Design & DIY

Weekly Hack: Stop the composting toilet stink

By Sergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock

A composting toilet is great at the cottage. It’ll shrink waste to about one tenth of its original volume, and leave you with humus to fertilize the trees. Everybody wins! Except when your toilet stinks. Something’s up—better diagnose.

Check for excess liquid—the toilet’s drain could be blocked.

Is your toilet’s vent stack blocked? Is it tall enough? (It should reach at least 60 cm above the cottage roof’s peak.)

Maybe the carbon to nitrogen ratio is off (for optimal composting, you need a ratio of 30:1). Try adding some bulking agent: peat moss, shavings, wood chips, or whatever your toilet’s manufacturer recommends.

Compost piles need air! Stir to aerate.

If you’ve been adding any harsh chemicals or cleaners to your toilet, stop right now. They can kill the “good” bacteria necessary for breaking down the waste.

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