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Fun Plumbing Myths and Facts


The world of plumbing is replete with myths that have been passed down from one generation to another. Some are pure myths that don’t even have a smidgen of truth in them, while some are outright lies. Then again, there are also things thought of as myths to scare people, but are actually true. Here are some of those fun plumbing myths and facts.

Making your bathroom fixtures shiny with hand soap

For some reason, some people believe that applying a bit of hand soap on bathroom fixtures can make them as shiny as they want them to be. Actually, the opposite is true: soap and water can corrode taps, showerheads and other metallic fixtures in your bathroom. This is one plumbing myth you should steer clear from.

The location in the hemisphere decides how water flushes

For some reason, we widely accept as fact that water flushes counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. This is borne out of the misunderstanding of the Coriolis Effect. The truth is, how water flushes depends on the shape of the sink, toilet, or drainage. The Coriolis effect has less to do with the way water flushes down a drain than with understanding storms, wind and other large-scale movements. To be honest, this is one myth that needs to be dispelled inside a classroom.

Lemons keep disposals from stinking up

Garbage disposal systems = unpleasant smells. There is this popular belief that putting lemons in it can keep it from stinking up. Sure, lemon always briefly freshens things up, but keep in mind that the citric acid in those lemons can have a corrosive effect on the disposal’s metal parts. To really keep your disposal fresh without damaging any of its components, chuck this myth, and use ice instead. Put in small chunks of ice into the disposal, let it rip, and all the scum stuck in the blades that is actually causing the stench will be efficiently removed. And no, ice doesn’t sharpen the disposal’s blades. That is just one big plumbing myth.

The flush toilet was invented by Thomas Crapper

This is one of those invention stories that you wish were true, but really isn’t. The aptly-named Thomas Crapper, a 19th century English plumber, did not invent the modern flush toilet. That honour belongs to a man named John Harrington, who installed a flushing closet for Queen Elizabeth I. The patent, however, was filed by a man named Alexander Cummings in 1975.

Vermin and snakes can crawl into your home through your drains

As sickening as the thought may be, vermin and even snakes can invade your home through your plumbing system. These creatures use plumbing systems that are rarely used because they are particular about the water interfering with their sneaking in. If you’ve seen those online pictures of a huge snake being pulled out of a toilet, then you have an idea what could be lurking underneath those pipes.


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