Composting toilet myths

This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information.

RV and camping

Last updated on November 5 2023

There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding composting toilets many of which concern odors, maintenance and hygiene in general. Like anything, there is usually more detail behind these thoughts, many of which can be disproven by those who have used them.

Composting toilets have become more popular as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional portable flush toilets, so it’s easy to see why there is such a lot of different information floating around. In this guide, we aim to dispel some of these issues.

Composting toilets are smelly and unhygienic

Composting toilets are designed to be odor-free and hygienic when used and maintained correctly. Properly functioning composting toilets include ventilation systems that help control odors, and the composting process itself generates heat that kills harmful pathogens, making the end product safe for handling.

Composting toilets are complicated to install

While some composting toilets may have specific installation requirements, many models are designed for user-friendly installation. Manufacturers provide clear instructions, and with basic DIY skills, setting up a composting toilet can be straightforward.

Composting toilets are only for off-grid living

While composting toilets are excellent options for off-grid living, they are also suitable for a wide range of settings, including homes, cabins, boats, RVs, and even commercial establishments. Their versatility makes them a viable choice regardless of your living situation.

Composting toilets are uncomfortable to use

Modern composting toilet designs prioritize user comfort. Many models resemble traditional toilets and offer similar seating comfort. Users often find the experience no different from using a flush toilet.

Composting toilets require constant maintenance

Like any other appliance, composting toilets do require maintenance, but it’s not as daunting as some myths suggest. Regular tasks include adding bulking agents after each use, monitoring temperature and moisture levels, and periodic chamber emptying. Following a maintenance routine ensures efficient and odor-free operation.

Composting toilets attract flies and insects

A properly maintained composting toilet with the correct balance of moisture and carbon-rich material is unlikely to attract flies or insects. Ventilation systems and the decomposition process play a role in minimizing insect presence.

Composting toilets produce dangerous pathogens

The composting process in composting toilets involves elevated temperatures that effectively kill harmful pathogens, rendering the end product safe for use. Composting toilets that follow recommended guidelines pose no greater risk than traditional flush toilets.

Composting toilets are expensive

While the initial cost of a composting toilet may be higher than a traditional flush toilet, consider the long-term benefits, including water savings and reduced sewage fees. Over time, the investment can pay off both financially and environmentally.


Composting toilets are innovative solutions that align with sustainability, resource conservation, and responsible waste management. By deconstructing these myths and providing another alternative response, we show the true potential of composting toilets as hygienic, efficient, and user-friendly alternatives. As you consider eco-conscious sanitation options, rest assured that composting toilets can offer comfort, practicality, and a positive impact on both your lifestyle and the environment.

About the Author
Carrie has loved camping and being outdoors since she was a small child. After travelling extensively throughout the world, Carrie and her husband Chad really found their love of exploring by RV. Even though this is their preferred mode of travel these days, you can still find them in a tent too. Wherever they are, you can be sure they are also enjoying good food and wine.

Author: Carrie