Going With The Flow: Lowdown On Low Flow Toilets And Cleaning Them Green

Posted on: 5 January 2015

Going green has become a popular lifestyle trend in the world that is not only beneficial to the environment, but also to your health and wellness. From carrying reusable shopping bags to updating your home with natural materials, going green has never been easier.

Of course, certain updates may require periodic maintenance that agrees with your eco-friendly lifestyle. The addition of a low flow toilet offers incredible benefits, but using harsh chemicals to clean these plumbing fixtures only increases impact on the environment. Using this guide on low flow toilets, you will learn how to safely clean these green plumbing upgrades to avoid unnecessary plumbing repair.

The Low Down on Low Flow Toilets

Considering water conservation is key to eco-friendly living, a low flow toilet is a must-have for your green home. While standard toilets use 3.5 gallons of water with each flush, low flow models use a maximum of 1.6 gallons with each flush. Although not an extreme difference per flush, a family of four will save an average of 10,823 gallons per year.

While the savings are obvious, you may still be wondering about the working mechanisms of the low flow toilet. Depending on the specific make and model of your toilet, gravity or a vacuum removes the waste out of the bowl when flushing.  The overall appearance of a low flow toilet is similar to the traditional models, but the interior offers wider flapper valves and trapways for a more efficient movement of your waste.

With the unique design, low flow models can remove waste from your toilet bowl using less water.

Natural Cleaning

Conserving water is the reasoning behind this plumbing upgrade, but the lower levels of water may leave behind undesirable matter inside your toilet bowl. When cleaning your low flow toilets, focus your attention under the rim of the bowl.

Utilize a toilet bowl brush each time you clean to remove solid waste that may be hiding under the rim. Spend a few minutes scrubbing under your rim before adding one of the following cleansers:

Baking Soda

A staple in most pantries, baking soda is also an effective cleanser for your toilet. Considering the sodium bicarbonate creates carbonation when it encounters water, it is a safe option for dissolving waste and solid matter from inside your toilet bowl.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of baking soda directly into the bowl. Use the toilet brush and swish the baking soda around the bowl with the water. Be sure to clean under the rim of your toilet bowl, as well. Allow the baking soda and water to soak the interior of the bowl for 5 minutes before flushing to rinse.


To ensure your toilet is free from bacteria and viruses, add vinegar. This natural ingredient contains 5 percent acetic acids that are not only antibacterial, but also antiviral.

Clean your toilet bowl using the baking soda method, but add ½-cup white vinegar to the bowl.  After scrubbing with your toilet brush, rinse by flushing.


Due to the decreased amount of water inside your toilet bowl, you may develop light stains and discoloration on your white porcelain. Your first inclination may be to use bleach, but borax is a safer, healthier option for you, the environment, and your sewer system.

In a spray bottle, combine the following:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of borax
  • ½ cup of lemon juice

Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients before dousing the interior of your toilet bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes before using your brush to scrub the discolored area. Rinse the bowl by flushing your toilet.

From water conservation and added value to your home, low flow toilets are excellent investments for your home. Using this guide will protect your investment and reduce flushed toxins from cleaning your low flow toilets.