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  • Sanitation, outhouses, and more.

    I remember my grandparents had an out house in back of the house they bought and lived in after they sold their farm (just before I was born). They used it when they were working outside and had us kids use it when we were outside to keep from tracking dirt into the house.

    I remember grandpa moved it around every couple years. it was on skids and he'd tow it with his yard tractor to a new spot, using the dirt from the new hole to backfill the old hole.

    I've been thinking that it would be good to have one behind my place. I have 5 acres that I'm slowly turning into a homestead/retreat, and it would be nice to have a place to use when I'm muddy, sweaty, and dirty. I also like the idea of having a sanitary waste area if/when power/water is out for an extended time.

    I want to pipe water to an outdoor sink too, and have the sink drain into a gravel filled 50 gallon drum or something like that.

    If you have any tips on how to build this set up so that its sanitary and durable. Specifically, controlling flies, spiders, roaches, and the smell I'd appreciate it.
    Last edited by Clan DireWolf; November 19, 2013, 08:26.

  • #2
    Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

    I'm 48 and haven't ever lived a day in my life where I didn't have an outhouse on my property.

    Smell and flies- use either agricultural lime, wood ash or even plain dirt or sand in your case.

    Outhouses usually don't smell bad unless too many are using it or you didn't dig deep enough. How deep? How far can you go down?

    Spiders control would be the same as in a house. Spray down the out house every now and then with water and give it a good cleaning when needed.

    Maybe in your case, FL, some DE.Diatomaceous Earth to control incests.

    I would use marine plywood for the potty area. Use a good paint that resists mold and mildew. I would use metal or wood for the outside of the shell.

    I would also make it a one seater, never knew anyone that used it when someone else was in there. Other than small kids.

    And NEVER, EVER throw TP in there. Bag it and burn it. No, there is not much smell at all.
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    • #3
      Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

      Sand the seat area down all the way to 320 before you paint with a heavy duty oil-based paint. I wouldn't use latex, I don't think it will hold up as well as an oil-based.
      [I]Peace Through Strength, Victory Through Devastation...Strategic Air Command[/I]

      American by birth, made from German parts from Emmingen, Baden-Württemberg

      An unhappy German is a Sour Kraut!

      Das Leben ist zu kurz, um billiges Bier zu trinken!


      • #4
        Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

        MAYBE not the solution you want to consider... BUT

        When I used my in winter I DID NOT want to refill the water system that I had winterized, and yet I DID NOT like the idea of NOT having the ability to doo doo in comfort and warmth.

        SOLUTION.. for going number 1- no problem, just went into a convenient rescepticle for disposal when I headed outside again into the -20 weather.

        FOR the NUMBER 2, cheap disposable garbage bags to line the bowl, do my thing and seal tight and place outside. When you have accumulated whatever amount you deem requiring disposal, 55 gallon drum,fire wood, fuel oil and burn baby burn.,, unless you have really close neighbors downwind.

        Your case, a little house and a 5gallon paint can with a seat attached and the garbage bag underneath.
        NONE of the problems of an outhouse, not even a hole to dig.

        Tent does the same thing... something we used to do for fly in camps when you wanted to be out of the weather and flies when nature called.

        just a suggestion.
        AT one time I did... unbelievable things for this country without question, because it was my country and right. NOW, my country, that country, no longer exists and I now I feel I am the Philip Nolan of my age.
        God carries a 1911.
        Just another day towards 20...


        • #5
          Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

          I've wanted to do this as well. Is it as simple as digging a hole? What about (forgive the visual here) splash? Or do you put stuff down in the hole after digging? Line hole with anything?

          I've worked in strip mines for almost 6 years now and love "going" outside. Not sure if it's because it's natural, because it's manly, or because it repulses lots of people. An outhouse would let me feel that way at home and when I had to "go" really bad too. Plus they would be great when TSHTF.


          • #6
            Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?







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            • #7
              Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

              Here's a really good one.


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              • #8
                Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

                Pit Type Privy

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                • #9
                  Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

                  Originally posted by ISC
                  I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

                  Naw, we are rednecks and just pee in the house...


                  • #10
                    Re: I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

                    I usually dig a slit trench latrine when I'm out primitive camping with a group/family, but use cat holes when I'm on my own.

                    I think the utility behind a two seater was to designate one seat the lady's and the other the males, or one for adults and the other for the kids. 2 people wouldn't use them at the same time, but it is definitely more sanitary.


                    • #11
                      Sanitation Threads

                      “Roughing It”…Overcoming Toilet Paper Shortages
                      By Tom On September 14, 2012

                      A lesser focused on area of preparing for the end of the world/the apocalypse/zombie invasion often involve things that we as Americans take for granted such as having toilet paper to clean up after…ourselves. There are essentially two options, stock up on so much toilet paper that you never run out or come up with the best possible substitutes. This post will serve to highlight some of the best possible substitutes for T.P. that I was able to identify.

                      There is only one basic principle that applies (no pun intended) to toilet paper substitutes which is that you are essentially only limited to what you can stand to push up against your tush. Here are some ideas:

                      Phonebooks (Cleaner backside from A to Z)

                      Old Paperbacks – These can be found for free at yard sales, libraries, schools, universities, etc.

                      Water – Take a squeezable water bottle and poke a few pin holes in the lid, fill with water, and squeeze. The light pressure will help wash away the mess.

                      Cloth – Cloth scraps, rags, or ripped up old towels/clothing items are all great replacements for toilet paper and can be washed and reused. As a Soldier, when we were in the field we used to always joke around that you could always tell who wasn’t constipated because their shirts were always the shortest from tearing the bottoms off to clean up after themselves.
                      Romans used to use a sponge attached to the end of a stick that they would soak in salt water to keep it clean. (My guess would be that it would only get to be “so” clean.)

                      Natives in coastal areas and near bodies of water that contain mussels would used their shells to clean up “behind” them.

                      The Cree’s weapon of choice was sphagnum moss to take care of business.

                      The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) recommends the following four options as the best alternatives to toilet paper:


                      Snow (Use in moderation. Environmental injury to the buttocks isn’t fun from what I have heard.)

                      Sticks (Choose wisely, my son. I would avoid sticks with thorns myself.)

                      Weathered Rocks (Emphasis on weathered here. If there are sharp edges there could be problems. Be especially careful in areas with lava flows/historic volcanic activity.)

                      While these four things are obviously found in the great outdoors, they are also items that can be found without too much difficulty in the suburban/urban environment should the need arise. The greatest difference being that in these environments, your available supply of second string T.P. in the suburban and urban environments will be far less than in the wilderness and rural areas.
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                      • #12
                        Making Your Own Sanitation Kit

                        Making Your Own Sanitation Kit
                        by author PrepperHelper
                        This is a contribution from Lana Richardson

                        Sanitation Kit

                        Emergency Helps


                        One (1) 6-gallon bucket with tight-fitting lid One (1) roll paper towel

                        Snap-on type toilet seat with lid One (1) large bottle Bathroom Cleaner

                        Eight (8) plastic lines (garbage bags) Four (4) pairs of rubber gloves

                        One (1) canister of clean-up gel (8 oz.) One (1) bottle of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

                        Tow (2) rolls of toilet paper One (1) box of Baking Soda

                        One (1) large bottle of a hand sanitizer One (1) 2 liter bottle of water (not included)

                        DIRECTIONS FOR EMERGENCY TOILET:

                        1. Put garbage bag as liner in a 6-gallon bucket, and snap on a toilet seat.

                        2. Sprinkle one tablespoon of gel in the bucket. The gel will absorb over 100 times its own weight (up to two gallons of liquid). The liquid becomes a gel and will deodorize the toilet content. The gel is also biodegradable so it is safe to use.

                        3. The toilet is read to use. Use toilet paper as usual, but try to be conservative.

                        4. Use baby wipes or hand sanitizer on hands after each use and dry hands with paper towels.

                        5. Un-snap the toilet seat and put on the tight fitting lid after each use of the toilet. The key to disease control is to KEEP IT TIGHTLY COVERED.

                        6. Replace liner and gel as needed.

                        7. Use rubber gloves when disposing of the liners.

                        8. Make up a solution of bathroom concentrate as per directions on the bottle. Clean toilet and toilet seat when necessary. This cleaner disinfects, is an antibacterial, is non-acidic plus it has a good fragrance.


                        1. Baking soda:

                        a. Baking soda will help control odor; it stops mold, fungus, mildew, and is a natural whitener.

                        b. Baking soda relieves heartburn, indigestion, and it neutralizes acids in a sour stomach associated with diarrhea. Use ½ teaspoon of baking soda into ½ cut water and drink it down

                        c. Baking soda plus a little salt will help clean your teeth

                        2. 3% Hydrogen Peroxide: (put in a small spray bottle, not water added)

                        a. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic, and a cleaning agent for minor cuts and abrasions. It can be used as an oral rinse and gargle. To disinfect toilet seat just spray it on and wipe off.

                        3. One (1) ½ gallon of 5 white distilled vinegar: (Put in a small spray bottle, not water added.). Studies show that vinegar kills 99% of mold, and 80% of germs (viruses). To disinfect toilet seat just spray it on and wipe off.


                        Spraying solutions of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, one after the other, in any order, kills virtually all Salmonella, Shigella or E Coli bacteria on heavily contaminated surfaced. This combination is more effective at killing germs than most commercial products.


                        More toilet paper and water; personal supplies; a camp shovel; dust masks; a bag of lime; three spray bottles and a large garbage can to store human waste, bury it as far away from anything as possible. Throw lime over it and pack it down to keep the dogs from digging it up.

                        Revised 4-12-06
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                        • #13
                          Re: Sanitation-I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

                          I remember my grandparents saying they used corncobs and they always had catalogs (free!) in the outhouse. They could be used as reading material before serving their other purpose.


                          • #14
                            Re: Sanitation-I want to build an outhouse. Do you have one?

                            A good source of free paper are the free local papers, store papers, real estate guides, and penny saver.

                            I have pulled out pound after pound of these papers that have been tossed out for new ones.
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                            • #15
                              Sanitation, outhouses, and more.

                              Emergency Waste Sanitation: How to Keep Your Crap From Piling Up
                              October 20, 2013 by Josh · 1 Comment

                              Previously we’ve discussed how to find alternative toilet paper, but without a functional sewage system where are you going to do your business? Sewage is nasty stuff when you don’t have a sanitary place to deposit it, and it attracts flies and diseases that could very well kill you and your family. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to deal with your waste, depending on the situation you find yourself in.

                              If you’re on a septic system.

                              This is the easiest of them all. You don’t have a sewage system to worry about, so you should be able to use the toilet like normal provided you have access to sufficient water. Simply fill the tank with water manually, do your business, then flush away as per usual. Of course unless you also have access to a river, pond, stream, or have a manually pumped well you’ll have a hard time finding water for drinking much less flushing. In that case, conserve water and use other means of disposing of your waste.

                              If you’re connected to a town sewer

                              If the sewer main (the pipe that delivers water throughout a large area) is damaged, backed up, or otherwise not functioning owing to an emergency do not flush your toilet! The sewer will be rapidly filling up with unpumped sewage, and flushing will cause filthy water to rise up into your toilet and through the pipes leading to your spigots, tubs, and sinks as well. However, be aware that the sewage can still be forced up your pipes through sheer volume even if you avoid flushing. You can either install a backflow prevention valve that cuts off your access to the sewage system completely or sandbag your toilet, faucets etc and plug them up to prevent sewage from dripping out. The backflow valve can be somewhat expensive but it also keeps the water already in your pipes clean as a bonus, and is plenty useful even during a minor flood or other small disaster that might disrupt water services.

                              If you must make an outdoor latrine and have sufficient land

                              This applies primarily for people out in the country, since the sheer level of population density and lack of easily turnable earth in a city or large town would make most outdoor latrines unfeasible and contaminate nearby groundwater.

                              In a short term emergency, you have several options:

                              Cat holes. If you just imagined a cat digging a hole in kitty litter, good! That’s exactly what you’ll be doing. Dig a small, shallow hole, do your business, then immediately cover the hole up with the loose earth. To reduce the chance of contamination, spread the cat holes out over a wide area and put them in sunny places where decomposition will be quickest.

                              Trench Latrine. Dig a trench at least 2 feet wide, 1 foot deep, and 2 feet long, placing the loose earth in a convenient spot close by. If you have a large group (5-10 people) you will obviously want to expand the size of the trench in order to deal with the increased waste. You can set a foot on either side of the hole and squat, or create a seat by placing two smooth boards a little bit apart. Since this will effectively become a bathroom, you will want to setup a simple privacy partition made up of stakes and a sheet or tarp tied to them. Always be sure to dump a little fresh earth on your most recent leavings from the pile of loose dirt to keep the smell down and deter disease-carrying flies. After they become filled, they should be covered with a final layer of earth and a new trench dug.

                              The Outhouse. An old country classic, you basically dig a deeper trench latrine and build a small building over the top of the pit. With proper waste composting techniques such as the addition of sawdust or peat moss, these can become permanent toilets that do not need to be cleaned out or pumped unless they are build on thick clay soils that cannot properly absorb urine and will eventually fill up. The more people who plan on using the outhouse, the deeper it will need to be: no outhouse should be less than 3.5 feet deep for 1-2 people, with additional feet added per person.

                              Rules for all outdoor waste disposal pits

                              Always keep any waste hole, no matter how small, at least 200 feet away from all open bodies of water like streams and lakes.

                              If you have to make a new latrine, build it as far away from the initial latrine as possible to keep contamination down.

                              If you have a high water table, you may not be able to employ these methods as the risk of contamination would be too great.

                              Do not place holes within 200 feet of any area where rain runoff collects.

                              Keep your latrines far away from underground wells, and ensure that you are always downhill from these wells to prevent runoff contamination.

                              If you’re in a place unsuited to outdoor waste disposal

                              Cities, towns, and even suburbs are terrible places for outdoor latrines owing to their high populations. Even areas out in the country can be bad for outdoor toilets if you have an easily contaminated high water table that you will be relying on for drinking and bathing. In such a case, you’ll want to employ one of these methods.

                              The Trash Bag Toilet Attachment. After emptying the toilet bowl as much as possible, you simply put a trash bag under the toilet seat and fill it with sawdust, wood ashes, quicklime, or even kitty litter to reduce the smell and flies.

                              More litter should be added after each use, and then the trashbag can be securely tied off and stored in a temporary container like a 5 gallon bucket. In the event of a localized natural disaster you’ll usually be able to send these bags in with the usual garbage by special emergency orders from the local government, but in a long-term emergency you’ll need to dispose of them yourself in a safe location. If you wish, you can just setup the 5 gallon bucket with the trash bag and use it directly, with two boards setup for a toilet seat.

                              A Composting Toilet. These are non-electric, typically using some manner of chemical or organic bacteria packets that rapidly break down the waste you deposit into the specially designed toilet. These are great for infrequent use, but unfortunately they don’t typically have enough time to properly process waste in the event that you have several people using it multiple times a day. Consider them a potential way to reduce the amount of waste you have to dispose of via the trash bag method.

                              And there you have it, many different methods for disposing of all that crap that piles up during an emergency. Sanitation is a major killer in the Third-World and even more so when a bunch of First-Worlders get tossed into the Stone Age and the water shuts off. Be sure that you are ready for every eventuality…including the disgusting ones!
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