You're Probably Not Cleaning An Important Part Of Your Toilet

How many times a day do you flush a toilet? Ever think about how that all-important clean water swirling around to rinse the bowl gets in there? If you answered no, you're not alone. Unless the toilet doesn't seem to have the rinse velocity it once did, most people just flush and go on with their day. Are you now thinking, wait a minute, my toilet doesn't seem to rinse as well as it used to? There's likely a good reason for that.

Rim jets, flush holes, rinse holes, inlet holes — these are all names used interchangeably to describe the little outlets hiding under the toilet rim where the clean water comes out. They usually stay clean enough with a good brush scrubbing during regular upkeep. When they become clogged, however, the flow of clean water gets impeded. Don't worry, though, you can use a wire coat hanger or paper clip to clear out those little holes fairly easily and with little to no mess.

Cleaning rim jets with common household items

Several different things can be lurking under the rim of your toilet causing rim jets to get clogged and have diminished flushing power. Among them are mineral deposits and mold, both of which can cause the area under the rim of your toilet to look black. If you think you have mold build-up under your toilet rim, don't feel bad. This is an area that can easily be overlooked when using your toilet brush. If your home doesn't have a water softener and you live in an area known for hard water, mineral deposits can build up over time as well. Making sure that your inlet holes are clear of these obstructions will keep the clean water readily flowing in your toilet bowl.

To do this, it's helpful to clean under the rim as thoroughly as possible with white vinegar for mineral deposits and/or a bleach-based cleaner for mold before you begin to unclog the holes. If you're using a wire coat hanger, unwrap it at the neck and straighten out the crook that goes over the rod to form a straight wire. A large, unfolded paper clip can also work if you don't have a coat hanger. Keeping your rubber cleaning gloves on if you like, use a hand mirror to locate the rinse holes, then insert the wire into each one individually, moving it around until they're unclogged. Flush and repeat the process, if needed, until the holes are thoroughly clean.

More on unclogging extremely dirty rim jets

If you feel like your rinse holes are in need of further attention to get them thoroughly clean, you might decide to clean your jets from within using hot vinegar. This requires locating the overflow pipe, which is usually a white tube found within the toilet tank. You'll have to remove the tank lid to locate it.

Prepping for this task requires boiling a cup of vinegar on your stove or heating it in the microwave. Take care when transporting the hot liquid into the bathroom; it's helpful to a heat-proof measuring cup with a spout or a funnel. Carefully pour the liquid into the overflow pipe. Let it sit for an hour or so, then use an Allen wrench to loosen any remaining limestone on each jet. You may have to repeat the process of clearing out the holes with a wire to get them completely clean. Down the line, you can prevent future buildup by taking care to regularly tackle the area under the rim during your regular toilet cleaning. While many DIYers easily accomplish this task on their own, if it's just not your thing to tackle extensive toilet cleaning, you can always contact a plumber or cleaning pro in your area to assist you.