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How Does a Recirculating Toilet Work? All You Need to Know!

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

how does a recirculating toilet work

As an RVer, I’m concerned about toilet sanitation due to the lack of proper plumbing on the road. While discussing this topic with a friend, someone recommended a recirculating toilet to me. So, how does a recirculating toilet work?

A recirculating toilet uses the liquid in the tank multiple times to flush the waste. The liquid is composed of water and a bit of chemical deodorizer to kill the bad-smelling bacteria.

If you want to know more about this type of toilet, continue reading.

Table of Contents

Working Process

Basically, a recirculating toilet uses a combination of water and chemicals to dissolve the waste and recirculate the liquid for multiple flushes. This makes the fixture a perfect option for boondocking in a place without a proper plumbing system.

The composition of recirculating toilet chemicals may vary for each model, but they serve one purpose, and that is to eliminate bacteria and the odor of waste.

Some old models add a macerator to break down bodily excretions and make them easy to dissolve in liquid. This is an effective toilet mechanism work process to prevent clogging issues. However, the chemicals may work far slower in neutralizing bacteria, leaving contaminants in the toilet water when it’s time to flush solid waste.

A better way to sync the bacteria removal and waste processing is to use a siphon, like how boat toilets work. A siphonic toilet work process involves separating solid waste and flush water into different compartments; each compartment will then receive its own treatment.

Read more: how do RV toilets work?



Once the toilet system is full of waste, it’s time to dispose of the contents. A recirculating marine toilet has a tank you can dump at the RV park or home. Keep in mind that you should empty this toilet after several days because the tank gets easily filled.

The disposal is easy if you can hook up to a sewer system. Simply leave the inner black handle on the RV’s external open and pull the handle at the bottom of the toilet inside. Wait until the content indicator switches from full to empty.

Watch the entire dumping process in this video.

Cassette Toilet Vs Recirculating Toilet

A recirculating toilet looks like a cassette RV toilet, but it’s not secured to the floor. It’s portable, making it a convenient option for boondockers.

Both cassette and recirculating toilets are compact. However, it’s more expensive getting a recirculating toilet than a cassette model. A Thetford recirculating toilet may cost around $400 or even more. Meanwhile, a cassette product is available for around $100.

Read more: The main differences between cassette toilet and black tank.

What Is a Recirculating Toilet?


A recirculating toilet has a bowl and a storage tank of water with chemicals inside to remove the odor and bacteria of the waste. This chemical toilet work process recirculates the liquid every time you flush, saving water in the boondocks. Unlike the regular toilet, it’s more compact and lightweight.

On average, the capacity of the toilet’s storage tank is around three gallons, which can make dumping more frequent. Although the liquid is recirculated each time you flush, it doesn’t emit any horrible smell because you can add an antibacterial fluid to neutralize the waste.

What Kind of Toilet Does a Trailmanor Have?

The Trailmanor toilet isn’t like your ordinary camper toilets because it works just like a residential model. A recirculating toilet Trailmanor makes quietly rinses the bowl each time you hit the Flush button. A blue or green colored liquid is the chemical solution that kills the bacteria, so the bathroom is less smelly.

Trailmanor also offers a cassette toilet and a flush toilet. The Trailmanor cassette toilet makes disposal pretty easy with its portable waste tank. You can also use the door of the outside wall and the handle to easily roll the tank to the nearest dumping site.

If you want an upgrade, Trailmananor also offers a flush toilet. The Trailmanor flush toilet offers a large black water tank capacity of around nine gallons. With this capacity, you don’t have to worry about emptying the waste tank every few days.


At this point, you know the answer to the question “how does a recirculating toilet work?” It’s a great way to save water because it recycles the storage tank’s liquid each time you flush. Also, it takes up a small space in your RV, so it’s perfect for cramped campers when boondocking.

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