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How to empty & clean your chemical toilet

Updated: Jun 22, 2023


As with most things, the need to empty and clean your chemical toilet “can giveth and taketh away” all the enjoyment from your camping experience.


Knowing how to deal with one of the stinkiest jobs on the camping ground will have you equipped and hopefully mentally ready to take on the challenge.


Here’s your guide & step-by-step for all the most critical questions on people's minds regarding emptying and cleaning your chemical potty.


But for those who need a refresher.


What is a chemical toilet?


A chemical toilet is a portaloo consisting of two tanks holding chemicals that dispose of your waste. (Blue or Green). One is a container/cassette which keeps the chemicals, and the other is for clean water.


They are used predominantly for camping, RV, and boating and are one of your portable solutions for pooping on the move.


Now we’ve had that little refresher, let's look at the burning questions about emptying and cleaning your chemical toilet and round them up with a step-by-step guide.


Questions this article will be covering.


How do you empty a chemical toilet?

  1. Where can I empty a chemical toilet?

  2. How often should you empty your chemical toilet?

  3. What toilet paper can you use in a chemical toilet?

  4. Can you empty a chemical toilet into a normal toilet?

  5. How to empty a chemical toilet step-by-step guide


How do you clean a chemical toilet?

  1. How do you stop a chemical toilet from smelling?

  2. How often should a chemical toilet be cleaned?

  3. What do you use to clean a portable toilet?

  4. Can you put bleach in a chemical toilet?

  5. How to clean a chemical toilet step-by-step guide


Alternatives?

  1. Laveo Dry Flush

  2. How do I empty a Laveo Dry Flush toilet?

  3. How do I clean a Laveo Dry Flush toilet?

  4. How to empty & clean a Laveo Dry Flush Step-by-step guide


How do you empty a chemical toilet?


It’s a messy business; This section will cover questions about emptying a portable toilet with your step-by-step guide to round it off.


Where can I empty a chemical toilet?


For those unaware, a blackwater tank is a container where you meet your fellow campers and deposit all the unpleasant substances you create while using the restroom.


(It’s the go-to place to know which of your camping neighbours stinks the most.)


These are found in campsites and designated locations all over the country.


You must ensure you’re emptying your contents into these, as the chemicals you have are not eco-friendly!


There are alternative chemicals that we will talk about later.




How often should you empty your chemical toilet?


Most chemical portaloos come with a level indicator, so you have an insight on when to release the mess.


If you’re on your own, you can probably let it fill up for a week before heading to the blackwater tank. Of course, it could be longer if you’re a shy pooper, but that doesn’t mean the smell will be any better!


If there are two of you, it could be around three days. So it will depend on how much you’re eating and then heading to the “john”.


and…


If it’s a family of four, you’ll be looking to drop off the mess every day and a half.


This can have its own problem because the chemicals haven’t had enough time to dissolve your poop, meaning it could be sloshing around instead of composing down.


What toilet paper can you use in a chemical toilet?


Ordinary toilet paper will not dissolve inside a chemical toilet.


You either need specially designed camping toilet paper or single-ply (which means touching more than you bargained for). Remember that the special dissolvable toilet paper will also not dissolve within a day.


Also, If you or your family have been putting standard toilet paper into the portable throne, I highly recommend it isn’t you who will be emptying it.


It can & will get clogged.


Which then means a whole extra step when emptying your portable toilet.


Can you empty a chemical toilet into a normal toilet?


This one is important.


The first rule of chemical toilets is that you must only empty them in a designated place, as mentioned above.


Besides the obvious hygiene issues, the chemicals should not go straight into the sewage system.


Why?


There are two types of chemicals that can go into a portable toilet.


Blue - CAN NOT go into septic tanks & your toilet - septic tanks have a biological process. If you use the blue liquid, you can kill your septic tank!


Green - CAN (sort-of) go into septic tanks as they are more “eco-friendly”; however, There is a good chance you could block your toilet.


But you’re camping!


You’re not at your toilet.


So it’s good to know, but it won’t make a difference when you’re on the road!


Step-by-step guide


Now we have all the facts let’s lock this down in a step-by-step guide.


Step 1 – Locate the Blackwater Tank.


Wherever you are - Search for the blackwater tank, and once you’ve put a circle around it on your map (old school style), head back to your toilet and grab your mask because it’s time to move.


Step 2 – Remove Cassette from the toilet.


You’ve arrived at your cassette toilet - Congratulations!

Pull out your cassette, which should have a latch. With the airtight cassette, you won't have to worry about " shifting " contents during movement.


Step 3 – Transport your poo to the blackwater loo.


With your mapped route in mind - find the most direct way to the tank. Avoid hills & dips as much as possible.


As mentioned before, the contents are locked up, but a steady hand will keep the movement and sound from sending your imagination into overdrive.


Step 4 – Empty the Cassette toilet (carefully).


This can be a scary moment.


Remove the pouring cap while closing your mouth tightly, and put a nose peg on for good measure.


Open the air vent to pour the contents into the disposal point properly.

Without taking proper precautions, it's simple to stumble and spill the contents over your thongs and get a lovely splash back.


And most of all.


Enjoy that fresh country air.


Step 6 – Return to your portable toilet.


Boom!


You’ve done it!


If you’re not doing a full clean, add a small amount of water into the tank and get it back for a chemical dose.


Wave at strangers at the campsite on the way because you’ve just succeeded in your task.


Step 7 – Re-Supply Chemicals & Return Cassette.


Add the chemical of choice into the chemical compartment.


Place the cassette back into the portable toilet and go clean your hands.


Step 8 - Pat yourself on the back.


Self-explained satisfaction.


Step 9 - Prepare for next time.


After a well-deserved appreciation of your hard work, slowly realise that this is a recurring task and find a suitable place to meditate and strengthen your resolve.



How do you clean a chemical toilet?


This section will cover questions asked within the cleaning portion of a portable toilet with your step-by-step guide to round it off.


How do you stop a chemical toilet from smelling?



The short answer is… You don’t


It will smell - But there are ways you can alleviate said stink.


One is having a well-ventilated location. For example, a designated camping tent so the smell can burn off into the air and leave you free and smelling clean.


If you don’t have this luxury and the toilet sits in your shower room, you can always use chemicals to soften the blow.


You can add these chemicals to the water tank section in the portable toilet.


These chemicals start to add up and will not remind you of nature.


Third is using a can of deodoriser to keep around the loo!


It’s worked at home, so the likeliness is it’ll work in the camp too.



What do you use to clean a portable toilet?


You’ve used the toilet enough that it looks a bit “caked”, so you’ll need to put some elbow grease into getting it sparkling clean.


Before you put your hand into the darkness, you can do a few things near the black water tank, as some come with a hose.


Wash the toilet top and bottom halves thoroughly outdoors using a hose, a bucket of water, and some elbow grease.


If you’ve got a pack of wet wipes, they can be handy too, but then you’ll need to think about where to dispose of them!


Suppose there is still a trace of deodoriser or disinfectant in the waste reservoir; in that case, you can add water from a hose, slosh the waste about to loosen it, and drain the diluted wastewater.


Chemical toilets don’t completely break down the waste, so you must ensure you have emptied as much as possible, as a clean bowl is a happy bowl.


Can you put bleach in a chemical toilet?


Don’t do it!


The chemicals in a portable toilet can react with the bleach causing dangerous fumes.


Best to avoid swishing them together.


This is the reason a portable toilet has a holding tank for waste. So it doesn’t have to be flushed through to the mains water.


Also, the bleach can potentially kill the process in the portable chemical toilet, which defeats the point of why you bought the chemicals in the first place!



How to clean a chemical toilet Step-by-step guide


Step 1 - Take it outside and somewhere well ventilated


You’ve emptied the contents, and now it’s time to clean up this family recipe.


Take it somewhere open and fresh so it can be dealt with in a well-ventilated area.


Separate the top from the bottom, so you can quickly get into the crevices.


Step 2 - Hose it down.


With the hose in hand, put some pressure on the toilet, place your thumb over the hole to increase pressure in the said hose and wear some protective goggles if you think it’s going to be splashing back at you.


Step 3 - Wipe down those stubborn stains.


You’ve got those significant parts out of the way - Now it’s time to get your elbow in deep and wipe away the rest. You can get portaloo-friendly washing chemicals and use a scrubbing brush to wipe away any extra mess.


Step 4 - Let it dry


If the sun is shining, you can let it dry out; if it’s not, you can grab a “designated” towel and dry it off.


Step 5 - Put it back together and add the chemicals


Once it’s dry - realise you need to use it again and add the chemicals so you can start the journey again.


Step 6 - Tell your next of kin they have to do it next time


Create a rotational chart which means one of the other members of your family/friends has to clean it out next time and intentionally leave your name off the list.


You create the list anyway, so it’s important there is someone to supervise.


What are my alternatives?


There has been a recent trend from the more conventional chemical toilets in search of eco-friendly or more pleasing & convenient methods of “personal relief” whilst camping, RVing, boating or on the road.


People are getting sick of the smell and prefer to enjoy their camping trips! (Me included)


The Laveo dry flush was born out of necessity.



Laveo Dry Flush


Clean and without a smell in the room, the Laveo Dry Flush cuts the terror of emptying and cleaning literally in half!


The Laveo Dry flush was built around convenience, focusing on getting on and off the toilet without worrying about the fear of messy emptying & smelly cleanup.


It is camping in luxury & style.


How do I empty my Laveo Dry Flush?


The great thing about the Laveo is that the Mylar bags are completely smell-proof and straightforward to use.


You’ll be in and out of the toilet within seconds, and when you’re done, you just flush.


It will twist your waste and anything else you put into it!


Once you’ve hit the limit, you grab the designated trash bag that surrounds the mylar “no smell” bags, tie it up like regular waste, and throw it away anywhere normal trash would go.


Seriously how easy is that to empty?!




How do I clean my Laveo Dry Flush?


There is no cleaning!


Remarkably when it comes to the dirty side of toilets, with the Laveo, there is no cleaning.


This doesn’t mean you can’t give the bowel an excellent polish once in a while (wet wipes on the ready). Still, your need for deep cleaning the bowel is far and few between as all waste is conveniently forgotten out of sight and mind.


The main point is just to empty it, and you’re done.





How to empty & clean a Laveo Dry Flush Step-by-step guide


Step 1 - Remove the waste


Open up your Laveo Dry Flush, take off the lid, and you’ll have a convenient trash bag to tie up and remove the patented mylar bags.


Step 2 - Throw the trash away.


Throw it away with all the other trash.


If there isn’t anywhere to throw it away right now, take pleasure that it’s secure and doesn’t smell, so you’ll be free from worry!


Step 3 - Give it a clean.


If you’re just looking to keep it from getting dusty, grab a wet wipe and give it a shine!


Step 4 - Crack open a beer.


Convenience has its benefits!


Summary


Emptying and cleaning a chemical toilet is not for the faint of heart.


But it’s a job that’s got to be done, and it’s got to be done right! (otherwise, you could be covered in black gunk).


Your best bet is to keep your chemicals topped up, your cleaning materials on hand, and special dissolvable toilet paper in your pocket! Also, a map can be handy on your first excursions to the blackwater tank.


But if you’re looking for convenience, then the Laveo may be for you.


You can buy a Laveo and its products here, or keep updated with our blog for exciting news and everything portable!


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