A composting toilet is a great alternative to your usual septic tank toilets when there aren’t any stable places to have a septic tank or if the area is secluded. But keeping one maintained can be an arduous task and if not properly maintained can lead to your toilet being unusable for months. The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to know exactly what needs to be done to keep one maintained and in top condition.
How Does a Composting Toilet Work?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how you can keep your composting toilet in top condition, we first need to know how it works. You can’t fix something if you don’t know how it works.
Aerating Waste with Mulch
Your usual composting toilet will have a deep pit where you’d normally find mulch like sawdust or shavings. There is also usually a container near the composting toilet with more mulch that you need to toss in after you’re done answering the call of nature. The reason why sawdust and other similar materials are used instead of sand is that they create small pockets of air. These air pockets let air circulate better in the pit and making it easier for bacterial cultures to decompose the waste.
Most if not all composting toilets make use of bacteria to help decompose waste. There are two kinds of bacteria that you’ll find in a composting toilet pit. The bad bacteria that can cause disease and commercial bacterial cultures that you’ll introduce yourself. The bacterial cultures will eliminate bad bacteria while also decomposing the waste faster and more efficiently. It also makes sure to eliminate the smell that comes with human waste.
Maintaining Your Composting Toilet
Now that you know how your composting toilet works, you might think that all you need to do is toss in mulch and bacterial cultures in there to keep it working. That isn’t the case as it needs other maintenance steps to keep it from smelling like an open septic tank.
Composting toilets are known to require more cleaning than your standard flush toilets because of how a composting toilet is built. It’s literally a toilet on top of a pit. In order to trim down the pyramid of filth in the pit, make sure to have it scooped out every day.
Proper Usage of Mulch
There should be a spare bucket filled with mulch near your composting toilet. This makes it easier for a person who just recently used the toilet to reach it and throw a fresh coat of mulch on their waste. It dries out the waste and makes it much harder for bad bacteria and flies to breed and grow in the pit.
Avoid Pouring Water in the Toilet
Water might seem like a good idea to throw into your pit, but it does more harm than good. Water will turn the inside of the pit into a sloppy mess and make it much harder and more disgusting to clean it out. Not only that, the sloppy mess in your toilet’s pit is the perfect breeding ground for bad bacteria and flies to breed and grow.
Keep Other Waste Out
Human waste is the only thing that should be going down your toilet. Solid objects like glass, chunks of wood, and cloth will sit in your pit for extended periods of time and will not easily turn into compost like the human waste. This also makes it exceptionally more dangerous to clean a pit out, especially if there are any sharp objects in there. A single cut can lead to a septic infection and put your life in danger, so make sure to put foreign objects into a bin instead of the pit.