Unusual drain discoveries

Roto-Rooter released their five most unusual drainpipe discoveries in 2005. Just hope you don’t have these items waiting for you down the drain.

1. A Vicksburg, MS, crew found a live Civil War cannon shell believed to be from the 1861 siege of Vicksburg.
2. In Greensboro, NC, a crew had to rescue a cat from the sewer.
3. In Bloomington, IL, a plumber removed several GI Joes and Matchbox cars that a young boy sent down the toilet.
4. Police in Canada had a crew retrieve a large stash of drugs that a suspect had just flushed down the drain.
5. In Sacramento, CA, a crew had to pull from a business’ toilets a large number of miniature liquor bottles after an employee who had been drinking on the job flushed them down the toilet.

Suction-less plunger

April 2017 Update: The New Plunge seems to be discontinued and is no longer mentioned on the S&K Manufacturing website.

A plunger replacement hit the market in June. The New Plunge, by S&K Manufacturing, is a piece of straight, flexible plastic that fits into the toilet drain. According to a press release [expired link removed], the New Plunge is easier to clean and store than a traditional plunger.

S&K recommends the following techniques for the New Plunge:

1. Prior to flushing: New Plunge allows you to prevent your toilet from clogging by using the “slice-and-dice” method on waste so that the toilet will not clog.
2. After flushing: Use the New Plunge as you would a plunger.

Recent articles on bathroom design

The San Francisco Chronicle had five articles Wednesday on bathroom design:

* Big style in small baths
* Bathing beauties
* Is a big bathtub always necessary?
* Picking a shower can be a dirty task
* And our favorite, Finding the right toilet

The last article, as you might have guessed, offers a series of tips on matching a toilet to the style of your bathroom. Matching a bathroom’s style is probably the number one consideration in shopping for a new toilet and there are a large number of manufacturers that should make that task easy. There are also a number of special features available for toilets, from built in bidets to designs to fit into unique spaces.

If your bathroom is small, Eljer makes the Patriot; it comes with a triangular tank that tucks nicely into a corner of a room, thereby allowing a few more inches of clearance.

Another feature to consider when going toilet shopping is the “skirted” or concealed trapway style. By the nature of their design, Mansfield’s Americana, Toto’s Nexus, American Standard’s Calla II and Kohler’s San Raphael, to name a few styles, limit grime and dust build up along the sides of the bowl.

Among some related items new to the market is the no-flush wall urinal made by the Waterless Co. of Vista (San Diego County). Brondell, a San Francisco company, recently introduced its innovative bidet-style seat. The Swash, according to Brondell, fits on 95 percent of existing toilets. It is available at certain retail stores and on Home Depot’s Web site.

The ultimate cleaning practices of the Four Seasons

The cleaning staff of Boston’s Four Seasons Hotel share tips for a thorough cleaning.

Most of their equipment is basic: disinfectant, glass cleaner, rags, sponges, vacuum cleaner. But they add a few special touches: They wipe down the telephone with special disinfecting telephone wipes and sometimes use a grout brush to scrub the mouthpiece of the handset. In the bathroom, they’ll clean under the toilet bowl rim with Q-Tips and clean the shower head with a grout brush to get rid of soap scum.

Get out your Q-Tips and start scrubbing.

Out of the water closet

Bathroom design guru Barbara Sallick gives an interview to the L.A. Times on the current state of water closet style.

It’s taken a long time for people to start talking about the bath. It’s always been such a hush-hush subject. The bath used to be about hygiene. Now it’s about privacy and good health. Hotels have been phenomenal in promoting the bath as important. You never go in the living room except when you have company. The bath is every day. The things we use the most we should talk about and plan for.

Toilets with power

If you’re looking for a toilet that packs some power in every flush you need take a look at the Maximum Performance (PDF) test results. According to the study, “for sanitary reasons as well as for customer satisfaction, toilets should flush a minimum of approximately 250 grams of solids.”

And how was this tested? With fermented bean curd paste having a moisture content of 51.5%, a pH of 4.78 and extruded through a 7/8? diameter die, of course.

The toilet with the greatest flushing power was the Toto Drake (pictured above), knocking down 900 grams of bean curd.

More from The Detroit News: “Whoosh: Champion Toto toilet will flush from here to Kansas