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How To Flush a Toilet Properly & Parts of a Toilet

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The Not So Secret Secret to Flushing a Toilet

The Not So Secret Secret to Flushing a Toilet

Have you Been Taught How to Flush a Toilet?

Have you ever been shown the proper way to flush a toilet? Sure flushing a toilet seems so simple and it appears that just about anyone can do it. Would you ever have thought that you were not flushing a toilet incorrectly or that there even was an incorrect way to flush a toilet?

In all the years I have been alive I have never heard or heard of anyone ever demonstrating the correct way to flush a toilet.

One thing that annoys me is when someone can’t flush a toilet properly. Have you ever heard someone attempting to press the toilet handle not once but twice? It is because they messed up the first time so they needed to press the handle a second time. It's really not that hard.

The Different Types of Toilet Handles

  • Front mount
    • Some toilets come with the handle on the front side of the tank. It is easy to access and depending on the model and manufacturer of the toilet this is where you will always find the handle.
  • Side mount
    • Side mounts seem to be the more common type and position of toilet handle. Again depending on the model and manufacturer you will always find their handles set up on the side of the toilet.
  • Push button
    • Push button toilets have gained popularity of the last 15 years or so. The push button will be found on the top of the tank and will offer you a choice of a small button for less flow of water and a larger button for a larger flow of water. The push buttons are built into the toilet tank. Some manufacturers have replaceable buttons where some do not. I have never personally seen a toilet push button that needed to be replaced.

Two Different Types of Handles

Side mount handle

Side mount handle

Push Button Type

Push Button Type

The Inside Workings of a Toilet Tank

  • Fill valve
    • A fill valve is where the water enters your toilet tank. the water supply line outside or the toilet brings the water to the toilet which then runs through the fill valve.

  • Overflow pipe
    • The overflow pipe is in the center of the tank. Have you ever had a toilet that kept running and you took the lid off finding that the water was flowing over the center tube? This is the main purpose of the overflow valve. This way the water has somewhere to escape instead of pouring out of the top of the tank and onto your floor.
  • Flush valve and Flapper
    • The flush valve is the bottom of the overflow tube which typically has the flapper attached to it.
    • The flapper is the important mechanical piece when it comes to flushing a toilet properly.
  • Refill tube
    • The refill tube spans between the fill valve and flush valve. The water runs into the fill valve then into the refill tube then in the flush valve so the tank will fill with water.
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Parts Inside the Tank

The inner workings of toilets can differ slightly however the mechanics are the same. The flapper must lift to allow water into the toilet bowl.

The inner workings of toilets can differ slightly however the mechanics are the same. The flapper must lift to allow water into the toilet bowl.

The Proper Way to Flush a Toilet

  • Flushing a toilet is so simple yet some people still struggle with the concept. I will explain it so that even a 4 year old will understand.
  • Whether you have a handle or a push button style flusher the concept is the same.
  • The Instructions You Have Been Waiting For.
    • When you press the handle lever down or push the button in “HOLD” the lever for a full second or slightly longer. If you are using a push button press the button in for a good second or slightly longer.
    • What you are trying to accomplish is to ensure the "flapper" which is located at the bottom of the toilet tank lifts enough that the water starts to escape the tank and start the flushing process in the toilet bowl.
    • by pressing the handle/button long enough you are allowing the flapper to lift and float upwards while the water flushes out.
    • If you don't press the button or handle long enough the flapper lifts slightly allowing a small amount of water to exit the tank but not enough to keep the process going.
    • Once the tank empties itself the flapper drops back into place allowing the tank to automatically refill.
  • There you have it. The instructions for flushing a toilet. Make sure you pass along this knowledge to someone who is having troubles understanding why they have to sometimes hit that toilet handle more than once to flush a toilet.

Instructional Video Showing How to Flush a Toilet

© 2017 Grant Handford


donna sophia on May 16, 2020:

I have dual flush. Maybe twice a day water would fill the tank for about 20 seconds. I figured I was doing something wrong, and flushing was all I did, so yesterday I tried holding the button down a little longer. I think it worked. Just happened to find this article, and crossing my fingers the random filling stops. Thanks

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 30, 2017:

Useful tips here and some people still need to know how to flush a toilet. You explained in detail.

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