Ask Melanie: How Do I Install a Permanent Toilet in an Airstream?

Permanent toilet in an Airstream

In today’s episode of “Ask Melanie” we’ve got a reader who wants to know how to install a permanent toilet in an Airstream. Take it away friendly reader!

Hi Melanie,

First, congratulations on your beautiful Airstream renovation!!!!!! I love the bookshelves and all of your pillows/quilting/cushion covers. 

I found your blog while I was searching the internet for converting an Airstream to permanent living. My boyfriend and I started our Airstreaming experiment in 2010, we have a 1969 25-foot Tradewind Landyacht which we use for traveling and a 1963 Bambi which up until this year we have also used for traveling. We are now planning to place our Bambi permanently and are in the process of doing all our research on utilities and anchoring. 

I’ve got most things squared away, just haven’t been able to find a reliable source on the toilet plumbing.  What did you guys do? Keep the blackwater tank and bypass it for a direct sewer hook up or go the macerator route and pull the valve when the tank is full OR something even better?

Any help/advice is greatly appreciated.

Hey Anonymous,
Thanks for reaching out.
In terms of toilet plumbing we actually run through the blackwater tank into a septic system. The septic system was in place from a traditional trailer that was on the land about 30 years ago. This system works well 90% of the time. When we get a lot of rain, it will occasionally back up and smell a bit. When that happens, we close the valve, wait until the tank is full, then flush it out by going outside and pulling the valve. Sometimes we have to flush it out multiple times, but that seems to do the trick. I don’t know if you are going into a sewer (and if that would be legal where you live), but we go into a septic system and also use a product called GreenPig* about 4 times a year to help in the breakdown of waste.I hope this helps and good luck!
Got any more questions? Send ’em my way!*Affiliate link

7 thoughts on “Ask Melanie: How Do I Install a Permanent Toilet in an Airstream?

  1. Emily

    Hello, Melanie! Though this reply has little to nothing to do with toilet installation… I met you and your hubs this past weekend at Smokey Mtn. Chopper Fest in Franklin. After some instagramming to find thegeorgeousgeorge on instagram i came across your profile as well! How envious I am of your minimalist and small life! Something my man and I have looked into is creating a tiny house out of a storage container. I look forward to more posts of yours. Happy trails!! 🙂

    1. melanie Post author

      Oh hey Emily! It was good to meet you too. Yeah, we’ve definitely been looking into shipping container houses. Maybe someday we’ll build one! I dunno. I feel like the possibilities are endless. I requested to follow you on IG, so if you guys decide to do build a shipping container house, I can follow along!

  2. Kelly & Suzanne Faulkenberg

    Hi Melanie, I’m sorry I didn’t post my other question on this area but here I go. We are going to permanently park our 31′ excella and are going into a septic tank. Did the toilet just bolt right down to the regular thetford mounting flange or was some extra help needed and what might that have been? Thanks for the blog and we are looking forward to asking more. Oh yes about the wool for your windows, does that just come down like a Roman shade at night? ..
    Thanks again ….. Kelly & Suzanne

    1. melanie Post author

      Kelly and Suzanne,
      No extra help was needed for our toilet. We installed it just like a regular toilet, we just run right through the blackwater and keep it open. I hope this provides some clarity.

      As for our window curtains, during the day, we just fold them up. At night, we take them down. It’s less formal than a roman shade because they are handmade. Here’s how they look close-up:


      1. Kelly and Suzanne Faulkenberg

        Thank you for your kindness and your blog… We live on the southern Oregon Coast and inherited a piece of property in the Arkansas river valley with septic, water and power. So after seeing so many great looking revamped Airstreams we found one for sale by a young couple who got pregnant and wanted to move back to Michigan, bought it had it moved and still have not personally seen it, only pictures.1984 all original 31’excella and “original” drives my wife Suzanne crazy. She has said from the start I can’t sit on that plastic toilet and everything in here needs to be painted white. So I can’t thank you enough for that post. We have plans to be there by December and will start like you with a budget and get on with it, but first thing is a household toilet and then a lot of paint… What were they thinking with that awful beige.
        I’m sure you will hear more from us as we go, and I will somehow post pics when we get started. We have always loved Airstreams and now we have one of our own.


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