The previous post showed you how to make a composting toilet. In this post I show you how to use and maintain it.

How to use and maintain a composting toilet is simple and essential for it to work properly. Teach your family how to use it. Here are the few basic principles of how to use a composting toilet.

Get a few 50 Liter drums

Get a few strong 50 Liter rubbish buckets. Line the bottom with a few hand-fulls sawdust or untreated wood shavings from a local saw-mill. Use one handful to cover-up after each deposit.

Do not line your bin

Do not put a plastic bag in your bin to line the inside.

Heavier people over 100 kg

Reinforce the strength of your toilet by stacking one bin inside another. This is for supporting very heavy people.

Alternative bins

Dairy farmers often have used 40 – 80 Liter drums that they do not need. Ask a local dairy farmer for a several drums. Rinse each well. Cut off the top of each drum with a hand-saw. These are free and very strong.

Separate Pee & Poo

Composting toilets

Composting toilets


I learned this by hard experience. Keep “pee” and “poo” separate from the start. Boys find this easy. The problem is the weight. Liquid is heavy. After use, dilute Pee with water and empty onto fruit trees or your garden either every time or several times daily. Don’t let it get too heavy.


Poo can be emptied when the drum is 3/4 full. It will not be too heavy if there is no Pee in it. Alternatively, swap it for an empty drum.

How to Swap Poo Drums

When 3/4 full, swap the ‘poo’ drum. Place a handful of sawdust into the top to cover the humanure when the drum is nearly full.

Close the lid until you are ready to put it into the compost heap. It can wait a week or so. No rush. No smell.

Alternatives to untreated sawdust

Dry, small Manuka leaves or conifer needles are good. The covering medium should be dry. Dry medium will absorb moisture and smell.

It needs to be fine enough to fill all the gaps.

Dry untreated saw-dust is best. Sawdust as coarse and rough as chain-saw shavings is suitable. Fine untreated sawdust is good too.

How to Clean the Poo Loo

Clean your Lovable Loo with just water and a little dish-wash detergent.

Do not use bleach, toilet clearer or disinfectant as this will kill all the good micro-organisms that are present to break down your deposits.

If you kill the microorganisms with commercial cleaners the composting will not occur as it should.

No chlorine. No bleach. No toilet cleaner. No germ killers. No disinfectant. No toilet ducks. These are all unnecessary in any toilet. Germs don’t need to be killed. A little dish-wash detergent in water is a quite hygienic and sanitary toilet cleaner.

Nice Fresh Pine Smell

It will smell like fresh pine sawdust. A nice smell in your house. There will be no other smells.

Inside the house

If it smells unpleasant you are doing something wrong. The most likely cause is that someone has used a disinfectant or toilet cleaner.

Outside at the compost heap

Even after emptying it into the humanure compost heap you will have no smells. If you have no straw or hay, just use garden organic matter to cover your humanure compost heap.

Keep several bins ready to use

Have several large bins ready to swap when the loo is 3/4 full. Then you can empty several at one time when it’s not raining or dark.

Keep an empty bin available at all times. Have a few spare bins.

Global Citizen by Guy Moore from Susan Z. Moore on Vimeo.

Where to empty the Poo Loo

Full bins can be heavy. Empty them when half full. I use a two-wheeled hand-truck to move a 3/4 full Poo Loo bin. It protects my back.

Turn the waste into humanure gold

Disposing of feces in sawdust requires this basic training.

I have used the above method for years with my compost loo in Hamilton. I used 3 pallets, fixed at the corners and sliding slats at the front to allow easy access.

How to dig out the humanure compost

Further reading from other websites