What Are Toilets Made Of? Why Don't We Have Plastic Potties? | Kidadl

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What Are Toilets Made Of? Why Don't We Have Plastic Potties?

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

One of the earliest pieces of evidence of a public toilet, or enclosed places for private defecation, dates back centuries to ancient Rome, which were largely stone benches.

It is a seldom-known fact that flushable toilets have existed since the late sixteenth century (introduced by Sir John Harington). Of course, the indoor plumbing system has changed much, and the toilet seat has evolved according to people's comfort over the centuries, but it has been a long journey all the same. Nowadays, toilets come in various materials like porcelain, stainless steel, plastic, and even wood, but that’s rare. But the most common ones are made of porcelain or vitreous china clay. 

After reading all about the manufacturing process of how toilets are made, do know more about how often are you supposed to poop and do you lose weight when you poop.

What are modern toilets made of?

Most common modern toilets are made from a durable ceramic material called porcelain. This material is also used widely for making pretty utensils. Plates made of porcelain or china clay are expensive and fragile but highly coveted for their beautiful shiny finish.  

Porcelain is made from a mixture of kaolin, silicate materials, and powdered feldspar, all mixed together with water. The clay which is formed from this mixture is a thick slurry, perfect for shaping with molds shaped like toilet seats. This clay is kiln baked to perfection, after which it is given its glaze and kiln baked again a second time. This becomes the clay called vitreous china (porcelain), which is used to make toilet bowls.

Apart from commonly seen porcelain toilets, we also have ones made from plastic, which are often used in portable toilets. But plastic is not a durable option to keep at home, as it degrades under constant wear and is not hygienic or as sanitary when compared to a porcelain toilet. Toilets made out of stainless steel are standard in prisons and trains or airplanes, but due to its thermal heat transfer, it may become uncomfortable to sit on as the metal gets cold during winters and hot during summers.

Why are toilets white?

The toilet bowl in your bathroom is made from a highly durable material called vitreous china clay.

The vitreous china clay has a special coating or enamel on its surface, which gives it a very smooth texture and glass-like finish. This enamel also makes the clay non-porous, it stops the porcelain clay from absorbing water. Because of this, the porcelain toilet bowl remains sturdy under constant water pressure and does not break down like clay. It makes the toilet waterproof and sturdy.

As porcelain is made out of clay, it has very low heat conductivity. Hence it does not become too cool or too hot according to the temperature and is very comfortable to sit on. The smooth surface of porcelain does not let any dirt stay on its surface, making it a very hygienic and sanitary option too. Even if the toilet bowl is made from clay and stays wet most of the time, the vitreous china coating protects it from catching any mold infestations.

Finally, these porcelain toilets are white because the natural color of kiln-baked china clay is white. Also, there is a mix of color options with toilet bowls for decorative purposes available on the market, but most people prefer regular white toilets. Manufacturing flushing systems and plumbing systems for a toilet are specialized tasks that can be handled only with the help of suitable material and machinery.

What are composting toilets made of, and how eco-friendly are they?

Composting toilets are also known as biological or dry toilets. Instead of flushing away the waste with water into sewage, carry it to a treatment plant that absorbs the nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus found in human excreta to save them for local use.

These toilets are generally made using a distinct manufacturing process; the most rudimentary ways in which they can be constructed need just a bucket, a stack of hay, and some wood with enough room for a person to sit. There should also be adequate provision of air circulation.

A composting toilet at a domestic level can consist of rotating electrical chambers, mechanical stirrers, and heating devices to get rid of excess moisture. Solar panels connected to these composting tanks were enough to power them and process waste in certain areas. While these arrangements seem to be costly, it is statistically proven that people who have installed composting toilets cut down on up to one-third of their daily water usage. These toilets are free from the hassles of flushing and are designed in a way to separate urine and feces so that the moisture content is brought to a down low. The wastewater from household activities is usually carried through sewage pipes and treated in septic tanks; this does not happen with a composting toilet, cutting down the costs of sewage treatment. 

toilets-are-made-of-porcelain

Were toilets in medieval times made out of stone slabs?

Toilets are made of porcelain in present times, but in medieval times their construction was not from porcelain but from entirely different materials.

Toilets made in the medieval period castles are easy enough to spot even today because of their apparent structure. These toilets were called garderobes, which meant small holes at the base of a wall that jutted out from the castle wall. 

The residents were supposed to squat above these holes, and the excreta were collected in dug pits or the moat. Even better if the castle had a river flowing beside it to carry all the waste with it, as pits were very likely to spread excessive stench.

On the other hand, poor people or commoners who did not live in the castles and estates had extremely rudimentary toilets, which consisted of dug pits and a plank of wood with a hole in it. 

What are jail toilets made out of and why?

Places like prisons are susceptible to violent environments, which could put the property at risk from destruction and damage. The prison toilets are made from mixed metal, especially metals like steel or stainless steel, like we often see in the movies or read about in books.

In places that see frequent episodes of a rampage, having a porcelain toilet seat can not just result in property damage. Still, the material can also become a weapon if it is broken into many pieces, as a thick slab of china clay is sturdy enough to inflict a decisive blow. Hence, a sturdy steel toilet bowl brings down that risk to nill, ensuring the safety of the prisoners in the cells.

Likewise, a steel toilet is an excellent, easy-to-clean option against constant and rough use. It prevents the waterproof toilet bowl from developing cracks and holes, which have been often used by the prisoners to hide contraband. The manufacturing process for these toilets also takes the factor of mold into consideration.

Why are toilets commonly not made of plastic or steel?

It is not the case that toilets made from plastic or steel are not manufactured at all; toilets are made from these materials, but toilets made of plastic or steel are vastly less in number than toilets made of porcelain we see everywhere.

High-quality plastic that can endure constant wear and tear and exposure to water is very expensive to manufacture. Even then, a plastic toilet will not nearly achieve the strength and durability of a porcelain toilet. Furthermore, constant exposure to water damages plastic and makes it a very unhygienic option as a toilet. Hence, we see only a few varieties that are made of plastic toilets like portable toilets or airplane toilets. 

We see steel toilets commonly used in prisons as well as sometimes in trains and airplanes. As explained above, these steel toilets offer excellent durability and strength. But steel is an unsanitary option unless it is cleaned frequently, as it is a formidable home to various bacteria and infections.

Also, sitting on a steel toilet seat is not exactly comfortable to the naked skin due to its thermal heat transfer, as the steel leaches out the heat from our body and feels cold on the skin due to it. Finally, a steel toilet can get too cold in cool temperatures and hot in high temperatures, making it an uncomfortable experience to sit on.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what are toilets made of, then why not take a look at how is aluminum made or how is cement made.

Written By
Supriya Jain

<p>As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.</p>

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