What Is a Chemical Toilet?

What is a chemical toilet? Well, this question rarely comes to mind until you come across one or have to host a limited-time event where the attendees can’t use the usual toilets integrated with indoor plumbing systems.

If you have attended a large outdoor event, you may have seen a porta potty bank or a sitting of portable toilets, which is an arrangement of many portable toilets.

Chemical Toilet

A chemical toilet is a portable toilet that collects human waste in a reusable holding tank and relies on chemicals to reduce the foul odor. It uses a small holding tank that requires regular emptying once full of human excreta, usually pumped into a treatment plant or a sanitary sewer.

In this article, we cover some of the essential aspects of chemical toilets, like where they are used, how much they cost, and what their advantages are.


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What are the Advantages of Chemical Toilets?

Despite their extensive usage of environmentally harsh chemicals, chemical toilets have several advantages. Let’s cover some of these benefits below.


Perhaps portability is the number one great win for chemical toilets. Their portability owes to the fact that they are not connected to any plumbing system. It’s also attributable to their lightweight nature, making it easy to lift them around and install them anywhere outdoors.

Restroom trailers, also known as luxury restroom trailers or portable restrooms, are advanced chemical toilets with enhanced portability and other luxury features. They are mounted on trailer platforms with wheels and can be pulled by a vehicle, making moving them more manageable.


Although not all chemical toilets are self-contained, most modern models come with a toilet seat, urinal, toilet tissue compartment, hand wash sink, mirrors, exterior and interior lighting, soap dispenser, and flushing mechanism.

Such comprehensively stocked chemical portable toilets offer users an all-in-one service whenever they need to answer the call of nature in outdoor gatherings.

Ease of Use and Cleaning

A chemical mobile toilet is easy to use, just like the standard indoor toilet unit. The toilet bowl and urinal guide the waste matter, toilet paper, and urine into the waste holding tank, where the human waste collects until the tank is full and ready for emptying and replacement.

The cleaning process for the portable toilet facility is easy. The chemical additives act as a deodorizer to minimize the unpleasant odours caused by multiplying bacteria. The toilet additives also act as disinfectants.

Since the full holding tanks are emptied into a vacuum truck, cleaning them is easy once they are rid of the human waste. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about the cleaning because most chemical toilet renting companies offer waste disposal and cleaning services.

Empty a Chemical Toilet

Can You Empty a Chemical Toilet into a Normal Toilet?

Sometimes when you need a temporary excreta management solution for a small event such as a family outing, you may use a portable camping toilet or cassette toilet. However, you might not have the time to acquire the necessary permits for emptying the waste into municipal sewers.

In such cases, your closest option is to carry the camping toilet home and empty its contents into your normal house toilet. But is it right?

If the waste in your normal toilet goes into a municipal sewage system, there’s no harm in emptying a chemical toilet into a regular toilet.

However, you shouldn’t do the same emptying if your standard toilet is connected to a septic tank. The toilet chemical solution in the portable loo may be harmful to the beneficial bacteria in wastewater, posing a threat to the septic system and its functionality.

To avoid disrupting the septic system when you have no other choice but empty a chemical toilet into a normal one, be sure to use septic-friendly toilet additives such as biodegradable biocide.

Where Chemical Toilets Are Used?

The portable nature of chemical toilets makes them useful for various outdoor events and other applications where people can’t access normal water toilets. Sometimes, there are none nearby, or there may be a shortage of normal toilets compared to the high number of users.

A chemical portable toilet unit usually comes in hand in places such as:

  • Large farms
  • Large ranches
  • Campsites
  • Isolated cabins
  • Trailers
  • Leisure parks
  • Boats

Construction sites and any other places where workers need quick bathroom solutions near them

Limited-time events, like weddings, funerals, political rallies, trade fairs, exhibitions, large outdoor meetings, music festivals, and concerts.

What Chemicals Are Used in Portable Toilets?

In the past, portable restroom companies used formaldehyde to clean and minimize the odour in chemical toilets.

However, formaldehyde is harmful to humans and the environment since it causes irritations in the eyes, the skin, and throat, not to mention forming formic acid and carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere. The chemical is being phased out.

Most modern portable toilet companies now use biocides, surfactants (detergents), dye, and fragrance to maintain freshness and cleanliness in each toilet unit.

Biocides are safe in human environments and used in a portaloo to prevent the multiplication of bacteria in human faeces.

The blue dye in chemical toilets masks the contents, so you don’t see the raw human waste. It is also important for regular portaloo servicing.

When the toilet is full and can’t take any more urine or poo, the dye turns green to indicate this. The color change also shows that the chemicals used can’t provide deodorizing effects anymore.

Fragrances are used in a porta potty to introduce a more pleasant scent to complement the odour reduction capabilities of the blue dye and the biocide.

Portable chemical toilets also require surfactants to improve the efficacy of the fragrance and biocide by lowering the surface tension between the blue liquid and the human waste.

The chemicals in a porta loo ensure round-the-clock cleanliness and freshness until emptying in the vacuum truck or the disposal point at the municipal sewer.

How Much Does a Chemical Toilet Cost

How Much Does a Chemical Toilet Cost?

The one major disadvantage of chemical toilets is that they are costly. Instead of buying, which is wasteful for limited-time use in temporary events, you should consider renting them out from a porta potty company.

The cost of renting a chemical toilet depends on the duration of renting and the type of toilet. A standard toilet goes for $25 a day, while a luxury restroom can cost over $1,000 to rent for a day.

According to Fixr.com, you can spend between $80 and $500 renting a portable toilet unit, with the national average being $125-$300 per month for a single chemical toilet unit.

Bottom Line

Under normal circumstances, it might be a lifetime before you need to use a chemical toilet.

However, you’ll need some if you have an outdoor limited-time event with many attendees or workers in a farm, ranch, or construction site where indoor toilet plumbing won’t be helpful.

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