What is the right litter for your composting toilet?

What tasks does the grit have

The litter for a dry composting toilet performs various tasks.

It serves to bind the moisture and covers the solids. Covering prevents odours and provides visual protection. In addition, the litter provides loosening and thus aeration so that composting proceeds better.

Without sufficient oxygen, composting cannot take place. The aforementioned binding of moisture is also indispensable for preventing odour formation, as only moist solids tend to smell.

Materials as bedding for a composting toilet

Not every material is suitable as litter for a dry composting toilet. It should always fulfil the tasks described above. Some materials are now tried and tested and have become established:

  • Small animal litter and sawdust
  • Coconut fibres
  • Bark mulch
  • Terra Preta, humus or soil
  • organic cat litter
  • dry coffee grounds
  • extra litter for dry separation toilets

Small animal litter and sawdust

I have put sawdust and small animal litter in first place, as these are the two most commonly used. They have all the necessary properties for composting in the composting toilet.

They are light materials. It ensures good aeration and thus improves the composting process. In addition, these two materials have been extensively tested by many campers and have therefore proved their worth.

After the sawdust or small animal litter has been placed, the formation of odours is significantly reduced.

Both materials can be easily obtained anywhere, even on the road. Sawdust and small animal litter are available in sawmills, carpentry shops, DIY stores and pet stores.

It is important to pay attention to a good structure, i.e. it should be medium coarse wood shavings. The litter must not be too small or too fine, otherwise it will become sticky.

There are different types of small animal litter, for example litter made of wood shavings, hemp, cellulose flakes, straw or hay. The last two can be used as litter for a composting toilet as long as they are cut quite short.

Coconut fibres

Coconut fibres are also very commonly used in composting toilets, especially in the models with agitators.

Coconut fibres are short, incredibly absorbent, ecological and sustainable, as they are a by-product of rope production. Their properties make them ideal for promoting the composting of solids.

Their exceptional absorbency prevents odours. Many users of composting toilets prefer coconut fibres, which are practically available in block form.

Some manufacturers of complete dry composting toilets, such as Nature's Head, recommend using only coconut fibre and supply it with the toilet.

However, coconut fibres are less suitable for composting toilets without an agitator, as they form a mono-structure. They also degrade rather slowly in composting and thus tend to form poor humus.

In addition, coconut fibres are imported and are therefore not the best choice ecologically.

Bark mulch

Bark mulch can be used as bedding for a composting toilet if rapid composting is to be achieved.

Due to the polyphenols (flavonoids) contained in bark, odour binding is best here. In addition, fragrances emanate from bark mulch, which provide a pleasant smell in the dry toilet.

Another great feature of bark mulch is that it is unattractive to flies.

Terra Preta, humus and soil

Terra Preta, humus or soil can also be used. The special feature here is the natural support of composting.

This type of material would be particularly recommended as bedding for a dry composting toilet in the garden shed or Tiny House. Whereas now and then the use of Terra Preta, humus or soil is also recommended for the camper van toilet, but only if rubbish bags are not used.

The microorganisms present accelerate composting and also reduce odour formation. If the dry toilet is not cleaned, the microorganisms also support the next composting.

I refer here to my post on cleaning a dry toilet. The whole mixture can end up being heavy and break through any bin liner that may be present.

Organic cat litter

The organic cat litter consists of wood, maize or other vegetable materials and can thus be used as litter for a composting toilet.

It should be noted here that cat litter sometimes becomes very heavy and can cause the litter bag to tear. Especially when using non-compostable cat litter, for example clumping litter.

If non-biological cat litter is used, it should only be disposed of in the residual waste bin.

Dry coffee grounds

coffee grounds to cover and dry out the solids, is reported time and again by dry toilet users.

However, this is probably only ever an interim solution, as it is hardly possible to drink so much coffee as to have enough dried coffee grounds available.

Coffee grounds bind moisture and odours, so this is not a bad idea. In addition, you avoid waste because the coffee grounds are reused.

Litter extra for dry composting toilets

In the meantime, of course, companies have also specialised in compost toilet litter and sell ready-made litter for dry composting toilet. Here I would like to give a few examples:

  • Biolan bark meal
  • Kackpulver from Goldeimer (Now also here in the shop)

Both compost toilet litters are optimally designed for composting. Biolan consists of conifer bark, moss and biochar. It supports the drying and odour formation of the solids.

The Terra Preta litter is used to produce new Terra Preta (I recommend reading the blog post about cleaning a composting toilet - there I explain Terra Preta in more detail).

It already contains the most important ingredients. The contained plant charcoal and carbon binds moisture and odours. Microorganisms feel particularly at home here and promote composting.


Straw 3 kg - 7 € | Hay 10 kg - 14,- €
Hemp litter 30L - 7,- € | Wood shavings litter 56L - 2,19 €

Coconut fibre hedgehog 2,50 €/ piece
Coco soil 70 L - €18.90


Bark mulch DIY 40 L - €5.79


Sawdust 250 L - 10,- €


biolog. Cat Litter 20 L - €11.49

Erde auf Schubkarre

Biolan 40 L - 19,- €
Terra Preta Bedding 30L - 35 €

Feel free to leave me comments on the topic.

What materials do you use as litter for your composting toilet?

Yours Markus