How To Empty a Composting Toilet

Learning how to empty a composting toilet doesn't need to be intimidating or difficult. A few simple guidelines are all that is required to make this project work well and efficiently. 

Before you begin to empty a composting toilet, you need to know what type of compost toilet system you have. Usually, compost toilets fall into one of the following categories: 

  • A self-contained system that is installed in the bathroom that can operate with or without electricity
  • A central composting toilet system
  • A two-piece system that offers the traditional look of a toilet with an environmentally-friendly central composting unit located in a bedroom or outside a home 

No matter what model you own, it will have one of the following two characteristics. One has a chamber below the toilet stool that will run into a basement or outside area. The other drops the compost material into a finishing drawer, the area where the composting takes place. The collection container should be at least 20 liters in size, the appropriate volume for a more modern composting toilet. For a larger outside compost toilet, several large barrels or buckets will be needed. 

Tools needed for this procedure (depending on the type of compost toilet one has): 

  • Spray bottles
  • Toilet brush
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Mask


Once the buckets or containers are about 2/3 full, compost is ready to be removed and placed in a finishing drawer or compost barrels. 

When using a compost toilet that has an underneath container, begin by releasing the drum lock. Rotate the drum backwards and the compost will drop automatically into the finishing drawer. There are no tools required and it is a quick process. The compost needs to sit in the finishing drawer for about 4 weeks, or longer if one prefers. Once this time period has elapsed, it will then be sanitized and ready to be removed. 

With the barrels or buckets that accumulate four to five gallons when full, begin by unsnapping the lid on the bucket and lift the bucket up from the base of the toilet.

Carry the buckets or other large containers to compost barrels. 

After the dumping is completed, rinse the bucket with water. Be sure to slap the bucket several times to dislodge any remaining material. When rinsing, be sure not to use a pressurized water hose. This will prevent contamination from the spray. 

Scrub the bucket with a toilet brush. Once this is done, the water is to be dumped into the chamber. 

The bucket needs to be rinsed again, and the rinse water should be dumped once more into the chamber. Once all the buckets or containers have been thoroughly cleaned, replace the screens and lids on the barrel or containers.

Finally, some cover material needs to be put into the bottom of the bucket or container and then returned to the toilet area. 

Hand washing is the final step in the process.