Friday, January 26, 2007


Fact or fiction: you go into your bathroom, and AGHHH! Treading water in your toilet is a living, breathing rat.

I was telling my friend Anne that I had just read about sewer rats (aka commode rats)—the kind that apparently turn up in people’s toilets. She was repulsed. And we both were disbelieving.

Could this really happen?

But there it is, in the section on “clog busting” in Ellen Sandbeck’s Organic Housekeeping.

According to Sandbeck, these critters are attracted by the trail of food particles left by garbage disposal use. The rat takes a wrong turn--and there it is, smiling up at you from the porcelain throne.

Apparently, Washington State is not stranger to these guys. The King County web site has some very explicit advice:

  • Keep your kitchen sink rinsed clean and use garbage disposals as little as possible.*
  • Rinse out your kitchen sink once or twice a month.
  • Use 1 cup of bleach (an alternative to using bleach, 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar) and rinse with boiling water.
  • Never throw grease down the drain.
  • Keep your toilet lid down when not in use.
  • If you find a rat in your toilet, flush it! (hint: squirt a little dishwashing liquid under the lid into the bowl, wait a couple of minutes then flush)

*In fact, why not compost instead?

Re flushing the rat: Sandbeck says not to worry about it-—these guys can tread water for three days. (!)

She also cites a recommendation to flush at least five times, and, if the critter is still there, call Animal Control.


1 comment:

AnimalEnthusiast said...

Yikes! That is something I was always scared of. but I didn't think it could actually happen.