How to Use a Composting Toilet

***See more on HOW TO USE A COMPOSTING TOILET below***

Are you thinking about getting a composting toilet?

Or are you just curious and want to learn how to use a composting toilet?

Does it work the same way as a regular toilet, or are there more steps involved?

Understanding how to use your composting toilet is the first and most important step in actually owning one. It may take a little time to get the hang of this type of toilet, but it’s not too difficult, and it should get easier the more times you try it.

There is a bit of a learning curve, however, and that’s what we’re here for! In this article, we’ll show you some basic information you need to know to get started with your new toilet.

Read on to learn everything you need to know and more about composting toilets and how to use them.

How to Use a Composting Toilet

In this section, we’ll explain all the steps you need to take in order to use a composting toilet. This process is a little different from using a traditional toilet, although it’s not too hard to get the hang of.

Remember that you will need to carefully read the information that comes with your composting toilet in order to familiarize yourself with the best method for using it. Brush up on the owner’s manual and reach out to the manufacturer if you have any questions about the specific model of toilet you’re using. Otherwise:

  1. First, keep in mind that composting toilets are bigger in both width and height than most traditional toilets. Sitting on one may take some adjustment! Some people feel like they are sitting too high up on this type of toilet, but don’t worry—you’re still doing it right.
  2. Most composting toilets allow you to sit, but some will require you to squat. Be sure you’re sitting or squatting as you’re supposed to, based on the type of toilet you purchase.
  3. Most composting toilets don’t store urine in a different area than feces, but some do. This is because urine may oversaturate the compost and cause it to create anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria will hinder the development of the compost pile.
  4. Remember that not all composting toilets function the same way. You’ll need to be sure you understand the way your specific toilet works in relation to general composting toilet advice.
  5. Most composting toilets come with activator liquid that helps get the compost started. Before you begin using your toilet, you’ll have to spray it with this fluid—but be sure to follow the directions to ensure you’re doing so the correct way. You may need to keep purchasing this fluid to help get the compost started in the future, especially if something goes wrong at some point.
  6. When you go to the bathroom in the toilet, you should throw some sphagnum moss into the receptacle as well. This moss will help encourage the compost by keeping it somewhat more aerated than it otherwise would be. Sphagnum moss may also be called peat moss, but this is more or less the same thing.
  7. Composting toilets contain a composting drum that should be turned a couple of times per week. These are usually turned by using a handle on the outside of the toilet. However, some toilets function in different ways, so be sure to read the manual to double-check.
  8. When the drum still has about a third of its space left to go, it’s time to gather your compost!
  9. Follow the toilet’s directions to empty the drum into the bottom drawer of the composting toilet. Usually, this will require turning a different handle to open a door and allow the compost to fall through. Once again, however, this can change depending on the toilet.
  10. Open the drawer to retrieve the compost inside. It should be powdery and fairly odorless, although some odor is to be expected. If your compost has a very bad odor or if flies are present, it is not a successful compost. When this happens, you should plan to start over, since your compost has “died” and needs to begin anew.
  11. Don’t use chemical cleaners on a composting toilet. Since chemical kill bacteria, and you’re trying to encourage the presence of good bacteria in your compost, this will destroy the compost in no time. This is true of any type of receptacle you’re using for compost anywhere—chemical cleaners are not a good fit for the composting lifestyle!
  12. It’s okay to put a little water in the compost if you need to rinse after using the bathroom. However, it doesn’t need much water to function properly. Too much water can cause the compost to “die,” so be cautious with how much you use. If you must add water, make sure it’s at least somewhat warm for best results.
  13. You can throw away toilet paper in the toilet. Composting toilets are made to be able to process toilet paper, and you don’t have to buy a special type to use with this kind of toilet. However, if you do want to, you can purchase eco-friendly toilet paper or toilet paper that doesn’t have many chemical or bleached components.
  14. It is okay to add food items to the toilet, and it’s sometimes recommended to put a little bread or some other starchy material in the toilet to help it along. Sometimes, the yeast from the bread can also make a big difference in the success of your compost pile. Many people who use composting toilets try adding a slide or two of slightly stale bread once a week.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned how to use your composting toilet, you may be wondering what you can do with the compost it creates. Is it safe to use human waste-based compost in your garden or on other types of plants? For the most part, composting toilets should heat the compost to a high enough temperature and maintain it for enough time to kill anything harmful. However, it’s generally best to stick to decorative plants when you’re looking for a way to use your human waste compost.

Is it ever okay to use this type of compost on fruit and vegetables you plan to eat? Generally speaking, you should probably stay away from using it on vegetable plants or fruit plants that grow close to the ground. However, many people use human waste-based compost on fruit trees with no issue, since the waste itself won’t reach the fruit on the tree.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start composting your waste!