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How Does a Chemical Toilet Work?

25 March 2024

One of the most common questions for a camper trip revolves around the bathroom aspect during the journey. Many rely on public toilets at campgrounds, cafes, gas stations, or rest areas. However, for those seeking a comfortable and discreet solution, chemical toilets prove to be an unbeatable choice.

For seasoned campers, the term "Porta Potti" is likely familiar. Yet, someone new to the camper world may not have considered how to actually use a chemical toilet and what simple but crucial steps to take to avoid unpleasant incidents or odors. Don't worry; we're here to help. Chemical toilets consist of two separate parts separated by a guillotine: the water tank for flushing is located at the top of the toilet, while the waste tank is at the bottom.

A manual flushing system eliminates the need for a connection to wastewater, water, or drainage. Solid waste is effectively replaced by a special sanitary liquid. But how does the handling work exactly? Let's take a closer look to clear up any doubts.

Structure of a Chemical Toilet

Below is a diagram describing the structure of a chemical toilet. This will help explain the cleaning and handling process later on.


On the left side of the image, you can see the top part of the chemical toilet with the water tank for flushing. The right image shows the bottom part of the toilet, where the waste tank is located. These two parts can be easily assembled or disassembled through the closure at the back of the toilet, which is especially important for emptying.

In general, chemical toilets are similar, but there are differences in size and handling. We will explain this in our article.

How to Use a Chemical Toilet

Preparation of a Chemical Toilet

1.Prepare the clean water tank

As the name suggests, the clean water tank is filled with water. First, unscrew the lid of the water tank and then fill the tank with 3 liters of water (or until full). If you prefer a less chemical smell, you can add a fragrance or rinse water cleaner. Specific products like Ambiti Rinse are recommended. You can add 50 ml to 100 ml of cleaning liquid.

2. Prepare the waste tank

The waste tank should be filled with an appropriate sanitary liquid, which is recommended to avoid unpleasant odors. You can use, for example, Ambiti Blue. First, place the chemical toilet cleaner in the waste tank. To do this, lift the toilet lid, pull the sliding handle (to open access to the lower tank), and pour the appropriate amount of liquid directly into the toilet. You can also pour the liquid directly through the drainage tube into the lower tank.

Usually, you should pour 60 ml per every 10 liters, but the amount may vary depending on the brand of liquid. We recommend checking the amount indicated on the container label.

Tip: Always try to choose biodegradable and more environmentally friendly dissolution liquids. We use Ambiti products. In our next article, we'll explain which product is used where.

Using a Chemical Toilet

Using a chemical toilet is similar to using a regular toilet and should not cause you more inconvenience.

Here are the steps:

1.Open the toilet lid.

2. Pull the guillotine handle to connect the tanks.

3. Use the toilet.

4. Flush (we recommend performing two small flushes).

5. Close the guillotine.

Important: The toilet paper used in chemical toilets should be water-soluble to avoid blockages (100% cellulose). However, you can also dispose of the toilet paper separately in the trash.

Emptying a Chemical Toilet

Now we come to the step that no one likes. But with some simple moves, this task is also a breeze! If your chemical toilet doesn't have a level indicator for the waste tank, there's no exact science to know when the tank needs to be emptied. Simply open the slider and look inside; if you think the tank is full, it's time to empty the waste tank! 

With these simple steps, you'll empty the waste tank of your toilet:

Separate the waste tank from the clean water tank through the rear closure and set the waste tank aside.

Turn the drainage tube (pipe) 180 degrees so that it points upward and open the cap of the drainage tube.

Hold the tank by the rear handle, press the ventilation button, and pour out the contents.

Fill the tank with water and close the cap.

Shake the tank well to remove all remaining residues. Finally, pour out the contents again, close the cap, and turn the drainage tube back - and you're done!

Note: Emptying the chemical toilet is only allowed in designated places, such as campgrounds, caravan parks, gas stations, or public toilets, never on the street or in a green area.

You will often find a sign indicating where you can empty the tank.

How often should one clean a chemical toilet?

Depending on the capacity, ambient temperature, and frequency of use, the chemical toilet should be emptied at least every three days. We recommend wearing gloves, as it's not as pleasant, and if something goes wrong, it won't be as serious.


This might also interest you: How much chemical is added to a camping toilet?

If you have more questions about the chemical toilet, feel free to write to us via email at