Avoiding Mildew and Toilet Problems


Today's Natural Tip from the Natural One...

Mildew is a modern annoyance. With the advent of superinsulated homes and energy consciousness, mildew levels in our homes have increased. It is unsightly, smelly, and unhealthy. So, the simple question is, what can we do to kill it, stop it, and keep it away?

The first step is to attack the cause... high moisture levels in the air, condensing on cooler walls and ceilings! Open the windows when bathing. Leave the bathroom exhaust fan on for a while after bathing... don't turn it off immediately after you leave the room. Bad memory? No problem... install a timer on the switch so you don't have to remember to turn it off. Talk about high tech!

It is also helpful to use a squeegee... they actually now make them for bathrooms... to remove excess water from shower walls and doors. As a fringe benefit this practice will also decrease the amount of cleaning you will have to do.

You may find these simple new "habits" will lessen your mildew problem substantially. Visit the website for more on mildew control and solutions!

Now, on to today's question...

Dear NH,
I am a maintenance man for a property management company. One thing you missed in your section on repair of slow flushing toilets is the little holes under the toilet bowl rim. If these get plugged with calcite or "crud", you can clear the blockage by using a compass point, paper clip, or other solid, pointed object. Simply insert it into the holes, one by one, to open them up. Be aware that they are at a slight slant, but if you get them open, this simple fix may cure slow flushing problems.

Dear JF,
Thanks for your input. Yes, you're absolutely right! Blockage in the angled inlet holes around the underside of the toilet rim will indeed cause poor flushing for two reasons. First, the speed at which the water enters the tank is reduced, decreasing the siphoning effect that pulls the waste down. Second, there is a decrease in the swirling of the water, which gets everything floating and churning for a more thorough flush.

Your repair recommendation is also on the mark. Poking and prodding the holes will free up the crud and accumulated mineral deposits. I have one especially sad experience with this type of blockage.

Here's an anecdote. A woman had her toilet tank lined (by some other guy, I might add) with do-it-yourself Styrofoam panels. Apparently, she was also a big believer in the large chlorine-based tablets reputed to keep your bowl looking clean (but, of course, those of us in the business know what chlorine can do to rubber and plastics). The chlorine, however, had another agenda... it broke down the Styrofoam and little, ball bearing sized pieces filled up the inner rim of the toilet. Prognosis... dead toilet!

We appreciate the comments of people like you to keep us on track and to be as thorough and accurate as we can.

Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here NaturalHandyman.com/aitikia. For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links NaturalHandyman.com. If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page NaturalHandyman.com/Friends.

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