ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

4 Good Reasons to Fertilize with Urine

Updated on June 17, 2013

Why Use Human Urine as Fertilizer?


Although the initial reaction of many people to using human urine as fertilizer is "Ew!" "Yuck!" and "Gross!" more and more earth-friendly gardeners are giving it a try.

And why not?

"Liquid gold," as it's sometimes called, is safe, virtually free and environmentally sound.

Best of all, it works!

Why Urine Is #1

Unlike humanure (compost made from human feces) liquid fertilizer made from human urine is easy to make.

Although humanure is becoming increasingly popular with organic gardeners, turning feces into safe, usable compost is a time-consuming process.

Not only can urine be diluted with water and used as a liquid fertilizer, but it can also be added in undiluted form to compost piles and compost bins. It can even be poured directly onto straw bales that will be later used as compost.

Have you tried using urine as fertilizer?

See results

Good Reasons to Use Urine Fertilizer

1. Urine contains the nutrients plants need.

Human urine contains three nutrients that are essential to plant development and growth: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), the same ingredients that are in most bags of fertilizer.

According to micturition expert Hakan Jonsson of the Swedish University of Agricultural Studies, when we create urine, our bodies break complex organic matter into the basic mineral form plants like best (Grunbaum). In other words, pee and plants were made for each other.

A study conducted in 2007 at the University of Kuopio's Department of Environmental Sciences in Finland reveals the effectiveness of urine as fertilizer for cabbage, which requires high amounts of nitrogen in order to grow well (Colwell).

In 2010, research scientists Surenda Pradhan and Helvi Heinonen-Tanski raised beets using various types of fertilizer. Plants that received human urine in conjunction with wood ash produced significantly larger beets than those fertilized with any other type, including mineral fertilizer. And, of course, there was no difference in the nutritional value or taste of the beets (Grunbaum).


For those who are open to human urine as an inexpensive and effective form of fertilizer, an easy method for using it follows. Although an entire book could be (and has been) devoted to the subject, pee-cycling at its most basic requires only three steps.

Step 1: Collect urine.

Instead of urinating into the commode and flushing all that good plant food away, pee into a plastic gallon milk jug or some other resealable container. If you’re a woman, this could prove messy, so make it easy on yourself. Use two milk jugs. Cut the smaller one in half, reserving the top to use as a funnel for the larger jug. To trap odor, plug the hole with a wine cork (Steinfeld 22).Whatever sort of container you choose to use, be sure to keep it sealed. Pee stinks!

Step 2: Add water.

So that it won’t burn plants, human urine must be diluted before it’s used as fertilizer. Add at least eight parts water to one part urine. (Some gardeners recommend a ratio of 20 to one.) (Pleasant 73). You may have to experiment a bit in order to find the mix that’s right for your garden.

Step 3: Apply to plants.

Apply the wee brew no more than once every two weeks to turf grass, vegetables, fruit trees, bushes and container plants—anything you grow. Like any water-soluble fertilizer, pee tea is faster acting than solid fertilizer. It’s also shorter acting, so you don’t have to worry about over-fertilizing if you limit your use to biweekly applications.

2. Human urine is safe to use.

Unlike human feces, human urine is virtually sterile. That means it contains few, if any, pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms). Any pathogens that do exist in urine become harmless over time.

To make sure there are no pathogens in your pee tea, allow the urine you collect to age up to six months before use.

3. Using urine as fertilizer is ecologically sound.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s website, the average U.S. citizen uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day, mostly from flushing toilets (“Water Use at Home”). If you live in a home built before 1992, you probably use 3.61 gallons of water every time you flush. If you have a newer, water-conserving toilet, it probably uses 1.54 gallons per flush (California Urban Water Conservation Council).

Just think how much water you would save if you “harvested” your urine regularly instead of flushing it. Even if you have a water-conserving toilet and flush urine only five times daily, you’d save 7.7 gallons per day, 53.9 gallons per week, about 231 gallons per month and 2,810.5 gallons per year. For a family of four, that’s 11,242 gallons of water per year, 26,353 if your home has a non water-conserving commode. That’s a lot of water—enough to fill a large swimming pool! Of course, if you create liquid fertilizer with urine, you’ll have to use water, too, but it will be put to good use, not just flushed away.

4. It’s readily available.

Most people produce about a quart and a half of urine per day (Pleasant 75). Diluting at a ratio of one part pee to 20 parts water, most families could easily produce enough “liquid gold” to fertilize their garden and yard throughout the growing season.

Works Cited

California Urban Water Conservation Council. "Take Action: Toilet Water Use." H2ouse: Water Saver Home. 27 May 2011. Web.

Colwell, Carolyn. "Human Urine Safe, Productive Fertilizer." 8 October 2007. The Washington Post. 27 May 2011. Web.

Grunbaum, Mara. "Pees and Carrots: Researchers Say Human Urine Works Great as Sustainable Fertilizer." 23 July 2010. Science Line. 27 May 2011. Web.

Pleasant, Barbara. "Free, Homemade Liquid Fertilizer." Mother Earth News February/March 2011: 72-75. Print.

Steinfeld, Carol. "You Can Compost Human Waste!" Mother Earth News April/May 2011: 22. Print.

"Water Use at Home." 16 February 2010. USGS. 27 May 2011 Web.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)