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8 most important Things to know when cleaning your composting toilet

Cleaning Composting Toilet

Composting toilets need care 

The composting toilet works a little different than a normal toilet. There is a lot of talking about the most important thing to know when cleaning a composting toilet. The composting toilet doesn’t work with water for flushing or cleansing. 

A composting toilet, also called dry toilet, is very different in cleaning. The composting toilet doesn´t need any water, hence the name: dry toilet. The composting toilet earns its name by because of the possibility to compost its separated materials. But be careful: if you are taking any medicine you must not compost your stool or urine, because medical ingredients are still very often found in your excretions.

→ Info: how a composting toilet works

Interesting facts about human excretions

Every person excretes 100 – 200 g of stool daily. Vegetarians, on the other hand, excrete up to 1000 g daily due to the cellulose-rich diet. Fasting and low-fiber diets reduce the amount of stool. So at least it is to be read in the pharmacy reviews.

What is human poop made of?

Human stool consists of unabsorbed parts of food, living microorganisms of the intestinal flora and endogenous substances. The unabsorbed parts are undigested remnants of starches, fats, fiber, connective tissue and muscle fibers, and water.

Endogenous substances include residues of digestive enzymes, mucus, rejected intestinal cells, bile pigments, and small amounts of bile acid.¹

Human feces are compostable? 

Human stool basically is organic mass, and therefore compostable. In addition, fertilization has been carried out for centuries with the help of mostly animal excrements. An example of this is field farming. E.g. guano (bird droppings) is used in some countries for fertilization, as well as with us to buy as packaged good soil for the garden.

I would like to mention Terra Preta in this context necessarily. This is a special nutrient-rich black earth, from the Amazon basin. It comes from the Indians and was originally created by them. The Indians dug pits to bury their waste. Studies have shown that it contains compostable food scraps, bone and fish bones, human feces, as well as charcoal residues and shards of clay. This mixture creates some of the best soil around. This soil is incredibly rich in nutrients.²

This shows us an incredible way to use our feces after cleaning our composting toilet. 

What urine is made of and why it doesn’t stink in your composting toilet?

An adult person excretes between 1.5 – 2 l of urine daily. This consists of 80 % water. Usually, fresh urine does not smell. However, certain foods, such as asparagus, garlic or alcohol, naturally have an effect on the odor. The strong ammonia odor only develops when the urine is decomposed by bacteria, and thus odor forms during prolonged storage.

Composting toilets are not made to store urine for longer than necessary. The containers are usually emptied every 2-3 days that odors do not arise in the first place. The combination with water accelerates the formation of odors. Composting toilets prevent this. 

How to clean the composting toilet?

The cleaning of a composting toilet is quite easy. The separating of the excrements is special about the composting toilet. In a composting toilet you will find a container for solids and a container for urine. These containers are cleaned differently in a composting toilet. Other parts, that are important in cleaning a composting toilet are the Toilet seat and the urine separator.  

The plastic surfaces of the individual parts are all very smooth and this prevents dirt buildup or accumulation. This very smooth surface must be treated very gently.

The most important recommendations for all those parts of a composting toilet:
The plastic surfaces of the individual parts are all very smooth and this prevents dirt buildup or accumulation. This very smooth surface must be treated very gently.
Above mentioned cleaners and auxiliaries can roughen, attack and make porous the surface of the plastic materials of a composting toilet.

The cleaning of the urine canister and urine separator of a composting toilet 

  • the easiest and most gentle way to clean the urine canister is with diluted vinegar (mixing ratio 1:1 or more diluted) or diluted citric acid (max. 3 tbsp. to 1 L cold water) from a spray bottle and wipe with toilet paper or another soft cloth.
  • ph-neutral cleaners can also be used
  • Cleaning can also be done with biological/ ecological cleaners (for Kildwick we recommend the beet cleaner from beeta) or cleaners that contain, for example, effective microorganism

The cleaning of the solids container of a composting toilet 

  • in principle, cleaning is not advisable here, as existing microorganisms are already in the solids tank due to the excretions and these accelerate the composting (compost starter principle)
  • the longer the solids remain in the solids container, the lesser they will smell when emptying for the composting process already started 
  • but if cleaning of the composting toilet  is desired, then cleaning with water or also with ph-neutral cleaners is sufficient
  • can also be cleaned with biological/ ecological cleaners (Kildwick recommends the beet cleaner from beeta), or for example cleaners containing effective microorganisms.

These were the eight most important things to know when cleaning a composting toilet. 

How do you all clean your composting toilets? Have you made more expierences with other techniques in order to clean your composting toilets? 

I am looking forward to your comments in hope to learn from each other on the topic of composting toilets.

Best regards

Markus 

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