacity, lack of fuse replacements, or wiring issues if using an electrical model.

Waste Holding Tank

The waste holding tank is a vital component of caravan toilets, such as cassette and chemical toilets. It stores all the waste from the toilet until it can be emptied at an appropriate location.

It’s important to regularly empty the waste holding tank to prevent any overflow inside your caravan ensuite. The emptying frequency will depend on usage and how many people are using it.

Ensure to follow proper disposal guidelines when emptying, including disposing of waste at Elsan points rather than in public spaces or regular rubbish bins. Some people take these into the toilet block and empty the contents into the bowl, although, personally, I’d only do this as a last resort.

Ventilation System

Proper ventilation ensures a clean and odour-free environment in your caravan toilet. Most modern caravans have built-in ventilation systems that help remove any unpleasant smells and keep the air fresh.

Ensuring these ventilation systems function correctly before using your caravan toilet is important. Check for any blockages or damage to the vents, and clean them regularly to prevent any dirt or debris build-up.

Waste odours can quickly accumulate without proper ventilation in confined spaces like caravans, making for an uncomfortable trip.

Role Of Toilet Chemicals In Caravan Toilets

To ensure proper functioning and effective waste management, it is imperative to understand the role of chemicals in your caravan toilet system – read on to learn about the different types of chemicals used and their benefits.

Blue Chemical (waste Tank Additive)

When it comes to chemical toilets in caravans, the blue chemical waste tank additive is a crucial component for breaking down waste material and eliminating odors. This additive, commonly used by caravan owners, aids in the decomposition of solid waste and prevents the buildup of gases that produce unpleasant smells.

Pro-Kleen Blue Toilet Chemical Fluid Solution Cleaner 2L for Caravan and Motorhomes – Eco-Friendly, Formaldehyde Free – Upto 20 Treatments – 2 Litres*
  • A Powerful toilet cleaning formula to be put in your waste tank to break down toilet waste and remove nasty odours that have developed in motorhome and caravan toilets.
  • Liquefies and breaks down toilet waste to ensure all waste can be easily removed from the toilet tank.
Elsan Blue Toilet Fluid, 4 Litre – BLU04*
  • Elsan Blue chemical toilet fluid – 4 litre
  • Powerful anti-bacterial formula kills germs and bacteria
LeisureTime Concentrated Blue Toilet Fluid, 25 Treatments – Formaldehyde Free, Septic Tank Safe Toilet Cleaner Liquid for Cassette, Motorhome and Portable Toilets – Caravan Toilet Chemicals*
  • ✔️ CONCENTRATED TOILET BLUE FOR CARAVANS: LeisureTime blue toilet chemical efficiently breaks down waste and prevents unpleasant smells in all portable toilets. Save money and space with our super-concentrated formula which gives 25 treatments – 5 doses more than your average bottle – all from a compact 1 litre bottle.
  • ✔️ CAMPING TOILET FLUID FOR EASY WASTE DISPOSAL: Make caravan and camping holidays a breeze with hassle-free waste disposal; this blue toilet fluid for motorhomes converts toilet waste into slurry for simple disposal at designated points. It also has a built-in water softener to ensure it works perfectly wherever you are.

It is important to note that different manufacturers may have varying recommendations for use with their specific products. Elsan and Dometic are popular brands of chemicals designed for caravan toilets.

Additionally, some dump point managers may have specific regulations regarding using blue chemical additives, so be sure to check with them before use.

Pink Chemical (flush Tank Additive)

The pink chemical is an essential additive that helps to sanitise and deodorise the caravan toilet’s flush tank. It breaks down waste materials, preventing unpleasant odours from escaping into the air.

Many caravan owners make the mistake of assuming that water alone can clean their toilets; however, using only water leaves behind a foul smell and bacteria build up in the bowl and holding tank.

Therefore, a suitable toilet fluid like Aqua Rinse Plus Pink is important for optimal performance and safe disposal. The pink liquid should be added to the flush water tank after emptying the cassette, ensuring no blockages or clogs within your system.

Keywords: Pink chemical, flush-tank additive, sanitises, deodorises, break down waste materials, unpleasant odours, bacteria build-up, Aqua Rinse Plus pink, optimal performance, safe disposal

Thetford Aqua Kem Rinse Concentrate, 0.75 litres*
  • Contents: 750 ml.
  • Sanitary concentrate for flush water, additive concentrate for fresh water tank.
  • Small and powerful: A powerful, highly effective, two and a half times concentrated sanitary fluid for the waste-holding tank of cassette and portable toilets.

Green Chemicals For Eco-friendly Users

For touring caravan owners looking for a more environmentally friendly option, green chemicals are an excellent alternative to traditional blue toilet additives. These fluids are made from natural and biodegradable ingredients that use organic microorganisms and essential oils to break down waste effectively.

Some campsites require green toilet fluids to limit environmental impact, so it’s worth checking before embarking on your next trip. By using dedicated fluids designed for caravan toilets, you can ensure optimal performance while doing your part for the environment.

How To Prepare Your Caravan Toilet For Use

To ensure proper operation of your caravan toilet, it’s essential to prepare it correctly before use – from adding chemicals and preparing flush water to maintain ventilation – read on to learn the steps you need to take.

Adding Chemicals

Adding chemicals to your caravan toilet is important in keeping your bathroom fresh and functioning properly. Before adding any substances, read the instructions carefully and use the recommended amount.

For example, Elsan Blue or Aqua Kem Blue waste tank additives can help break down waste materials and prevent odours from building up.

Remember that formaldehyde-based chemical treatment were commonplace in older models but have since been banned due to environmental concerns. Today’s eco-friendly alternative fluids contain a mixture of biocides, enzymes and probiotics that enhance natural bacteria activity for organic breakdown resulting in better odour control while being safer for the environment.

Preparing Flush Water

Before using your caravan toilet, it’s essential to ensure that you have the correct water supply for flushing. Many caravans have a flush tank that can be filled with fresh water from an external source such as a tap or hose attachment.

To do this, use a container to collect water from a nearby river or stream and pour it carefully into the flush tank. It’s important not to overfill the tank as this can cause leaks and make emptying more challenging later on.

Ensuring you have adequate flush water before using your caravan toilet will ensure that waste is effectively flushed away after every use.

Ensuring Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial for a functioning caravan toilet. Without it, odours can quickly build up and linger, making your journey an unpleasant experience. Ensure the air vents are always unobstructed and open to ensure proper ventilation in your caravan toilet.

You should also avoid using chemical products that emit toxic fumes, as this can impact indoor air quality. If you prefer eco-friendly options, consider green chemicals or the SOG system that relies on a ventilation fan to help break down waste material without harmful chemicals.

According to important facts about touring caravans, only half of caravanners fully use their onboard facilities, with even fewer using their toilets regularly.

Top Tips For Using Your Caravan Toilet

Save water by only flushing when necessary. Regularly maintaining and cleaning your caravan toilet are crucial to prevent blockages and unpleasant odours.

Water Conservation

As a touring caravan owner, water conservation is key to ensuring you have enough resources for your trip. When it comes to using your caravan toilet, there are a few simple steps you can take to minimise water usage.

First and foremost, remember that “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” This may seem like an obvious one, but every little bit helps when conserving water.

Additionally, consider using eco-friendly chemicals designed specifically for caravans – they are better for the environment and require less flushing and, therefore less water usage.

It is important to note that in addition to conserving fresh water supply on board of caravan toilets, users should also be mindful of greywater reuse and proper waste disposal.

Regular Maintenance And Cleaning

Regular maintenance and cleaning of your caravan toilet is crucial to keep it in optimal working condition and prevent unpleasant smells. Make sure to regularly clean the bowl, cassette, and all plastic surfaces with mild detergents.

Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach, which can damage plastics and rubber seals. Check the cassette for any cracks or damages regularly as even small leaks can lead to odors escaping into your caravan.

Remember that proper waste disposal is as important as regular cleaning when maintaining your caravan’s toilet system. Make sure you empty the waste holding tank when necessary depending on usage, usually every one-and-a-half days for a family of four.

Use designated fluids for safe disposal instead of cheaper alternatives like biological washing liquid, which may not work effectively or quickly enough.

Proper Waste Disposal

Proper waste disposal is of utmost importance when it comes to using your caravan or motorhome toilet. It’s essential to empty the waste holding tank at designated facilities such as Elsan points or chemical waste points provided by caravan parks and campsites, rather than disposing of it inappropriately.

Regularly maintaining and cleaning your caravan toilet also plays a vital role in ensuring safe and efficient use. Proper maintenance includes checking all seals, mechanisms, and connections regularly for any leaks or damages that could cause problems during use.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid flushing items such as wipes or sanitary products down the toilet as they can clog pipes and lead to sewage issues.

Emptying The Toilet Cassette

When it comes to emptying your caravan toilet cassette, proper disposal is of utmost importance.

When To Empty The Cassette

Regular emptying of the toilet cassette is essential to maintain hygiene and prevent unpleasant odours from building up. The frequency of emptying your cassette will depend on usage, but a family of four using it regularly may need to empty it every one-and-a-half days.

It’s important to keep an eye on the level gauge inside the bowl, which indicates when the holding tank is nearly full. Additionally, some cassettes have a red indicator light that signals when it’s time to empty them.

If you’re planning a long journey or won’t have access to an RV dump point for several days, make sure you leave enough space in the waste holding tank before setting off.

Step-by-step Guide To Emptying

Emptying your caravan or motorhome toilet cassette is a crucial step in proper maintenance and hygiene. To begin, make sure you are wearing gloves and protective clothing to avoid any contact with waste material.

Locate the waste disposal point at the caravan park or use public facilities if necessary. Next, turn off the flush system and remove the cassette from its compartment underneath the bowl.

Take your filled cassette to the disposal point and empty it into the designated drain using a rotating spout or manual hand pump attachment. Rinse out any remaining waste with clean water from a hose provided by most parks, then add toilet chemicals to start breaking down solids in preparation for future use.

Once done, firmly secure all caps and seals of both tanks before returning them under your toilet bowl until ready for next use.

Disposal Of Waste

Once your toilet cassette is full, it’s time to dispose of the waste in a responsible and hygienic manner. It is important to note that dumping caravan toilet waste into public toilets, open ground or stormwater drains is illegal and harmful to the environment.

Most towns in the UK have dedicated RV dump points where you can empty your cassette safely and with minimal fuss. At the RV dump point, simply remove the tank from its compartment and connect the emptying hose provided by aligning it with the hole on top of your tank.

Press down on any valves that need opening, then turn on the tap opening onto which you’ve connected your hose.

It’s worth noting that some campsites allow chemical-free camping, meaning no chemicals should be added to any toilet cassettes while at those sites — always check site regulations beforehand if this applies to you before using your portable chemical-enriched toilet system.

Maintaining Your Caravan Toilet

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your caravan toilet in top condition. This includes cleaning the toilet bowl and cassette, checking seals and mechanisms, and troubleshooting common issues.

Cleaning The Toilet Bowl And Cassette

Regular cleaning of the toilet bowl and cassette is crucial to ensure a hygienic and comfortable camping experience. To clean the toilet bowl, use a mild detergent or specially formulated caravan toilet cleaner as harsh chemicals like bleach can damage the plastic surfaces and rubber seals.

Avoid using abrasive sponges that can scratch the surface of the bowl.

To clean the cassette, empty its contents into a designated dump point before rinsing it out thoroughly with water. It’s important to check the rubber seal on top of the cassette regularly for wear and tear, as leaks from here can cause unpleasant odours inside your caravan bathroom.

A silicone lubricant may be applied occasionally to keep it in good condition.

Checking Seals And Mechanisms

As a touring caravan owner, it’s important to regularly check the seals and mechanisms of your caravan toilet. The rubber seal at the top of the cassette is particularly crucial as any leaks can cause serious damage to your en-suite area.

It’s recommended that you clean this seal every time you empty the cartridge and keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear. Additionally, make sure to check other parts such as the air bleed valve on top of the cassette which allows air into the cartridge during emptying.

If this valve is damaged or blocked, it can lead to unpleasant spills inside your caravan bathroom.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

As a caravan owner, you will likely experience some common issues with your toilet. Some of the most frequent issues include toilet flushing problems, indicator lights that remain on even after emptying the cassette, and jammed impeller pumps.

These issues can be resolved by checking for clean water in the flush tank, tapping or flushing out the cassette to release any stuck floats, and removing or replacing any clogged or broken parts.

Another important issue is proper waste disposal, which should always be done at a designated RV dump point. Avoid dumping waste into stormwater drains or public toilets unless directed by park management.

Additionally, make sure to use septic-safe toilet chemicals and dispose of toilet paper responsibly to prevent filling up your cassette too quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What chemicals should I use in my caravan toilet? How often do I need to empty the waste holding tank? Find all the answers to your burning questions about caravan toilets in our comprehensive FAQ section.

Where Should I Empty My Toilet Cassette?

Properly dispose of the waste from your caravan toilet cassette is important. The most convenient and responsible way to do this is by using designated chemical waste points in many UK towns.

Dumping the waste into public toilets, stormwater drains, or open ground can lead to environmental damage and fines. Some campsite facilities may also offer specific areas for disposal.

It’s always a good idea to plan before starting your trip and research locations where you can empty your cassette safely and efficiently.

What Chemicals Should I Use?

When it comes to selecting the right chemicals for your caravan toilet, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, it’s important to choose RV toilet chemicals that are marked as “septic safe” and follow the concentrations according to the packaging.

Whether you opt for blue or green additives will depend on your personal preference and environmental considerations. Blue chemicals are designed to break down solids and neutralize odors, while green options provide an eco-friendly alternative that is ideal for environmentally conscious campsites or those that use septic tanks.

How Often Do I Need To Empty The Waste Holding Tank?

Emptying the waste holding tank in your caravan toilet is an essential task that should not be ignored. The frequency of emptying depends on usage, and it can vary from daily to every one-and-a-half days for a family of four using the toilet regularly.

Ignoring the cassette indicator can have catastrophic results, so it’s essential to keep tabs on when it needs emptying. Some caravan sites offer chemical disposal points where you can empty your waste tank less frequently than daily, depending on usage.


In conclusion, understanding your caravan toilet is important for a comfortable and hygienic journey. Knowing the different types of toilets available, their components and functions, as well as proper maintenance and disposal practices, can make all the difference on your travels.

With the right chemicals and accessories, you can ensure optimal performance without negatively impacting the environment. So next time you hit the road in your touring caravan in the UK, refer back to this ultimate guide to have confidence in your knowledge of caravan toilets.


1. What types of toilet systems are available for caravans in the UK?

Several types of caravan toilets are available, including cassette toilets, pump-out toilets, and composting toilets. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, depending on your individual needs.

2. How often should I empty my caravan toilet’s waste tank?

The frequency at which you need to empty your caravan toilet’s waste tank will depend on a number of factors such as how many people are using it, how often you use it and the capacity of your specific model. As a general rule though – regular maintenance is recommended to avoid overflows & malfunctions.

3. Can I use regular household cleaning products for my caravan toilet?

It is not advisable to use standard household cleaners for your caravan toilet as this can cause damage to the plastic parts in the system or result in build-up that ultimately clogs pipes or damages sensitive sensors needed to automate functions like flushing.

4. How do I winterise/prepare my caravan’s toilet system before storage during off-season months?

To winterise/prepare a static or touring vehicle with an onboard water/waste system correctly involves draining down all existing fluids (water/waste) from tanks into appropriate safe containers prior so nothing remains that could freeze/burst pipes/tanks once temperature drops below freezing point; ensuring pipework is also clear by blowing through with compressed air (if possible); applying antifreeze solution liberally throughout entire plumbing network helps avoid expensive repairs come springtime when preparing to hit the road again!

*Last update on 2024-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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