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Old 08-12-2016, 02:07 PM   #1
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Muriatic Acid to clean toilet

We would like to clean lime/scale build up in our electric toilet system. Can we use muriatic acid if we have a stainless steel holding tank?


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Old 08-12-2016, 02:44 PM   #2
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Good question and I look forward to the answer.
My neighbors and I have plastic tanks and this acid works well. Curious about the SS tank.
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Old 08-12-2016, 02:51 PM   #3
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We would like to clean lime/scale build up in our electric toilet system. Can we use muriatic acid if we have a stainless steel holding tank?
Yes...but SewClean Sew Clean | TRAC Ecological is a better choice (Raritan private labels it as "C.H. Cleans Hoses.") It'll clean out your head discharge hose too--which, if your bowl is scaly, also have to be even more scaly--It's more expensive than muriatic acid, but a lot safe to handle, plus it's also enviro-friendly. I checked prices including Amazon...Defender at $51.xx is right in there with the lowest, but check with HoPCar...he may be able to do better.

About your tank. Fwiw, urine is so corrosive that the average life of any metal waste tank, even 316 SS, is only about 10 years. They typically start to leak at a weld--seam or fitting within about 5 years as the bottom and sides are gradually turning into a colander... ..and it doesn't matter whether you flush with fresh or salt, what tank product you use, or how often you pump out and rinse out and rinse out. I'm not suggesting that you need to replace it before it can leak, only that you keep a close eye--and your NOSE--on it. The early leaks aren't catastrophic, but the first leak is always be ONLY the first leak...so when it occurs, repairing it will only buy you a little time before you have another one...and another one. I knew one houseboat owner who'd repaired so many leaks in his aluminum tank that he'd just about replaced all the metal with JB Weld!

Meanwhile, neither muriatic acid or Sew Clean will have any negative impact on it or any other tank material, but this would be a good time to thoroughly flush it out...which should be done to all tanks 2-3 x season to eliminate sludge buildup.
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Old 08-12-2016, 03:57 PM   #4
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Thanks HM, but isn't muriatic acid really very corrosive to SS?


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Old 08-12-2016, 04:48 PM   #5
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It does attack metal, but any consequential damage from the recommended 10-12% dilution would require very frequent use and still would take a long time. Plus you wouldn't be sending it into totally empty tank even if you'd just pumped out 'cuz there'd still be an inch or so of water or waste at the bottom of it. Boat owners and yards have been using muriatic acid to clean sanitation plumbing for decades, and Raritan's instructions for cleaning the LectraSan/ElectroScan called for the 10-12% solution of muriatic acid until they began marketing the more eco-friendly Sew Clean as their own private label brand "C.H." But if you're not comfortable using it, spend the extra money for Sew Clean.

Btw...found these directions for muriatic acid use in an article by Don Casey:

Pour two cups of the diluted acid (be sure to CAREFULLY read and FOLLOW directions for mixing!) into the bowl. It will fizz as it reacts with the calcium deposits on the bowl valve. When the fizzing stops, pump the head--intake closed--just enough to empty the bowl. This moves the acid into the pump. After a few minutes pump again to move the acid into the discharge hose. Let it sit a few more minutes before opening the intake and thoroughly flushing the toilet and lines. The acid is "used up" as it reacts with the calcium, so heavy scaling may call for more than one treatment. Scale and salt also find their way into the anti-siphon valve in the discharge line. Remove the valve and soak it in warm, soapy water to dissolve deposits that could be holding it shut or open.
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Old 08-12-2016, 04:55 PM   #6
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Is this safe for a Vacuflush system?
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:30 PM   #7
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I use ordinary household white vinegar to dissolve/soften the lime-ey deposits in our old toilet from the stuff that the City of Philadelphia puts in the water (to coat the old city and house pipes and reduce lead poisoning - it's what they saved money on in Flint, MI). Never had a problem in the bowl on the boat; the hose is another story.

The vinegar is dilute acetic acid and not all that aggressive.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:01 PM   #8
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Is this safe for a Vacuflush system?
Yes, it's safe, but unless your fresh water is exceptionally "hard," or any buildup is actually urine crystals (an indication that you're being way too conservative with flush water), you shouldn't need it. Just flush a cupful of distilled white vinegar once a week, followed after 30-45 minutes by a bowlful of clean water to prevent any hard water mineral buildup in the system.

I'll be glad to send you my "VacuFlush 101" document that explains how the V/Flush works (you'd be amazed by how many owners think they know but don't) and how much flush water it really needs to remain trouble free. Anyone who'd like to have it, just send me a PM that includes your email address (not possible to attach documents to PMs).
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:16 PM   #9
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+1 for starting with distilled white vinegar, which I could swear I originally learned via Peggy... Kept our three Vacuflush systems tidy..
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:43 PM   #10
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If you use Rydlyme for cleaning your engine cooling, it works fine in a toilet bowl and doesn't bother any marine metals. It's also biodegradable. You add enough Rydlyme until the scale bubbles. When it stops either it's exhausted or the lime is gone. A little agitation after a short soak will usually finish off the scale. Works in fresh or salt water.
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Old 08-14-2016, 10:23 PM   #11
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We send the 10 % muriatic acid yesterday and it worked fine. Everything is flowing nicely. thanks HM.


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Old 08-14-2016, 11:27 PM   #12
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If you use Rydlyme for cleaning your engine cooling, it works fine in a toilet bowl and doesn't bother any marine metals. It's also biodegradable.

I checked the MSDS for Rydlime, and it is biodegradable...more importantly it's also environmentally safe. Those two terms do not mean the same thing.

"Biodegradable" is a meaningless feel-good term that product mfrs put on product labels to mislead consumers into believing it's environmentally safe...in fact, formaldehyde is only one of several lethal chemicals used in some holding tank products that can legally be labeled "biodegradable." Others include glutaraldehyde and quaternary ammonium compound. They will eventually bio-degrade, but not until they've had plenty of time to do plenty of environmental harm.

The first aid warnings in a product label or MSDS are best indication of whether a product is enviro safe or not. If they say something like "harmful or fatal if swallowed, may cause blindness, call poison control immediately if ingested," that product is no more enviro friendly than a toxic chemical spill. But if they say something like, "if ingested, drink copious amounts of water, flush eyes with clean water for 15 minutes, consult physician if symptoms develop" (which, btw, is close to the first aid instructions in Rydlime's MSDS)...it won't harm you or the environment. Muriatic acid's warnings are bit stronger, requiring a bit more care in handling.

Just something I thought y'all should know....

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Old 08-17-2016, 04:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
If you use Rydlyme for cleaning your engine cooling, it works fine in a toilet bowl and doesn't bother any marine metals. It's also biodegradable. You add enough Rydlyme until the scale bubbles. When it stops either it's exhausted or the lime is gone. A little agitation after a short soak will usually finish off the scale. Works in fresh or salt water.

This had me curious, so I checked the SDS for Rydlyme. Turns out it's 5-9% Hydrochloric Acid. So it's the same as Muriatic Acid, which is a trade name for Hydrochloric acid.

With a little math you can make your own from a pool supply house and avoid the whole "marine" price.
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Old 08-17-2016, 06:15 PM   #14
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Ace Hardware has muriatic acid for $9/gal, $5/qt.
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