How to Clean Toilet Rim Jets (Safely, With Vinegar)

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. Therefore, 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.

clean toilet rim jets - diagram of toilet siphon jet holes
The toilet rim jets are different than the siphon jet. However, they work together to create an efficient swirling motion and flush.

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.

clean toilet rim jets - inset photo on toilet that shows dirty rim jet holes
Toilet rim jets are tiny and located under the rim where we can’t easily see them. When they can get clogged by calcium buildup (from hard water), they need to be cleaned to ensure an efficient flush.

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.

Cleaning Instructions

  1. Turn off the water supply shutoff valve under the toilet.
  2. Flush the tank to empty it.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Wait about 8 hours.
  6. Put on your rubber gloves and remove the plumber’s putty and paper towels from under the toilet bowl rim.
  7. 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.
  8. Turn the water supply valve back on and flush the toilet.
clean toilet rim jets - pour white vinegar into flush outlet tube in tank
Using a funnel can help you pour white vinegar into the tank’s outlet tube without splashing it everywhere. But don’t worry if you get some in the water tank. It won’t be a problem.

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.

clean toilet jet rims - pouring white vinegar into inlet tube of toilet tank
Place the end of your cut wire hanger into each hole. Move in and out and all around until you feel it has been cleaned of harder-to-dissolve debris.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, 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.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need help with any toilet repair, replacement, or new installation. 

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbingdrain, or water damage problem, including excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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