I've started teaching at a school in Indonesia and found an arch-enemy of mine: naphthalene. People here use huge quantities in our flush toilets to suppress the smell.

I made the principals remove the naphthalene balls from the toilets. But now the question arises of what to do to get rid of the smell. (We have permanent temperatures of 30 °C and up.)

Any ideas?

  • Are they drop toilets (otherwise known as pit toilets) or flushing toilets? Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 14:21
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    Flushing toilets, regular western style, but people tend to use a water-spraying device for the whole room sometimes to clean
    – Qohelet
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 15:38
  • The comment about lye was for drop toilets now that I know you have flush toilets I've deleted it. I know is a couple of oils you can drop into the toilet bowl before each use that work OK but I don't think that would work in your setting because each student should have to use it just before he used the toilet. Not only that but it would get pretty expensive at that scale. Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 16:47
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    Incense works quite well for me, also smoke is probably just as bad for you as naphthalene.
    – Ⴖuі
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 7:41
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    @Ⴖuі I wouldn't mind - but can you recommend a incense which I can purchase on Java? And as the children are still pretty young how to make sure they won't touch it or get bad ideas?
    – Qohelet
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 8:31

2 Answers 2


As I understand the smell is the problem. The naphthalene masks the smell but it too is a problem. So the issue is "How to reduce the smell". One answer is to cover it up. Anotehr answer is to dilute it.

When I worked in a school, we had a fly problem at some times of the year. We got a sprayer on a timer. It would emit a 1 second mist of fly spray every 10 minutes. One cartridge would last for weeks.

Substitute an air freshener (masking chemical scent) for the fly spray, and the same mechanism could work.

An even safer option would be to increase ventilation by increasing the air change speed in the room. Calculate how many hours you could run a 300 CFM fan on the price of one air freshener puck. This is solving the problem via dilution. The fan removes the smelly air from the bathroom, so that fresh outdoor air can enter.

If you have steady daytime breezes, there are wind powered ventilators you can mount on the roof. This saves power.

  • As said: The problem aren't insects. The issue is we just need something to cover the smell itself. A fan is not really what they need here also...
    – Qohelet
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 9:19
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    And the answer wasn't insects. It was the application of the insect technological solution to the problem. I have edited the solution to try ot make this clearer. As to fan: If you bring up the air change to the normal levels of 8-12 changes per hour you won't have much of a smell. Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 2:22

Aren't the toilets flushed after every use? Are there water availability problems for they to remain unflushed?

Chlorine or deodorant tablets that are put in the water tank are what first come to mind.

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