Maintaining your Outhouse
After having been forced to stop at my share of roadside outhouses, I've determined that outhouse maintenance is a lost tradition! However, this wasn't always the case. Although the employees of route 66 gas stations don't care about the cleanliness of their outhouse, a privately owned privy is another story. Homeowner's of the past went to great lengths to make their "thrones" as comfortable and as aromatic as possible.
If you take pride in your privy, here are a few maintenance tips for your crappy cleaning:
- Don't put disinfectant cleaners such as Pinesol or Clorox bleach down your outhouse pit. Highly-concentrated disinfectants will kill the "good bugs" - those that help break down solid waste by eating it.
- Throwing toilet paper in the outhouse pit slows decomposition. Instead, put used TP in a trash bag and burn it later.
- Many advise tossing a few handfuls of ash down the outhouse pit to minimize odors. Ashes from a fire pit or wood stove are also said to help solids settle to the bottom of the pit faster.
- Placing a bucket of lime with a scoop in the outhouse is an age-old practice. A few scoops of lime thrown down the outhouse hole will tame the nasty smells, keep bugs at bay and speed up the decomposition of waste.
- Leave the outhouse door ajar when it's not in use to promote ventilation.
- Place air freshener spray or pucks around the inside of the outhouse.
- A store bought toilet seat with a lid can also be attached over the outhouse hole to ease the smell, bugs and backside discomfort.
- Store bought septic tank aids are available in tablet form. Septic tablets can be thrown down the outhouse hole, once per week, in order to aid in odor removal and to help speed up the process of decomposition.
- Run pieces of plastic piping (approximately 4 feet down) inside the outhouse hole and up through the roof. This will promote the ventilation of methane gas and keep the smell down.
- When your outhouse pit gets full - there's nothing to do, but move house! Typically a new outhouse pit is dug in the summer when the ground is completely thawed. The outhouse is moved overtop the new hole and the dirt from the new hole is used to cover over the old hole. Then let Mother Nature take her course. Eventually your old outhouse pit will provide the perfect and most fertile spot for a garden.
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