If you’re thinking about getting a composting toilet, you probably have a bunch of questions on your mind, the most common being do composting toilets smell? Well, in this blog, we will present a clear picture of the topic
If you’re thinking about getting a composting toilet, you might wonder if it smells. The answer is NO, a composting toilet does not smell. Here’s why:
Traditional toilets and camping toilets can smell because they mix liquids and solids. Composting toilets use a urine separator, preventing odors by keeping urine and feces separate.
The key to a smell-free composting toilet is drying the solids. Using litter material, like wood chips or sawdust, absorbs moisture and eliminates odors. It’s important to add a handful of litter each time you use the toilet.
Emptying a composting toilet is straightforward and odor-free. The collected, dried solids don’t smell like feces. Whether you have a composting toilet with or without an agitator, disposal is simple – either into a compostable bag for real compost or into the nearest waste bin.
In summary, when used and maintained properly, composting toilets are virtually odor-free, making them a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Now that you know whether composting toilets smell or not, let’s learn how to conduct composting toilet odor control treatment.
Typically these toilets are supposed to be odor-free, and a well-designed, well-maintained toilet should not have any unpleasant smells. If it does, something might be wrong. Here are the reasons why a composting toilet may start producing odors and ways to fix it:
1. Exhaust Fan Issues
- Every composting toilet has an electrical exhaust fan that keeps the system odorless.
- Ensure regular fan maintenance and clean it yearly.
- Keep a spare fan for replacement if needed.
- Consider adding a wind-driven vent as a backup for fan failure or power outages.
2. Wet Compost Pile
- Excess moisture in the compost pile can lead to more smell.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for adding the right amount of bulking agent.
- Fix a wet pile by adding BBL Tamper Spray concentrate, Compost Black, and bulking agent layers.
- Mix the pile if your system has a mechanism; otherwise, leave layers in place.
- Increase the bulking agent when using the toilet, and use Nature Flush Enzymes daily for enzymatic balance.
3. Chemical Exposure
- Harsh chemicals or soaps can kill composting bacteria.
- Never use chemicals or soaps to clean the composting toilet.
- Clean with Nature Flush Enzymes only.
- If exposed to chemicals, reintroduce composting microorganisms using BBL Tamper Spray concentrate.
- Use Nature Flush Enzymes daily for enzymatic balance.
4. Extreme Temperatures/Drying Out
- Extreme temperatures or prolonged non-use can dry out the compost.
- In some temperatures, drying is unlikely but can happen during extended non-use.
- Fix a dry pile by adding water and/or Nature Flush Enzymes to restore moisture and microbial activity.
Cross-Reference: Pulling Odors from the Composting Toilet System
Composting Toilet Maintenance Tips
Composting toilets offer an ideal off-grid toilet solution—they save water, don’t need sewerage or septic connections, and produce usable humus. They’re user-friendly and, when set up correctly, require manageable maintenance. To keep your toilet performing well, follow a regular maintenance routine. This is how you can do composting toilet odor control.
1. Maintaining a Healthy Compost Pile
- Ensure everything works correctly for optimal compost conditions.
- Add bulking agents (e.g., wood shavings, coco peat) regularly to maintain the right carbon balance.
- Avoid adding foreign objects like food scraps.
- Refrain from using harsh chemicals or soaps.
- Moderate extreme temperatures; add moisture in hot weather and consider a heating pad in cold conditions.
- Confirm the exhaust fan is working well.
2. Troubleshooting Odors
- Maintain the exhaust fan annually; keep a spare for replacement.
- Address excess moisture with proper bulking agents and layers.
- Avoid chemicals and reintroduce microbes if needed.
- Prevent drying during non-use.
3. Cleaning Toilet
- Clean the pedestal weekly using Nature Flush Enzymes, avoiding harsh chemicals that harm the compost pile.
- For composting chambers/trays, yearly cleaning is recommended.
- Use Nature Flush Enzymes, rinse with a low-pressure hose, and let run-offs go into a prepared divot.
4. Cleaning Fan
- Annually clean fan blades to remove dust or debris limiting efficiency.
- Fan bearings and seals don’t need servicing for the fan’s lifespan.
5. Mixing Pile
- Use mixing mechanisms if available, enhancing composting and increasing chamber capacity.
- Continuous composting systems may need raking monthly.
- Systems with automatic mixing don’t require manual intervention.
- Without a mixing mechanism, do not mix compost by hand.
6. Disposing of Compost
- When the chamber/tray fills, bury humanure 150mm sub-strata in a designated area.
- Use compost as fertilizer for trees, excluding edible plants.
- Set up a Secondary Treatment System with two composting bins for mature compost before burial. Rotate bins yearly.
Different composting toilet models require specific procedures for waste disposal. Here are general guidelines and model-specific instructions on how to empty a composting toilet:
- Always wear a dust mask for sanitation.
- Use rubber or protective gloves to prevent bacterial contact.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and running water after emptying.
- Seek assistance to move the toilet and handle heavy waste.
1. For Bio Bag Toilets (Tiny Houses, RVs)
- Remove the bio bag and dispose of it in a general waste facility or trash bin.
2. For Batch Composting Toilets (Big Homes)
- Open the top part and remove the seat panel.
- Access the waste container and replace it with a new one.
- Condition the waste heap in an open area for two months.
- Consider adding the material directly to your soil or placing it in a worm bin.
3. For Continuous Composting Toilets (Big Homes)
- Pull out the tray at the bottom and dump the soil-like waste. Empty the tray every two to three months based on usage.
4. For Slip System Compost Toilets
- Open the hatch or access the finishing tray.
- Use a shovel to scoop human waste and deposit it into a wheelbarrow or separate waste container.
- Finishing tray ensures clean compost, separate from incoming waste. Empty it into a container or wheelbarrow for transportation.
You are aware of the fact that generally composting toilets do not smell but you should clean them regularly for hygiene. The cleaning frequency varies based on family size and toilet type.
- Typically, empty your home-used toilet monthly or seasonally for infrequent use.
- Self-contained toilets need emptying every three months.
- Separate urine bottles usually require more frequent emptying, around every three to four days for a 2.2-gallon capacity.
It’s the vital component of a dry composting toilet, preventing odor by neatly dividing urine and solids. It ensures no mishmash and unpleasant smells. For optimal performance, the separator should:
- Fit perfectly in the toilet body.
- Precisely match the urine and solids containers.
- Have a deep urine outlet for effective drainage.
- Feature a spacious area for solid waste, preventing sticking to the sides.
- Boast a smooth surface for easy cleaning.
Cross-Reference: Inside the Controversial World of Composting Toilets
Make the eco-friendly choice by switching to a composting toilet, leaving behind the unpleasant odors associated with chemical cassette toilets. With proper maintenance and moisture management, you’ll enjoy a fresh and environmentally conscious bathroom experience.