Last updated on December 17 2021
In short, the best portable toilet chemicals to use are the ones that actually work, are sensitive to the environment where possible and won’t affect your warranty.
Having good hygiene is essential for your own health and the health of others. In COVID-19 times, the requirement for higher levels of hygiene has never been more important.
We discuss the best chemicals for your portable toilet below.
Read more: Why you should buy a portable toilet
Do I need to use chemicals in my portable toilet?
It is essential to use chemicals in your portable toilet to ensure that the waste is treated correctly and to ultimately minimise any odors. With such a small toilet, usually also in close proximity to its users, you don’t want to have any horrible smells around.
Chemicals help with the rinsing process, keeping the main bowl as clean as possible, whilst others help with the waste.
If you are only planning on using the toilet overnight for example, then simply emptying it the next day would be perfectly ok.
In simple terms, chemicals for your portable toilet come in three colors; blue, green and pink. They all have a purpose.
- Blue – these are the really important chemicals for operating the toilet as they break down the waste and in turn prevent the waste from smelling. The blue chemicals often contain the strong ingredient of formaldehyde
- Pink – these chemicals are for the water tank that is used for flushing the toilet. They are not vital for running the toilet but are highly recommended to assist with a better overall toilet environment.
- Green – these are green in color because they are meant to be a more sustainable chemical to use. Green chemicals are formaldehyde free.
Is it ok to use normal household chemicals in a portable toilet?
Whilst some household chemicals are ok for cleaning the external parts of the toilet, it’s not considered a good idea for other cleaning activities. Household cleaners are not made with toilet waste in mind. Using these on a new portable toilet could also breach the warranty. We personally do not recommend using normal household chemicals inside the portable toilet.
Where can I empty a portable toilet?
Portable toilet waste should only ever be emptied in places where you are authorised to do so and are clearly signed. It is never acceptable to empty waste in the woods, in drains and in toilets used by people (eg caravan parks) as a general rule.
Some campsite owners will allow for emptying of waste in their facility blocks but this should only be done if you ask, or it is signed. Do not do it otherwise.
Don’t ever empty them into compostable toilets either. These must remain chemical-free for them to work as designed. Sometimes campgrounds have a requirement that only waste that has been treated with green chemicals may be disposed of using their facilities.
How much chemical should I use?
Always use the amounts noted on the bottle/sachet instructions. Over-using the amount of chemicals required won’t necessarily do a better job and will ultimately just cost you more money to replace them. Adding too much chemical can also cause damage to rubber seals.
Chemicals for the flush tank
Adding chemicals into the flush tank help to keep it all clean, assists with waste degradation, lubricates the seals and makes it all smell a little better too.
These chemicals should be able to be used in a septic tank.
Chemicals for the waste tank
Given this is what you will actually eventually dispose of, the more eco-friendly you can be here with what you put in your tanks, the better.
It is not recommended to use anything with formaldehyde in it at all which is considered to be highly toxic.
Also, check to see if your chemicals are safe to use in septic toilets. Septic tanks are widespread in America so sooner or later you will need to empty your waste into a septic system.
Portable toilet cassette cleaner
While the general chemicals keep everything working and clean, it’s a good idea to do some regular overall maintenance on the cassette – a bit like servicing your vehicle. Once or twice a year (more if you are using your portable toilet regularly).
Types of chemicals for portable toilets
The most basic form are liquids which are simply added to flush tanks to waste tanks.
We use and recommend the Thetford range of Aqua Kem chemicals for Thetford portable toilets. They will also work well in other brands.
Sachets and tablets are also used and are very convenient to store and use. No water is needed to mix as is the case with the liquid, you simply pop the tablet or sachet into the relevant tank.
Which toilet paper should be used in a portable toilet?
We recommend using toilet paper that has been specially designed for use in a chemical toilet. Whilst technically you can use ordinary toilet paper, the correct answer is you shouldn’t.
Regular toilet paper is thicker, not designed for quick degradation and as a result, will take longer to break down in your waste tank and occupy more volume in the tank, meaning you will need to empty more often.
Personally, we use Aqua-Soft toilet paper for our Thetford portable toilet.
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.