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Portable toilets are the perfect solution for events at a venue that doesn’t have its own restrooms. Typically, these are outdoor events, but porta potties can also be used to supplement existing restrooms. They’re also very useful at construction sites or when doing a bathroom home remodel. Having a restroom on site while building or renovating is a necessity. Your crew won’t have to go off-site, so there won’t be as much time lost.


However, many people dislike porta potties because of the smell. They associate portable toilets with a nasty stench because they’ve used poorly cleaned or managed porta potties in the past. If a portable restroom is maintained and cleaned properly, it won’t have a bad smell. Here are some reasons why your portable toilet may stink and what you can do to fix that. By understanding why there’s a smell, you’ll be able to address that issue and remove the stench from your porta potties.


It Hasn’t Been Cleaned Regularly


One of the biggest reasons a portable restroom may smell is that it hasn’t been cleaned regularly. All porta potties need to be emptied regularly in order to keep the smell at a minimum. These restrooms use a specific chemical mixture to break down waste and absorb its smell. However, these chemicals don’t work indefinitely. After absorbing a certain amount of waste, they become less effective. Eventually, they won’t work at all. When you reach that point, the toilet is going to smell.


In order to prevent that, the sanitation services you rented the porta potty from should regularly come empty and clean it. How often your porta potty needs to be cleaned depends on what you’re using it for and how many people are using it. If it’s for a construction site, you may need cleaning weekly. However, if you’re using the porta potty at a fair or other large outdoor event with thousands of people, it’s likely going to need daily cleaning. The rental company will help you determine a good cleaning schedule. If it turns out that you’ve underestimated the number of people, you should always reach out to the company and ask for more frequent cleanings.


The Right Chemicals Aren’t Being UsedSmells Can Build Up If The Right Chemicals Aren’t Being Used


There are a number of different portable toilet chemicals, but not all of them are equal in power. These cleaning chemicals are what give the water in a porta potty its blue color. If you don’t see any blue in the liquid, your porta potty isn’t going to break down waste correctly. If you have any questions about the chemicals used, ask the portable toilet rental company you’re working with. They should be more than willing to give you the name of the cleaning chemicals they’re using so you can learn about them yourself.


If the cleaning chemicals used aren’t strong enough, they’re going to stop working fairly quickly. This will lead to the porta potty having an odor. You want the toilet to be filled with a product that will quickly break down waste, control odor, and last for a good amount of time. Those that utilize weak biocides aren’t going to hold up to a large number of uses.


The Portable Toilet Wasn’t Disinfected Correctly


Cleaning doesn’t just involve dumping out the tank and refilling the porta potty with new chemicals. The entire unit needs to be wiped down and disinfected. It’s very possible for waste to end up outside of the tank, plus other germs and dirt can get into the porta potty. The proper way of disinfecting a portable toilet includes wiping down every surface, including the floor, walls, and ceiling. Often, a special type of air cleaner is pumped into the unit as well, so even if a space doesn’t get touched, it still gets disinfected.


While you can go in and wipe down each porta potty, it’s not the same as a professional cleaning. Over-the-counter cleaners and disinfectants aren’t designed for porta potties and aren’t as effective in disinfecting the units. Many who clean portable restrooms themselves don’t clean every surface or aren’t aware of what areas need a very thorough deep cleaning. Just like in a home bathroom, the dirtiest place may not be around the toilet. That’s why it’s important to let the professionals come in and fully disinfect units regularly to ensure that all bacteria are removed and that the porta potties are clean for future use.


The Unit Hasn’t Been Aired Out


Many people think the best way to contain the smell coming from a porta potty is to keep the door closed at all times. However, this just bottles up the smell, making it even worse when someone has to use the portable toilet. The best method is to actually air out the toilets regularly. Propping open the door for 30 minutes to an hour will greatly reduce the smell. If you only need the porta potties for a day, this may not be necessary. However, if you have them for several days or weeks, airing them out every day for a short period of time will be very effective in fighting any lingering smells. All you need to do is prop the doors open for half an hour or so.


Air Fresheners Can Help, But They Only Mask SmellsAir Fresheners Can Help, But They Only Mask Smells


Some people rent porta potties and add multiple air freshener sticks or spray down the units regularly to hide the smell. While adding deodorizing strips can certainly add a fresh scent to the portable toilet, they’re not the solution to eliminating odors. These sprays and other products only mask smells for a short period of time. To truly get rid of the smell, you’ll need to have the unit emptied and cleaned. Don’t rely on deodorizers to eliminate the smell because they won’t solve the problem. If you do have air fresheners in your units, you will want to check regularly to see if it needs to be replaced. Again, they will help some, but they don’t actually do anything to address the cause of smells.


Some Porta Potties Are Used More than Others


One thing that often happens if you have porta potties in multiple locations is that some are used more than others. This means those units need to be cleaned more often. If you only check the ones that aren’t used much or decide to base your emptying schedule around those, the ones that are used more are going to smell. It’s important that you set your portable toilet maintenance schedule on a per-unit basis rather than waiting until all of them need to be emptied. It’s possible you’ll need to have some emptied every few days, while the porta potties in areas with less traffic only need to be emptied once a week.


This can also happen with porta potties that are in the same area. For example, out of ten porta potties, people may use the first five more often because they’re the first ones in the row. If this happens, those five are going to need to be cleaned more often than the other five. Again, be sure to check each unit to see how much they’ve been used and how much chemical is left. If the water is no longer blue, it’s time to have the unit emptied and disinfected.


Another way to help with this issue occurs before you actually have your portable restrooms delivered. Finding the right location for your porta potties is just as important as cleaning them regularly. For a construction site or other site where your employees need a restroom, you want the porta potties to be near break rooms and areas that are easily accessible. At event venues, you need to consider where people may need a restroom. Porta potties located near food trucks or a food court are going to get used very often. Those located near the exit may also be used regularly, but if you have units in an area that doesn’t see heavy foot traffic, they may not be used as much. Consider where people will be and when they will think about using the restroom.


How Can You Keep Your Portable Toilets Clean?


Keeping your portable toilets clean can be a challenge, especially if you try to keep up with cleaning them yourself. While checking in on your porta potties regularly to see if any are starting to smell or are too full will certainly help, the best way of keeping your toilets clean is to partner with the right portable toilet rental company.


If you’re in the Windsor, CA area, the right partner for you is Pacific Sanitation. We have many years of experience in renting, cleaning, and maintaining portable restroom facilities. We can provide basic porta potties for your construction site or outdoor event, towable portable toilets for road crews, and luxury restroom trailers for weddings. All of our porta potties are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after each rental, and we will work with you to determine the right cleaning schedule for your event. We can also help you determine where to place your porta potties to get the best results.


Interested in learning more about Pacific Sanitation and portable restroom rental? Contact us today at 877-698-8472.







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