November 28, 2019

What Chemicals are used in Portable Toilets?

If not maintained regularly, portable toilets can quickly become extremely unclean and, let’s face it, smelly. That’s why at D-tox we include regular servicing and steam cleaning of all our portable toilets (when on your yard), to leave the min pristine condition.

The chemicals that we use in the portaloos are important to destroy odours and make them suitable for use by workers and festival goers alike.

But what chemicals do we use? Let’s look at this a little closer…

Chemicals of the past

In the past, you’ll have found the chemical formaldehyde in portable toilets. Whilst its effective at minimising odour and cleaning the toilet as a whole, there were side-effects. Skin, eyes and throat can be badly affected by the chemical, so after cleaning its not the most pleasant environment for the user.

The reason for this is, though it can naturally occur in the environment through animal waste and seawater, its mainly emitted by industrial sources. Once exposed to the atmosphere, it breaks down and creates more harmful substances such as carbon dioxide and formic acid.

Today, however, the chemicals used are very friendly to humans, and have the same if not better cleaning power.


Chemicals of today

Today, the portaloos that you find at festivals or on construction sites are made up of four key chemicals. These are dye, biocides, fragrance and surfactants. Let’s break down what each of these elements does in providing a clean, safe environment in a portable toilet.


If you’ve ever been in a portable toilet, you’ll have noticed a blue dye in the toilet itself. But why? Well, it’s all to do with protecting you from the ghastly sights of lots of number twos!

The dark colour helps to mask the waste, so you don’t see it when flushing. It also serves an important servicing role. The blue dye actually changes colour when the tank is ready for emptying. It’ll change from blue to green, which indicates that the limit of urine and poo has been deposited. This is why its important to ensure your portable toilet provider is carrying out regular maintenance checks, to ensure that they are cleaned out and emptied before the dye turns to green. If the dye does turn this colour, it means the deodorising properties of the chemicals are no longer working, so you’ll be treated to some pretty nasty smells!


As you can imagine, there is a fair bit of bacteria present in our waste. That’s why biocides are necessary, as they prevent the growth of the bacteria found in human waste. Biocides hinder the growth of the bacteria,helping to maintain a clean and odour free environment for several people to do their business. Unlike formaldehyde, these biocides are completely safe for humans. You’ll find them in swimming pools for instance.


Who doesn’t love a good fragrance! Whilst the biocides and dye can mask the unpleasant smell, what they don’t do is provide a particularly pleasant fragrance. That’s why we use fragrances within our portaloos, to add to the user experience and hide any leftover odour from the biocides.

We know that portable toilets have a reputation for being a bit smelly, but with a properly fragranced portable toilet, you can provide a pleasant experience for the user, similar to the experience they would have within their home.


Surfactants, also known as detergents, help to lower the surface tension between the human waste and the chemical liquid. This helps to improve the effectiveness of the biocides and fragrances, as they can get to work much faster.

Important Note For Festivals & Construction Sites

Those on sites & at festival should not add Bleach or any other chemical to the toilets to try and service the portable toilet themselves, or to get rid of any smells. Bleach can react against the chemicals we use and have a negative effect.


Why Choose D-tox Portable toilets

You should find these types of chemicals within any portable toilet. However, its not just the chemicals that improve the usability and safety of a portaloo.

That’s why, at D-tox, we offer high specification products,perfect for construction sites and festivals that want to have happy employees and festival goers. Our recirculating flush toilet is ideal for when there are no mains water, adding to the flexibility of the toilet.

Not only that, but to maintain a clean and pleasant experience, our portable toilets come with hand washing facilities as well as a ventilation system that helps to keep the toilet odourless, even in the height of summer.

Our first-class toilets are also backed-up by our class leading service. All toilets are regularly cleaned and serviced by our trained staff. This includes a rigorous steam-clean before every delivery, plus replenishment of dye, chemicals, fresh water and even toilet rolls.

On site Cleaning

As part of our weekly service, when toilets are on site the following is included

• Removal of any Rubbish
• Emptying of Waste tank
• Cleaning of cabin interior
• Refill of tank
• Ensure the flush is working
• Cleaning of all surfaces
• Floor clean
• Drying the unit
• Replacement of toilet roll if needed
• Spray of Odouriser
• Complete POD.

Leanne Rose

Leanne is often referred to as the "C.O.I.C.O.A.E". The Commanding Officer In Charge Of Absolutely Everything!
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