16 November 2009

Well...that was kind of...yeah...

This may gross you out, but...

...I may have mentioned before that my toilet wasn't flushing properly. I'd even had a plumber come out recently and snake the toilet to get rid of clogs. The plumber said the problem was most likely a buildup of organic matter in the little hole opposite the drainage hole in the bowl. He recommended CLR to get rid of it, but that it may not work as the toilet is old. He snaked it anyway and for a day or two it was...ok. Not great, but ok. Lately if there is some weight to what was in the bowl (use your imagination...) then it will flush ok. But if it is just paper or water then it will take up to three flushes to get rid of it. Very frustrating.

So I did some research on toilets and found they aren't all that expensive. I rent my house and I'm pretty sure my landlord would not like to foot the bill of a new toilet, but I was planning on getting one anyway and paying for it myself. My problem wasn't that there would be a new one or even that I'd have to pay for it. The problem that arose was what on Earth would I do with the old one? Would the plumbing company take it? Would I have to take it to the EcoStation? Then I realized that in order to get a new toilet, I'd have to go and buy a new one and bring it home.

Some of you may not realize this, but I have a healthy fear of toilets. I don't like them, they freak me out, and they are connected to icky plumbing lines. So the idea of actually selecting a new commode in a store (and seeing them not hooked up to plumbing!) and physically bringing it home caused my brain to freeze. And then...what to do with the old one? Really, I don't mind picking one out...online. But I'd really rather not get it home myself, see it in my house not attached to the floor, watch the plumber install it, and then deal with the old one. Seriously. That'd be a day off for me. I could just go to the mall for the duration and have S call me when it's done. Even the thought of the toilet not attached to the floor causes screaming in my head and my skin to crawl.

So I bought some CLR Blue to pour into the bowl monthly. This stuff apparently attaches itself to the organic buildup and eats away at it over time. Great. I'm on my fourth treatment of it in a little over a month. It sorta works.

Yesterday I was flushing the paper repeatedly and watching the water flow. I found that if I timed things just right, I could force more water into the bowl about half way through the flushing process and get the paper down. Sometimes. Then I started to wonder "why is there such low water pressure?" The basement toilet flushes just fine, so it's not a collapsed line, it's the toilet itself. There are no clogs (believe me, I've got the biceps to show my plunging skills by now), so why isn't enough water getting in the bowl? That's when I started to really watch how the toilet flushes.

I found that yes, the little hole in the bottom shoots out water, but water also comes streaming out through little holes in the rim. I knew this, really I did, I'd just forgotten. There are two larger holes in the rim at the front of the bowl, and a bunch of little holes around the rest of the rim. A quick glance under the rim told me that there was some organic buildup there too. So out came the cleaner.

I squeezed the thick liquid cleaner as far under the rim as I could and waited. I waited until most of the cleaner slid down into the water before scrubbing. And boy did I scrub. I leaned into it and scrubbed like a madwoman. I wore out my toilet brush with all the scrubbing. Then I flushed. Oh the glory of the flush. There was enough water pressure to almost do a good job. So I went out and bought more toilet cleaner and a new brush. But not a toilet brush, a stiff bristled vegetable brush. And I scrubbed some more. More flushing ensued. Better water pressure was on the horizon. I went out again and bought Comet powder, gloves, and a scouring pad. And I scrubbed while on my knees for better leverage. Oh my did I anticipate sore muscles but I scrubbed until I couldn't see any more icky organic stuff come off. Then I flushed. Can you hear the angels singing? My toilet flushes normally. It didn't flush right because it was dirty. That's just...yeah.

You know, I'm not a horrible housekeeper (mostly), and I do wash my toilet, but I think I wasn't getting the cleaner far enough into the rim. And if the bowl looks clean then I think I've done a good job. I don't make a habit of looking at the gunk under the rim. And the toilet is old. It's possible that the people before me didn't keep it sparkling either. Ok, I've been living here 11 years, so maybe it's my family.

I'll be cleaning under the rim more often. Like weekly. The four of us take turns cleaning the floor around the toilet (I know that's not my pee), so I think we can all take turns cleaning the rim too. Ick.

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