December 6, 2023

We expect a toilet to flush clean with one push of the handle, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Too often waste and paper just lazily float around on top of the water. There are a number of possibilities that will prevent a toilet from flushing clean the first time; one of the causes is the use of drop-in-tank cleaning tablets. The problem is very aggravating, but the solution is simple.  So simple that  many people just can’t believe it will work until they see it first hand.

It was a professional plumber in Florida who first called my attention to the lazy flush problems caused by drop-in-tank cleaning tablets.  If a drop-in-tank tablet is placed just right in the tank, the water will hit it hard enough to over saturate the tablet .  When this happens, the water becomes “thick and heavy”. The trap in the toilet was designed to have clear water running over it at a calculated speed. Some of the tablets cause the water to get thick enough to slow the water rushing over the trap thus causing the siphon action to never fully develop. The formulations for the different tablets differ widely between manufacturers; some dissolve quickly and produce more gel than others.

The problem is worse with the 1.6 gal toilets because there is much less water than in the older toilets. But judging from the dozens of emails I’ve received, this is not just a problem for the newer 1.6 gal toilets. Quite a few people have emailed that their plumber declared their toilet needed to be replaced because it was old and worn out. After reading the Blue Goo story they were able to rescue their toilet by simply removing the drop-in-tank tablets of the color and flushing the toilet several times to clear out the residue.

So if you are suffering with a lazy flush where you are flushing two or three times to clear a toilet bowl, make sure you remove the in-tank tablet (regardless of its color) before you call a plumber for help. After removing the tablet, you may have to flush the toilet five or six times to restore a normal flush.

Be very careful with the tank lid when you open the tank; it is heavy. Place it on a soft surface where it can’t be knocked over. Once cracked or broken, it can’t be fixed.

There are alternates to the drop-in-tank cleaning tablets.  Look for products that are not submerged in the tank water.  

Kay Keating