Portable Toilet: Chemical Composition- WorldOfChemicals

Portable Toilet: Blue Liquid Unraveled

Portable Toilet

Most of us have used a portable toilet at some point of time and have come across a blue liquid that’s present in the water closet. This would have left many astounded as to what was the chemical composition of the mysterious blue liquid. It could either be a powerful acid or a bleach or just a fragrant. I am sure that you wouldn’t have the time and patience to contemplate what liquid is present in the closet, while at the portable toilet. Let’s unravel this mysterious blue liquid and see how it helps you have a better experience while using portable toilets.


What is the Mysterious Blue Liquid?

It is a smell reducing chemical commonly known as the deodorizer, whose function is to mask the odors that may be generated in a portable toilet. The types of formations vary from one portable toilet provider to another. These portable toilets are used on construction sites as well music festival arenas. To neutralize odors, a formaldehyde-based chemical is often used. However, how due to the toxic nature of formaldehyde, it is being substituted by other chemicals such as glutaraldehyde and quaternary ammonium compounds along with non-staining dyes and natural perfume oils.

On a more technical note, deodorizers have four main components. These are:


  • Biocides

Biocides inhibit the gram-positive bacterial growth responsible for the odor production. The use of this active ingredient checks the bad odor nuisance in portable toilets.


  • Dyes

Toilet deodorizers contain a blue colour dye which gives the liquid its blue colour.  This blue colour hides the contents of the portable toilet. Once the chemical has reached its limit, it turns green. This is an indication that the chemicals are not effective any more in odor prevention.


  • Fragrances

The presence of fragrance provides a pleasant scent to the portable toilet users. Deodorizes come in different scents and this leaves the portable toilet providers the choice of the scent that they think is the best.


  • Surfactants

Surfactants are compounds used to reduce the surface tension between two liquids. In the case of the deodorizer, its purpose is to make the fragrances miscible in water. This way the fragrances can dissolve in water and form a homogeneous mixture.


Advantages of Portable Toilets

They are more expensive as compared to conventional permanent outdoor toilets. They can be rented out to companies and work out to be cheaper as compared to hiring a janitorial service to clean the toilets on a regular basis. In this case they are not plumbed to pipes and do not clog, however, they are susceptible to overflowing when they are not emptied on a regular basis.


Disadvantages of Porta Potties

Since portable toilets are not plumbed, they store the waste inside the tank and this can lead to a bad sewage smell when the portable toilets are not cleaned thoroughly or are overused. Another drawback in the case of portable toilets is that they are not wheelchair accessible, which means that those who use wheelchairs would find it difficult or impossible to use the portable toilets. 



Lye is a much older type of portable toilet chemical. It was used during the wooden outhouse days to prevent bad smells. In this case, when a person would be done using the portable toilet, they would sprinkle a little bit of lye into the tank. Today, lye is rarely used as it is corrosive to the skin. In the 1950’s, the first US patent for a polyethylene plastic portable toilet was issued to Harvey Heather, who was the founder of JW Enterprises. Later during the 1960’s, UK started importing these toilets under the Portaloo name. In the 1970’s Doug Holt and Robert Frazer who were the owners of Repclif Chemicals Services Ltd partnered and the launched the Destrol brand. The Destrol product then dominated the markets which were being sold across the globe.


Is the “Portable Toilet Liquid” Toxic in Nature?

Deodorizer is not toxic in its diluted form. If deodorizer has been used, it then becomes toxic. It is advised not to consume deodorizing liquid at any given point, however, if the little bit of non-used diluted deodorizing liquid is consumed, it wouldn’t cause harm. Level of toxicity depends upon the type of deodorizer used. Therefore, it is very important to check with the GHS Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for the type of deodorizer that would be used.


What is the Impact of Deodorizers on the Environment?

With advancing deodorizing technology, it has been possible to make the product more environmentally friendly. In recent times, there has been a growing demand in the portable toilet deodorizer industry to create biological based products that are more environmentally friendly. Deodorizer usage would result in lesser chemicals usage like formaldehyde, which must be treated at the wastewater treatment plant. These products act like catalysts in the breakdown of waste and paper, thereby assisting in the waste treatment process. This would result in a more efficient process. Deodorizers don’t have any grave repercussions on the environment in the case of minor spills.


Can Portable Toilet Deodorizer Stain Surface?

A non-straining dye is used for the portable toilet deodorizer, which equates to easy cleaning of the products with hands and clothing. However, this dye has the potential to stain porous surfaces like concrete. In this case, a combination of bleach and water could be used to remove any staining that would occur.


What is the Effective life of Deodorizers in Portable Toilets?

Majority of portable toilet deodorizers are manufactured to work for up to a week after which the active ingredients begin to disintegrate. This reason mandates the regular execution of cleaning and servicing of the portable toilets at least once a week. This way portable toilets are prevented from developing extreme odors. This also ensures regular dumping of waste into waste treatment plants with minimal or no effect on the treatment facilities.

www.worldofchemicals.com uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X