The Biggest Mistakes Everyone Makes With Their Toilet

In most people's minds, toilets are a pretty straight forward appliances. They're easy to use and don't have any complicated buttons or switches. For that reason, toilets don't always get the TLC they deserve. In fact, you may even be doing things that can impact your toilet's function, cleanliness, and overall longevity. For example, some of your cleaning habits may actually be causing more harm than good, or you may be flushing items that can cause damage to your plumbing. 

Not only can these mistakes become an inconvenience, but some of them could even end up costing you money. Luckily, these mistakes don't mean the end of the world. Once you identify these issues, you can work towards correcting them to ensure that your toilet looks good, stays clean, and functions properly for many years to come. Keep reading to learn about some of the biggest mistakes people make with their toilets.

Flushable wipes aren't your toilet's friend

Flushable wipes have become commonplace in homes across the United States. In 2023, the market for these wipes was valued at more than $2.5 million, and that number is expected to grow over the next several years. But while many people see flushable wipes as a great addition to their bathroom routine, it might be time to consider some alternatives.

The reality is that flushable wipes actually aren't flushable. These wipes are commonly made with Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is a synthetic material that prevents the wipes from breaking down quickly when flushed. As a result, the wipes remain in one piece when flushed and can damage your plumbing over time. However, if you feel like regular old toilet paper just doesn't get the job done, you may want to consider using toilet paper spray or installing a bidet on your toilet. Both of these options will leave you feeling squeaky clean without putting your plumbing system at risk.

Drain cleaners and toilets don't mix

Dealing with a clogged toilet can be incredibly frustrating. So frustrating that you may be tempted to fix the problem by pouring drain cleaning liquid into your toilet. Unfortunately, however, that could end up being a very costly mistake. While these products can be very effective, they are only meant to be used in showers/tubs and sinks.

Liquid drain cleaners often contain alkaline chemicals such as potassium hydroxide and sodium that produce heat in order to help break down hair and other common things that cause clogs. Although these chemicals are helpful for clearing clogs, they can crack your toilet's porcelain due to the heat they produce. When your toilet is clogged, consider opting for non-chemical methods such as using a plunger or a plumbing snake. If the clog is too stubborn, you may want to consider calling a professional to help fix the issue.

Too much toilet paper could mean plumbing problems

Toilet paper was specifically made to break down within minutes. However, that doesn't mean that you should overdo it. For instance, attempting to flush ⅓ of a roll of toilet paper at one time could lead to some unpleasant consequences. Despite toilet paper's ability to dissolve quickly, it can still result in a clogged toilet. This is particularly true for older plumbing systems where pipes may have already accumulated build-up. If your pipes do become clogged and/or damaged, it could lead to expensive repairs.

According to experts, you should use no more than 10 sheets of toilet paper at a time. You may also want to consider adding a bidet to your toilet as using it before flushing will result in having to use less toilet paper. 

Weekly cleanings are a must

The bathroom is one of the germiest rooms in everyone's home, so it goes without saying that it needs to be cleaned frequently. However, making sure your bathroom is clean involves more than just scrubbing the bathtub, mopping the floors, and cleaning the counters. Properly cleaning your toilet is something that experts recommend doing on a weekly basis. Going too long without cleaning your toilet won't just leave you with stains, it could also impact your health due to the potential for mold growth and the fact that flushing your toilet sends bacteria out into the air.

To clean your toilet correctly, you not only need to scrub the inside of the bowl, but you also need to clean on and under the seat. It's also important to remember to clean the base of your toilet to remove dirt and grime. In addition to scrubbing the bowl with your toilet brush, experts also recommend using a pumice stone (on a stick) to scrub away rust and other stains.

Your toilet brush needs love, too!

Now that it's been established that weekly toilet cleanings are a must, it's time to talk about how to take care of your toilet brush. While cleaning this item may have never crossed your mind, you're about to find out why it's important. According to Becky Rapinchuk, founder of the company Clean Mama, constantly using a dirty toilet brush means that your toilet won't get a thorough clean. It could also mean that you're spreading germs around the bowl instead of getting rid of them.

To clean your toilet brush, Rapinchuk suggests flushing the toilet a few times with the brush head in the toilet. It's important to do this immediately after cleaning your toilet. Then spray the brush with hydrogen peroxide and let it dry before putting it back in its older. Even though it's likely true that cleaning a toilet brush isn't most people's idea of a good time, the good news is that this method doesn't require you to touch anything yucky.

Toilet placement matters

If you're thinking about designing (or redesigning) a bathroom now or in the future, where you put the toilet is something you'll definitely want to consider. While this may seem like a somewhat innocuous decision, toilet placement is important. On top of impacting the overall aesthetic of your bathroom, where you put your toilet can also affect its functionality and your ability to keep it clean.

If possible, position your toilet so that it is facing a door or wall as opposed to a fixture. Keep in mind, however, that you want to avoid positioning your toilet so that it's the first thing you see when looking in the bathroom. If possible, ensure that your toilet is at least 15 inches away from walls or fixtures. Being mindful of where you position your toilet will give you the best experience when using your porcelain throne.

Righty tighty - but not too tight

Anyone who has ever had to tighten a bolt or a screw has likely heard the phrase "righty tighty; lefty loosey" to indicate which direction you need to turn to tighten or loosen something. While this adage may be true, it's not always as cut and dry as it seems, and that's something you'll want to remember when repairing your toilet or installing a new one.

Overtightening your toilet's nuts or bolts could crack the porcelain, which could ultimately result in a leak and an expensive repair. To avoid this problem, simply tighten until you start to feel resistance. If you start to hear a grinding sound, you should stop immediately, as this could mean that the metal from the bolt and the porcelain are rubbing together. You should also sit on the toilet to make sure that it is securely attached to the floor.

A minor leak could mean major trouble

A leaky toilet may not seem like a big deal, especially if you aren't seeing lots of water accumulate. However, a leak is something you should never ignore – no matter how small it may seem. As mentioned previously, a leak in your toilet could mean you'll have to shell out some money on a repair, but it could also lead to other unpleasant things.

A leak from your toilet could lead to water damage in your bathroom and other parts of your home. The constant leaking could also cause your water bill to increase. On top of that, water leaking from your toilet could lead to the growth of mold, which can be seriously harmful to your health. According to the CDC, exposure to mold can result in allergy-like symptoms, including eye and skin irritation and wheezing. People suffering from certain conditions, such as asthma, may experience these symptoms more intensely.

Those blue cleaning tabs tablets could be bad news

Is adding one of those blue cleaning tablets to your toilet tank part of your regular bathroom cleaning routine? If the answer is yes, it might change after reading this. While those cleaning pods claim to keep your toilet fresh while adding a visually appealing blue tint to the water in the bowl, experts note that they may actually cause long-term damage to your toilet.

These pods are full of chemicals that can corrode various parts of the toilet tank, including gaskets and the flush valve. For those who have pets who like to drink out of the toilet, adding these pods to your water could impact your fur baby's health. Instead of relying on these pods, you may want to consider using eco-friendly options to keep your toilet fresh, such as baking soda and vinegar. Also, remember that cleaning your toilet at least once a week will help keep it fresh.

Are you using the right plunger?

There's nothing worse than using the bathroom and flushing the toilet only to realize that you've clogged it. If you're lucky, you'll have a plunger nearby – but will it be the right one for the job? If your plunger somewhat resembles an upside-down bowl on a stick, the answer, unfortunately, is no. The plungers that you're likely used to seeing are called cup plungers and are meant to be used on sink, tub, and floor drains. Due to their design, they don't work as well on toilets.

A plunger with a flange is your best option for unclogging your toilet because the flange helps create a strong seal to allow for stronger suction. If you don't already have one of these plungers, the good news is that they aren't hard to find and can be found at most hardware/home improvement stores. Once you're done, don't forget to clean your toilet plunger!