It’s pretty common for most toilets now to have siphon jets. They were introduced as a feature that helps keep your toilet bowl clean and empty after each flush.
So, given their role, it’s super important to ensure they are well maintained and clean. This is because if they stop working you’re going to have a toilet bowl that is still full, and stinking dirty even after you flush.
And nobody wants that. We’ve all been there before, stuck in a friend’s, or heaven forbid a new partner’s bathroom, double or triple panic-flushing just begging the toilet to finally flush.
If you want to save others from this embarrassing fate at your home, you need to learn exactly how these jets work, and how to clean them to prevent and fix any toilet clogging.
Luckily, in this article, I will go over everything that you need to know!
What’s A Siphon Jet?
There are typically two types of toilets. You have washdown toilets or siphonic. Siphonic jet toilets are really well designed.
The toilet trap is shaped a little bit like the letter ‘S’ or an inverted ‘P.’ One end of the system will connect to the plumbing of your home. The other end will be connected to the toilet bowl’s inlet.
The intention of this design is to force the contents of your toilet bowl through these tubes and into the drain.
They are designed specifically to have a rather big water surface. This results in the water levels usually being above the bowl’s outlet.
At the front of your siphonic toilet, there will be a siphon jet that enables extra water to flow when it flushes. There are also siphon jet holes (these are little holes underneath the rim of your toilet bowl.)
The siphon jets should always be directed towards the trap way so that when you do flush the toilet that extra water being held by the jets can be released via a vacuum.
When you pull down on the handle and flush the water will begin to flow quite forcefully. You’ll notice that the bowl actually starts to fill up at first, but don’t panic, because it then disappears quickly taking the contents of the bowl along with it.
Because the water flow is so strong in these toilets, it is very rare that you’ll have any remnants still floating in the bowl after a flush – it tends to take it all.
How Do You Know If Your Jet Is Clogged?
Though it may seem a little like stating the obvious but your toilet no longer flushing as well as it usually does is the biggest indicator that you’ve got a problem.
More often than not, that problem will be that your jets are clogged. The best way to check if it is your jets causing the issue is to monitor the water and how it flows when you flush the toilet.
If the water is just going straight down or starts to splutter once you’ve flushed, it’s probably your jets that are the issue.
More specifically, you’ve most likely blocked the jet or the small jet holes.
If the water is taking ages to drain compared to usual, this is also another strong indicator that the jets are clogged and cannot release the extra water at the correct pressure.
You’re going to want to try and identify this problem as quickly as possible as clogged jets are going to result in clogged toilets (see also ‘What Liquids Can You Use To Unclog A Toilet?‘).
Another problem to look out for is the dreaded calcium-mineral build-up as this can be a real clog causer. The build-up actually originates from the water in your toilet – this is called hard water.
The more that you flush, the more the particles of this hard water come and stick together. This can lead to a pretty large mineral deposit in your toilet that will certainly clog it.
With both clogged jets and build-up, ignoring the issues can cause your jets to deteriorate, so it’s important to constantly clean and maintain them or you’ll end up with a broken toilet.
Inspecting Your Jet
It’s vital that before you get to cleaning your jets that you first check their condition. You need to do this because you’ll need to actually know what you’re actually dealing with.
So first, double-check that the jets are actually clogged, then if they are check what it is that is clogging them. This will determine the best cleaning method.
Inspecting your jet, and the holes, is usually easiest with a mirror, preferably a small one so it will fit in the bowl. Check for any stains and spots and take note of their color.
If it’s between a dark/deep orange to black you’re dealing with bacteria. If it’s white, or a rusty color then it’s mineral deposits.
How Do You Clean Your Toilet Siphon Jet?
So, before we actually get straight into how to clean the toilet, you need to make sure that you have all of the following
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Toilet Brush (needs stiff nylon bristles)
- Baking Soda
- Hand Gloves
- Some Wire
Got it all? Good. Let’s get cleaning
If you leave bacteria to grow in your toilet you’re going to end up with a stained toilet, a very unpleasant smell, and at worst a nasty health issue or two.
So what can you do? Well, your toilet’s a breeding ground for bacteria so realistically you are never going to be able to keep it 100% bacteria-free.
Although, with that being said, proper cleaning using a decent cleaning solution will significantly decrease the bacteria in your toilet.
Keeping your toilet flushing correctly is also more important than you may think because it stops bacteria from being able to form as they cannot form when there is a sufficient flow of water.
So you want to kill the bacteria in your toilet? Well then, you’re going to need a strong detergent!
Other options such as bleach, and vinegar and baking soda work great too. Just try to avoid abrasive cleaners that tend to damage the porcelain.
Cleaning The Outside Of The Jets
Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning the outside of your siphon jets.
- When you come to clean your toilet, you need to make sure that the bowl has been completely emptied of water. Turn off the water valve and flush to get rid of any water.
- Grab your mirror and identify where needs the majority of your attention in terms of cleaning – where has the most bacteria/is the most clogged.
- Apply a good helping of the vinegar-baking powder paste to the affected area and leave for around thirty minutes, making sure the paste goes as deep into the jet as it can.
- When the thirty minutes have passed, give the jets a good scrub.
- Inspect the jets again with the mirror to see if the bacteria has been removed.
- Repeat the process until the jet is clean.
Cleaning The Inside Of The Jets
Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning the inside of your siphon jets. These need to be deeper cleaned than the outside jets.
- Drain the toilet bowl so that there is no water to expose the jets.
- Grab your wire brush and place it inside the jet and begin scraping the surface. Be very gentle so that you do not break the porcelain as it cracks easily.
- Now, place bleach or detergent around the rim of the toilet and leave it to sit for around 15 minutes.
- Using a toilet brush, clean underneath the rim.
- Repeat the process until clean.
If your area is well known for hard water then you won’t be a stranger to mineral deposits.
These can become really irritating because despite how often you may clean your toilet, they will continuously leave stains. Installing a water softener is an effective way to reduce these stains.
When it comes to cleaning mineral deposits out of your jets you can just follow the aforementioned cleaning process. However, just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.
Calcium build-up is a lot harder than a bacteria build-up making it more difficult to clean. The extra pressure you’ll use to try and clean it may break the porcelain of your toilet.
Fortunately, adding a little vinegar to your jets can make them a lot easier to clean. There are two different methods you choose to do this.
Method One: Vinegar Spray Bottle
As with all the methods, you need to turn off the water valve and flush to make sure there’s no water left.
- Boil about a cup of vinegar. Once it cools down, transfer it into a spray bottle.
- Spray the jets and all other affected areas with the vinegar and leave to sit for approximately 60 minutes.
- Wait for mineral deposits to start falling down the bowl.
- Take a wire/brush and scape the rest of the deposits. Do so gently.
- Repeat until clean.
Method Two: Duct Tape
As with all the methods, you need to turn off the water valve and flush to make sure there’s no water in the bowl.
- Give the bowl and the rims a thorough clean with the toilet brush.
- Cover the jets with duct tape.
- Fill the toilet tank with around a gallon of vinegar and flush.
- Then leave for around 60 minutes, maybe more, the vinegar should soak the jets with the duct tape working as a seal.
- Remove the duct tape and inspect the jets.
- Repeat process if needed.
- Using a brush, scrape off any remaining debris. Do so carefully.
- Once satisfied, turn the water valve back on and flush.
The more often you clean your toilet, the less likely you are to have bad smells and stains. Regular cleaning will also help to prevent clogs so it is worth the time it may take.
You should really be wiping down your toilet with bleach fairly often to minimize the threat of clogs and blocks.
A tablespoon of bleach every now and again in the overflow tube will also help with hard water and mineral deposits.
However, sometimes regardless of how well you try to prevent clogs, they still arise.
Hopefully, from reading this article, you are well equipped and prepared for when that happens and can reform your toilet back to sparkling clean in no time at all.