The Blue Liquid in Porta Potties: What Is It?

August 16, 2021

If you’ve ever used a porta potty before, you may have looked down into the tank only to notice a mysterious blue liquid. While the subject of porta potty chemicals might not be something you wish to spend a lot of time thinking about, this particular issue is one of the most frequently asked-about subjects in the world of porta potty rental and maintenance.

So, what’s that blue stuff in the tank? The most basic answer is that it’s a deodorizer, designed to cover up some of the not-so-pleasant smells that may otherwise emanate from the porta potty tank. Here’s a more in-depth look at what a porta potty’s blue liquid contains:

  • Dyes: Deodorizers used in porta potties feature a blue dye that gives it the distinct color you’ve seen in your portable restroom visits. The purpose of using this dark blue color is to mask what’s contained in the tank. Let’s face it—nobody wants to see what’s floating around in the liquid. So long as the restroom is regularly cleaned and maintained and not overused, the dye should be highly effective at concealing most of the contents, which makes for at least a slightly more pleasant experience.
  • Biocides: Biocides are the primary active ingredient in porta potties’ blue liquid. These are substances meant to prevent the growth of gram-positive bacteria that release some unpleasant odors. These bacteria are responsible for many foul odors beyond those associated with human waste. Biocides are specifically designed to curb their rapid growth so you don’t have to worry as much about the foul porta potty smell when you step inside.
  • Surfactants: These hydro-tropes (a type of solubilizing agent) are used to make fragrances miscible in water. This means the fragrances included in the liquid will be dissolved to create an even mixture that creates a more effective smell to mask foul odors.
  • Fragrances: The aforementioned fragrances are included in the deodorizer to provide a bit of a pleasant scent. In this way, porta potties’ blue liquid goes beyond just preventing the scents with biocides—they actually provide some nice masking odor with the included fragrances.

Today’s blue liquid is designed to be environmentally friendly and non-toxic when used in a diluted form. This is an upgrade over past iterations of porta potty sanitizer and deodorizer, which were quite chemical-heavy and included substances such as formaldehyde. Over the years, it was discovered that formaldehyde was a carcinogen and could be hazardous to the health of people regularly using porta potties, so alternative products were designed for use in the tanks.

The continued advancement of these products has led to the use of fewer chemicals in the “blue liquid,” particularly a reduction in chemicals that would have to be treated at wastewater treatment plants.

Interested in learning more about porta potty maintenance and the types of chemicals used to ensure proper sanitization? We encourage you to contact the team at Pit Stop Portables today with any questions you have about our available portable toilets.

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