How To Clean A Cassette Toilet In 7 Easy Steps

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When I thought about writing an article on how to clean a cassette toilet, I thought to myself, is this a bit basic. 

Then I realized that whilst it is a caravan cleaning simple task for most experienced caravaners, I remembered back to when I got my first caravan and hadn’t got a clue what to do. 

The good news is that, how to clean a cassette toilet is very very simple and once you had understood theses steps and done it once, you will know as much as I do on the matter.

How Does A Caravan Cassette Toilet Work

First let’s have a quick look at how the toilet works.

It’s basically like your toilet at home. 

You have a high level water tank or cistern to hold the clean water for flushing.

You have the loo it’s self that you sit on.

Finally you have somewhere where the waste goes. (At home this is a big pipe, here it’s a cassette which is just a fancy word for a retractable box)

At home the clean water gets into the cistern through a pipe off the mains water supply.  Here we have to open a flap on the side of the caravan and fill the tank up with a watering can or cold water from the kettle.

You add the best caravan toilet chemicals that you can.  Some nice smelling pink solution to the fresh water in the head tank to help clean the bowl when you flush and keep everything smelling nice.

At home the waste water goes down a big pipe into the sewer. In a caravan the waste goes into a cassette.  The cassette had some nice smelling blue solution in it.  This keeps it smelling nice and breaks down anything solid. 

Periodically you have to open the door on the side of the caravan (underneath the head tank filling flap), remove the toilet and take to so an elsan point  to empty that waste.  

How to clean a cassette toilet in 7 steps

Caravan Toilet ready to be cleaned
  1. First go inside the caravan and make suer the flap is closed (you won’t be able to remove the cassette if it is open). Then make sure that your family or friends know that you are about to clean the cassette toilet. The last think that you want is someone trying to use the toilet whilst you are removing the cassette.

 2.     Step 2 get your chemicals to hand ready to use. Now you are ready, unlock the door and remove the cassette. To do this you need to press the catch to release the cassette

pull catch to release the cassette toiletremove the caravan cassette toilet to be cleaned
  1. Remove the cassette and take it to the Elsan point. This is basically a toilet or hole in the ground. You may find that if the cassette is full, it can be quite heavey. Some have wheels or you can strap it to your waste master. Even better get a trolly suitable to carry the cassette. If someone is already using the Elsan point it is good etiquette to wait outside giving them plenty of room. 
  2. To empty the cassette, remove the cap and tur the spout 90 degrees to enable the contents to flow out. By pressing the air release button the flow will be faster and smoother. This may prevent too much splash back.
chemical toilet air release press the airreleasebuttonon the cassette toilet

5. Once the cassette is empty you may now use the hose next to the toilet/hole in the ground to rinse out the cassette.  Next fill the cassette with about one litre of water and add one cap full of blue to the cassette. Replace the cap and again turn the cassette upside down to mix the fresh water with the blue solution.

fillthe toilet with water from the hose fill cap with addblue fill with amble and water

6. Replace the spout to its stowed position and replace the cash back into the caravan.

replace spout and place cassette backing the caravan

7. If the top header tank / cistern is low, then add about a quarter of a litre of pink direct into the filling cap. Next add tap water. A watering can or cold water from the caravan kettle will be fine for this.

header tank fill cap


fill header tank on side of caravan

frequently asked questions

Can you poop in a caravan toilet?

The answer is Yes, however most use the toilet facilities on site.  COVID closed many toilet facilities and many people got used to using their own cassette toilets and found that it is actually a better.  If you use the correct quality and quantity of chemical then when you come to empty the toilet you wouldn’t know the difference.

What is the flower Method of pooing in a cassette toilet?

The flower method refers to placing sheets of toilet paper in the toilet bowl and overlapping each sheet.  When you poo in the toilet the paper wraps the poo into a parcel and keeps stains from the toilet bowl.

Can you use normal toilet paper in a cassette toilet?

Yes you can, however a better option is to use the proper cassette toilet paper as is breaks down in the blue chemical more easily than normal paper.

Elsan ROL04 Toilet Rolls - Blue, Size 4 x 400
  • Elsan Blue rolls toilet tissue
  • Ultra soft white toilet tissue
  • For all chemical toilets and cassette systems
  • Approximately 400 sheets per roll
  • Up to twice as long as ordinary toilet rolls

Thetford cassette toilet problems?

Cassette toilets in caravans are quite reliable.  The main problem that you may find is a faulty toilet full indicator light, this can offend be solved by replacing the batteries, or a failed rubber seal.  You will know if your rubber seal need replacing in you find water from the toilet in the cassette housing.  Cassette toilet rubbers are inexpensive and easy to replace.

Can you put bleach in Thetford toilet?

NO.  Household chemicals especially bleach can damage the rubbers in th cassette toilet.  

Does pink or blue chemical go in the top of a caravan toilet?

Pink in the top header tank and blue in the cassette at the bottom.

How do I stop my caravan toilet from smelling?

If you use a good quantity of chemical then your toilet will smell fresh.  You may like to close the flap after use and flush a small amount of pink water in top of the flap.  The smell won’t be able to get through the water.

How do you neutralize a smelly toilet?

If someone has mad a smell in the toilet then the smell may be in the air.  This is methane.  Some say that the best way to get rid of this smell is to light a match as the flame will burn off the methane.  If you do try this then please be very careful not to set fire to your caravan or burn yourself.  Also don’t through an unextinguished match into the toilet bowl.