What is a Cassette Toilet? & How Does It Work?

Written by

Paulk Webb


Freddie J. Hagopian

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what is a cassette toilet

Are you planning a camping trip or a road trip and wondering what kind of portable toilet is most convenient for you? A cassette toilet is probably what you’re looking for!

So, what is a cassette toilet? It is a portable toilet popular among RVers, campers, and boaters. It is a self-contained unit that uses a removable waste tank, known as a cassette, for easy disposal.

In this article, we’ll explore the features and benefits of cassette toilets and help you decide if they’re the right option for your outdoor adventures.

What is a Cassette Toilet?

A cassette toilet is a portable alternative to a traditional toilet, which is commonly used among travelers in RVs and camper vans when going camping. Cassette toilets for campers consist of a toilet bowl, a portable holding tank (or a cassette), and a water tank to flush the waste.

To carry the waste around, there are cassette toilet bags as well.

When you use this fixture, there is not much difference compared to using an RV toilet since there is a seat and a toilet bowl like usual. The only difference here is that a cassette toilet is portable and removable.

To make the cleaning process of a RV toilet work, you need to drive your RV all the way to a dump station to get rid of the waste. You can detach the holding tank there and take it to the disposal area or a public restroom instead!

How Does a Cassette Toilet Work?


The mechanism of a cassette portable toilet is simple, and we are sure you will find it easy to use. Since there is a bowl and a seat, you can use it like you normally use your toilet at home.

  • Firstly, you do your business, then open the valve to flush and close the toilet’s lid. There is a cassette toilet type with a flush button, which is, of course, more expensive, and a type with a manual handle flusher.
  • Under the toilet bowl, a valve allows waste to go into the holding tank when opened. Finally, you can remove the tank with wheels for you to roll. You may put the waste receptacle back under the cassette toilet when you’re done.

Cassette Toilet’s Benefits

A cassette toilet is mostly beneficial to campers who prefer a portable toilet with a compact size when traveling off the grid. With just a small cassette toilet, you won’t need to travel near areas with dump stations all the time since you can remove the waste whenever you meet a restroom.

Furthermore, a cassette toilet for campervan is straightforward to clean. You only need a detergent for the bowl and a commercial cleaner for the cassette. There is no black tank sensor to worry about, since the unit has its waste storage.

Despite the benefits, it is unarguable that cassette toilets are not for everyone. Below is a list of the pros and cons of using cassette toilets that you may find useful.

Pros and Cons of Using Cassette Toilets


  • No black tank needed
  • The flexibility to dump the waste
  • No sewer hose needed
  • Saves space in a small RV


  • Cassette toilets often stink.
  • The emptying process is quite uncomfortable.
  • Frequent emptying is needed if holding tanks are small.

How to Dump the Cassette Toilet’s Waste:

To empty a cassette toilet, you can follow the steps below:

1. Before you start, check if the toilet is completely empty and if the valve handle is closed properly. Some cassette toilet types can alarm you when the tank is full using a sensor, but some might require you to take a look directly.

2. Next, you need to open the cassette’s compartment on the RV’s exterior and pull the safety catch to take the tank out.


3. The cassette tank has wheels and handles on it, so you can push it without exerting yourself.


4. Take out the spout on the holding tank, then press the vent button to release pressure and dump the waste. Ensure you aim the spout correctly so that the waste goes into the hole for disposal.


5. The final step should be cleaning the waste tank with water and a cleaner the toilet manufacturer recommends. You can rinse it until there is nothing left inside.


Normally, you need to dump your cassette toilet every two or three days before the waste tank gets too heavy. Dumping frequently also helps reduce smelly and uncomfortable odors.

A cassette toilet dumping can be much more uncomfortable than when you dump a black tank, so, again, it is not an ideal option for any camper. It is a suitable choice if you have limited space and no money for a compost toilet.

See now this article to know the difference between black tank vs cassette toilet.

Care and Maintenance Tips

The first thing you need to do is read the manual and the maintenance recommendations carefully. It is always useful to prevent any misuse of the cassette toilet for RV. Here are some maintenance tips that we think might be helpful:

  • Avoid going for “number two”: Unless in the case of an emergency, you should not go for “number two” too often. It might cause clogs and unpleasant smells. You can choose to go to a public toilet
  • Toilet paper goes into the rubbish bin: You might have a habit of throwing toilet paper in the toilet bowl after use. However, it might not dissolve in the cassette and takes up a lot of space inside the tank. It’s better if you throw the toilet paper in the rubbish bin.
  • Dump the toilet frequently: Depending on the number of travelers, you might need to dump the toilet tank often to prevent smelly odors. If you travel alone, you can drain the tank every five days, but if you have more than one partner, frequent dumping every two days is necessary.
  • Clean the toilet tank with vinegar: As much as you dump the waste regularly, cleaning regularly also helps break down the solid waste remaining inside the cassette. You can use half a cup of vinegar with some water to pour into the tank.

In fact, using this natural method is better than using chemicals, but you can also choose to buy Thetford cassette toilet cleaning products.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do cassette toilets smell?

Yes, a cassette toilet in a camper can become smelly when you use it often without dumping the waste regularly. However, since you need to clean the tank every time you dump the waste, it is less smelly than using a normal camping toilet.

What are the differences between a cassette toilet and a porta-potty?

While cassette toilets and porta-potties have portable, removable waste tanks, only a cassette toilet can be attached to the RV.

  • The cassette toilet has spare parts for convenient cleaning. It is also easier to maintain and gives you a familiar, comfortable feeling like using a normal toilet.
  • A porta-potty, due to its small size, is transportable and does not cost you too much money to replace, and you don’t need to go to the dump station to dump the waste. However, it has a lower capacity than cassette toilets.

If you prefer a small campervan toilet and do not need to visit the bathroom often, a porta-potty might be the right choice. Otherwise, buying a cassette toilet is also a good decision.

Do you put toilet paper in a cassette toilet?

As I have mentioned above, it’s okay to just throw toilet paper in after you poop in a cassette toilet if you find it more convenient and if you dump the waste on a regular basis. However, dumping toilet paper in a cassette toilet could cause blockages and make cleaning the tank harder.

Therefore, we recommend you prepare a toilet paper bin instead.

Cassette toilet vs composting toilet

Besides a cassette toilet, a composting toilet is also a popular option for campers. The difference is that the latter is more eco-friendly and has separate compartments for liquid and solid waste.

You can choose either a cassette toilet or a composting one. A cassette toilet will be more economical (in the short term), while a composting one will be more hygienic. If you hate dealing with unpleasant odors, a composting toilet could be the perfect choice for you.


So, now you have found the answer to “what is a cassette toilet?” Cassette toilets are convenient, hygienic, and affordable alternatives to traditional flushing toilets, making them a popular choice for campers and travelers.

Just remember to give them some TLC with regular maintenance and cleaning to keep them in good working order. With a little care, your cassette toilet can be a trusty companion on all your adventures.

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