How to Clean a Composting Toilet

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The Environmental Protection Agency notes that composting toilets are an environmentally responsible choice for homes and businesses, as they require little or no water while providing efficient waste solutions. Self-contained composting toilets are simple to install and require only a ventilation system. Central systems require the ability to collect waste in a lower level, such as a cellar or basement. Composting toilets immobilize or destroy pathogens from human waste using water, air and heat. Care for your toilet by cleaning its body and bowl, and by periodically removing the completed compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Toilet brush
  • Composting toilet cleaner
  • Rinsing water
  • Garden rake
  • Small hand shovel
  • Bucket

Toilet Body and Bowl

Clean the outside of the toilet, including tank, seat, rim and stool with disinfectant cleaner. Composting toilets are made of smooth plastic or fiberglass that can be cleaned in the same manner as any other toilet.

Remove the plastic bowl liner and clean with the composting toilet cleaner. Rinse, dry and return the liner to the bowl.

Use a toilet brush and small amounts of cleaner inside the toilet bowl if it is not removable. Rinse lightly to avoid adding too much moisture to your compost.

Self-Contained Units

Add composting enhancers in the amounts and on the schedule recommended by your toilet’s manufacturer. Enhancers help the composting bacteria work more efficiently, ensuring timely production of sanitized compost and easier cleaning.

Rotate, mix or rake fresh waste material as instructed by the manufacturer, usually twice each week. For toilets that are used infrequently, such as on weekends, rotate or rake just before leaving at the end of the weekend.

Periodically move finished compost from the active composter to the finishing drawer. Each toilet has a mechanism for this procedure, whether it involves rotating the composting drum or releasing a "trap door" between the two chambers.

Open and remove the compost finishing drawer, usually located at the base of the toilet. It will contain finished compost that is ready for use in your garden.

Central Systems

Clean the outside of the toilet and the bowl as described in "Toilet Body and Bowl."

Open the top door of the composting chamber and rake the waste pile flat once every week. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for adding carbon-based materials such as straw or sawdust, and for adding moisture to the compost.

Check the liquid holding chamber weekly and siphon off excess if your system does not evaporate liquid waste.

Empty completed compost from the bottom compartment of the composting chamber every three to six months using a small hand shovel and bucket, and add the finished compost to your garden.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select a composting toilet with the right capacity for its intended number of users. Choosing the proper capacity will ensure that waste composts efficiently and reduces cleaning effort.
  • Use a bowl cleaner designed for composting toilets. Bleach and other chemicals can kill the aerobic bacteria that work to break down waste. Special cleaners for composting toilets clean the bowl and contain beneficial enzymes to aid in the decomposition process.

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