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Beware plumbing hack that can cause more damage than it solves

Not all home tips are as good as they may appear to be

The internet is rife with lifestyle hacks that can save you money, make things easier or just enhance your life in some way but are they all as useful as they claim to be?

Plumbing is no exception; there are lots of handy tips out there to help unblock toilets, keep drains flowing and prevent nasty smells. Some are great; using household products like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clear slow flowing drains, for example, but caution is advised as not all are as good as they may appear to be.

One such hack has recently surfaced, with lots of people adopting it. However, a number of plumbers have come forward to warn against it as you could be harming your plumbing rather than helping it.

There are a couple of variations on the latest tip that’s doing the rounds to keep your toilet clean and smelling fresh without having to scrub it every day. The hack is to pour laundry detergent or washing up liquid into the cistern of the toilet. This means that the cleaning liquid will flow into the toilet bowl with every flush making it smell nice and keeping it clean. But beware, because this can actually damage your toilet and cause a much bigger issue than having to clean it.

Plumbers are warning that only products specifically manufactured for toilets should ever be used on a toilet, especially in the inner workings of the appliance. Detergents such as these contain chemicals; laundry detergent leaves a film on clothes to make them feel softer and washing up liquid contains salt which can be corrosive.

People adopting the hack are signing its praises because it’s leaving their toilets smelling fresh but they may only experience an issue months or even years down the line as these substances build up slowly over time and can damage the moving parts within the toilet system.

Don’t take ‘handy hacks’ at face value

Some hacks do work well so how do you know which ones to try? We would advise that you have a look around online and just do a bit of due diligence before pouring anything into your plumbing system or anything else that could cause issues. You can generally bet that if a hack has gone viral, chances are there are people out there offering their opinion on its effectiveness. Don’t necessarily go by the people who have done it (as with this one, it could take a while for any harmful outcomes to be experienced) but listen to the experts in that field, in this case plumbers. Years of experience mean that we understand how these things work and why they might seem great at first but could be storing up trouble for the future.

How can you keep your toilet smelling fresh?

If you are looking for something that will keep your toilet fresh that won’t damage the system I’m afraid we don’t have any lifestyle hacks as such, just old fashioned professional advice. Standard cleaning will obviously help and you can use regular cleaning products that are designed to be used in a toilet (bleach, toilet gel etc). If you find that, despite regular cleaning, your toilet is still smelly it may be an indication that there is an issue further down the system and this needs dealing with, not disguising. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is call in a plumber as they will be able to investigate and deal with the issue properly.

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