Understanding how do porta-potties work starts with the beginning of time. The Dark Ages started with a hole in the ground or a chamber pot that had its contents tossed out into the streets. As time progressed, a wooden closet was built over the hole. Plumbing evolved. The chamber pot became a water closet, much cleaner and nicer for those indoors. Outhouses and water closets both use plumbing. “Ah,” you think, outhouse have no pipes. Believe it or not, they use very primitive plumbing, but it is plumbing none the less.

Populations grew and people moved around. The need grew for portable options. The first portable wooden and metal toilet versions were awkward. Portability was difficult. With the invention of fiberglass, molded structures entered the scene. Still, they were difficult to move. With the advent of lightweight plastics, today’s version of the porta-potty finally evolved.

Porta Potty Effective Structure

Believe it or not, a lot is going on within the porta-potty closet. While simple, it is effective. Light durable plastic makes the structure light enough for easy transportability while strong enough to endure all types of weather. Well thought out vents create a ventilation system that helps move fresh air in and stale, stinky air out.

The efficient use of space allows for a place for toilet paper along with a sanitizer station. Of course, there is the toilet area with the toilet seat above the tank.

What is in the Tank

Each company has a special mix of chemicals. The five main ingredients remain the same:

  • Water
  • Blue Tue
  • Fragrant deodorizers
  • Surfactants
  • Biocides and Enzymes

How Do Porta-Potties Work – the Blue Stuff

The blue dye helps mask the look and smell of waste in the tank. It goes green when the waste to dye ratio exceeds what the tank should hold.

Fragrant deodorizers help mask the foul smell of urine and other unmentionables. Okay, fragrant maybe is overreaching, but they definitely mask the other smells.

Surfactants help dissolve the waste. This helps the deodorizer get around and do its job.

Biocides and enzymes are microbes that love to eat waste. They help speed up the decomposition of organic matter. This helps in the final cleaning and emptying of the porta-potty waste tank.


Remember porta-potties are free of modern plumbing. That means they need to be manually emptied. Some dedicate soul comes around and pumps out the waste. Special porta-potty vacuums hook up to the tanks. The vacuums suck waste out of the porta-potties and into waste disposal trucks. These trucks haul their load to a waste disposal area.

Once porta-potties are emptied, workers wipe down and sanitize the area people use. All surfaces are sprayed and sanitized. This clears away bacteria and anything else people have splashed around. New toilet paper goes onto the dispenser role. Sanitizers are replenished.

These workers have a tough job. People put things into porta potties that gum up the cleanup. What might that be? Workers have found phones, bags, needles, cups and glasses, and the occasional weapon. All these things can clog the outflow when emptying the tank. Not to mention they are a bit worrying to come across and bang out of the vacuum.

No Worries on How do Porta-Potties Work

A Royal Flush has got you covered. We’ll bring your porta-potties in and roll them out. All you need to do is take care of your event, construction site and everything else. Give us a call at 405-422-2077 or email us.