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Black Rings in Your Toilet?

Post Date:10/23/2019

Bartlett’s Public Works Department has received some questions regarding black rings in residential toilets.

First, please be assured that Bartlett’s water is completely safe. The DuPage Water Commission (DWC) has advised the PW Department that it feeds phosphate into the water to help maintain water quality (inhibit corrosion, scale, biofilm, reduce lead and copper levels) in the distribution system. The phosphate acts as a nutrient, which can promote the growth of mold when it sits and is exposed to the air.  

A certain amount of mold spores are floating around the air in every home. One variety of black mold is very common in households. It is the mold you see in the edges of your tub or in your toilet. Typically, this mold is not dangerous if kept under control. Here are some tips for cleaning these toilet bowl rings. For more information, you also can visit the DWC website and see its Water FAQs,

1. Specialized Chemical Products - store-bought chemicals can aid in killing toilet tank mold, but many of these advertised products that specifically target mold are both expensive and harmful. If you do opt to purchase and use any of those options, follow all safety instructions included with your product. 

2. Old-fashioned Bleach - an alternative to the expensive products that are sold in the stores is to use bleach. Whereas chemical cleaners will eventually stop working since mold strains can build up a resistance, bleach will almost always kill toilet mold. Get a spray bottle and fill it 1/10 of the way with bleach. Fill the rest of the bottle with water. A 1:10 ratio of bleach to water is extremely efficient in ridding your toilet of mold. 

Add your bleach mix to the bowl, stir it around, and let it rest inside the bowl with the lid closed for approximately one hour. Alternatively, you can just flush the toilet to bring in a fresh water supply and immediately get to scrubbing the inside edges and areas affected by the mold with a toilet brush and your bleach mix. Next, add a cup of undiluted bleach to the tank and flush it. To maintain the toilet and prevent future mold, add a cup of bleach to the tank once every few weeks.

3. Vinegar and Baking Soda -  the procedure for cleaning toilet mold with vinegar is similar to the bleach method, but since vinegar is not as harsh as bleach, it does not need to be mixed with any water. Begin by adding 1 cup of a vinegar to the toilet bowl and 1 cup into the tank. Sprinkle baking soda inside the bowl and make sure to apply some to the underside of the rim. When the mixture begins to fizz, close the lid and let these sit for an hour. Then, just like with the bleach, use a toilet brush to scrub the inside. Wait 15 minutes after scrubbing, and then flush the toilet. Similarly, a cup of vinegar can be added to the tank every week or so as a preventative measure.