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A History of the Porta-Potty

The porta-potty. Today, there are a wide range of available porta-potties on the market, from the simplest single units to large restroom trailers. How did we get here? We’re taking a look back at the history of the porta-potty in today’s blog.

The Beginning

Did you know that modern porta-potties only have roots starting in the middle of the 20th century? World War II is thought to be the time around which the modern porta-potty really started. Some bomber aircraft in the war utilized early units called Elsan chemical closets. Around the same time, the dock loading industry was using an early version of the portable restroom. Loading and unloading was made more efficient with the use of basic portable restrooms on ships for dock workers. These early designs were built with wood and metal. They lacked the sanitizing elements we know today like deodorizer and handwash.

The 1970’s

One major innovation for the modern porta-potty occurred in the 70’s- using fiberglass. Unlike wood and metal, fiberglass is light, easy to clean, and very simple to transport. It does have a few downsides though- it’s relatively fragile and holds odors.

Another innovation solved this issue- using polyethylene. This is a type of plastic that remains in common use today, and is likely what the porta-potties you have seen are constructed with. Polyethylene is even lighter and more durable than fiberglass. It wasn’t just the material that was an innovation. These units are in pieces as well, making it easy to transport the restrooms and switch out broken parts. All of these innovations meant longer-lasting, more transportable porta-potties.

The Porta-Potty Today

Today, porta-potty design has continued to evolve to meet various consumer needs. There are quality standard units that people often use on construction sites and at large events. There are also luxury versions of these single units, with amenities like flushing toilets, sinks, interior lighting, and more. Take a look at what Moon has in our line of units here!

Another major thread of innovation is the restroom trailer. You can attach these units to trailer hitches and haul them easily. They often contain at least two restrooms, but can have up to three or more individual restrooms. Some larger trailers even have a traditional public restroom setup with multiple stalls. Trailers often have features like interior lighting, air conditioning, heating, mirrors, sinks, and finished floors and walls. Some trailers even have shower stalls and changing areas. The sky is the limit with these modern trailer units. Check out some of Moon’s offerings to see for yourself!

There are also a variety of accessories for porta-potties today. Handwashing stations, large holding tanks, and specialized slings are just a few of the add-ons you can use to augment a unit. Check out Moon’s array of accessories here!

Moon Portable Restrooms has years of experience offering the best portable restrooms, restroom trailers, and handwashing stations available to customers across Kentucky and Southern Indiana. For more information, give Moon Portable Restrooms a call at 502-776-2199.

How Porta-Potties are Designed and Maintained

Porta-potties are such a ubiquitous aspect of construction sites, large events, and other settings that you may have never given them a second thought. But have you ever wondered how they work? There are actually several interesting design features in porta-potties that make them effective and easy to use and maintain. Let’s take a closer look at how portable restrooms are designed and maintained.

Standard Features in Porta-Potties

The average porta-potty has a few distinct features. They have plastic components and support rails underneath for stabilization. Most have translucent roofs (often white) that let in some light. They also have non-slip floors to prevent falls and ventilation systems to vent odors from the holding tank. The holding tank itself can vary in size, with 60 gallons being one standard size. There is often a non-splash urinal, toilet paper holder, and a hand sanitizer dispenser as well.

There are a few other kinds of portable restroom setups that you may see around. Restroom trailers often have additional features like stairs, flushing toilets, finished floors, fully-functional sinks, counters, mirrors, and lighting. They often have an option for heating or air conditioning as well. They can even have shower facilities in some cases. See Moon’s lineup of restroom trailers here for more some examples.

Some portable restrooms are designed specifically for high-rise construction sites. Cranes can lift these units up to any level of a high-rise and placed for use. See Moon’s PolyLift line here for an example.

The Holding Tank

The holding tank is probably the most fascinating part of the porta-potty. There are several design features that make it a modern marvel. You may be familiar with the blue liquid you see in the tank. This liquid contains a few important things: biocides to kill microbes and bacteria, blue dye to hide waste, and fragrance to cover odors.

Experts clean out porta-potties with vacuum technology. To clean them, experts use large trucks with holding tanks and a vacuum attachment. They attach the vacuum hose to an output in the porta-potty and suck out the contents into a holding tank on the truck. They then fill the porta-potty holding tank with fresh water from another tank on the truck, and add the blue liquid.

However, there are a few things that can complicate the cleaning process. In some unfortunate cases, porta-potties can get knocked over, whether by accident or on purpose. This makes cleaning them much more difficult. Workers often have to flip them and manually clean the insides of units in these cases. Additionally, waste can spew out if a porta-potty is lying on its door side. Some items can also clog the vacuum hose if dropped into the holding tank too. Fortunately, experienced technicians like the team at Moon can handle these situations.

Moon Portable Restrooms has years of experience offering the best portable restrooms, restroom trailers, and handwashing stations available to customers across Kentucky and Southern Indiana. For more information, give Moon Portable Restrooms a call at 502-776-2199.