You’ve answered nature’s call, and now it is time to hang up. You flush and… oh, but what is that? *Audible gasp* Is your toilet water actually brown?
Before the inevitable “Ewww!” ensues, and you make a mental calculation of all the cleaning detergents you used and the money you spent, you need to remind yourself to stay calm. Our experience says it’s probably not what you think it is.
Why Is My Toilet Water Brown All of a Sudden?
There are many reasons for your toilet water to change colors. The most obvious reason is that there is probably some rust in your flushing system. The formation of rust is inevitable in places where water and metal objects collide.
However, does the toilet water have to stay brown? Of course not! Let’s take a look at some very simple measures you can take to get rid of the rust in your toilet.
What Causes Brown Water in Toilets?
Even though most of it is durable plastic, there are many metal parts in your flushing system, such as coils, metal handles, and bolts, to name a few. All metal parts are vulnerable to oxidation as they are in constant contact with water, which is what creates rust. With time, the rust accumulated in your toilet’s tank starts to show up in your toilet bowl.
Moreover, if the water in your area is on the harder side, another reason for brown water might be the minerals that are building up in your toilet system. Hard water is a notorious enemy of the toilet system, as it might also cause a clog in your pipes or the holes in the toilet bowl. Check out this article that explains what hard water is and whether you have it in your city by zip code.
How to Fix Brown Toilet Water
The first step to fixing brown toilet water is to discover what causes the problem in the first place. The first course of action should be to find out what was causing the rust to begin with. Is it the rusty pieces? Or is your problem something bigger?
Lift the lid of your toilet tank and take a look at the water on the bottom. If the water looks dirty and there are lumps at the bottom of your tank, then there is rust somewhere in your draining system.
Do a thorough check of the rest of the parts of your toilet and decide on your next course of action.
Replace Parts of Your Toilet
Check inside the toilet tank for signs of discolored metal objects, such as coils, bolts, and nuts that are used to connect pieces of the flushing mechanism. Although small, these objects might be causing the brown water in your toilet.
Rust occurs as a result of steel being constantly exposed to water and oxygen. The acidic electrolytes of the water corrode the iron particles in the steel and, as a result, you start seeing orange-brown residue.
Unfortunately, there’s no salvaging a rusty metal! Replacing them with new ones should eliminate your rust problem.
Hard Water Might Be Hard on Your Toilet
In the case of iron buildup due to hard water, you should deep clean your toilet. There are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing the right detergent for the job. However, if you want to avoid harsh chemicals, be mindful of the environment, and don’t break the bank, your good ol’ friend vinegar can do the cleaning just as well.
Vinegar is a great source of natural acid that can help dissolve build-up minerals as well as rust. Opting for white vinegar, which is higher in acid and less odorous, is an ideal option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money and risk exposure to chemicals.
After turning down the valve next to your toilet to block water from coming in, hold the flush lever to flush away the remaining water in your toilet tank. Then fill up your tank with distilled white vinegar, making sure you’re not putting more liquid than you should into your toilet by being mindful of the water line sign (WL) engraved on the valve or the tank. After filling your tank with vinegar, you may let it sit for a few hours. Flush away all the vinegar and observe whether your water is still brown.
Pro tip: Slice a lemon in half, make sure that there are no seeds in it and drop it into your toilet tank. Not only does lemon help fight the rust, but it will also make your toilet smell nicer when you flush. Plus, the porcelain will look so much shinier! After a couple of days, you can fish it out of your tank and enjoy your spotless, rust-free toilet!
The Most Dreaded Part of Every Toilet Problem: Is It the Pipes?
There is more to the toilet than meets the eye. Oh, that intricate web of pipes behind the toilet: the plumbing system! Toilets are not the only thing that gets dirty and/or dated – there are the pipes behind the walls too.
However, the fact that they’re hidden out of sight means that you can’t be sure whether or not they are the cause of your toilet water turning brown. One way to check this is to observe whether other faucets or showers in your house have the same problem or check for rust stains in your laundry.
A temporary way to get rid of this problem would be to opt for salt-based water softeners or chloride for thorough cleaning of the water reserve. Unfortunately, using these may end up being costly and they might be a temporary fix. If the problem is with the pipes, then you would be left with no choice but to replace them.
Still, if you want a short-term fix, check out this video that explains how to use chloride and water softeners to shock your water reserve.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask For Help
If you can’t solve your problem with any of the steps mentioned above then it is time for you to call in a professional. Don’t hesitate when it comes down to asking for the help of a plumber. Even though you may think it is costly, don’t forget that what they offer is a permanent solution that will save you time and money in the long run!
In this case, the plumber will come in with a camera to look through the pipes to check for any extremities. This device is called a snake because it can fit in very narrow spaces to peek at what’s going on inside our pipes.
Over and Out!
Let’s say you flushed and saw that your toilet water was brown. Coming across brown water shouldn’t worry you! It is not like the barbarians you sent out of the gate are staging a coup trying to come back! It could be a number of things that have nothing to do with what the color brown might remind you of. Don’t fret and observe what might be going on with the mechanism behind your toilet and take the necessary steps to solve the problem.