One home maintenance chore that’s usually at the bottom of the list is toilet cleaning. Today’s bathrooms are becoming almost like mini spas, sort of how personal HD TV’s are turning our living rooms into home theaters. While it’s fun to look at beautiful bathtubs with jets and candles glowing, having a sparkling, well-kept toilet can also do wonders for maintaining a beautiful bathroom.
There are dozens of toilet styles out there, from Victorian ones with elevated bowls attached high up on the wall, to dual-flushers that release more or less water depending upon what’s needed. (It is so fun to talk in code about toilets!) Every commode, however, has basic component parts, and related home maintenance for them translates across the spectrum of design and style.
Home Maintenance & Your Toilet
1. Cleaning. Beware of harsh chemical “pellet” cleaners dropped into toilet tanks. These can often eat away at rubber parts of the toilet tank’s mechanisms. Sometimes, manufacturers will void warranties if damage stems from these chemical agents. You’re better off using in-bowl cleaners, like SoftScrub with Bleach™, bleach, or vinegar. Preventing a permanent water line stain is easier if you allow vinegar or bleach to stand in the bowl overnight at least weekly. (By the way, did you ever wonder about the little bit of water that remains standing in the bowl all the time? It’s there to form a seal in the bowl, and to prevent icky sewer gases from coming up through the toilet into your home!) The outer parts of a toilet are easily kept clean with a sponge and gentle household cleaner.
2. The handle. Be sure to disinfect the handle regularly, as this is usually touched before you wash your hands. A cleaning towel like Lysol™ preloaded wipes works great.
3. Leaking or “running.” Usually leaks or “running” toilets are a function of a compromised rubber seal, either in the toilet tank or under the toilet (the wax “ring”). It may take a moment of sleuthing to find the culprit, but these parts are generally easy to replace, (or tighten the chain, in the event of a running toilet). If your toilet sounds like it is flushing forever, simply lift the toilet tank lid and you will likely find that the stopper failed to fall back down after flushing. Just tip this with your finger to restore. If it persists, check the chain.
4. A word on low flush toilets. The government would love us all to use low flush toilets to save water. In my experience these are not water-savers, but water-wasters. Low flush toilets are inefficient for taking away waste with one flush. One robust, hearty flush is worth three anemic ones. Stick with standard toilets as long as possible and save water (and odor). If you are concerned about water conservation, simply place a brick or large stone in your toilet tank away from the mechanisms, to take up water space. That’s cheaper than buying a new toilet, too.
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