How To Clean A Porta-Potty: 3 Key Steps + Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on January 14, 2021 by Lynda Stevens


Outdoor cubicle picture

Many events require the most necessary of evils: Porta Potties. Porta Potties themselves aren’t bad inventions, but people are often messy, especially when they’re grossed out and want to get in and out of the bathroom as quickly as possible. You can find Porta Potties at festivals, fairgrounds, concerts, construction sites, and numerous other locations. You might have even used one a couple of times. But have you ever had to clean one? First, you have to get over the grossness. But second, how does one clean a Porta Potty?

Who Cleans the Porta Potty?

There is some good news. If you don’t work for a specific company that cleans the Porta Potties, then it won’t be your job. There are specific laws related to sanitation and whether or not certain workers are allowed to come into contact with hazardous waste materials. If you are working for a festival, fair, or some other organization that is not licensed to clean a Porta Potty, then it is not your problem.

If you rented a Porta Potty for a home event, such as a birthday party, then the responsibility of cleaning the mess is more of a gray area. You’re going to want to look at the contract you signed and see who is listed as responsible. Most of the time, you will not be held responsible for cleaning and sanitizing simply because handling human waste is a hazard. If you need to make quick touch ups throughout the day, though, keep some disinfecting wipes with you and regularly clean the most touched surfaces.

If you are an employee of a Porta Potty sanitization business, then your job is to go from bathroom to bathroom cleaning out the reusable, portable toilets. This can be a difficult, messy task, but it’s something that must be done. Luckily, it tends to pay well.

The Hazards of the Job

Person spraying water to the outdoor cubicle

While there is the foul smell of the toilets and the general grossness of the job, cleaning a Porta Potty does come with specific risks because you are handling biohazards. Human waste – fecal matter, urine, vomit, etc. – contains tons of bacteria and sometimes viruses that spread rapidly between individuals. You will need to wear gloves, goggles, and potentially an entire suit to avoid coming into contact with E. coli, rotavirus, the flu, and potentially infected blood.

While the blue liquid in the toilet itself helps disinfect some of these issues, it can’t get them all, especially since people often miss the toilet. Most of the times, it doesn’t even have antibacterial properties and is just a deodorizer. You must be careful when cleaning the toilet.

Cleaning the Tank

Professionals drive huge trucks with tanks on the back meant to hold the contents of the Porta Potty. To clean the toilet, you first need to make sure there is room in your tank. This is done by dropping off already collected waste at a special sanitation facility before heading to a large job site. Most facilities have special hoses that attach to the tank and drain it of its contents until dry. Once this is down, you can handle the Porta Potty.

Your first job will be to naturally clean the internal toilet tank of the Porta Potty. This is pretty simple. Just insert the hose and suck up the water and waste first. Then, you can use a special disinfecting pressure vacuum to spray the interior of the tank and scrub and suck away stuck waste and dirty water. All of this can be siphoned into the main holding tank on the truck.

Cleaning the Interior Surfaces

Odoreze Cleaner and deodorizer besides outside cubicle

Once the toilet bowl and tank is clean, you can worry about the interior surfaces of the Porta Potty. Humans are messy creatures, and there will often be urine, feces, vomit, and even blood on the toilet seat, the bench, and any sanitation materials inside the central unit.

Different companies use various methods to clean, but most use a spray vacuum like the one used to clean the tank and bowl. Simply spray every available surface with a low pressure disinfectant and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then, wash it away with a spray of water. Once done, you can vacuum away the liquids, leaving behind a dry, clean Porta Potty.

Cleaning the Touch Points

Once these two big jobs are done, you can focus on disinfecting the touch points. A touch point is a section of the Porta Potty that sees a lot of hands touching the surface. The one that most often comes to mind is the handle in and out of the unit, but other potential areas are sinks, the surface of an internal hand sanitizer container, and the door in general. You can usually spray a general disinfectant, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe away the liquid with a clean cloth. This will eliminate any germs or bacteria lurking on the surface with little effort.


Cleaning a Porta Potty can be a messy business, but thankfully sanitization professionals and engineers have it down to a science. The most important steps are to make sure you wear proper safety equipment to avoid coming into contact with waste materials and ensuring you have the right tools to complete the job. Remember to use disinfect, always cover your hands and eyes, and that your employer cannot force you to clean the Porta Potty if you did not receive proper training. This has become a major issue in several fields. You may know how to clean a Porta Potty, but that doesn’t mean you have to!

What’s Next

Now that you know how to clean a Porta Potty, you can focus on other important aspects of your life not related to human waste. If you liked this guide and would like to learn more about portable camping toilets, check out this website. We regularly post tips, tricks, product reviews, and other guides covering every possible home topic to keep you educated, entertained, and informed.

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