Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

How to clean a loo bowl with vinegar or "without chemicals" for the hard of thinking

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If you've got a bit of limescale in your loo bowl and you want a slightly sparklier version, try the following.

You will need
  • Gloves
  • Vinegar (I use distilled malt vinegar (clear in colour) from Sarson's, it's about 59p for 284ml but much cheaper stuff is available in bulk, I just get it from my local corner shop for convenience's sake).
  • Loo brush and / or old toothbrush (the plastic bit at the tip with the brush on is quite good for more stubborn limescale)
  • Cotton wool in strips, not the little balls but the stuff that is concertina-folded.
  • Small yoghourt pot type of vessel to remove water from the bowl (I use an old M&S container which had creme fraiche in it, and a smaller one which used to contain bicarbonate of soda).
  • Old sponge (optional, see point 3 below)
  • Bicarbonate of soda (optional, see point 6 - use for extra science fun)
  • Patience
The more limescale you have, the longer you'll need to leave it. For some areas you might need to do this process a couple of times or more.

1. Don your gloves
2. With the larger of the two 'vessels' start bailing out the water in the bowl. You need to get the water below its natural water line (as that's where the limescale will start to build up) and if your limescale is present further down the bowl then you'll need to use a smaller container to get rid of it.
3. If you want to get rid of the maximum amount of water, use an old sponge to soak it up from the bottom.
4. Take strips of cotton wool and soak them in vinegar - I just hold them over the open bottle and upend a few times in different bits so that some vinegar can spread onto the wool pad. They don't have to be absolutely sodden (it'll only trickle out) but enough that it soaks the whole pad. You can split a pad in half to reduce its thickness but they tend to break.
5. Place the vinegar-soaked pads onto the limescaled areas pressing down firmly.
6. If you've removed all the water from the bowl and want to get limescale off its bottom then you can just pour it in neat. At this point I sometimes add bicarbonate of soda because it fizzes. I don't think it really contributes that much, but it makes it feel a bit more sciencey. Don't add too much though or the fizzing might make you worry that your bowl's about to explode ;)
7. You'll end up with a loo bowl that looks a bit like Father Christmas with a wispy white beard all around it. Leave it for as long as possible. Anything less than an hour is probably a bit pointless - a few hours is fine, overnight is better.
8. Remove and discard all the cotton wool.
9. Before flushing use the loo brush and toothbrush to rub off some of the limescale. Some will come off easily, some will need to be chipped with the plastic tip of the toothbrush and some will be very resistant to your efforts and may need a second application.
10. Flush once or twice.
11. Admire your sparklier bowl.

1 comment:

  1. I've just noticed the accidental pun... "for convenience's sake" :D


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