The problem with toilets is that so many things can get flushed down them unintentionally, and maybe even intentionally. Be careful what you flush! With a wide mouth and relatively powerful drainage, it might be tempting. But to keep the drainage flowing, you have to be careful of clogging. Toilets are drains that go to your sewer or septic system. That means anything you flush needs to be able to mix safely with everything else that has been flushed or gone down the drains in your home.
What do you do and what don’t you do in terms of caring for your toilet? Here are some of our Dos and Don’ts:
- DO flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. A toilet can handle a reasonable amount of toilet paper.
- DON’T use your toilet bowl as universal garbage disposal. Too much toilet paper can clog the drain. In fact, don’t flush anything else other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Keep cotton balls, facial tissues, hair accessories, toys, paper towels, cleaning wipes, bandages and band-aid wrappings, personal hygiene items, condoms, cigarette butts, plastic wrappings, cat litter, diapers, dental floss, and paper wrappings out of the toilet. These are just some of the things we have seen clog or bust a pipe.
- DO retrieve objects that can clog or bust a pipe from the toilet before you flush.
- DON’T flush reactive products and chemicals down the toilet. Any “nasties” like hazardous chemicals, paints, thinners, or oils need to be disposed of properly. These products can react with other products if they enter the sewer or septic system. Another concern is the corrosive property that can react with metal pipes. Additionally, paints and oils might seem like a liquid when fresh, but when they congeal they can coat and clog pipes.
- DO keep your toilet clean and free of unwanted odors. There are many safe cleaners on the market.
- DON’T use abrasive materials or cleaners when cleaning your toilet bowl. Once the bowl is scratched, it is impossible to keep clean, and you won’t be able to repair the scratches.
- DO perform regular maintenance on your toilet. According to the National Association of Home Builders, “toilets have an unlimited lifespan, but the components inside the toilet tank do require some maintenance.”
- DON’T use the toilet as a ladder or stand or sit on the toilet tank lid. It will crack if abused.
- DO use a penetrating lubricant to loosen fittings when doing maintenance and repairs.
- DON’T ever hit your toilet with a hammer to break a fitting. It will crack and make the problem unfixable.
- DO throw the toilet bowl cleaning brush away as soon as the bristles wear down and metal is showing. Or use a plastic brush, which is less likely to scratch the bowl.
- DO flush a mixture of vinegar and hot water or other approved toilet bowl cleanser regularly to help reduce clogs.