I'm not a hater, I just flush a lot.
February 10, 2006 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Erm... I have an issue with some "residue" in the toilet bowl after flushing. I'm looking for insight as to why it's happening, and how other people deal with it.

So I've never had this problem before, but I've moved to a new apartment and in with my boyfriend, I'm not sure which to blame. But you get the drill... I clean the toilet, and within 24 hours there are remnants of bm below the water line in the bowl. I guess I'm not really sure how to take care of it without doing a full-out bowl cleaning basically every day.

I'm used to cleaning the bowl and it remaining that way, no smears of this or that, until the next cleaning. I'm getting frustrated because my just-cleaned bathroom will, within 24 hours, become something I wouldn't show company, and that's an issue for me.

Are some toilet bowls maybe rougher and more likely to gather "marks" while being flushed? Are some feces more likely to leave streaks than others?

I've been to peoples houses where they have a toilet brush at the ready beside the bowl, and it confuses me. It seems kind of gross to have something that was just touching feces to be hanging out beside the toilet like it's a decoration. Do people wash them off before putting them in their nifty stands? Is the whole point of these things that they can be used whenever streaks occur? Or are they usually for the once a week thing? I don't understand them and never have, but am wondering if it was specifically made to address this particular problem.

I've heard of clorox (or someone) coming out with cleaning supplies containing Teflon... Is this a job for that stuff?
posted by FortyT-wo to Home & Garden (25 answers total)
I use the toilet brush, and then flush with the brush still in the toilet as to cleanse it some.
posted by mr.dan at 12:34 AM on February 10, 2006

I use Scotch-Brite's disposable toilet scrubbers. They're clean, easy to use, and they get the job done. Best of all, the handle has a release button so I can throw away the icky scrubber without ever touching it. They're non-flushable, but then again I wouldn't trust the scouring power of any sponge that's designed to easily break down.
posted by invisible ink at 12:42 AM on February 10, 2006

We have these disposable scrubbers in the UK which are flushable - even if you have a septic system. I don't know if you can get them in the States.

I'm pretty sure that the toilet brush by the bowl is to use whenever streaks occur.
posted by teleskiving at 1:29 AM on February 10, 2006

Best answer: As with mr.dan - the loo brush is used after the initial flush, once it becomes apparent that there is a smear. Quick scrub and another flush - holding the brush in the torrent of water - and then return to the brush holder.
Note that the brush holder should be an enclosed cylindrical container which has a covered lid. All of the ones I've ever seen/used have had a small quantity of (possibly diluted?) bleach in the bottom in order to try and maintain an aspect of sanitariness.

Regarding the part of the question about the "smeariness" of faeces - I think that the answer is yes; some float, some sink, depending on the amount of fatty foods consumed. I presume that the fatty residue in them will cause an element of streaking, and possibly waterproofing.

Delightful stuff - and just in time for a greasy breakfast bap! :-)
posted by Chunder at 1:43 AM on February 10, 2006

I buy a drop in thing (I think the brand is Clorox but I don't remember) and it has some kind of silicone coating it puts on the bowl, supposedly. All I know is it works great.
posted by konolia at 4:58 AM on February 10, 2006

Best answer: Your feces will do all kinds of things, as Chunder mentions above, but the quality of the porcelain makes a difference as well. Over time and often with some cleaning abuse, the porcelain can become rough and pitted, which allows the feces to adhere more easily. It's a pain in the ass if you have this problem, but short of getting a new toilet and/or changing your diet, there's not much you can do about it but clean your toilet every day.
posted by ashbury at 5:58 AM on February 10, 2006

Two things:

1. Are you sure it's poo remnants you're seeing? I ask because some places have very hard water which can leave rust-colored stains in the toilet and you mentioned you just moved to this apartment. My house definitely has this problem - I scrub once a week with a little CLR and it solves the problem.

2. If you're certain it's a poo-issue, your toilet may be a water-saver type and you're just not getting enough water pressure to wash everything away. There are plenty of places online you can find instructions for adjusting your toilet to allow more water per flush.

(And also, I definitely recommend the cleaning disk you drop in the tank - 2000 Flushes is a popular brand you can buy at your local grocery/drug store. The cleansers prevent build up of uh, organic matter on the side of the toilet bowl and if you buy a blue or purple one the color may mask any poo-remnants.)
posted by peppermint22 at 7:55 AM on February 10, 2006

If this happens, after I flush the toilet and the bulk of water and waste has left the bowl but the toilet is still in the process of flushing I wipe offending spot with toilet paper and drop it in time to still be flushed.

This way you only flush once, and if you use a couple of squares of paper your hand won't touch anything you don't want it to, and you're going to wash your hands afterwards anyway. And no need to buy useless/wasteful gadgets.
posted by skinnydipp at 8:00 AM on February 10, 2006

No need to get anal.
As long as it is in the toilet, it is where it belongs.
I think most guests will forgive your streaks.
I say just keep the lid down.

Disposable scrubbers generate more waste and drop-in cleaners pollute our water with harsh chemicals (silicone?! teflon?!).
posted by zonkout at 8:02 AM on February 10, 2006

I've never been bothered by streaks from the ole' mud crayon... Just flush, and while the water is low, take a few swipes with some toilet paper. When all is well, just flush the toilet paper
posted by davey_darling at 8:15 AM on February 10, 2006

drink more water!
posted by chrisroberts at 8:17 AM on February 10, 2006

For the record, these things are called skidmarks.
posted by alms at 8:32 AM on February 10, 2006

peppermint22 writes "I definitely recommend the cleaning disk you drop in the tank"

Don't use these if there is any chance of pets or toddlers being around the toilet.
posted by Mitheral at 8:39 AM on February 10, 2006

The water in the bowl will loosen it after a while and then you can flush it away.
posted by brujita at 8:48 AM on February 10, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the replies guys!

I'd rather not go with the disposable options because I'd be going through several a week. I also have a cat, and while I hope he's not drinking the water (for obvious reasons) I suppose I'd better not use the bowl tablets.

These are definitely poo-related, and not hard water related... I can clean my bathroom, and that very same day, after the love of my life uses it, the offending leftovers are there. The toilet brush may be my best option. I never knew they had bleach inside, that makes them seem less gross.

alms, I never knew that phrase applied to things outside tighty-whities, thanks for increasing my word power!
posted by FortyT-wo at 9:30 AM on February 10, 2006

Sounds to me as if there is some blockage in either the bowl or the connection to the stack. This has happened to me before, resulting in incomplete flushes. My solution was to use a plunger, add some chemical (sani-flush or equivalent) to as empty a bowl as you can get, let it sit 30 minutes, flush again, use the plunger again.
posted by Neiltupper at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2006

Believe it or not -- I am having the same exact problem, and was considering asking about it at MeFi.

I recently moved into a new house -- and since I've never had this problem in the past, I would have to agree it has a lot to do with the quality of the toliet/porcelain. Our toliet seems to be ultra-compact in size because of a small bathroom, which I assume is also a factor.

Anyway, thanks for asking about this -- you're not the only one with poo on the brain, er, toilet. ;)
posted by jca at 10:01 AM on February 10, 2006

I just generally put a layer of toilet paper in the bowl before proceeding with the business at hand. It takes a little practice figuring out the laying pattern to use a minimal amount, but when it's done right, you have an effective poo/toilet boundary with no muss, no fuss and no streaks.
posted by Moondoggie at 10:22 AM on February 10, 2006

Is the apartment, toilet or bathroom new? If it has a low-flush toilet (6L) instead of a less efficient one (13L), that might explain it. Recent building codes in some areas require 6L tanks to save water.
posted by acoutu at 11:00 AM on February 10, 2006

I never knew they had bleach inside, that makes them seem less gross.

I've never seen one that came with bleah included, and I've bought a lot of toilet brushes and stands. The idea is that you add a little bit of bleach and water after you buy it.
posted by digitalis at 12:32 PM on February 10, 2006

If the offending area (OA) is above the waterline, post-flush, just lay some TP over it. Water will wick up into the TP and be in contact with the OA. Later on, perhaps after the next pee, flush the toilet and often the porcelain will no longer offend.
posted by kaymac at 1:38 PM on February 10, 2006

Just as a data point: I once asked Armitage Shanks (British toilet makers) why they didn't make teflon-coated bowls to avoid these kinds of issues, and they said that it's impossible for them to admit shit sticks. They couldn't advertise it, so why do it?

We're stuck with victorian-era toilet technology because of victorian-era prudishness.
posted by bonaldi at 2:38 PM on February 10, 2006

It actually sounds like your toilet has a weak flush. Check the tank to see if it's filling up all the way.
posted by snsranch at 4:35 PM on February 10, 2006

I've got three toilets in my house. One of them (the main one) remains `residue' free, the other two need cleaning every time I use them.

I think it's about the shape and quality of the bowl. The primary toilet is slightly bigger and .. uh.. matter doesn't strike the side of the bowl as it falls into the water.
posted by tomble at 5:20 PM on February 10, 2006

I had a problem which sounds similar with something 'growing' in the bowl. A spash of Chloron in the tank a few time a day for several days and regular cleaning killed it.
posted by JamesMessick at 7:02 PM on February 10, 2006

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