Why does my toilet hate poop?
February 26, 2012 1:13 PM   Subscribe

I have a rather...sticky situation happening in the bathroom regarding poop and my new toilet. Please help before I die of embarassment!

I feel so weird even asking this, but here goes.

I moved into a new apartment a few weeks back. I have been having issues regarding poop not flushing in both of my toilets. The issue is not that the poop is too big, rather, it gets stuck to the bowl and the water pressure doesn't force it down when I flush. Even if the poop in question does finally make it into the water after repeated flushing, there is almost always a shit-smear left on the bowl afterwards. This is gross and embarrassing for obvious reasons. There have even been a few occasions where I have had to get a wad of tissue and kind of shove the, erm, turd down so that it would flush. Ew.

I went out and bought one of those toilet wands with the disposable cleaning ends and have to scrub the bowl every time I poop. This is less than ideal, but I'd be horrified if someone dropped by for a visit and saw my brown-smeared toilet bowl. Also, if I don't clean it every single time, it smells. Gawd, this is almost too awful to type.

Other relevant info (since this is anonymous):

- I don't think this is a problem with my actual poop, since it's never been an issue before.
- The issue happens with both toilets at my place, but never anywhere else.
- I have tried sitting further back, for lack of a better description, but apparently the physics of my butt dictate that some poop will always get stuck to the front of the bowl.
- I considered using some sort of....poop ramp? that would ensure my poop lands in the water, but the idea of cleaning and storing such a devise grossed me out.

Is there any solution that I'm not thinking of? I'd rather not call up my new landlord and ask them to replace my toilets. I'd also prefer not to have a poopy brush in my bathroom at all times, and the disposables are pricey (and wasteful). I'm a rather clean lady, and this new development is dampening my enjoyment of an otherwise perfect new house.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (30 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Do you know if the toilets are low flow toilets? We had to replace ours for a similar reason. We bought a Champion and it's great.
posted by Calzephyr at 1:19 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

One thing that may make this worse is if there's limescale on the bowl. Too much of that, and the shininess of the bowl's gone and things stick to it more easily. So maybe try using a bleach or other cleaner on it which kills limescale.
posted by ambrosen at 1:21 PM on February 26, 2012

I am not sure you understand the functioning of a toilet bowl brush. It is used to loosen grime of all kinds from the toilet, which is then flushed with the brush held in the bowl. This serves to rinse the brush. If you get a toilet bowl brush like this, and the interior is plastic, you can also store it in a light mixture of water and bleach and the brush is entirely covered.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:23 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

This is not a long term solution, but you can fill up a bucket with a gallon or two of water and pour it directly into the toilet and it will flush automatically, and probably more forcefully. Which would at least solve the poop-brush problem for the meantime.
posted by geegollygosh at 1:24 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

My stupid low flow toilet does this too. Basically no water makes it to the front of the bowl at all.
posted by fshgrl at 1:26 PM on February 26, 2012

Here is my strategy for smear-free pooping:

Tear off two or three short strips of toilet paper. I'd estimate about 3 squares long each. Lay of them horizontally across the front of the toilet bowl, one just above the other (not on top, but higher up the bowl), with the first strip touching the edge of the water. In other words, lay them perpendicularly to the tip-to-tank axis of the bowl. I hope this is making sense.

Commence pooping.

Flush. The paper underneath the poop will help the flushing water slide it into the lowest part of the bowl and out of the toilet. Since poop never comes in contact with bowl, no streaks. Well, as long as your aim is good.


(Wow, I can't believe I'm admitting this.)
posted by pecanpies at 1:29 PM on February 26, 2012 [15 favorites]

You might try taking a few squares of toilet paper and laying them out on the surface of the water in the area you are aiming for so that the bowl interacts primarily with the paper as a poop/bowl interface. It also handily solves the issue of splashback
posted by Blasdelb at 1:32 PM on February 26, 2012

It seems that your own embarrassment feels overwhelming right now, but I'd thing that any fix you give to this problem should be ideally permanent and for all people using the toilets - imagine how mortified a guest would be having a poop situation in your bathroom?
posted by TheGoodBlood at 2:06 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Whoops, should say "lay each of them..." up there. What can I say - all this poop-talk makes me skittish.)
posted by pecanpies at 2:08 PM on February 26, 2012

Take the lid off the tank and have a look inside. Is there anything in there other than the necessary workings of the toilet? Sometimes people put filler material (e.g. bricks) in there to conserve water. Sometimes that makes the toilet bad at flushing.

If you do decide to get the landlady to replace it, get one of the newer ones that goes WHOOOOOOSH! rather than the standard twirly-water kind. It's like living on a totally poop-free airplane!
posted by Sys Rq at 2:30 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Folks, maybe linking to comedy routines not so helpful? Answer the question & tell the jokes to your cats. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:35 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

First, to answer your question: DarlingBri is right. This is the purpose of a toilet bowl brush. They are ubiquitous over here in Europe for that very reason. You rinse them when you flush, and if it makes you feel better, or if the odor is a problem, spray them with disinfecting cleaner afterwards. This is much less wasteful than putting extra TP in the toilet each time you have a bowel movement.

You can even get one that looks somewhat like a potted plant.

Be thankful you don't have a German toilet (note: not for squeamish people with vivid imaginations). You find a lot of these in the Netherlands, too, so perhaps "Germanic toilet" is a better name.
posted by brianogilvie at 2:49 PM on February 26, 2012 [8 favorites]

Nth-ing the paper in the water first method. Flushing ASAP might help too.
posted by just sayin at 2:57 PM on February 26, 2012

I have always found a second flush to be effective. I, uh..courtesy flush..before wiping, so the TP in the bowl for the second flush helps to clean up any remaining...tracks.
posted by wierdo at 3:05 PM on February 26, 2012

Definitely keep a brush there for guests, at the very least.

I think the toilet paper lining pre-arrangement advice is sound. I'd also keep a spray bottle of bleach solution there to squirt on the brush after you've rinsed it in the bowl.

Would it help to have a plastic pitcher handy, or maybe a squeeze bottle? Then you can manually rinse streaks off with water from the sink?

Low flow toilets are a scourge. Definitely check in the tank and make sure there aren't bricks in there.
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:18 PM on February 26, 2012

When you flush the toilet, just hold the handle down until everything flushes. Water should keep flowing as long as it's held down. It won't be that much once you use up the reserve in the tank but it should enough to get the job done. If you're still having trouble, lift up the tank lid and see if there's anyway to adjust the fill level in the tank.
posted by stray thoughts at 3:46 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a similar problem with my toilet, but it's just a matter of holding the lever down thoroughly. The counterweight must be too heavy or something.

I also use a chlorine+bromine+detergent block in my tank, this quickly ushers the streakage away on subsequent flushes.

Seconding checking the back of the tank for filler objects, this is the "easy" route to a low flow toilet.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 3:51 PM on February 26, 2012

Haha, I've also noticed this problem since moving to Germany (see german toilet link above). I use the toilet paper layer technique. Maybe it's a liitle wasteful, but probably less so than flushing three times before giving up and having to use the toilet brush in the end.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 4:03 PM on February 26, 2012

Your landlord probably installed "low-flow" toilets because they got some kind of rebate/incentive. Or they could just be cheap toilets. I'd call and see if they will replace them - my mom got her old landlord to do this. Remind them that it's cheaper than getting a plumber. Don't be embarrassed, just be matter-of-fact.

In the meantime, I recommend flushing once after the initial "deposit" and then flush the toilet paper separately.
posted by radioamy at 4:14 PM on February 26, 2012

Sys Rq is leading you in the right direction. Some tanks fill using a float as the cut-off for the water supply and can be adjusted to fill the tank more thus giving you a bigger, better more satisfying flush.
posted by snsranch at 4:19 PM on February 26, 2012

If you are a slow pooper, you could do a 'mercy flush'. That is, flushing when halfway done.
posted by annsunny at 4:21 PM on February 26, 2012

Turn the cistern tap off, and take the lid off the cistern. Do this after you have used the 'full flush'.

How much water is left? There should be no water above the level of the outlet. If there is, the flushing mechanism needs adjusting.

Turn the tap back on, and watch the cistern re-fill - does it fully fill?. Can you adjust it to increase the amount of water available for the flush?

If the flushing mechanism is working as it should, and the cistern is fully filling, ask for a replacement.
posted by GeeEmm at 7:43 PM on February 26, 2012

> One thing that may make this worse is if there's limescale on the bowl. Too much of that, and the shininess of the bowl's gone and things stick to it more easily. So maybe try using a bleach or other cleaner on it which kills limescale.

If this is indeed a contributing factor, you can try treating the inside of the toilet bowl with Rain-X (yes, the stuff for your car windshield) after you get the limescale removed.
posted by desuetude at 8:01 PM on February 26, 2012

You can look on the toilet for something that tells you how low-flow it is, usually something like "1.6 gpf" or "6 lpf" (gallons or liters per flush). There have been some great super-low-flow toilets, but there have been some duds too.
posted by slidell at 8:55 PM on February 26, 2012

I was thinking you could wax the toilet bowl with car wax but the Rain X would probably work better. Don't tell the cats but I Rain X'd their litter pan so stuff wouldn't stick to the plastic bottom. Worked a treat!
posted by MultiFaceted at 9:14 PM on February 26, 2012

You need to have a toilet brush. Just think about the guests. Are you going to tell them to use secret ninja crouching techniques or go heavy on the paper? No, you are not going to instruct them in any way. You need to give them an easy, discreet way to get rid of the smears when they appear.
posted by Orchestra at 12:10 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait, you don't want to own a toilet brush? Is that even a thing? I'd always seen them as sort of integral to the whole toilet scene, as essential as toilet paper and a wash basin.
posted by dontjumplarry at 2:53 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

do your low flow toilets not have two flush options? Low flow toilets are really common in Australia (water is a scarce resource here) and they have a light flush and a full (power) flush for erm... more solid deposits.
posted by titanium_geek at 2:58 AM on February 27, 2012

This used to happen to my ex; his toilet had very low water levels inside the bowl, making it impossible to take a sit-down and have the sit-down go down without assistance. He didn't even clean the damn bowl, reason #eleventy-five we are not together. I ended up making a poop deck of tp, or just holding until I got home to my superior facilities.

[I don't think the OP is saying she doesn't want to have a brush at all, just that she doesn't want one that's been, erm, dirtied up just hanging out in the bathroom. Cleaning it helps.]
posted by sm1tten at 6:09 AM on February 27, 2012

If it is a low flow toilet have you checked if it is dual flush, they have a more powerful flush for more errr solid needs. If not try holding the handle down?

Also clean everything with a toilet cleaner that gets rid of limescale and really make sure there is no limescale build up slowing water flow down, there is a really cheap brand, the name of which escapes me, that is great for this. Make sure that their is nothing wrong with the flushing mechanism you might not be getting a full tank flush if some of the water is leaking out between flushes or if the tank isn't filling up all the way.

Otherwise try the methods discussed above.
posted by wwax at 12:22 PM on February 27, 2012

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