What is that Blue Stuff in Portable Toilets?
If you’ve ever wondered about this, the answer is simple. It’s a mixture of chemicals designed to deodorize, stop bacteria growth, and hide what lies beneath the surface! There are generally four types of ingredients in there, a combination of dye, biocides, detergents, and fragrance.
- The biocides prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This helps to hold the odors down.
- The detergents help keep the fragrances uniform, so you don’t smell one thing over another.
- The actual fragrance masks anything you might not want to smell.
- The dye is there to make everything turn blue. If you happen to look down into the tank, which we don’t recommend, you won’t see the things that are floating around down there.
- The blue dye is also used as an indicator of when the fluid needs to be changed. When mixed with too much urea, the main ingredient in urine, the liquid turns green. Fortunately, most portable toilet companies are able to service the units before it reaches that point.
The History of Blue Liquid and Portable Restroom Deodorizer
In days of old, before toilets were invented, people used outhouses. These outhouses consisted of a shelter that would provide privacy and protection from the weather and a bench with a hole in it. This was placed over a hole in the ground where the wastes were deposited. When finished, the user would sprinkle some lye into the hole. The lye was meant to cover up the smell, but when mixed with urine, it creates ammonia. The strong smell of the ammonia was unpleasant, but since flies didn’t care for it, it seemed a good solution.
In addition to the smell, the lye has a special reaction when it comes into contact with human feces. It raises the pH of the waste which slows down decomposition while absorbing liquid. This reaction forms a kind of crust that help keep down the odor.
A big problem with lye is that it can burn human skin. Users had to be very careful not to spill any lye on the seat. Lye isn’t used for this purpose anymore.
Today, some people who live “off the grid” still use outhouses. Rather than using lye as mentioned above, they cover the waste with sawdust or wood ash. This process is similar to composting food scraps, but they use it for human waste.
Portable toilets have been around since the 1940s. They were first developed in shipyards to solve a problem. When the shopfitters needed to relieve themselves, they would have to leave their ships and walk all the way back to the restrooms on the dock. This was an inconvenience to be sure, but it also meant that they were spending less time on the job. The solution was to build some portable toilets closer to the work being done, save them the long walk, and thus increase productivity.
The first portable toilets were made of wood or metal. They were heavy, smelly, and hard to clean. The main chemical ingredient used in these early portable toilets was formaldehyde, which is also used for embalming bodies. Formaldehyde is good for killing most bacteria and fungi, and the smell keeps the flies away, but it’s not a good idea for use in chemical toilets.
Formaldehyde is a chemical compound made of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Within the atmosphere, formaldehyde breaks down rapidly and creates harmful substances such as formic acid and carbon dioxide. When animals are exposed to it, it can make them sick, affect their behavior, appearance, and breeding patterns, and can significantly reduce their life spans. Obviously, keeping formaldehyde out of the environment is important. In addition to all of these effects on animals, formaldehyde interferes with the sewage breakdown processes in sewage plants.
Over the years, the science of portable toilets has evolved to where we are now. The toilets themselves have been designed to be lightweight, attractive (sort of), and easy to use. They have simple door locks for privacy and security, and they’re stocked with bathroom tissue of course, but more recently hand sanitizers and paper towels have been added for personal hygiene.
Today’s portable toilets use biologically friendly enzymes in order to help with odors and related health concerns. The liquid itself won’t hurt you if you come into contact with it, and not only is it effective, but it’s also an environmentally friendly solution.
Fenceline Rentals Ltd. has been a locally owned business in Edmonton, AB since 1998, supplying events in the area with temporary fence rentals, portable toilet rentals, recycling services, dog runs, and much more. We continue to expand our products into new markets, and you can always count on us for reliable service. When you work with us, we strive to establish a relationship with you, which we reinforce with value-added solutions for your event needs. Our company believes in giving back to the community, and we actively donate our services to local charities and not-for-profit organizations every year. If you’re looking for a rental company with a dedication to safety and complete customer satisfaction, put your trust in FenceLine Rentals, Ltd. We have the products you need to keep your events running smoothly. For more information, visit our website, or call us at 780-720-6300