Toilet Maintenance Guide: The Do’s and Don’ts of Toilet Care

May 11, 2023


At YES! Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we handle all your plumbing needs—including drain cleaning, pipe repair, water heater installation, water heater repair, and much more. We know a thing or two about toilet repair and plumbing maintenance, too!

Maintaining a clean and efficient toilet is essential for hygiene and your plumbing system functioning smoothly. Our experienced plumbers at YES! understand the importance of routine toilet care to prevent issues and ensure longevity. 

In this guide, we delve into the dos and don'ts of toilet maintenance, covering everything from addressing toilet maintenance to enhancing your toilet's overall performance (and when to seek help from professionals so you can avoid toilet turmoil). 

Understanding Common Toilet Problems

Toilets are prone to clogs, leaks, and weak flushes, which can disrupt daily life and cause inconvenience. Clogs often occur due to flushing inappropriate items like wipes or excessive toilet paper. 

On the other hand, leaks translate to wasted water that can lead to structural damage if left unattended. Weak flushes may indicate a problem with the flushing mechanism or water pressure. 

Regular maintenance is vital to avoiding these issues. Don't ignore a small leak or a slow flush; these seemingly minor problems can escalate into significant homeowner headaches or long-term issues with mold or other water-related bacteria if left unattended. 

Instead, address them promptly to prevent water waste and potential damage to your plumbing system and home.

How to Maintain a Toilet

Do:

  • Clean your toilets regularly: Develop a consistent cleaning schedule to prevent the buildup of grime and mold. Use a non-abrasive cleaner to avoid damaging the porcelain and keep it sparkling clean.

  • Use a plastic toilet brush: This will prevent any scratches on the bowl of your toilet.

  • Check your toilet annually for leaks: This can be done by adding a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank water. If the color runs into the bowl, you may have a leak.

  • Test flush performance: Weak flushes may indicate a clog or a problem with the flushing mechanism.

  • Inspect toilet components: Take the time to look at the flush valve, flapper, and fill valve for signs of wear and tear.

  • Keep a plunger handy: Plungers are very helpful when dealing with small clogs.

  • Ditch the toilet fresheners: While you may love having blue toilet water, the chemicals in these tablets tend to wear away parts of the tank.

  • Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet when experiencing issues: Make sure the flapper is sealing, and there is enough water in the tank to flush properly. 

Don't:

  • Use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners: These can damage both the toilet's external surfaces and internal components, compromising functionality and aesthetics.

  • Treat your toilet like a garbage can: Even if items are labeled as “flushable,” there’s a good chance these items won’t disintegrate quickly, then lead to a blocked drainpipe.

  • Flush items like wipes, cotton balls, or feminine hygiene products: Simply put, these often cause clogs. Better to dispose of them in a trash bin.

  • Use an unreasonable amount of toilet paper: A toilet can handle a good amount of toilet paper, but the less you use, the more likely your toilet will remain clog-free.

  • Use your toilet as a stepping stool: This can cause your toilet lid to crack or break off.

  • Use chemical drain cleaners to unclog your toilet: While these chemicals can break down a clog, they can also disintegrate pipes, creating larger problems than they solve.

  • Be afraid to call an experienced plumber: If you have a serious plumbing issue, make the smart move and get a professional involved. 

How to Get Rid of Brown Stains in the Toilet Bowl

Toilet stains—especially those stubborn brown mineral deposits—can be unsightly and embarrassing. Here's how to tackle them effectively, and keep your toilet bowl as sparkling white as the day it was installed: 

Do:

  • Use vinegar and baking soda: Mix vinegar and baking soda to create a natural-yet-effective cleaning solution. Let it sit for a while before scrubbing the stains.

  • Use the right toilet bowl cleaner: Make the extra effort to buy a specifically formulated cleaner to remove stains and mineral deposits.

  • Deep clean your toilets regularly: Prevent stains in the first place by incorporating regular cleaning into your routine.

  • Scrub the bowl with a plastic toilet brush: This will loosen stubborn stains, both immediately and over time. 

Don't:

  • Use abrasive cleaners or brushes: These kinds of abrasives can scratch the porcelain, thereby making it more prone to staining.

  • Use bleach- or ammonia-based cleaners: Such cleaners react with other substances in the toilet and produce harmful fumes as a result.

  • Ignore stains: Because stains can lead to a buildup of mineral deposits, they will become more challenging to remove over time.

How to Enhance Your Toilet's Performance

A toilet tune-up can optimize your toilet's performance and extend its lifespan, ensuring it performs at its best. Here are a few tips for which items to check or replace, what to do, and what to avoid:

Do:

  • Check and adjust the water level: Scan the water level in the tank to ensure proper flushing.

  • Replace worn-out components: Flappers and fill valves must be intact to maintain efficient water flow.

 Don't:

  • Neglect tank components: A well-maintained tank ensures efficient flushing.

  • Over-tighten bolts or connections: This can lead to unnecessary cracks or leaks.

  • Attempt complex repairs or adjustments: If you're unsure about your plumbing issue's diagnosis or repair process, your attempted repair may cause further damage. 

5 Signs It’s Time to Call a Professional

While regular maintenance can prevent many issues, some problems require professional intervention. Here are five signs that it's time to call a plumber:

  1. Persistent Leaks 

If you notice persistent leaks (especially around the toilet base), it's time to call in professionals to identify and fix the problem.

  1. Unexplained Noises

Strange noises during and after flushing—such as phantom flushes—may indicate an issue that requires expert diagnosis.

  1. Persistent Clogs

If plunging doesn't resolve persistent clogs, a plumber can use specialized tools to clear the blockage without causing damage.

  1. Weak Flush

If your toilet is experiencing inconsistent or weak flushing despite adjustments to the flushing mechanism, call a plumber for the next steps.

  1. Unusual Odor 

You may need a professional if unusual noises or unpleasant odors emanate from the toilet that routine cleaning doesn’t resolve.

YES! Plumbing offers expert solutions for all your plumbing needs—including toilet repairs, installations, and maintenance services.

Water Conservation Tips 

Water conservation is important in plumbing maintenance, not just for environmental reasons. Efficient plumbing safeguards our water resources and contributes to reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills.

Do:

  • Install a dual-flush system: Consider upgrading to a dual-flush system to control water usage based on the type of waste.

  • Fix leaks promptly: Address leaks promptly to prevent water wastage that costs you and the environment.

Don’t:

  • Ignore running toilets: A running toilet wastes significant water without getting any closer to resolution. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How often do toilets need to be cleaned?

Toilets should be cleaned at least once a week to prevent the buildup of stains, grime, bacteria, and mineral deposits.

Does vinegar and baking soda clean toilets?

Yes. Vinegar and baking soda can be an effective and natural cleaning solution for toilets, especially for removing stains. Simply pour vinegar into the toilet bowl, sprinkle baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes, and scrub with a toilet brush.

Can a phantom flush be fixed without calling a plumber?

In some cases, a phantom flush (spontaneous flushing) may be caused by a faulty flapper or fill valve. You can try adjusting or replacing these components yourself, but if the problem persists, it's best to seek professional help.

Plumbing Services You Can Rely On

Maintaining a functional and clean toilet is a simple, yet crucial, aspect of home care. By following these dos and don'ts, you ensure the longevity of your toilet, prevent issues, and contribute to a healthier and more efficient plumbing system. Remember, regular maintenance and timely repairs can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

If you need immediate professional assistance with toilet or plumbing issues, our expert plumbers at Yes! are here to help. Peruse our website to learn more about our 24-hour emergency plumbing services and everyday plumbing solutions designed to help you avoid emergency toilet troubles. 


Call us at 844-216-9300 or get a free quote online to learn more about our plumbing services and solutions.

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Last Updated: May 24, 2024