All the Composting Toilet Questions You’ve Been Afraid to Ask

ALL THE COMPOSTING TOILET QUESTIONS YOU’VE BEEN AFRAID TO ASK 

When it comes to composting toilet questions, we’ve heard them all…we think!

Read any Separett (or other composting toilet) review and you’ll see run-of-the-mill questions followed by G-rated answers. Despite the obvious fact that everybody poops, most people are squeamish when it comes to this topic…lucky for you we’re not lol! So if you’ve been delaying getting a composting toilet because you just haven’t raised the courage to ask your grossest question, today’s your lucky day!

In this article we hope to answer all the composting toilet questions you’ve been afraid to ask. If you’re squeemish or have a high gag reflex, you may want to stop reading right about now and go back to doing something a bit more pleasant. We’ve heard a lot of questions at our tiny house workshops but if you have one I don’t answer below, please email me at gabriella@tinyhousebuild.com. Don’t worry, I promise to keep your identity completely anonymous. 🙂

THROWING UP

Perhaps you’ve contracted the stomach flu, or your cousin Dave’s wedding had you dancing on table tops after WAY too many shots of Petron. Whatever the cause, throwing up sucks; there’s just nothing pleasant about it. One way to quickly turn this bad situation into a nightmare though is by trying to vomit into a composting toilet. Not only will you be tortured by the violence of your stomach contents escaping at high speed, but you’ll also be starring down the barrel of lord-knows-how-old crap mixed up with used toilet paper.

So if you’re a porcelain goddess hugger (like I used to be), you’ll need to find a new location to bide the time while your stomach contents vacate. I’ve actually found that a bedside bucket or large cooking pot is just as comforting; being able to roll over into my pillow between cramps is not nearly as bad as I’d imagined. 

PERIODS

This is the question that causes the most amount of (needless) worry. If you’re a non-menstruating human and squeamish about blood, you may want to just pass this topic on by. As a woman of child-bearing age, I’ve experienced many a moon cycle with our Separett toilet and have never had an issue.

OK, here’s the deal. Blood comes out of a woman’s body from the same general vicinity as urine. This means that blood falls into the urine/front portion of the Separett (or any other composting toilet with a urine diverter). When you’re done peeing, if there’s blood in the front bowl, simply take a mug of water and “flush” it all down. Easy peasy.

If you have larger clots (some women have a condition that causes this), don’t worry, the slats for the pee grate are quite large and will allow them to pass into the urine tube. Use a couple mugs of water just to ensure that nothing gets trapped inside the urine line.

Maxi pads should be thrown into the trash as usual (you wouldn’t throw them into a flush toilet anyways!) but tampons can be placed into the solids compartment of the Separett IF you don’t intend on fully composting the waste. If you do intend on composting it fully, toss your tampons into the trash.

SITTING MEN

It comes as a surprise to many that men are supposed to sit down when peeing into a composting toilet. The reason is simple: mens’ urine streams tend to be strong. When compounded by height and gravity, there’s a tendency for pee to splash every which way, including outside the toilet and onto the seat and floor. Spare yourself and your loved ones and take that extra minute to sit down and relieve yourself. There is one exception to this rule: if you’re an older man and/or your stream has begun to slow, it’s possible that standing up won’t cause a yellow geyser.

ERRR…ON THE TOPIC OF WELL ENDOWED MEN

I once received an email from a wife relaying a message for her husband. He was concerned that certain special parts of his anatomy would touch the waste bowl but was too embarrassed to write himself. Hey, we don’t judge and we love that people can ask us all types of questions!

I had to confer with Andrew and other men we know well who have used our toilet and they shared some good information. The Separett is equipped with a detachable plastic “rim” that comes placed between the liquid and solid bowls of the toilet. This rim raises the level of the toilet in between those two areas and for some men who are larger, certain parts can indeed touch that rim. Once Andrew realized it was removable he took it off and there was no longer an issue with anything touching the plastic bowl, which, I presume, was a big relief. 

DIARRHEA

If you’ve had food poisoning as often as I have, you have a healthy respect for how crappy (pardon the lousy pun) it feels when those stomach cramps kick in. When that happens, you know you may be sequestered to the toilet for quite some time. Fortunately the Separett is pretty comfortable for even the longest bouts and it can handle quite a lot of volume.

When your intestinal demons have finally exorcised,  because the solids will contain much higher water content than normal, it is especially important to remove the composting plastic bag from your house while it’s still inside the bucket. That way, if your bag has developed a leak, it won’t leave an effluent cookie-crumb trail through your house.

HOW DO I EMPTY IT?

It’s possible that we missed the instructions on how to empty a full bucket from the Separett, but for some inexplicable reason, we had tied up the composting bag, lifted it out of the bucket, and marched it outside. This was idiotic. So, let us be the cautionary tale: anytime you empty the solid waste bag, do yourself a favor and carry it inside the bucket. You’re welcome. 

DOES IT SMELL?

This is our #1 question and it certainly was ours when we were considering the Separett. We didn’t want our tiny house to smell like poop and we’re guessing you don’t either. You’ll potentially be surprised to hear then that it actually smells LESS than conventional water based toilets. The reason is that this toilet has an electric fan which sucks out odors 24/7.

Honestly, even if you’re giving birth to your biggest doogie, there’s no smell because of the fan. You can’t say that about a flush toilet! So if smell has been your biggest fear…don’t fret anymore! As long as you follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, you’ll be all set.

Hope this has helped answer any questions you’ve had about tiny house composting toilets! If not, like I said before, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll be sure to give you an honest and unrated response. 😉

 

To watch our G-Rated video tour of the Separett toilet click below: 

 

To watch an unrated segment about composting toilets from our Digital Tiny House Workshop, click below: 

Want to learn more about tiny house living and how to build a tiny house? Want to do so for FREE? Sign up for our totally free 7 Day Tiny House eCourse! Find out more HERE.

5 Responses to All the Composting Toilet Questions You’ve Been Afraid to Ask

  1. Lydia Greenfield June 26, 2018 at 11:27 pm #

    Honestly I don’t want to barf into my regular toilet. I have a small plastic wastebasket, the old fashioned kind, lined with a plastic bag for whenever I get sick. It was actually because I wasn’t making it in time and the sink became the target. I suppose if you want to be environmentally friendly and you are capable of doing it, you can dump the unlined basket and wash it out, For me tying off a bag was all I was capable of. Thank you for all of the interesting information!

    • Gabriella June 28, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

      Thanks for chiming in Lydia!!

  2. Pam June 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm #

    OK, you did answer a lot of questions that I had about composting toilets but there’s still one concern. If you have loose stools for a day or two how do you combat the overspray so to speak all over the solids bowl? Spray bottle and tissue?

    Thanks!

    • Gabriella June 28, 2018 at 11:48 am #

      Hi Pam! Thanks for your question! You’ll be happy to hear that there is no ‘overspray’ issue on a composting toilet like the Separett. That’s because the holding buckets are quite large and tall and can hold much more volume than you’d keep in there. Any ‘spray’ just hits the sides of the composting toilet bag. Much easier cleanup than a regular water toilet where things tend to splash up all over the bowl and seat bottom. Hope that answers your question!

  3. Carolyn Graham June 27, 2018 at 5:51 pm #

    OMG, I have no fears about composting anything, but thanks for going down this path. If only RV parks allowed CTs.

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