Composting Toilet

A composting toilet has been one of the best off the grid mods we've made. A composting toilet doesn’t use any water, its environmentally friendly and we don’t have to worry about a stinkin’ black tank! Sound too good to be true? Click on any of the posts below for more information.

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125 Comments

  • Doris

    June 17, 2014 Reply

    How do u clean the composting toilet? Clean the inside of the bowl, specifically?

    • Jason Wynn

      June 18, 2014 Reply

      Doris,
      we've answered in depth towards the bottom of this post: http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/compost-toilet-big-questions
      Hope this helps.

  • Mara

    June 16, 2014 Reply

    Sorry to be indelicate, but what about "monthly" issues for women? Is blood safe in composter or do women have to use a public toilet for the week ? What about hygiene products like tampons?

    • Nikki Wynn

      June 17, 2014 Reply

      Totally legit question Mara. We have answered this question and lots of others here: http://www.gonewiththewynns.com/compost-toilet-big-questions I encourage you to watch the video if you are really interested in the toilet because it covers a lot of the questions most people have.

    • Deborah

      June 17, 2014 Reply

      I watched the video and even read all of the text...I didn't see or hear and answer to this question. As someone with extremely heavy "monthly" issues, I would really like to know about this as well.

      • Nikki Wynn

        June 17, 2014 Reply

        If it is a bodily function it can handle it. It's not a problem. However just like a regular toilet, all feminine products should go in the trash.

  • Pamela H.

    June 13, 2014 Reply

    Loved the FAQ video!! But the one question I did not hear asked was what if you go #1 & #2 at the same time?? Is the toilet bowl designed to keep them separate automatically? When you do need to clean the bowl, did you spritz it with water & vinegar?

  • Erik Markus

    June 9, 2014 Reply

    But, but, but, you two, you make talking about ones and twos, seem so enjoyable and comfortable.
    What happened to the big scary, "WE DON'T talk about THAT stuff", attitude, most of us were brought up with?
    I NEE-EEE-EED, really need, to get a compost toilet shaped coffee table. I know that now.
    These things come with fans for venting? Didn't know that. That's cool.
    I use shredded leaves for my composting needs. I can't see using peat moss to eventually throw in the garbage.
    I love that these things have the separator. It makes everything so much easier.
    If you dilute with 9 parts water, to liguid, you can apply direct to plants as nitrogen rich fertilizer.
    6:50 YES. Right on. Great job explaining !
    Extra toilet paper merely supplants the use of other absorbents like moss, or shredded leaves.
    Standing and peeing? Mainly a guys thing, though some women love a challenge....
    You can buy a mini wall hung urinal, with a hose you can route to the drain area. Even a large funnel hung at just the right height on the wall, with a piece of hose to the drain will also work. Don't forget to dump a 1/2 glass of water in, as a rinse, when done, to keep from crystallization.
    Do some people vomit on a regular basis? I'm trying to think of the last time I did that. I guess I need to reconsider my vomit activities, and try and incorporate more vomiting into my daily routine.
    65-80% of solids- are water.
    Interestingly enough, ( I know from experience) when you dry fecal matter, it basically turns into a small amount of nutrient rich, and 100% safe, SAND.
    It's really incredible.
    All the "hoop-la" and scariness about poop. All the social stigma and the source of many derogatory jokes and classist rhetoric, over what can be reduced to a couple of Tablespoons, of top soil.
    Essentially what you're doing with a compost toilet where you're mixing absorbents (peat moss or shredded leaves) with solids, is to dry it out. Once it's dry, there is no longer any living bacteria remaining.
    18:30 100% agree. I would never return to knowingly polluting drinking water, and that is what we do when using any type flush toilet.
    Flush toilets do not treat human waste, all they do is move it, AND make it a worse problem. Sewage water IS scary, and smelly, and dangerous.
    Composting is not. There is a real sense of doing the earth a favour, when your doing Eco-friendly things.
    Just imagine, if everyone adopted these techniques, how that would change things like water conservation, and the energy and chemicals needed to manage our sewer treatment plants. We could see amazing savings on our taxes and the amount of water we use as communities. And clean drinking water is becoming more and more difficult to get.

    Two books to consider reading, if one wants to understand composting.
    "The Humanure Handbook" and "The Toilet Papers".
    The best ways to neutralize solids is either to dry them, heat them, or freeze them. Exposing to ultraviolet rays is a great way of drying, as well.
    The goal is to kill the bacteria in solids.
    Interestingly flush toilets don't do any of these things. In fact, they make the situation worse.
    I've found that heating is kinda smelly and it uses energy. Not the best choice.
    What I do is freeze the solids. This kills most all bacteria instantly, and suspends the few that don't die during the freeze.
    After that, one can simply dispose of the frozen items in the garbage, put it in a typical compost bin, or dry it in sun light. After it's dried, its literally a couple of stained napkins and a tablespoon, or two, of sand. 100% sanitary. One thing is for sure. Once it's completely dried, it no longer poses any risk, and there is very little smell.
    Other interesting facts.
    Solids, WITHOUT coming in contact with urine, has a certain smell, but it's NOT the worst.
    It's only when the solids are tainted with urine, that you get that awful smell that makes the nose cringe. This is one reason for separating.
    Solids do contain dangerous bacteria, however, as soon as they are expelled from the body, they begin to quickly die. As soon as a consistent body temperature is no longer present and drying begins, the bacteria can't survive.
    On the flip side, urine is Sanitary, or sterile, when leaving the body. However, because it is so rich in Nitrogen, it causes neutral bacteria, in what ever it comes in contact with, to start growing rapidly. This can be good or bad.
    Solids, as soon as they are covered with absorbents, like toilet tissue, peat moss, shredded leaves, and the like..... stop smelling.
    I don't like any smell. When I built my Tiny house, I put the bath fan about 2' off the floor right next to the toilet. When ever I use the toilet, it takes any smell directly out.

    My question- When solids are completely dried, or neutralized, they are no longer poop, right? They no longer carry any of the harmful, untreated bacteria that man has, for centuries, toiled to deal with.
    So, what are they at that point?

    Love your site.

    • Jason Wynn

      June 11, 2014 Reply

      Erik,
      That's the "chicken vs. the egg" type of questions that I'm not qualified to answer...sorry. Maybe we'll get a technical scientist to chime in?

  • Michael

    June 9, 2014 Reply

    Jason & Nikki You guys are great! Us being new RV'ers continuously watch your videos over and over. Great info! The Composting video answered all our questions but one. I might be over thinking this but, If no water is used, how do you keep the bowl clean after #2 use. Is the trap that big that you can't miss. LOL We are pretty much sold on the compost toilet idea.

    Thanks Mike and Patty

    • Nikki Wynn

      June 10, 2014 Reply

      I don't really need to clean the bowl other than general cleaning once a week when I use the 7th generation antibacterial wipes to give everything a quick wipe down. The trap door is large enough that you don't have to worry about much of anything else.

  • Mandeno Moments

    June 8, 2014 Reply

    Hi. How smelly is the liquids tank when you're emptying it? How does your toilet keep that smell in the tank? Stored urine usually reeks.

    • Nikki Wynn

      June 9, 2014 Reply

      We never smell the urine anytime other than when we pull it out to empty it. Putting a little bit of raw sugar or vinegar in the tank really does make a difference. It does smell like urine when you dump it (not lovely, but not overly offensive), but nothing close to what the black tank smell like with a regular toilet!

  • Harry

    May 11, 2014 Reply

    Can you throw the (used) toilet paper in the composting toilet, just as you would in a regular toilet?

    • Jason Wynn

      May 11, 2014 Reply

      Yes you can Harry, the toilet will handle toilet paper no problem.

  • Larry H.

    April 28, 2014 Reply

    Hello, My wife and I are considering putting in the Nature's Head Composting Toilet in our motor home.
    We saw your clip on why you need one. We now have some questions reference the toilet.
    1. What is the average time between changing the compost?
    2. Would it be possible to remove the agitator, install a plastic bag then reinstall the agitator. Then when full remove agitator and lift bag out and dispose of it.
    3. Now that you have had it awhile is there anything that we should know before we attempt this change.

    Thanks for input
    Larry & Barb

    • Jason Wynn

      April 28, 2014 Reply

      Larry,
      We are 100% satisfied with our Nature's Head toilet and we feel its a great upgrade for most any RV.
      1. We typically change the compost every 3 weeks or so.
      2. The agitator cannot be easily removed, and installing a plastic bag wouldn't work due to the agitator tearing the bag up. The dumping process is very clean, and you don't have to worry the "leftovers" in the compost bin after dumping as it will help kickstart the composting process.
      3. The only downside to the toilet for us was installation; once its installed it's worked beautifully for us.

      We have a video that should launch next week (if we can finish it up) that will go into more depth about how to prep and dump the toilet. Hope this helps, if you decide to purchase make sure you use our discount code.

      • Mark S

        April 29, 2014 Reply

        Thanks for this response Jason. It has been almost impossible to find a video demo or written detail about clean dumping of the base. I did see the manufacturers video regarding the 13 gal. trash bag, but that only raised more questions for me. Looking forward to your next video.

        Thanks and happy trails.
        Mark

  • Mike Summers

    April 22, 2014 Reply

    OK Guys; This all sounds great, but what do you do with your pee pee? How often do you have to clean out the boom base with the spinning handle? Do you take it out and hose it down? Just curious.

    • Jason Wynn

      May 2, 2014 Reply

      Mike,
      We have a video that should launch next week that describes the answers to your questions in detail.

  • tim

    April 22, 2014 Reply

    Jason, there are worst things in life than being considered as poop experts,ha ha , well maybe not?. anyhow what do you say about a composting toilet in a wet bath, like allot class b' motor homes have.
    thanks
    tim

    • Jason Wynn

      April 26, 2014 Reply

      Tim I have no clue! It wouldn't work with the electric fan, but maybe the solar fan. I'll ask Larry the owner and see what he says. Good question.

    • Larry

      April 27, 2014 Reply

      Tim, we designed the toilet to work in a wet bath. The only thing you will need to do is drill a hole in the bottom of the urine bottle holder, so the shower water does not collect in the holder. Please feel free to call or email with any questions.
      Regards, Larry
      251-295-3043
      Nature's Head

      • Nikki Wynn

        April 27, 2014 Reply

        Thanks for chiming in with that Larry! I was wondering if any mods would be needed.

  • Elizabeth Bookspan

    April 15, 2014 Reply

    Has anyone tried using clumping cat liter in their Natures Head Composting toilet? We love our Natures Head, but we only take the RV out once a month, so I like the idea of "scooping" the bucket and using the rest of the cedar, pine and corn clumping litter instead of dumping the entire bucket upon return from our 3 to 5 day trips. Please comment.

    • Jason Wynn

      April 15, 2014 Reply

      Elizabeth,
      You do not have to dump the entire toilet each time you use it. The compost will go dormant while you are not using it. Also Larry is great, I'm sure he can tell you why they don't recommend using litter in the toilet.

  • Wylie

    March 12, 2014 Reply

    hey guys,
    so my natures head arrives at the boatyard tomorrow. they are going to fabricate a bracket and step/platform so users won't be perched 25" off the ground!
    venting!? did you guys try the solar vent or go with the hardwired computer fan? i was thinking to try solar but wanted to hear your experience first.
    Wylie

    • Jason Wynn

      March 14, 2014 Reply

      Hey Wylie,
      Great news, sounds like you're on the same boat as us with the platform :)
      We did not go for the solar vent, although I'm sure it will work well. For our install there was 12v power right under the toilet so it just made sense to tap into that.
      Enjoy your toilet, and let us know how it works out for you.

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