Your toilet may not be your best friend, but it's definitely an essential part of a peaceful home life. While toilets require almost no maintenance other than regular cleaning, you can do things to make your toilet function more (or less) smoothly. You'll hear advice about how to do this, but not everything you hear is true.
Here are a few pieces of inaccurate toilet advice you might hear.
1. Use Flushable Cat Litter
Flushable cat litter gets a lot of buzz, but just because you technically can flush it doesn't mean you should. Ignore all the commercials that tell you this is the new, easy way to take care of your cat's messes.
The problem with flushing cat litter is:
- Cat litter can clump or accrue in your toilet or drain, causing either immediate or long-term clogs.
- Cat litter can infect marine wildlife with diseases when it reaches waterways.
- Cat litter poses health risks to humans (including toxoplasmosis).To minimize risk, you should keep it away from eating, food prep, and bathroom facilities.
- Cat litter can cause particularly serious health problems for pregnant women.
- Cat litter can damage a septic system.
With these risks, flushing cat litter just isn't worth the added convenience.
2. Try Chemical Drain Cleaners
DIY chemical drain cleaner use is hardly ever a good idea. If someone tells you to use drain cleaner to shift a clog, thank them politely and use a gentler enzyme-based cleaner instead. Chemical cleaners are especially problematic if you have a septic system because they can disrupt the chemical and biological balance needed to process your wastewater.
If your plunger and your enzyme cleaners together can't kick the obstruction out, seek help from a professional plumber for best results.
3. Flush Goldfish and Prescription Medications
Any advice you hear about goldfish and prescription medications should not include flushing them down the toilet. The toilet is not a responsible way to dispose of your chemical meds or your unwanted pets, so you should ignore (or gently re-educate) anyone who says otherwise.
Live goldfish, when flushed, may escape to waterways and become an invasive species, disrupting the ecosystem. Medications can cause more insidious damage; they can make their way through water treatment plants and into drinking water sources.
4. Do Your Own Repairs
Like the obdurate drain clog mentioned above, many toilet malfunctions are simply not within the scope of a DIY home improvement project. This is especially the case if you don't have much training or experience with plumbing remodels. Even if you have friends who make plumbing repairs sound easy, you shouldn't do a DIY toilet repair.
Some signs that you need a plumber to get your toilet back on the rails include:
- Frequent clogging incidents
- Constantly running toilet
- Leaks or cracks
- Slow or incomplete flushing
- Overflowing toilet bowl
- Incomplete bowl or tank filling
If you notice one (or more) of these signs, call a plumber right away.
5. Use Drop-In Toilet Tank Cleaners
Your toilet tank wasn't designed to withstand strong cleaning chemicals. If you use a slow-release cleaner that sits inside the toilet tank, you could destroy your toilet's moving parts little by little. For example, bleach content in these cleaners can significantly damage the rubber flapper that lets water out of the tank when you flush.
These five inaccurate pieces of advice are commonly heard and should be just as commonly ignored. Discriminate between good and bad toilet care advice to give your toilet the longest possible lifespan.
For more help with toilet maintenance and care or for professional repair help, call Rockdale Plumbing & Drain, Inc. , anytime.