Disclosure: I purchased all the items discussed in this review with my own money and have no relationship with either Thetford or Elsan. Links marked with (eBay⇒) or (Amazon⇒) are affiliate links. This means I get paid a small commission if you buy something after clicking on the links. This money helps to pay for the running of the website.
We have had our Thetford Porta Potti 365 for more than two years and in that time have spent about 14 weeks away in the motorhome, hardly ever using campsites. This means that we depend very heavily on our Porta Potti as we do not usually have access to any other toilet facilities.
As a result, we have used a fair amount of toilet fluid in that time. As the Porta Potti is kept in the van, odour suppression is quite important and we have experimented with a few different types of toilet fluid. Although ‘blue’ fluids tend to be very good at keeping smells under control, we have made it our policy to use green or organic fluids that allow waste to be safely emptied into septic tanks.
The two main contenders in the green/organic toilet fluid market are:
- Thetford Aqua Kem Green
- Elsan Organic Toilet Fluid
We’ve tested both these products thoroughly, over weeks of full-time use. Here’s what we found.
Thetford Aqua Kem Green
Thetford Says: According to Thetford’s website, Aqua Kem Green has a “biological action” that “stimulates the breakdown of waste in the toilet waste-holding tank”. Thetford claim that it will act for up to 3-4 days and remains liquid down to -20 degrees C. It is suitable for emptying into septic tanks.
We Say: The biological action of Aqua Kem Green is reasonably effective at breaking down waste but is not very effective at controlling bad smells. When you keep a Porta Potti in the van’s living accommodation (even in a cupboard), this is important. Our experience of using Aqua Kem Green is that it smells pretty unpleasant by day 2.
Elsan Organic Toilet Fluid
Elsan Says: Organic Toilet Fluid is biodegradable and safe for septic tanks. According to Elsan, it uses “brand new biological technology” to “dissolve waste and remove odours naturally”. It can also be added to the flush tank as a rinse agent, too.
We Say: Organic Toilet Fluid really does work, especially if you don’t empty your cassette every day. In our experience, it breaks up waste until there is hardly any tissue or solid matter left – just liquid. Better still, it is very good at suppressing odours – the scent it provides is fairly pleasant (as these things go…) and even a full cassette after several days’ use does not smell bad.
We have not tried using it in the flush tank so cannot comment on that aspect. We still use pink (Elsan Double Rinse) in the flush tank, although I’m not really sure there’s much need.
In a straight contest between Thetford’s Aqua Kem Green and Elsan’s Organic Toilet Fluid, the Elsan fluid wins easily. Its ability to effectively suppress odours for several days on a single dose is very impressive, as is its ability to thoroughly break down waste.
Although the Thetford fluid breaks down waste quite well, your cassette will smell unpleasant almost from the word go – no fun at all.
Needless to say, we only buy Elsan for our own van.