A Complete Step-by-Step Guide: How To Clean Toilet Siphons

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It’s not the most glamorous of topics, but toilet siphons definitely need some love and care every now and then. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the toilet siphon jet until it becomes clogged and starts overflowing. Here is a guide on how to clean toilet siphons.

A toilet siphon jet is an important part of a toilet’s plumbing system. This component helps to remove waste from the toilet bowl and send it down the drain. It is important to keep it clean and free of any debris to ensure proper functionality.

In this blog post, we’re going to show you how to clean a toilet siphon jet using three different methods! We’ll also take a look at how to maintain your toilet siphon for optimal performance. So whether your toilet is starting to back up or you just want to make sure it’s always sparkling clean, keep reading for all the tips and tricks you need!

What Is A Toilet Siphon

A toilet generally has an s-curve at the base where the drain section starts and the siphon sit just before this curve. The purpose of the siphon is to shoot water over the s-curve creating pressure and a vacuum forcing the water and the waste over the s-curve down through the drain until everything is flushed away.

Once the toilet bowl is empty air enters the s-curve and the vacuum is filled, the water then fills the space again and the toilet is ready for another flush.

Toilet jets are essentially available in two different types.

Siphon Jets

One hole is situated in front of the trapway at the base of the toilet bowl directing the waste and water through the drainpipe.

Rim Jets

Rim jets typically have 6 to 8 small holes, evenly spaced out under the rim of the toilet. The jets shoot water out simultaneously forcing the waste and water down the drain.

Why Do The Jets Get Blocked Or Clogged

A photo of a white ceramic toilet bowl in the process of washing it off

If you are in the process of cleaning the jets then it can be very helpful to know what is actually causing the problem. Knowing what is blocking the jets can make it easier to decide how to approach the cleaning process. There are a couple of ways the jets can get clogged.

The most common factor when it comes to jet blockages is mineral build-up. If you live in an area where the water is hard then over time mineral deposits will build up in the jets and clog them. Sometimes water coming into our homes has dirt and debris that can also block the jets.

Most of us don’t open our toilet tanks to see what is going on but if you have a metal component rusting inside then this could potentially cause the jets to get blocked over a given period of time.

Also Read: How to Clean Toilet Tank Mold

How to Clean the Toilet Siphon with Vinegar

Cleaning toilet - A woman cleans a bathroom toilet with a scrub brush.

There is a misconception when it comes to using vinegar to clean fixtures in the bathroom or the kitchen for that matter. A lot of people believe that once the vinegar is applied to anything the smell will be very difficult to eliminate, however, the truth is that the smell of vinegar disappears almost immediately once it is wiped away.

Required Material

1. Turn Off the Water Supply

The first port of call for any job within the toilet is turning the water off from the valve that sits behind the toilet. Once the water is turned off, flush the toilet to empty the toilet tank.

2. Check the Toilet Tank

This is the perfect opportunity to clean the tank. Get a sponge and some dishwashing liquid to clean the inside of the tank, ensuring you get into all the corners and inspect the components to check if they are all in good working order.

Rinse the inside of the tank with water and flush the toilet to drain the water from the tank. Use a rag or an old towel to wipe the tank dry.

3. Inspect the Jets

Use the mirror and a small torch or your mobile phone light to check the extent of the blockage. If need be try using the sharp skewer try and dislodge the trapped debris.

If you have green or orange tints around the holes then this is an indication that bacteria is growing through the jet holes. Not to worry we will clean this mess up in no time.

4. Use the Duct Tape

Make sure to wipe any water away from the jets or siphon and dry it properly. Close the holes with duct tape making sure the holes are sealed for the time being.

We intend to hold the vinegar solution over the holes for as long as possible to eat through any mineral build-up, so it is essential that all the holes are covered with duct tape properly.

5. Clean the Toilet Tank

Over time dirt, grime, and mineral deposits build up in the tank which flows through the outlet valve into the bowl through the siphons eventually blocking them.

Pour half a cup of baking soda into the tank, spraying it all over, and then add a cup of distilled white vinegar. The solution will immediately start to fizz. Use a brush to cover the entire tank with the solution and leave for an hour or two allowing the mixture to do what it does best.

6. Clean the Siphon Jets

Hold the outlet valve open and pour one cup of baking soda and then pour 3 cups of white vinegar. This mixture will flow down and try to exit through the siphons. Let the solution sit in the siphon jets that are covered with duct tape for an hour or two to break down the grime and limescale build-up.

7. Remove Duct Tape

After the solution has been sitting in the siphons for a couple of hours you can remove the duct tape. It is advisable to wear protective gloves for this part. A lot of the gunk will flow out when you move the duct tape however, you will need a hard brush to scrub the more stubborn and hardened mineral build-up.

A knitting needle or something of a similar shape, even a long piece of thick metal wire can be used to push debris out of the siphon holes while scrubbing.

8. Flush the System

The jets should be clean and ready to be rinsed. Turn the water supply back on and while the tank is filling up, use an abrasive pad to scrub the inside of the tank removing any dirt or grime.

Once the tank is full, flush the toilet a few times to run the loose debris through the system.

How to Clean the Toilet Siphon with Muriatic Acid

You can be forgiven if you have never heard of Muriatic acid. It is essentially a toilet cleaner that has hydrochloric acid as an ingredient. It is typically very good at removing limescale and grime build-up extremely fast however it is toxic and not only bad for you but not good for the environment either.

If you still want to use Muriatic acid then follow all the steps above and replace the baking soda and vinegar with the Muriatic acid. You will only need to leave the solution to sit in the siphons for approximately 10-15 minutes before removing the duct tape.

Ensure to wear protective gloves, goggles, and a mask, and leave the doors and windows open to ventilate the fumes.

How to Remove Bacteria Around the Toilet Siphon Jets

Bacteria build-up around the siphon jets may not have alarm bells going off in your head. The reality is if this bacteria is left to multiply it is not only unhygienic but it can cause your toilet siphons to eventually block.

This results in a weak flush which means the waste is unable to flush down in a single flush and you end up using more water, and if left for a long period it can drive your water bill up as a side effect.

Simply follow the steps we have mentioned above. Additionally, mix a spray bottle with one part vinegar, one part dishwashing liquid, and three parts water. Throw some baking soda over the siphons and spray the area with the mixture. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then scrub the siphon holes with a brush and clean the holes out with a metal wire or knitting needle.

You may need to repeat this process a few times to ensure all the bacteria have been eliminated. Once the area is clean, flush the toilet a couple of times.

FAQS Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between siphon jets and rim jets?

They essentially fulfill the same purpose of riding the toilet of waste. A siphon jet sits at the bottom of the toilet bowl and shoots water out of a single hole over the s-curve and dragging everything with it. Rim jets sit at the top of the toilet bowl under the rim and typically there are 6-8 jets that push water into the bowl.

What are bathroom siphons?

Bathroom siphons are essentially small holes through which the water enters the toilet bowl. They sit under the rim of the toilet bowl and if not cleaned can get blocked.

How do I know when to clean my toilet siphon?

Generally, you will notice that not enough water is flowing into the toilet bowl and the waste is not completely flushing down the drain like it used to. Another indication is when you flush the toilet the water flows straight down instead of going down in a spiral motion.

Do I need to clean my toilet tank?

Toilet tanks typically get ignored when it comes to all things toilet. The fact is that they are extremely important and inspecting the toilet tank once in a while will eliminate any nasty and expensive surprises.

That being said you should clean the toilet tank once every 5-6 months depending on how hard the water in your area is.

Does every toilet have a siphon jet?

The simple answer is yes. The rim of the toilet holds 6-8 holes that jettison water out over the siphon or there may be just one jet that sits towards the base of the toilet.


The siphon jets are hidden away under the rim or at the base of the toilet bowl so they are not usually on the cleaning schedule. Over time hard water clogs up the holes and eventually, the amount of water coming through the jet reduces resulting in a weakened flush.

Cleaning the jets is essential for a powerful flush to eliminate waste and water.

We covered what a siphon is, how it works, and a few great ways to clean toilet siphons to restore the jets to their former glory.