Portable Toilet Misconceptions Debunked

Top 10 Misconceptions About The Portable Toilet Debunked

Although it hasn’t been done yet, a horror movie about smelly cryptoids lurking in porta-potties might fare well in the public imagination. Indeed, in some ways, the fuel for the fire is already there, as unfortunately, some of the myths and misconceptions concerning portable toilets are enmeshed in a bit of the truth. Others, however, are as wild as tales of fanged, hairy monsters arising from the depths of the sea. 

Some people cringe at the thought of using portable bathrooms, convinced they are stinky, unsanitary and bad for the environment. These beliefs were at one time true, but today, for the most part, are not. Some of the other misconceptions couldn’t be more off base. Many bad associations with portable toilets have their origins in the early days of their creation and are examined below. 

The Porta-Potty Evolution

Portable toilets date back to the 1940’s where they originated in the ship-building yards in Long Beach, California. An outgrowth of outhouses, and other types of plumbing facilities, they were usually temporary structures that were situated over dug-out pits, which required emptying periodically. It was either that unpleasant task or digging an entirely new pit and moving the structure along with it. 

One shipbuilder realized that there was an enormous lack of productivity caused by his workers being forced to leave the ship and return to the dock in order to use the facilities. He believed he could reduce work delays if they could find a way to build temporary toilets on the ships themselves. Using spare parts from other jobs, the crew constructed wooden cabanas with small holding tanks creating the world’s first portable toilet.

Problems Associated With Early Portable Toilets 

These early porta-potties were extremely heavy and unwieldy. They were quite smelly, because they absorbed odors very easily and were difficult to clean. Thus, associations were born about them and became embedded in the public psyche. These and other matters, such as immobility and maintenance difficulties, were largely due to the choice of construction materials, which were wood and metal.

In the 1970s, these cumbersome structures gave way to the rise of synthetic materials, particularly fiberglass. This improved things somewhat by reducing the weight of these cabanas, but did nothing at all to quell the stench of portable toilets or resolve maintenance issues. By the 1980s, plastics replaced fiberglass as the preferred construction material of portable toilets. This period marked the introduction of polyethylene, which proved to be the right choice for these units and remains so to this day. Easier to transport and to clean because of their non- absorbent nature, over the years, companies such as Surco, have created special cleaning agents developed exclusively to keep portable towels smelling and looking better than ever before.

Surco And The Modern Portable Toilet

Portable restrooms have come a long way since their bulky, wooden predecessors. Besides the fact that they are now self contained, are more easy maintained and have no need for a power source, the elimination of formaldehyde, which is now considered carcinogenic and had been used as an odor inhibitor since the 1940s, transformed the industry. 

Our Surco chemists and researchers are responsible for the replacement of this dangerous chemical with a safe, ultra concentrated blue liquid. We are a pioneer in portable toilet odor-control products and never use formaldehyde in any of our creations, and there are a multitude of reasons PT suppliers and operators trust the 70-plus years of experience built into every. odor control product we provide.

Ten Misconceptions About The Porta-Potty

Despite the progress in research and product development, stubborn misconceptions about portable toilets remain in the American mind. The following are some of the most widely held wrong ideas about the modern portable restroom.

Portable Toilet Myths Dispelled

1) All Portable Toilets Are Unsightly

The sea of standard blue portable toilet boxes that are always visible at concerts, county fairs, and larger casual events are certainly not objects of beauty to behold. Still, it is myth to assume that these are the only options available for they are not. (See Number 4.)

2) A Toilet Seat Has More Germs Than An Office Keyboard

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Office keyboards often harbor more germs than a portable toilet seat. This not to say that toilet seats cannot be infested with bacteria because they can be, but other bathroom areas are more likely to harbor dangerous pathogens. These include: sinks, door handles, and toilet paper dispensers. This fact had to be tempered with another; namely that portable toilets are extensively cleaned on a regular basis with Surco’s unique neutralizing products, which insure the safe maintenance of portable restrooms. This is not to say that users should not properly wash and sanitize both hands and keyboards.

3) All Portable Toilets Smell

Unfortunately, this misconception is often true. When you consider that a porta potty, no matter how pretty, is only a toilet seat placed over a waste tanks, how could this be at all surprising? The myth in this instance concerns the idea that nothing can be done about the smell. Designating a new spot for the location of the waste tank in the overall design of a portable restroom can work much better to mask foul odors. Of course, using our PT odor neutralizing products goes a long way in this department (learn more on our PT odor killing 5-pack below)

Surco Superior Odor Control Products

4) Portable Toilets Are Unsuitable For Classy Events

This misconception stems from the fact that many of the portable toilets that are used for large outdoor events are difficult to keep clean due to an overload of traffic and the careless disregard of hundreds of users. There are modern luxury portable bathrooms that can offer and even match any amenities that one would expect to see in any luxury bathroom. These include but are not limited to: stereo systems, hot and cold running water; climate-controlled interiors; air conditioning, and marbled walls.

There are are portable toilets that have enormous interiors that can accommodate wheelchairs and  double strollers. There are also units that are of standard variety but a few elitist notches above. These often feature options such as: a foot pump-activated flushing toilet; fresh water sink; hand soap and paper towels. Some also provide a coat hook, small shelf and mirror.

5) Porta-Potty Users Cannot Wash Hands

It is true that some portable toilets feature sinks to wash your hands, but many do not. This does not mean, however, that you cannot clean your hands before leaving a portable toilet. If there is no specific hand washing station, there will always be a hand-sanitizer dispenser mounted somewhere on the inside walls .At larger events, such as weddings, hand-washing areas are often set up alongside the portable units.

6) Portable Toilets Are Just For Construction Sites

Many people still believe that the use of portable toilets is reserved for construction sites. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as any type of outdoor event can benefit from the availability of portable restrooms.These facilities are very convenient for working contractors who may not have easy access to conventional bathrooms.

7) Portable Toilets Are Bad For The Environment

Environmentally Friendly PT Odor Control

This misconception was at one time true when formaldehyde was employed as the major odor deterrent. Improvements in cleaning products and sanitizing methods have dramatically reduced any negative impact chemicals might have on the environment. This is so much so the case that in all likelihood, a home bathroom may well be more harmful to the environment than the portable toilet. In addition to greener and healthier products, portable toilets also use much less fresh water (about 13 million gallons a day) than their conventional cousins.

8) Portable Bathrooms Are Too Expensive

There is a cost involved in renting portable toilets as there is for all things in life, but the price of renting them for larger events in the long run is more cost-effective because ultimately users will spend less time in long lines waiting to use the restroom. Studies have indicated that this feature alone, especially at outdoor concerts and fairs, frees up more time for shopping at concessions and buying souvenirs etc.

9) Only One Porta-Potty is Needed For Most Occasions

This misconception is totally false. One important rule of 4thumb to remember when planning an event is that the number of portable toilets, like lifeboats on a ship, should always coincide with the total number of people that may be using them. It is always better to overestimate the amount needed than to not have enough. An example would be at least four units per every hundred people attending a specific event.

10) Portable Restrooms Will Be An Eyesore At A Fancy Event

Portable restroom trailers conceal the stereotypical look of a portable restroom and provide many amenities such as: stainless steel sinks; faux hardwood flooring; air conditioning; heating, and even AM/FM stereos are often the choice for outdoor events. These trailers also feature multiple stalls, and can easily accommodate numerous guests.

The Surco Five-Pack PT Odor Neutralizing System

Surco has been a household name within the portable toilet industry since the mid 1940s. Our operations and maintenance require the consistent use of effective odor-control products and our five-pack PT odor neutralizing system represents the most powerful arsenal of weapons in the battle against the stench of  stinky waste. 

All of the following products contain Metazene, which is the most potent odor-neutralizing additive on the market today. Its power lies in a chemical reaction in which the heavier malodorous molecules sink and evaporate when they bond with the Metazene molecules. These bacterial inhibitors and odor neutralizers have altered the landscape of the portable toilet industry forever. Our development and continued success is largely due to our highly knowledgeable staff of researchers and chemists who work at our Pittsburgh-based laboratories. 

Xtreme Dry Toss Packets Or Potty Fresh Plus Liquids

These portable toilet deodorant packets are very popular because they are water soluble and very easy to handle. Their unique and highly innovative water soluble membrane and powerful biocides have made these packets the portable toilet standard for superior performance. There are never any sticky surfaces or blue fingers when handling these packets, and there is never any guesswork, as they operate at only one level of potency. They are made exclusively to combat hot weather and high traffic conditions. Liquid options are also available in the form of PottyFresh Plus odor control liquid solutions, which promise the same efficiency and strength as the Xtreme Dry Toss Packets.

The Metazene-Fuelled PT Spray And Washdown Solution

This ultra-concentrated, water soluble spray deodorizer is very versatile and it can be diluted or used full strength on the inner wall surfaces of any portable toilet. Its deep cleaning penetration formula is specifically designed to tackle the toughest dirt and grime, and it is the ideal choice in hot weather and high traffic situations. 

The moment the spray discharges, it releases micro-droplets of water that pass through the aerosol valve and into the air. These globules then burst into a gas in the form of extremely fine and tiny droplets, which contain Metazene. This process transforms them into extremely efficient killers of bad odors.

Square Wafer Solid Deodorizers And The Rumate Air Dispenser

This compact air-dispenser is a passive air-freshener system with a very slim profile. Strategically placed side vents permit the maximum flow of fragrance and no batteries are required because this dispenser utilizes natural air and evaporation 

The RüMate™ uses Solid Square Wafer™ air freshener refills to provide long lasting consistent odor neutralization and aroma enhancement to any small space such as: elevators, lockers, under desks, trash bin lids, hotel rooms, foyers, small restrooms and portable toilets. These refills are effective for up to 60 days.

Self-Locking, Odor-Neutralizing Fresh Strap Air-Fresheners

Our Fresh Straps which are also known as “smell belts,” are designed to be hidden, as they are discretely attached to the internal exhaust pipes of portable toilets.They provide powerful, linear-diffused odor enhancement and freshness for up to 60 days. Recyclable and eco-friendly, these straps are 100% waterproof, vandal resistant and self-locking for easy installation. They can hold their own against portable toilet wash-downs.

Fresh Lube – The Most Effective Vacuum Pump Oil Deodorizer

Our pump oil deodorizer is very popular because it is easy to use, economical and highly effective. A little goes a very long way as it is ultra concentrated. Its potent, pleasant Cherry fragrance when combined with Metazene, combats and conquers vaporous malodors that arise from pump exhausts during the vacuuming process at the molecular level.

In Conclusion

We have earned an unblemished reputation within the portable toilet industry as purveyors for superior odor-control products. While not intended as such, that famous “S” on Superman’s shirt can also stand for Surco, a quiet, efficient hero in the misunderstood realm of odor-control for portable toilets. They have changed almost singlehandedly, most of the misconceptions associated with the use of portable restrooms. 

So give our team a call the next time you need help with the maintenance of portable restrooms. Be odor-free and sweet smelling sooner than you think.


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