How to Clean a Composting Toilet


A composting toilet, like a regular compost pile, takes organic waste, in this case human waste, and turns it into nutrient-rich mulch for plants. The two main styles of composting toilet are self-contained toilets, which have the toilet and the compost chamber all in the bathroom, and central toilets, which have just the toilet in the bathroom and the chamber in the basement below. Composting toilets are sanitary if well-maintained and they do require some regular cleaning just as regular toilets do.

Step 1

Clean the top, outer parts of the toilet, such as the toilet back, the toilet seat and the toilet base with a rag and water. The toilet should be able to be wiped clean without much effort. If there are stubborn dirty spots in places where the cleaning rag will not drip into the toilet, use a mild soap to remove them.

Step 2

Use a toilet brush to clean the inner chamber of the composting toilet. Don't use any chemical soaps inside the toilet or these will get into the compost and will ruin an organic compost.

Step 3

Maintain the chamber of the toilet by raking the waste inside of it flat every couple of days for a small, self-contained toilet and every couple of weeks for a central toilet with a large chamber. Once flattened, place sawdust or another organic material, such as dried leaves or wood chips, atop the waste. This will prevent the chamber from smelling and the odor from rising back up through the piping to make the toilet smell.

Step 4

Try unblocking the toilet pipe if the toilet smells, as odor is often the result of waste not making it all the way out of the toilet pipe and down into the compost chamber. Use a wire with a cloth tied tightly to the end and snake it through the pipe of the toilet down into the chamber. If you have a central composting toilet, you will need several yards of wire to clear the entire pipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag
  • Mild soap
  • Toilet brush
  • Rake
  • Sawdust or other organic material


  • University of Florida: Wastewater System and Composting Toilet
  • Michigan Technological University: Composting Toilet Construction Manual
Keywords: compost, toilet, clean

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence has been writing professionally for six years and has been published on Associated Content. She is also a freelance filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. Lawrence attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English.