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Ashes or charcoal in Out House for odor control?

 
Posts: 126
Location: Western North Carolina
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We have two Out Houses that are used mainly for hikers or when we are working in the lower gardens. We have never had trouble with odor in them. Recently, we held three workshops here and the Out Houses were used a lot over the course of five weeks. They began to smell not too bad but enough we need to do something. Would it help to put ashes from the wood oven in the hole? Or charcoal pieces from the wood fires? Thank you.
 
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If you have access to sawdust you might try that. It might take quite a bit at first, but if you keep sawdust handy and dust after every use, the odor won't be such a problem. And, adding the sawdust adds to the compostability of the material in the pit.
 
Mary Ann Asbill
Posts: 126
Location: Western North Carolina
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Thank you for the reply. We tossed a shovel full of ashes from the fire pit down the hole, making sure the ashes hit the sides of the hole too. Then, we tossed a shovel full of freshly ground up wood chips. It seemed to work fine. Did not have any more odor in it till after the next class. Again, about 15 people used the Out House over the course of a day. It smelled a little bit the next day but not "nasty". But, we tossed in more ashes and wood chips and it seems fine now. Not too many people will use it this winter (unless the power goes out) and so it will probably all rot and be fine come spring.

Thank you!
 
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Location: Middle Georgia
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When my retired parents moved to "the MO Country", in the late 70's it was pretty rural.
It was a Cistern area, and a lot of people still kept a "back house" even though they had
indoor facilities. One of their neighbors had a lovely 2 seater, clean and fresh as can be.

There were screened vent space, under the side eves. The Pit was fairly deep, at least 6 feet.
with comfy seats, TP and a little bucket hanging on the wall with a big spoon. On every use,
you were expected to sprinkle a spoon of LIME, (from the bucket") over your contribution.
was all it took, to keep in sanitary all year round. The Mr, said that he never had to do
no more to it.
 
Mary Ann Asbill
Posts: 126
Location: Western North Carolina
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Thanks for the tips and advice. The Outhouse is fresh and clean again. We did put ashes down in it and that seemed to help. Several people mentioned lime too.
A few people said to try saw dust too. Thanks everyone
 
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Charcoal is know as one of the best adsorbents. Especially activated charcoal. It works equally well for air as it does for water. Activated charcoal (carbon) is what is in your Brita water filter, to clean municipal water, and is used in most commercial air filtration systems. When you go to the hospital for accidental poisoning... that's usually what you get - activated charcoal. It will also detox the soil from herbicides and other toxins. Use food grade AC to detox your body too. It's good stuff!

So, if you are choosing between charcoal and ashes... go for the charcoal.
 
Mary Ann Asbill
Posts: 126
Location: Western North Carolina
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Thanks for explaining the difference between the ashes and charcoal. We have both and will use more charcoal next time. The ashes did seem to help too though. We rarely have problems with odor in the Out Houses since usually only a few people at a time are using them. This odor problem happened because too many people used the Out House at one time. Next year, we plan to point half the folks visiting to our 2nd Out House which will lighten the "load" on both.

Thanks!
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