The Lazy Flush
The following email from J.L. of NYC, NY, an enthusiastic student of Toiletology 101, says it all:
Kay, your page is absolutely great. I'd like to make this contribution: Ok. Here goes: I own an American Standard one piece toilet that's 10 years old, but this method will work in any unit. My bowl became so full of scale that it no longer had the swirling action that's essential for a good flush. Using a small nail and a mirror, I scraped away what I could from the small holes around the inside of the rim, but that did next to nothing.
Now it was necessary to bring out the big guns ... Muriatic Acid. But first a few more words of caution.
all the directions and precautions written on the container before you leave the hardware store. If you have any questions or doubts about using the product ... ask for help. While in the hardware store, buy protective gloves and safety glasses.
1) Turn off the water supply to the toilet.
2) Flush the toilet to empty the tank. Using a sponge, remove as much water as you can from the tank and bowl.
3) From a one-gallon container of Muriatic Acid (BE CAREFUL !!! Follow all precautions written on the label) pour a couple of ounces down the overflow.
4) Pour the entire remainder of the gallon into the bowl.
5) Cover the tank and bowl openings with plastic wrap.
6) Let everything sit for 24 hours.
7) After 24 hours, turn on the water supply.
9) Remove the plastic wrap. Magic! Swirling like crazy.
I did this in my weekend home. A plumber recommended "using acid." I've used muriatic for other things like etching metal, etc. There's nothing tricky about using the acid, if you're careful. I think that this is
such a great tip that it's worth posting with an appropriate warning. As to damage to the toilet, the acid has no affect on porcelain whatsoever. Thanks again for your great page.
From Cliff: Thanks very much -- the muriatic acid tip for slow flushing toilets due to scale buildup in the water channel worked perfectly. My toilet would not flush in the normal way, although it would flush perfectly if I poured a small pail of water into the bowl. Frankly, I've been having to do that for months. But, based upon the information on your website, I did two things that completely solved my problem.
1) I used a 7 foot length of 1/16 inch diameter wire rope (from Orchard Supply Hardware) to clean out each of the water slots under the rim of the bowl. I forced that rope as far as it would go through each slot, and pulled it back and forth to scrub any scale away. That did not solve the flushing problem, although it did greatly increase the flow from those slots.
2) After emptying the tank and removing the flapper, I poured about 2/3 pint of muriatic acid down the hole that the flapper valve seals.
Almost immediately, scale began to dissolve, as I could see by the layer of brown liquid that developed under the clear water in the bowl. After about one hour, I tried an experimental flush, thinking I'd have to repeat the process again and again. But, the toilet flushed perfectly and has continued to do so. You saved me a very expensive toilet replacement. By the way, as a chemist, I recommend the wearing of inexpensive goggles or safety glasses, and rubber gloves, when handling the acid (Orchard Supply carries these also). Thanks again and well done!!!!
Thank you for the info on lazy toilets.
I did the gallon of pool acid soaking over night and got a new toilet.
My toilet looks and flushes like a new toilet.
Many thanks for the advice. It was a big help.
D.B. Anaheim CA
I'm told the scale in a toilet bowl is often a result of a toilet not being flushed after every use. In a personal experience with this problem, in an apartment where a bathroom was off the bedroom, the occupants of the bedroom did not flush the toilet during the night for fear of waking their spouse. It took several years, but the toilet did develop the scale and was replaced.
The Washington DC area experiences recurring periods of drought, during one such period a school contest for "Water Saving Ideas" produced a poster that read, "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down". While this makes sense during a drought, over a long period of time it can be costly.
Septic System Failure
Slow draining toilets or plumbing backups can mean
your septic system is failing.
A Toilet Tissue Issue
The answer to a better flush may be found in the toilet tissue used, according to Bruce Case of
Case Design/Remodeling Inc. of Bethesda, MD. Case claims in his personal experience
switching from a thick fluffy tissue such as Charmin to a light tissue such as White Cloud his
family found their toilets worked better.
Terry Love, the well-known Seattle, Washington plumber says, "Thick, plush toilet papers make you feel pampered, but if your plumbing is prone to clogging, they can aggravate the problem. The Good Housekeeping Institute tested all the leading brands and found that Charmin, Charmin Ultra, Quilted Northern and Cottonelle were particularly slow to dissolve. So if you have a low-flow toilet, or old, sticky plumbing that often acts up, those toilet papers may not be your best bet."
Terry is conducting an online survey of toilet papers. So far, 15 out of 19 responses claim that Charmin Ultra 2-Ply has been responsible for clogging their toilets. when asked if it was OK to post the names of toilet paper that did NOT clog, Terry says, "I don't have a "problem" with paper that doesn't plug, it's the stuff that does plug that bothers me. Some of the new papers use cotton, which does not break down and can stick in the trapways. Some paper just zips right through. So yes, post those that work too. For paper that works, go here!
If you are using those blue bowl cleaning tablets in your toilet tank, you need to refer to "The Blue Goo Story"