Itty Bitty Bonzai #12

September 2nd, 2009 - filed under: Furthermore » Itty Bitty Bonzai

Itty Bitty Bonzai is a collection of tiny tips and tricks for living a life more mindful. Small actions, collectively and compounded, become a powerful force of change.

If it’s yellow, you can let it stay
If it’s brown, you should flush it away
This is the song I like to hear
To save over 1,200 gallons of water a year!

’nuff said, amiright?



  • Allison

    Haha! My boyfriend and I instituted this rule about 6 months ago! How long have you been doing it? I find that it leaves my toilet quite stained after a short time…any natural cleaning solutions you can recommend?

  • Tenise Rae

    We do this in my house as well. The toilet does seem to get dirtier faster. I was just looking into those toilet bowl disc things you hang off the rim. Not sure how I feel about the water being blue all the time though. So I skipped it. :-\

  • Ian

    I find this version more mnemonic…

    “If it’s yellow, let it mellow,
    if it’s brown, flush it down.”


  • Sayward

    @ Allison – Yay! And yes, I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it definitely builds up a stain much quicker. Nothing a little frequent cleaning can’t fix, and I like that it keeps me on top of cleaning my bathrooms. I do use natural cleansers in my toilets (and all my cleaning these days). To clean the bowl, I sprinkle liberally with baking soda, let it sit for a bit, and then scrub it in with a toilet brush. Then I splash with plenty of vinegar, and scrub again. Works great!

    Tenise Rae – I used to use those ’2000 flushes’ type things, and yeah, they were handy! I miss them, but I just can’t bring myself to do it these days! I am looking into creating some sort of natural homemade version . . .

    @ Ian – That’s the version I learned too! But I needed to change up the rhyme scheme here to coordinate with the additional stanza. Plus this way no one can sue me for copyright infringement! (that’s a joke of course). =D

  • Amycat

    Oh man, I know the principle behind it but MAN I cannot stand it when I go to the toilet and there’s a steaming bowl of urine before me. It doesn’t happen in my house now, but (And I’m sorry to gross you out) my ex-boyfriends sky-high protein 99% meat diet made his urine smell like the deepest crevice of hell. So that justifies my hatred for the mellowing yellow bowl.
    Horrible nostril stinging memories…

  • Valerie

    To Everyone keeps asking for natural cleaning cleaning supplies: Buy this book! Clean House Clean Planet by Karen Logan, its the best $10-15 dollars you’ll spend. I am slowly using it to transform the way I clean house as my main stream cleaners run out.

    Sayward: I think she even has a recipe for an alternative to 2000 flushes.

  • Julie

    The “if it’s yellow let it mellow…” version was actually a billboard that was all over LA County in the late 80s when California was experiencing a major drought. Being raised in a house with very conservative parents who NEVER would have tolerated toilet humor in their house, my siblings and I thought this billboard was an absolute riot and would laugh hysterically every time we drove past one.

    Anyhow, I would love to be able to do this but I have a very curious, newly mobile infant who loves nothing more than waiting until I’m not looking so she can get into the toilet and splash her hands in the water. It’s gross and would be way grosser if we let anything “mellow”.

  • Sayward

    @ Amycat – Haha, ew so gross, but I *have* noticed a difference in veg vs. omni odor output. Omni’s stink more. True story. ;)

    @ Valerie – Thanks! I’ll definitely have to check that out!

    @ Julie – I lived through that drought! I totally remember conservation seminars in kindergarten and stuff like that. It was a bad time man. I don’t remember the billboard though, that’s so funny!

    Could your toddler open the lid if it’s closed? I think they have little childproof toilet lid latches – you may want to check it out. Even if you’re flushing every time, it’ll keep the kid from splashing around in there! =D