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OK. I had a little fun with this one.
But ah yes, the toilet paper question. When starting out RVing, everyone is concerned about what kind of toilet paper they can use in their RV. And most of us, at least initially, wind up paying more for special “RV/Marine” toilet paper. The problems with that toilet paper are: it costs more than some other kinds, you can only get it at camping or marine stores, and it’s only single-ply, so usually, your fingers go right through it (which is kind of gross). So eventually, most of us look for something else.
The main thing you need to worry about with toilet paper in your RV is, “will it break down quickly so it won’t get stuck and gunk up my holding tank?” Fortunately, there’s a simple way to test for this, and we show you how in this video. Besides multiple displays of gratuitous cuteness from Baby, this video shows our test of four readily-available kinds of toilet paper.
If you’re new to RVing and haven’t looked into this before, the results may surprise you. In order of descending greatness for RV use, they stack up like this:
- Charmin Ultra Soft – the clear winner. Purchased for $3.99 for four rolls.
- Angel Soft – a very close second. Purchased for only $1.19 for four rolls. If you were looking for the best combination of value and performance, this stuff is it.
- Thetford RV/Marine – a distant third place. More expensive, and only single ply.
- Quilted Northern Soft & Strong – Absolutely unacceptable for RV use.
So there you have it. Details are in the video, and I hope you have as much fun watching it as I did making it.
(And yes, I know Baby isn’t a baby anymore. But that’s what I started calling her when she was a baby, and I don’t like change. I’ll still be calling her Baby when she’s 40.)
Review Update – We continued to let the samples sit overnight. The Charmin and Angel Soft were still mush. The Thetford eventually did dissolve enough to be useable – just at a much slower rate than the others. The Quilted Northern… well, I could wring it out and use it again…
I was curious if there have been any more current tests or experiments.
Does the information still hold true?
We haven’t re-tested, but continue to use Charmin Ultra Soft to this day. We have never had any issues.
Hi James, thanks for another great video. The Charmin UltraSoft was in Mega roll size so I opted for the store’s version (Winco UltraSoft) and it hardly broke down at all. I did a test similar to yours, sans assistant, with the Winco paper an RV-specific roll (don’t know brand as it was a housewarming gift for our Travato) as well as Costco’s Kirkland Signature Bath Tissue. The Kirkland paper fell apart most quickly followed by the RV paper with the generic version of UltraSoft coming in a very distant third. Thanks again for demystifying what makes good toilet paper for RVs. Note: the Kirkland was their standard, not UltraSoft version. Thanks again.
Good points of information for those who can’t get the Charmin Ultra Soft.
James – We also tried the toilet paper test. Don’t know what happened but Charmin was a complete failure. It did not break down – period. We are on a well with no chemicals. I don’t know if that had any effect. Walmart’s “Great Value” brand completely dissolved with a cloudy residue left behind. Now if I don’t clog the septic system from all the jars of toilet tissue that did not dissolve, I’ll be ok. When all is said “You just can’t beat good old corn cobs”. It was fun and thanks can’t wait to see what is next!.
Well, it’s been a number of years since we did that test. Baby is in fourth grade now!
I suppose Charmin could have changed its formula since this test was done.
Also, I know there was a Charmin “Ultra Strong” which was completely different and indestructible. You did try the “Ultra Soft”, right?
In any case, glad you had some good clean fun, and also glad you found something that works for you!
Quilted Norther has another product Ultra Plush which they state is RV safe. Just happens this is the brand and “model” we have been using for years. After dropping in water and immediately shaking for about 10-15 seconds, it broke apart nicely. It didn’t turn into slush but it was very well disintegrated.
Great video. Love your RV science. Btw, is it proper to refer to TP products as a model? I wasn’t sure if I was using proper potty talk!?!?
Model? Variant? Flavor? I have no idea what different product names within the same family are called. Siblings? lol.
Every time I see the title for this story, I imagine you guys attempting to wrap children in toilet paper.
LOL!!!! Well now you’ve permanently passed that image on to me. I’ll never be able to look at that title again without seeing “Baby” mummy-wrapped!
We use the Scotts brand that you can read about here:
However, I think I’d like to try the Charmin Ultra Soft after your glowing review. Is it the same one that you can find here.. 48 double rolls for $25?
Not bad for the price!
That’s the stuff!
Wonder which one is better?
Charmin Ultra Soft? (I currently use.)
Interesting. We haven’t tested or tried that one before. Perhaps if we revisit the test, we’ll do it.
1. I did a test today. Both turns out about the same after 10, 30, 60, 120 minutes,
2. I also found this other test results showing some interesting results. (That The Grand Winner being QUILTED NORTHERN.)
Cool. Thanks for the follow up!
I hadn’t heard of the Scott Rapid Dissolve before, so it’s good to have options.
As for that other test, I saw it before we did ours. It’s coming up on 18 years old now. They must have done something to the formula for Quilted Northern, because you saw what happened to it in our test. Interesting how a product can change over time.
And that’s probably a good reminder to check your toilet paper every couple years in case the manufacturer has changed it.
James, amazing! Yes, Sherryl says that means you and the little one! While we have a bit of an aversion to ‘kids,’ you had us splitting our sides with your antics and comments. Oh, and that child is just plain CUTE and we thought we would never be caught in print saying that. Nice work, grand master. As we live off grid we will also be seeking out the winner of the experiment for use in our home!
The funny thing is, that’s how I interact with her normally. I just treat her like a small version of a regular person and she rolls with it. She’s turning 5 soon. We may work her into some more videos in the future, now that she’s old enough to (mostly) remember lines.
BTW: We’ve been using the Charmin Ultra Soft in our composting toilet and it seems to be working fine there as well.
I thought the key to toilet paper was to look for the ones that said safe for septic systems
That may be helpful, but I don’t really know what they mean by “septic safe”.
The test is easy enough to do (a child can do it!).
If there’s a kind of TP you like or want to use, I would just test it out. You’ll have your answer quick enough.
Very entertaining and fun test. James is quite good with young ones.
You’re the FIRST person to ever tell me that.
Most people say I’m odd, and matter-of-fact with children (which, I suppose, I am).
Baby is just cool in that she accepts that.
Just to always be safe, we put our TT in the little trash can, never in the toilet!
On his recommendation I used Charmin Ultra Soft. I now have a pyramid of toilet paper underneath my toilet. Tried filling it with water overnight, added extra enzymes, used a stick to shove it around, still won’t drain. The only causes I can think of are my family isn’t flushing with enough water, or they’ve changed the formula. Not sure how I’m going to get this out of my tank now.
So if you’re thinking of trying this TP, you’d best re-try his dissolving test on your own before using it in your RV.
The dreaded pyramid is caused, as you’ve guessed, by not using enough water. Removing it is no pleasant task.
No matter what kind of toilet paper you use, you’ll have problems if you don’t also use copious amounts of water.
Using a nicer TP, like the Charmin Ultra Soft, may actually encourage people to use more of it – so there may be a psychological component to the problem as well.
Well, I just ran the test again – because that’s how I roll – using Charmin Ultra Soft (because that’s what we use in the house, too).
The results were the same – mush after one hour.
We buy ours at Sam’s Club. I don’t know if that’s somehow different from what is sold in other stores.
Anyway – here’s what it looked like after an hour.
So, based on that, I’m standing by the results of the previous test, and declaring Charmin Ultra Soft still the winner.
However, as pointed out previously, if you don’t use enough water, no toilet paper is going to perform well.
We use Scott 1-ply which begins to dissolve even before hitting the flusher 🙂
You’ve been totally upstaged by your darling assistant!!! You’d better watch out! I now will buy charmin for my Airstream. thanks
Great article. We sure wasted our money shopping in the RV Stores. I like the idea of having the wife ring out the water and reusing!!
Yuk for wringing toilie pee!
This is hilarious! I love your little assistant and her professional lab coat. Grandpa Rich wore many of these throughout the years working in his labs.
As for the toilet tissue, good to know, as we always bought the special RV type of tissue, which was expensive and not too soft.