If your toilet has been flushing more slowly, it may be time for you to clean its rim jet holes. We have a safe alternative for unclogging them.
What are Toilet Rim Jets?
Toilet rim jets (also called siphon holes or rim holes) are literally tiny holes under the rim of your toilet bowl.
When you flush, water siphons down from the tank through the rim jet holes. This creates a swirling motion that adds to your toilet’s flushing power. The holes also help clean your toilet after every use.
Sometimes, the siphon holes get clogged. Less water swirling into the bowl means less flushing power. That’s why your toilet flushes more slowly and appears less clean.
PRO TIP: The toilet rim jets are different than the siphon jet, which is one larger hole at the bottom of the bowl. The siphon jet hole allows a larger rush of water to propel the swirling water from the rim jets down the drain.
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How Do Toilet Rim Jets Get Clogged?
The most common reason is hard water.
If your drinking glasses are cloudy or filmy, you probably live in an area with hard water, which contains dissolved minerals. The same mineral buildup you see on those glasses will build up on and clog the small rinse holes under the rim of your toilet bowl.
Dissolving those hard water minerals is a simple task.
What You Need to Clean Toilet Rim Jets
This solution for cleaning out the jet holes is easy. It only requires the following materials and tools:
- Paper towels
- Plumber’s putty
- 1 gallon of white vinegar
- Wire coat hanger
- Rubber gloves
- Cutting pliers (for the coat hanger)
- Mirror (optional)
How to Clean Toilet Rim Jets with White Vinegar
Before you get started, consider these two items.
- Is it really clogged rim jets that are slowing your flush? You can check this by pouring a 5-gallon bucket into your toilet bowl. Start slowly, then quickly add the rest. The toilet will flush on its own. If it does so slowly, then the problem is not your rim jets.
- Do you use hard water in your home? It’s likely if you’re not using a whole-house water softener. Most areas of the country supply hard water to residences. It leaves calcium buildup on your pipes and other fixtures, including glassware from your dishwasher. If you have hard water, it’s a clue that your toilet rim jets might be clogged.
- Turn off the water supply shutoff valve under the toilet.
- Flush the tank to empty it.
- Roll single sheets of paper towel into tight, half-inch-diameter rolls. Press the paper towel rolls up under the rim of the bowl and stick them there with plumber’s putty.
- Remove the tank cover, lift the stopper by the lift wire or chain, and pour a gallon of white vinegar down the flush valve outlet in the tank.
- Wait about 8 hours.
- Put on your rubber gloves and remove the plumber’s putty and paper towels from under the toilet bowl rim.
- Throw them away and wash your hands immediately. Although the white vinegar that poured out of the now clean toilet rim jet holes is natural, it is acidic enough to burn the skin if left there for too long.
- Turn the water supply valve back on and flush the toilet.
What if That Doesn’t Work?
Here’s one final instruction for how to clean toilet rim jets if the above did not solve the problem.
Use a tool like the cutting pliers to cut a 6-inch length from a wire coat hanger. Try cutting the wire hanger at an angle so the end you stick into the holes is pointy.
Work the wire hanger in and around each of the rinse holes to clear them. If you need to see what you’re doing, hold a mirror under the rim. This will be like how a dentist uses a mirror to look behind your teeth.
Once done cleaning out all the holes, flush again and you should be all set.
Making sure you have clean toilet rim jets is a simple process.
Though it takes time for the white vinegar to do its job, it’s a small price to pay for not having to replace your toilet with a costly new one.
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