One of the tasks that many people get apprehensive about when hiring a recreational vehicle is emptying the toilet. But times have changed and emptying the toilet is usually quite simple — especially if your motorhome or campervan contains a toilet cassette.
In this concise blog, we talk about the different parts of a motorhome hire toilet and how often you should empty the toilet cassette. We also walk you through how to empty the toilet cassette safely and hygienically.
What is a toilet cassette and how does it work?
A key part of many motorhome, campervan and RV toilets is the toilet cassette. Often referred to as the cassette or the holding tank, this easily removable container holds the waste produced from using the toilet.
The majority of recreational vehicle toilets have the same essential parts — the lever, flush button and toilet cassette.
By moving the lever to open a flap in the toilet bowl, you get access to the cassette and you’re able to use the toilet. Pressing the flush button after use will move all the waste into the toilet cassette.
The lever can then be moved back into its original position — which seals the cassette for safe containment.
How frequently should your motorhome toilet cassette be emptied?
A few factors determine how often you have to empty the waste water in the toilet cassette of your motorhome rental. The size of your holding tank or cassette and the number of people on board (and their usage) are the key things.
Located adjacent to the flush button, the toilet warning light lets you know when the toilet cassette is almost full. To prevent potential waste overflow, stop using the toilet when this light comes on.
Read our guide on motorhome water filling and water care for more information about managing your motorhome’s waste water.
Hiring a premium motorhome for your holiday?
If a premium motorhome toilet is used when its cassette is already full, the toilet system is engineered to allow overflow into the cassette’s holding compartment. It will remain contained — which is preferable to spilling into your bathroom interior.
Preparing to empty your motorhome toilet cassette
Being prepared by having the right tools on hand will help make the unenviable task of managing your motorhome’s wastewater simple and safe. Ensure that you have:
- Access to a fresh water supply
- Protective gloves available
- Suitable toilet chemicals
- Located an approved dump station.
Many New Zealand towns feature at least one complimentary public dump station, while bigger campgrounds offer multiple facilities for their visitors.
Utilise travel apps like CamperMate or Wilderness NZ — which you can download from the App Store or Google Play. Alternatively, use Google search to pinpoint the nearest dump station to your location.
Emptying your campervan toilet cassette
The process of emptying your toilet cassette involves removing it from the toilet unit and disposing of the contents at a designated waste disposal point. It then requires rinsing with cleaning chemicals and replacing back into the toilet unit.
Take a look at chapter five about water systems and toilet operation in this onboarding video as we run through each part of the process in more detail below.
Removing your toilet cassette
Many motorhome rental companies provide disposable gloves (likely located in the vehicle’s garage) that you can use. Put them on and check that the toilet flap in the toilet bowl is sealed.
The toilet cassette is usually found in a compartment that’s accessible from outside your RV. Locate and open the compartment — then lift the release lever and gently pull out the cassette.
Disposing of the contents
Place the toilet cassette near the designated waste disposal spot — which is usually a drain or a special facility at a commercial campsite or petrol station.
The spout may need to be swivelled outwards before removing its end cap. Carefully pour the toilet cassette contents down the drain. Note that there may be a breather button on the cassette to press down while pouring — to help the waste flow out.
Cleaning the toilet cassette
Rinse your cassette with fresh water and drain it out. Repeat this step a few times if necessary.
Once thoroughly rinsed, add a little fresh water and a small measure of cassette toilet chemical — as specified by your campervan rental company. Then put the end cap back on.
Replacing your toilet cassette
Once you’ve finished cleaning the toilet cassette, carefully return it into its compartment on the outside of your motorhome. Be sure to secure the cassette in place before closing and locking the compartment.
Emptying a campervan toilet cassette is a relatively easy task that just needs a little preparation and some confidence.
To find out more about motorhome toilets, see our comprehensive guide to campervan toilets and showers.