Nature’s Head FAQ

Nature's Head with spider handle

Nature’s Head with spider handle

Does it smell bad?
No. Because you never mix the liquid wastes with the solid wastes it does not have the odors associated with sewage or holding tank systems. When working properly it will have a slight earthy smell.

Where do I empty it?
The proper place to empty the solids tank is in a composting bin where it can be used to fertilize ornamental plants. Boaters may empty theirs overboard if they are the proper distance offshore. Many campgrounds now have composting bins as composting is becoming more popular. The liquid tank can be emptied into a toilet or overboard if offshore.

How does it separate the liquids and the solids?

The toilet has a gate or door that when closed directs the liquid waste into the front tank. When the door is open the solids pass through to the lower main tank. When seated on the toilet (male or female) the liquids naturally are aimed towards the front collection area and the solids are directed straight down into the main tank.

Why is the toilet seat molded into the unit?
Because we designed this toilet for the “mobile” market, this became a safety issue. I have spoken with boaters who have had a toilet seat break off in rough conditions. I have heard of other boaters lifting the seat and sitting on the base of the toilet to avoid this problem. (That can’t be comfortable). While this isn’t as likely with an RV, it would not be out of the question.

Can I use it standing up?
Yes, although the recommended use is sitting down. Especially when underway in a moving vehicle or vessel.

Do I need to run the fan all of the time?
While the unit can be operated without the fan it is best if it runs all of the time. This will prevent any musty odors and the fan helps with the composting process. If battery drain is a concern then you might consider attaching the unit to a solar vent instead of using the built in fan, or using a small solar panel to offset the battery drain. The fan uses 0.07 amps, which is less than 1 watt at 12 volts. You will use 1.7 amp hours of battery capacity every 24 hours.

What are the dimensions of the unit?
The dimensions are: 20 inches tall, 17 3/4 inches front to rear, and 13 inches wide at the base. The toilet is 16 1/4 inches wide at the seat.

Will freezing temperatures damage the toilet?
Other than emptying the urine bottle nothing needs to be done and it will not affect the toilet.

Does composting work in cold conditions?

Composting works from 55 degrees and warmer. The warmer it is the faster it compost. When there is freezing temps the compost will be dormant until heat is introduced into the area.

Can the toilet be used in a basement?
Yes it will work fine in a basement and any room or closet where a toilet is required.

How do I prevent fruit flies and gnats.
Add 4 cups of Diatomaceous Earth to the compost section. This can be purchased from a swimming pool supply store, or from big box hardware such as Home Depot or Lowes. Please see my detailed page on preventing flies here.

The agitator handle turns with difficulty. What to do?
If the compost gets dry, the handle may not turn easily. Adding used coffee grounds results in added moisture and keeps the compost loose so that it mixes better.

What kind of toilet paper must be used?
Any kind of toilet paper will work, however single ply paper breaks down quicker. Many single ply papers are approved for septic tanks.

How do we remove buildup in the liquids bottle.
Rinse the bottle, add vinegar and some pea gravel. Shake well and the buildup will break loose.

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20 thoughts on “Nature’s Head FAQ

  • Betty

    I am concerned about visitors. Will the bowl get poopy? As owners, i can foresee an adjustment period for ourselves, but will guests be grossed out?

    • admin Post author

      With any composting toilet, cleaning the bowl requires more effort than a regular flush toilet. This is the one area where a composting toilet is not quite as easy as a flush toilet to use. Most people keep a spray bottle near the toilet for this purpose. If the side of the bowl needs cleaning, then you spray the bowl and wipe it clean with a paper towel. Misting the bowl with a spray of water (not too much!) before using makes the job even easier. The towel is then dropped in the bowl. I also know of exceptionally squeamish people who put the paper towel on the end of a paint stick! Another approach is to keep a toilet brush in a small container of water by the toilet. You then clean the toilet with the wet brush. Cleaning is a bit easier with the Separett, since the trap door is huge, and poop may not even get on the sides of the bowl. I don’t think guests are a problem…mine don’t clean the bowl of the flush toilet either! The task will likely fall to you.

  • Kim Hadley

    Hi, I’ve had my nature’s head toilet for a couple of years, use it full time. Over time, even with rinsing with water after urinating, there’s a build up of calcification around the holes, and flap to the composting area. I’ve tried several things, but can’t seem to get rid of it. Do you have any solutions?

    • admin Post author

      We aren’t sure why this occasionally occurs. It is a rare problem, fortunately. Possibly it’s from using hard water to clean the toilet. Hard water leads to calcium deposits, I am told. If water is hard in your area you may wish to use something else to clean your toilet, like rain water.

      There are several things you can do. Of course the first thing is vinegar and water, but you probably tried that already. Then try Lime Away, which is a spray on liquid to dissolve deposits. Another solution is BioClean. If you can figure out a way to soak the deposits, without the Bioclean draining away, it would be better. As a last resort, the deposits can be removed gently with sandpaper. However, then you will need to cover the parts you sanded with some kind of coating – like lacquer or polyurethane. This protects the toilet and will help prevent the build up of future deposits.

    • admin Post author

      I’ve never done it personally, but I do know that people will drill a hole in the urine bottle and install a plastic or bronze fitting with a hose barb. Of course, another hole, possibly larger, would have to be cut in the urine bottle holder to allow for the fitting and hose. Clamp the hose to the hose barb, and run it wherever you want (as long as it is downhill).

      Here is a picture of a bucket irrigation fitting, that I think would work. It’s basicaly the hose barb, a washer, and a nut. Ignore the rest.

  • Phil J Makin

    how do you prepare a block of coconut coir for use with the natures head toilet.

    I purchased one, have it installed and have struggled with this issue.

    Phil Makin

  • Avril Bull -Jones

    Could I use this in my studio with up to 10 people using it for 2days to a week ? Otherwise it will not be used daily except for some private classes and occasional use when I am using my studio alone.

    • Richard Post author

      You give a huge range of usage. 10 people for 2 days would be okay. 10 people for a week would not. 10 people is a lot for one toilet. Consider the Separett Villa.

  • sue

    The Sun-Mar composting toilet can be used without a fan if you install a 4″ vent pipe. Friends of ours have done this in an outdoor outhouse and found that it works really well (2 people full time), no electricity. Would the Nature’s Head work like this? Is there a place to install a pipe on the unit? We live off-grid and would prefer to operate a toilet without electricity. Thanks–

    • Richard Post author

      Using any toilet without power is a gamble. In some cases it works, in others it does not. Many people try to use the Nature’s Head without power. Some are successful, some are not. It depends on the length of pipe, the natural draft, the climate, how windy it is, the geographic location, the amount of sunlight, etc. Bottom line, you can’t be sure of an odor free installation without a fan. In an outhouse this is fine, because people are normally not concerned if there is the odd whiff of odor. But inside a home, where any odor is unacceptable, I would be reluctant to try it.
      The Nature’s Head uses a flexible vent hose. You can transition this hose to PVC pipe.

  • David Lee

    Hello, I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before anywhere, either in your info videos or printed anywhere, but how much does the whole unit weigh when it’s empty, or the top / bottom section separately ?? How about a guesstimation (is that even a word?) of the weight of
    the bottom half when it is time to empty ? The reason I ask is that as in most rv’s, space is at a premium, especially if a corner at the entrance of the loo needs to be navigated. They can be pretty confined spaces. How difficult would it be for an older(elderly) person or someone with a bad back to be lifting and moving about ? Would it be feasible to attach handles or straps for lifting, especially to the bottom half, with screws or strong adhesive ? Is the construction of the toilet strong enough ? I didn’t see any sign of handles as part of the molding
    in any pictures. I wouldn’t want to cause any catastrophic damage to such an expensive unit (and still have to clean up the mess to boot).
    Thank-you for a prompt response. Your’s truly, David Lee

    • Richard Post author

      It weighs about 20 lbs empty. The bottom half might be 30lbs full. It’s easy to grab, no handles needed. The construction is very strong – roto molded plastic like a white water kayak. Don’t modify it.