I never ever thought I would be supportive of using a composting toilet. Not that I have bias towards or against it…I just never thought of it. When we started researching how we were going to build #ChittyBang we definitely wanted a way around a black water septic. We wanted it more self sufficient than that. So we researched some other rv’ers/tiny housers who made the move to Composting Toilets, and amazingly enough it was legit.
People loved their compost toilets! People were making their own compost toilets. We had the money to spend, and I wanted something easy because I was learning enough about building a house out of a bus to keep me busy for years! So we purchased the Natures Head Composting Toilet for around $900. We are not being paid for this review by Natures Head and it is all based on our own experiences installing and using this toilet. This Composting toilet is all self contained, has a separate spot for urine and solids so that way they do not mix (keeps the smell from going all porta potty-ish), has a handle outside to turn the soil and solids, a small vent fan to pull fresh air through and out into an included vent hose that you vent outside via floor or wall, and you never worry about black water systems!! We chose the toilet with the Spider Handle Design because it looked like it would be better for your hand and was best for tight spaces. I am happy to say I love that option. They do offer another handle though as well 🙂
How difficult is it too install?
Not difficult at all. If you are a DIYer, this will be no problemo. Since we had to manufacture all of our holes in our bus, We had to drill a hole in the floor to stick the vent tube (comes with toilet) into it, I then stapled a screen to the bottom side of that hole via construction stapler so no bugs can come in. Next you install the two side brackets the toilet will be secured to. These keep it from moving in travel and use, and easily unscrews (by hand, nice sized knobs) on each side for solids emptying.
But what about the smell from the solids?
To be honest, as long as you have the right amount of peat moss in the bottom of the solids container, and only add more peat moss after a few solids uses, turn the handle after each use, and keep the solids hatch closed while you are going #1, you are totally good. Sounds like a lot of work right? Def more than just flushing! But hey, if you are wanting to build your own tiny house/skoolie or do any kind of DIY work involving getting dirty….then you are probably going to be ok doing a little more work to use the bathroom. And if not, go with the black water tank.
What kind of medium do you use for the solids container?
We had ran out of peat moss and could not find it anywhere, so we ended up using Planting Soil. Big Mistake. It was like mud. I made the solids container smell sour, so I dumped and got Soil Conditioner. The texture was more like peat moss, and will do until spring and more selection comes out:)
Does the Urine Container Stink?
Occasionally there is a smell, but a splash of vinegar solves that quickly.
You can buy additional urine containers and they do come with a screw on lid. I guess if you don’t want to empty it right away, this would be a good option. We use just the one it came with for now.
What about emptying the poop out into a bag?
Yes…it is super gross mentally. But honestly, there is not a smell if you do the soil:solids ratio right and it mostly looks like soil. I use a trash bag and gloves! Unhook the toilet from the floor (2 screws), take vent and plug for fan out, carry toilet outside…about 15 lbs when its full I think. Unhook the top of the toilet from the base, Slip the trashbag over the top of the solids base, turn it over, and bang it out into the bag. I can leave the bag near our area and use it again for the next time I need to dump it. My husband thinks we could probably just do one trash bag for each container dump because it can get heavy! It does not stink and blends in with my bags of soil I keep outside. Then we dump it in the big dumpster at our rv spot. Seriously, the flies didn’t even go near the bag!
How often do you have to empty it?
Urine container with 4 people, once a day…sometimes 2. Solids container once every 3-4 days. I think that since we have 3 girls, we use more TP…lol so every family is different:)
Do you have to use the RV type toilet paper?
No. At least we do not! I use the softest TP I can find. Why? Because I appreciate those small conveniences in life and I have not noticed any issues with it in out compost toilet system. I even get the lavender scented TP just to freshen up the bathroom space.:)
Does it use electricity?
Yes. The small pc fan inside the housing of the toilet uses very little electricity to pull that fresh air through the toilet and out the vent. You can wire it directly to your house batteries, or buy the transformer here to easily plug it in (that is what we did!).
The company has been awesome! My little fan for my toilet became loose and stopped working, so I emailed them. They sent me two replacement fans for free 🙂 all in the housing unit, so the switch was as easy as two screws! No worries with this products warranty at all 🙂
Can your kids do this chore?
Yes. But this depends on every family. Truth, I have not had my kids do this chore. I am just not wanting them to spill the urine or the solids anywhere. LOL. Maybe when they get a little stronger:)
What is cleaning it like?
The toilet actually comes with a small spray bottle you can keep vinegar or soapy water in. I used ours for another project (of course) so what I have been doing is every other time i dump the solids, i end the job with cleaning the outside of it with bleach (I feel better using bleach) including the handle. The toilet seat is bleached too. I clean the top of the toilet (the bowl you sit on) with vinegar and TP with gloves at this time too, but I also do this if it gets dirty after use in the house. Everyone knows it is their job to clean their own mess. This happens very rarely though. It is mostly soil that will stick to the bowl.
Anyway, in my opinion, the Natures Head Compost Toilet is a great investment for those wanting to boon dock, not have to deal with a black water tank, or live out in the woods. I seriously would not mind having this as a permanent solution for our future homestead…but time will tell:)
Until Then, Happy Flushing to you Modern Folks… *heehee*
-After caring for other human beings and animals on a homestead, from poop messes to full blown vomit…adult and child… taking care of and cleaning this toilet is not crazy. If you don’t think you can do it, even after researching, don’t! Everyone has their own limits of comfortability, which is what building your own home is all about:D It is prob easier to just go with the black water first and then take it off later if you want to go compost option.