Lifting the lid on your toilet only to discover unidentifiable black particles in the water can be off-putting. What is it? Why is it there? Didn’t you just clean the toilet yesterday? All these questions more likely swim around your head as you peer into the toilet bowl and contemplate closing the lid and walking away.
If you’re like most people, you don’t enjoy looking into your toilet bowl, much less opening the tank to troubleshoot issues. No matter how clean your toilet is, there’s still the thought in the back of everyone’s minds of exactly what the toilet is used for. Unfortunately, in the case of black sediment in toilet bowl water, you’re going to have to dive a little deeper (pun intended) than you’d like to find out why it’s there and then fix the issue.
As you read below, you’ll discover that there are several reasons your toilet has black particles in the bowl or tank. Once you figure out which cause is your issue, you will be able to fix the problem using the helpful advice I’ve provided. Now, let’s not waste any more time and get to it, shall we?
- Identifying Black Sediment in Toilet Bowl
- 6 Causes of Black Particles in Toilet Water
- FAQs Black Particles In Toilet Water
- Why does black stuff keep growing in my toilet?
Identifying Black Sediment in Toilet Bowl
There are a couple of different types of black sediment that can occur in toilets: black particles in toilet bowl water and a black ring in the bowl at the water level. The two are different substances and call for very different fixes. Let me explain…
Black Particles In Toilet Bowl Water or Tank
If you notice black particles floating in the toilet bowl water or resting at the bottom of the bowl, there likely is a problem with the hardware inside the toilet tank or an issue with the water supply coming into your house. Depending on where you get your water from (city water or well water), you will need to contact the appropriate professional to fix the issue.
If, on the other hand, you determine that the sediment is caused by worn parts inside the toilet, you will need to replace the deteriorated parts to get rid of the black stuff in your toilet bowl water.
Black Ring In Toilet Bowl At Water Level
If you see a black ring around your toilet bowl at the water level, you have a mould problem. Mould thrives in dark, moist places, and your toilet bowl presents an ideal environment for mould growth, especially if you don’t clean it regularly.
Mould can also form at the top of the toilet bowl – just under the rim – where the water inlet holes are located. Again, this is a common issue, especially in toilets that don’t see a regular cleaning schedule or get used very often.
Now that I’ve identified the two types of black sediment that can occur in toilet bowls, let’s find out what causes them and how you can go about fixing the problem. The good news is that these resolutions are relatively easy, and you should be able to make the repairs yourself without the help of a trained professional.
6 Causes of Black Particles in Toilet Water
In this section, I’m going to identify the six main causes of black sediment in toilet bowl water and then give you simple solutions to get rid of the nasty black stuff. Keep in mind that for some of these fixes, you may need to get your hands dirty. Donning some gloves and safety glasses will greatly reduce your chances of coming in contact with anything gross or experiencing injury as you work.
1. Utility Company Problem
If you live in an area that receives city water, the black sediment you see in your toilet could be a problem on their end. The sediment may look like sand or grit sitting in the bottom of the bowl, and it may or may not be black.
The first thing to do is check to see if all of your home’s water sources are experiencing the same sediment issue or if the toilet is the only place you see the problem. Turn on each faucet in your house and use a cup to collect some water. If you see sediment in the bottom of the cup, it is likely a problem on your utility company’s end.
At this point, you should check with a couple of your neighbours to find out if they, too, are experiencing the same issue or not. If so, report the issue to your utility company so they can get the problem fixed right away. In the meantime, you may want to buy some bottled water for cooking and drinking until you receive notice from the utility company that the issue has been fixed.
2. Damaged Water Inlet Pipe
If, after talking to your neighbours, you discover that the issue is yours and yours alone, you may have a broken water pipe somewhere in your yard that is allowing sediment (soil) to flow into your home. The first thing you need to do is check to see if the sediment is coming from all water sources in your home.
Use several cups and take samples from each faucet in your home. Allow the cups to sit undisturbed for a couple of hours. If the water is cloudy or you observe sediment in the bottom of the cups, there is likely a damaged pipe somewhere along your home’s plumbing. You will need to contact a trained water leak specialist to find out where the issue lies.
3. Breakdown of Toilet Flush Valve Components
The working components inside your toilet tank are susceptible to wear and tear over time. These parts are often made of plastic or rubber, which can break down or disintegrate over time. Their deterioration might be speedier if you regularly use harsh cleaning chemicals such as chlorine tabs to keep your toilet clean.
If you find black stuff in your toilet bowl and notice the inner workings of your toilet tank are looking a bit worn, it’s possible that the flapper, washers, or gaskets have deteriorated, and the pieces are finding their way into your toilet bowl with each flush. The best solution for this is to head to your local hardware or home improvement store to purchase replacement parts. If your toilet is especially old, you may have a hard time finding the parts you need, in which case, replacing the flush system could be a better solution.
4. Rusty Pipe Particles
If you live in an older home, your plumbing is likely constructed of galvanized steel or iron. While these pipes are extremely durable, over time, the galvanized coating wears off and they begin to rust. The rusting pipes can cause discolouration in your water, especially in areas where water pools as it does in toilet bowls.
The rust inside the pipes can also flake off, resulting in the sediment you see in the bottom of your toilet. This is an annoying issue for sure, and you only have three choices to remedy the situation.
- Ignore the discolouration and sediment and buy bottled water for drinking and cooking
- Install a filter on your water supply and have your water tested periodically for safety, or
- Replace your home’s plumbing system, which can be costly, both in time and money
5. Excess Mineral Deposits
In areas where hard water is present (well water), you may notice a buildup of brown or black particles inside your toilet bowl. This is especially true if your water has high levels of manganese or iron. Hard water is simply water with high levels of minerals, and it isn’t much you can do about it other than install a filter to remove some of these minerals or install a water softener that will counteract the mineral buildup.
6. Black Mold In Toilet Tank
A lot of the time when people say they have black stuff in their toilets, it is black mould rather than sediment. Bathrooms make for the perfect environment for mould growth because they are warm, dimly lit, and humid. In a toilet that isn’t cleaned or used regularly, mould can take hold and thrive. It can even return time and time if the conditions are right.
To get rid of mould growth in your toilet tank, follow the steps below.
- Remove the tank lid and place it out of the way on a towel to avoid damage.
- Pour two cups of bleach or white vinegar into the tank and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
- Put on some rubber gloves that extend to your elbows and proceed to scrub the sides of the tank to remove the mould.
- Flush the toilet to get rid of the mould particles and repeat as necessary to completely eradicate the fungus.
If you notice mould growing in your toilet bowl, use bleach or white vinegar and a toilet scrub brush to remove it. Sticking to a regular cleaning schedule will help keep mould growth at bay.
Note: You can prevent mould growth in your bathroom by keeping the room as dry as possible. Install an exhaust fan that you turn on during and after you bathe to reduce the humidity and heat. Alternatively, you can also open a window during and after your shower to allow the moisture and heat to escape. The drier you keep your bathroom, the less likely you will have mould growing in your toilet or elsewhere in the room.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons you’re seeing black stuff in your toilet bowl. From worn toilet components and damaged or old plumbing to problems with your water supply and black mould, the issue isn’t as straightforward as one might think. The good news is that black sediment in toilet bowls is usually easy to resolve using the advice I’ve given above.
FAQs Black Particles In Toilet Water
Why does black stuff keep growing in my toilet?
The black stuff you see growing in your toilet water is likely black mould. This often happens in toilets that don’t get used or cleaned regularly. The best course of action is to first clean the toilet, and then take measures to reduce moisture and heat in your bathroom.
As a retired Master Plumber Jamie has over 30 years of hands-on experience, making his plumbing knowledge second to none. He has also worked on both residential and commercial HVAC installation and repair projects.