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Information Connection: Toiletology 101


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The following is from the BASICS OF INDOOR PLUMBING page on Toiletology 101. I hope you can use it.
-- Kay Keating, kayk


The basics of toilet care and training, by Kay Keating, from Toiletology 101.

"Let's plunge in; flush out the facts and plumb the depths of toilet repairs. Almost everything you ever wanted to know about your toilets!  And some things you probably never knew you needed to know."

The very first thing you need to know in your pursuit of your "Bachelor of Toilets Degree" is how to turn off your water supply. The main water shutoff for single family homes is usually in the basement; most often on the wall facing the street, but that's not always the case. You need to explore your home and find it.

Once found, hang a tag on it so everyone in your household knows what it is and where it is. The MAIN SHUTOFF turns off all the water to your entire house; MAKE SURE IT WORKS. You will need it in an emergency AND/OR when you don't have an individual shutoff under fixtures. If the handle is hard to turn, apply a penetrating lubricant spray such as LPS-1 or WD-40 to the stem behind the handle. Give it time to soak in and then try to turn the valve by using pliers on the stem behind the handle.

I urge you to be careful with this valve, you need to be aware that if something breaks and the valve is turned on, you will have a mess on your hands very quickly. Better to have a professional take care of this valve. To repair this valve, the water supply must be turned off at the street and usually requires a special tool only available from the water company.

Need more information to keep your toilet problems from overflowing into the rest of your life? Click here: When you go to, you'll find comprehensive articles to get you up and going (ahem), again.

Some more thoughts about toilets (and bathrooms)

  • If you're the homeowner, look at the toilet valve. The traditional round-handled valve is failure-prone. Replace this valve with a ball valve that opens and closes by essentially flipping a lever. In fact, do this on all valves in your home starting with the washing machine valve.
  • If you have a guest bathroom, use that toilet at least once a week. Infrequent use of a toilet can result in all sorts of problems including mold in the tank. You can also get mold between the seat and the water line. Wipe down this area weekly.
  • Avoid using those nice little U rugs around the toilet. Why? Because people invariably get pee on the outside of the bowl. This might be barely noticeable, but it will migrate down and soak the rug from underneath. You should wipe down the entire toilet bowl assembly exterior once a week with a dry, soft cloth. Then wash that cloth with underpants rather than with dishtowels.
  • Don't use spray Lysol. In addition to being a fire risk, this is awfully hard on your lungs. You don't want to be dousing your bathroom towels and rugs with alcohol, and you don't want to be breathing it either. If bathroom odor is strong, that means there is a problem in your diet. Take this as a serious health warning sign. Replace grain with green, and that may solve it. Reduce or eliminate meat from your diet. See for good dietary advice. In the meantime, use the bathroom fan.
  • Dust regularly! Bathroom floors are typically linoleum. The dirt that's normally concealed in the carpeting of the rest of the house sits on top of the bathroom flooring. Ditto for hair and other material. Wipe it up with a damp cloth, preferably every other day.

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