Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Public Service Announcement: Beware the Spawn of Satan

What spawn of Satan you ask?


I know, I know ... the little blue toilet tablet cleaners LOOK innocent enough. I was lulled into a false sense of security when I bought mine a couple weeks ago.

Then it happened...

Three of our four toilets (yes, I really have that many -- bet YOU wish you got to scrub four toilets) started flushing weird. Slowly. Not clogged, exactly, but not always getting everything down and acting like they were sort of clogged.

At first we thought it might be our septic tank -- but why would ONE toilet still be working okay?

Today, I googled it to see if there was anything I could do. And I found this information:

1. If you use blue toilet cleaning tablets that create a blue coating on your toilet bowl, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find that these little guys are the cause of many toilet problems. When placed in your tank, they dissolve and settle on the bottom, changing the density of the water and preventing its normal flow. While it may seem impossible for such a small thing to create such a big problem, there is no end to the number of people who have found their toilet bowl cleaner to be the culprit! The way to fix this is to empty all the water out of your toilet's tank, using a sponge to soak up the remaining residue on the bottom. After this, let it fill back up and flush several times. This should get your toilet back to normal. Also, if your cleaning tablet attaches inside the bowl itself, chunks and large! particles of it may break off and clog inside the angled water inlet holes under the rim. The solution to this can be found in the next cause.

2. The toilet bowl is filled with water after flushing by means of small angled inlet holes under the rim. These holes commonly become clogged by the buildup of calcite and other mineral deposits over time. ... Fixing this problem is as simple as cleaning out the holes. Often, prodding them with something hard or sharp will do the trick. For more serious clogs, it might help to use white vinegar to dissolve the buildup.

And I started thinking about when our problems started ... a few days after I put those tablets in the tank.

So, this afternoon I put on my yellow latex gloves and, armed with a Brillo pad, white vinegar, a small mirror and an opened, heavy paperclip I attacked the potties. I turned off the water and emptied the tanks. I scrubbed all the yellow iron buildup and blue crap off the inside. The first three potties had no sign of the table left: the "public" potty, mine and DD's. But when I prodded the little holes under the rim of my toilet with my paperclip, it came back dark blue. And those holes didn't let any water out.

Yep. They were completely blocked by blue goo from the tablets.

I poked. I prodded. I flushed. I scrubbed. I COULD NOT GET THOSE HOLES UNPLUGGED.

I dumped a pile of vinegar and baking soda into the tank and moved on to the one toilet that was still functioning properly.

When I opened the tank, I discovered that most of the table was still in there. This is the potty least used by us, and clearly it was a blessing. I scooped out the blue goo (got it all over the freaking place) and scrubbed the tank. Flushed. Flushed. Flushed. Flushed ... until it ran clear and there was no more blue.

Went back and dumped vinegar and baking soda into the other two potties.

My hope is that if I keep treating them and poking with my paperclip and flushing, flushing, flushing (because, yeah, I love wasting water and power) they will clear out the blue goo that clogs them.

And I will never, never EVER use those blue toilet tablets again. You shouldn't either. You've been warned.


Maria Zannini said...

Don't they have unpleasant side-effects if the dogs drink from the bowl too?

I stopped using those things years ago. Pretty water, but definitely not worth the risk.

Marianne Arkins said...

Maria, we leave our toilet lids down (so no doggy water dish). I had a cat fall into a toilet once and from that moment on, never left a lid up. Have my family trained :-)

Brandy said...

We don't use those tablets and now I'm very glad that we don't. I keep ours scrubbed and occasionally drop a cup full of bleach into the tank. I'm with you on the seat being down. It is gross watching a pet drink out of the toilet bowl. Bleh.

Hope your toilets eventually unclog! Blessings!

Melissa McClone said...

We have cats who will drink from the toilets if the lids are left up so I have never used anything like this. Pretty glad now!

Sorry you had to go through this!

Tori Lennox said...

Yikes! I had no clue.