Tips for cleaning and maintaining a toilet

July 28, 2015

Avoid toilet clogs, low flush-pressure, and keep a toilet looking brand new with these simple tips.

Tips for cleaning and maintaining a toilet

Cleaning your toilet

  • When cleaning a toilet, start at the top and work your way down in this order: tank, seat, inside of the bowl and base.
  • Use a spray-on bathroom cleaner, preferably one with ammonia.
  • Spray the cleaner on the exterior surfaces and wipe it off with an absorbent dry cloth; change rags as they become soaked.
  • To clean inside the bowl, spray cleaner under the rim and on surfaces above the waterline. Use a rounded bowl brush to scrub first under the rim, then the bowl itself and finally the drain opening.
  • Pumice stones are sold at drugstores and bath supply shops. (Pumice scouring sticks are also available at hardware stores and home centres.) Keeping the pumice wet, rub it on the ring until it's gone. Pumice won't scratch white vitreous china, which is what most toilets are made of, but it will scratch enamel, fibreglass, and other materials.

Looking inside the tank

  • Every now and again, it's a good idea to take off the tank lid and check up on what's going on inside. Doing so will help keep your toilet from clogging, overflowing, or experiencing other troubles.
  • The water level should be one centimetre (half an inch) below the rim of the overflow tube. If it's too high, water can spill down the tube and into the bowl between flushes. If it's too low, the toilet may flush sluggishly. Either way, the water level needs to be adjusted.
  • Next, check the flush valve. To keep water from running into the bowl between flushes, the flapper or tank ball must fit tightly in the valve seat, and the seat should be smooth and free of mineral deposits, which can keep the flapper or tank ball from seating properly.
  •  If the flapper or tank ball is worn, cracked, or no longer pliable, replace it.
  • If the float ball is cracked or waterlogged, replace the entire ball cock assembly (including the float ball) with a float-cup or floatless ball cock.
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