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cleaning toilets organically  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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First, I have to admit that when it comes to cleanliness, I am freaky tidy by some standards and an unacceptable slob by other standards.  I have always favored housemate situations and usually hire a housekeeper to come in and cover for me because I apparently cannot see the dirt that my housemates can see. 

When it comes to cleaning the toilet, my strategy has always been to spend fifteen seconds with a toilet scrubber once in a while.  That seems to always do the trick.  I never understood the notion of toilet cleaning gick.  But then, maybe others are cleaning away stuff and I never know.

I saw something on reddit today about spitting your toothpaste into the toilet and it will clean your toilet as well as toilet cleaners.  I just thought I would pass this on here:  http://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/comments/ef4po/frugalr_i_found_a_way_to_clean_toilets_cheap_spit/

 
jacque greenleaf
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Don't see why toothpaste wouldn't work. Personally, I use dish detergent. And, if there's a water ring, a bit of cleanser.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I use pickling vinegar or Bar Keepers friend.

 
                    
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I've heard of using effective microbes to clean anything around the house.  Actually improves the life at the end of the pipe rather than destroying it entirely. 

Especially helpful for people with living grey water systems or septic tanks they'd rather not pump every year. 

...........I'm going to say this only half-snarkily: 

Ya know what helps with toilet cleaning?  Getting rid of the porcelain throne entirely!  We squat over a hole cut in the floor of our outhouse.  I haven't cleaned a toilet in two years and I do NOT miss it. 

Also, squatting is the way our bowels are "supposed" to be emptied, according to some.  I certainly prefer it to the sitting posture that toilets dictate.  But anyway, back to the topic at hand. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Still -off topic!    You're right, Marina, the sitting posture is a very recent and "unnatural" one for humans (or anyone).  Squatting and crouching are more what humans are adapted to. 
 
jacque greenleaf
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"Ya know what helps with toilet cleaning?  Getting rid of the porcelain throne entirely! "

YOu said it!

Our winter quarters is a regular house in the southern california mountains. Our real place has very makeshift housing, and a sawdust bucket. I much prefer the bucket!
 
Burra Maluca
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I'll concur with the sawdust bucket instead of the porcelain throne - for some reason they just don't need the same level of cleaning.  Rinse and brush, tip water on heap, rinse again.  I don't even use soap and they seem to come up like new each time. 
 
Travis Philp
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For cleaning the toilet here I use vinegar and baking soda. It's effective, non-toxic, cheap, and about as fun as you can make such a task.

We do also have a humanure outhouse-bucket system but I'm not hard core enough to use it during a Canadian winter.
 
Brenda Groth
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white vinegar generally works well for most toilet messes..for some you might need something stronger.
 
Ran Prieur
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For rock-hard rings of mineral deposits, I've had great success scrubbing with a pumice stone.
 
                            
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OT---My vote is for the outie. It has distinct advantages. I can answer the phone when it rings and no one ever hears me flush, there's none of what I imagine to be that aerosolized water, bacteria and... stuff that occurs as a result of flushing. I never have to worry about the pipes freezing or paying the water bill... or the septic backing up. If you drop something you shouldn't, I imagine it would be pretty easy to reobtain (haven't had this happen... yet).
There's room for a crowd (poodles of course!), the view is better.

Back when I was still civilized, I liked to use vinegar, except that I had to be careful as if I inhaled the fumes it makes me wheeze. My next favorite thing to you (not very permaculturistic) was denture tabs.
 
                            
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Hey, I admit it!  I'd rather have the porcelin throne!  Rather chilly in the winter to be dropping my drawers outside, and my knees aren't what they used to be.
White vinegar is my choice for cleaning, just a couple quick sprays every few days.  Going to whiz in a bucket for the compost pile, but not til it warms up a bit.  I think I have a spare toilet seat around here somewhere....plenty of 5 gallon buckets so I'll be good to go.
 
                                    
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Has anyone tried using bio-char to scrub down the bowl? Charcoal used to be used as a tooth paste by the Romans (along with mint flavored pumice powder). The bio-char should cut down on smell and speed up composting for the humanure people as well. I use a thunder mug myself and with well water that is more red than clear, mineral build up has become a real problem. I just thought of using bio-char a couple of minuets ago and wonted to see if anyone had tried it yet...
 
Frank Turrentine
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They should resurrect the WPA and give all us rural folks a brand new WPA two-seater like they did when dad was a kid.

Seriously though, I've been wondering about this stuff. At the farm I generally take a leak outside - in fact I always take a leak outside. But for everything else it's all going directly into the septic tank, and I can only imagine that the Comet cleaner and the fact that we're not yet recycling our greywater is all combining to do a number on the system and the surrounding earth. Dad buys Tide detergent as well. I chuckled when I read that it's "safe" for septic systems. I can't believe that's true.

I think the vinegar and baking soda solution sounds effective enough, since we're both bachelors and don't entertain folks out on the river. I'd be fine with an outhouse or a composting toilet. I'm not sure if dad could get up and down with one of those; he can barely walk across the room.

This entire forum is such a wonderful thing.
 
Frank Turrentine
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I still don't get the whole two-seater bit though. I mean, that's what I always hated about jail. There are just some things that cry out for alone time.

Dad's aunts used to go through the Sears Roebuck catalog and tear out all the pages with women's undergarments before they'd allow the paper to be used in the outhouse. No, seriously.
 
Frank Turrentine
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The company I work for manufactures heavy-duty soap for printers and mechanics. I'm the sales department. It is a non-solvent, heavy-duty hand cleaner that is highly effective for getting anything off your hands that isn't just absolutely tattooed on the skin. We talk about how "green" it is, and compared to the stuff that was widely available back in the 70s when it was formulated, it really is. It's also highly effective against poison oak and poison ivy and any kind of urushiol toxicity. But it's far from green. The reason it is effective against the plant oils - from what I understand anyway - is that it has spermacide in it - nonoxynol-9 or something like that. We also make an "organic" hand scrub that uses granulated corn-cob instead of the poly-bead scrubbers employed in the regular soap. But the organic contains traces of formaldehyde used to keep the corn-cob from developing mold or fungus. I sometimes think I'm part of the real problem and that I should quit my job. I'm not kidding. I dream of being able to pay whatever incidental bills may arise at the farm by selling surplus produce and clover hay, and that is my fantasy now.

All that aside, we manufacture and sell a holding tank treatment for RV's and boats. It's microbe-based and should be good for septic tanks as well. But I'm now wondering what sort of Franken-bugs are actually in it and what the long-term effects are on the system and the land-base generally. I've poured it down the toilet a few times at the farm, but not on any regular basis. And I don't imagine it's any worse than the bleaches and detergents already going down the drain at the farm and elsewhere in the area. Not to mention that Parker County, Texas has a great deal of fracking going on, though not close to us. Yet.
 
Shelly Randall
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I use a squirt bottle of vinegar for the outside and wipe it down with toilet paper which I flush; for the inside, I use backing soda for the scrub value; I do not like spending much time on this odious chore....hey that reminds me...it's about time to do it again.
 
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