Where does the real matter go that you bring in to the Holodeck when the program ends?

I was watching Voyager last night and with all of the girls they seem to program in to the Holodeck, and everyone seems to enjoy quite a bit going in for a visit it became obvious what happens to the objects or matter you bring in and leave there?

For example if you were to bring some "water" in for your visit with a young lady, and then give her some, she would now have this real water inside of her projected/forcefield image. I would imagine it would stay contained within her until you turn off the program at which point she would disappear and any contributions you have made to her would then be left on the floor. I mainly got to thinking who cleans the damn thing out if everyone is going in there to get their jollys off.

I am sure one option is that the replicators are able to also dematerialize matter the same way they create it, if this were the case this "water" may have DNA in it and would be a living thing and the failsafes would not allow for it to be destroyed or else you would risk being dematerialized your self when the program ends as humans are just bags of complex liquids and several membranes. In addition, while it would be very cool for the replicators to be able to "refill" with matter that it takes apart, I do not recall any mentions of that happening in the shows in which case I could see them putting bricks of various matter in the replicators to refill them from time to time.

In the end I just see it being a good idea to put a garden hose and squeegee in the holodeck so when you are done you can clean your own mess up.

  • 1
    In the immortal words of Riker and Brenna, "That isn't necessary. The ship will clean itself". Well - good for the bloody ship
    – Valorum
    Aug 15, 2017 at 21:35
  • 3
    I commend your use of "water" as your example fluid, though. Aug 15, 2017 at 21:38
  • In terms of cleanup, DS9 shows people putting plates and leftover food back into the replicator to be de-materialized. We can pretty safely assume that Federation replicators have similar functionality.
    – ench
    Aug 15, 2017 at 22:10
  • "would be a living thing and the failsafes would not allow for it to be destroyed" You'd think so, but that wasn't ever stated directly. In fact quite a few times people were trapped in the holodeck with the risk that if they forced the doors open before the simulation ended everyone inside would get dematerialized. Aug 16, 2017 at 11:42
  • In fairness, I doubt that everyone's primary purpose for going to the holodeck is to have sex. Aug 16, 2017 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


If you recall the episode of the Enterprise series where the bridge crew is answering questions from a grammar school class on earth, one of the questions was from a kid who wanted to know what the Enterprise did with toilet waste. Archer made Tripp answer the question, and Tripp explained that toilet waste, like almost everything else on the ship, was recycled and re-used in other forms.

In the other series like Voyager set hundreds of years later, they probably still recycle and re-use everything. Thus, when leaving the holodeck, a cleaning protocol would be initiated in which anything left behind would be recycled into a storage form which could then later be recycled as needed into other forms. No doubt some rules would be in place to ask the crew member if they want to keep the personal items that they brought in the holodeck but left behind.

The reason they may not have shown things like this to viewers is that it is a family show in which they do not graphically illustrate sexual fluids.

  • I have not seen Enterprise yet, however what about actively living materials? Besides the sexual aspect (they do have sex as a regular topic, i am right now watching the episode where B'elanna Torres goes in to heat and they explain that unless someone sleeps with her she will go insane.) If there are living things with dna and such i would think the system if operating correctly would not dematerialize it, sure it is possible however without a security override it would leave the living things alone, so every time you make a contribution you would need to ask the Captain to help clean up?
    – Cyrus
    Aug 17, 2017 at 3:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.