Composting toilets do come with a learning curve, and we’re not here to sugarcoat this.
We’ll help you navigate the world of composting toilets and humanure, with both in-depth tutorials and some simple tips and tricks on top of it.
We’ve compiled a list of the five most common mistakes from composting toilet users for composting toilet users, so you can prevent them before you have to fix them.
Mistake #1 Not using enough covering material
The covering material helps keeping the moisture in the solids compartment down and thus, preventing any smells. If not enough covering material is used, or if the diverter is designed in a way that liquids are entering the solids department, the composting toilet might develop a…smell.
It’s the smell every new composting toilet user googled about before deciding. We’ve all been there, wondering if composting toilet REALLY don’t smell. And they don’t, as long as you’re using covering material to adequately cover the solids and soak up any rouge liquids as well.
Keep in mind that if you are throwing your toilet paper into the solids department you might have to use more covering material, or make sure the covering material does reach the solids.
Mistake #2 Not properly diverting urine and poop
As previously mentioned, urine in the poop compartment might cause unpleasant smells. The whole concept of a dry composting toilet is exactly that: the solids are dry. The most common reason for a smelly composting toilet is the diverter doesn't adequately separate the liquids from the solids. Not all diverters are made equally, and some require more…aim than others.
Even if your diverter is working great for you, it might not be for the other members of the household. Most diverters don’t take anatomic differences into account, and even fewer diverters are build for grown-ups and kids alike. Even if you don’t have issues separating your composting toilet fillings, other members of your family might.
You can fix this issue by determining why the urine isn’t diverted properly (is it an issue with the diverter itself, or just something a quick “How-to-use-the-toilet” conversation can fix?).
Check out the THRONE diverter for an upgrade to prevent separation issues from the start!
Mistake #3 Using harsh chemicals for cleaning
Everyone who paid attention in high school chemistry (did everyone really pay attention in high school chemistry?!) knows that ammonia and chlorine do not mix. Well, they do, but you don’t want to breathe in the product. Chloramines can cause breathing issues, especially in small and tiny homes. Additionally, if you want to use your urine as fertilizer, or have a humanure pile, you want to prevent any harmful chemicals from being distributed on your plants, or entering your compost.
Great cleaning alternatives are vinegar for the liquids. It also helps with any smells the urine bottle might develop, and solid residues in the urine bottle. For the solids section we recommend a natural cleaner, for example natural enzymes, or diluted citric acid.
You can find more tips on how to care for your composting toilet here.
Mistake #4 Adding too much toilet paper to the solids department
While regular toilet paper (not wet wipes) is compostable, it is recommended to not fill up your solids department with it. For once it can “hide” the solids from the covering material, preventing the moisture to be soaked up. It will also fill up the solids compartment way faster, which can be inconvenient. We’ve compiled a couple ideas on how to deal with toilet paper here.
Mistake #5 Letting the pee jug overflow
We could all pretend it never happened to us, because it’s such an easy mistake to fix. But let’s be honest, we’ve been there. Maybe even a couple of times, and especially if there’s several people using the composting toilet. Anyone remember the Simpsons episode where every member of the family piles the trash onto the trash can because they don’t want to be the one taking it outside? That doesn’t end well with a pee jug.
A simple way to prevent an overflowing pee jug is to keep track of it. Now, you don’t want to always lift the diverter to check on the levels, but there’s an easier way! The THRONE liquids jug with integrated level alarm will illuminate the diverter red once a certain liquids level is reached. No more “I didn’t know it was almost full”!
Encountering those mistakes can be annoying, but they can be easily fixed! And you can prevent them from the get go if you’re just starting your composting toilet journey.
Questions? Contact our composting toilet experts for advice or help with specific issues!