I've seen many pictures and tutorials floating around the internet showing how to make a "Cloth Diaper Sprayer" and I decided to make one myself.
I built this as a cloth diaper sprayer for my wife so she could rinse cloth diapers into the toilet without having to put her hand in toilet water. But it has a few other uses too.
It can also be as a bidet, which is a sprayer for cleaning your unmentionable body parts off after using the toilet. It can be used for rinsing the toilet bowl for easier cleaning. And it can be used for rinsing out potty chairs or anything else that needs to be rinsed into the toilet.
There are some baby product stores that sell "cloth diaper sprayers," but personally I think this home-built one is much better and more durable. And all parts are easily removable so they can be replaced, if needed, one piece at a time instead of replacing the whole system.
This setup might seem complicated, but it's really easy to put together. I was able to find all of these parts at local hardware and plumbing supply stores without having to order anything through mail or online.
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Step 1: Well, Let's Get Started...
Sorry for the "dummy" step here, but I wanted to separate the first real step from the intro. I also need to give credit where credit is due.
This project is not one of my original ideas. I found helpful instructions on this blog:
And I just made a few minor modifications, like adding in a Check Valve. I don't know who originally came up with the idea of a DIY cloth diaper sprayer, but it wasn't me! I do pride myself on building/making stuff myself though, and I enjoy DIY stuff.
Step 2: First, Check Your Water Supply Line.
First thing you need to do is look at the water supply line that connects from the shutoff valve (on the pipe coming out of the wall or floor) to the toilet water tank. If it is the stiff plastic type, you'll need to replace it with a flexible hose. I had to change mine out from the plastic tube to a metal braided hose so that I would have plenty of flexibility to work with. You can get one for less than $10, depending on length, at your local hardware or plumbing store. Just make sure you get one that is long enough. They come in different lengths from 6 inches to 18 inches.
This sprayer I built is set up for the toilet water supply line at MY house, which has a 3/8" threaded male fitting just past the shutoff valve, and I think that's a standard size but yours might be different so make sure you get the right sizes for what you need.
This instructable will assume that your toilet water supply line has a standard 3/8" threaded male fitting right past the supply shutoff valve.
Step 3: Gather Parts and Tools
If you're not sure what these parts are, look closely at the pictures.
- 3/8 x 3/8 x 1/4 Compression T
- "Filter Connector Splicer" (short PVC hose with 1/4" OD Compression fittings on both ends)
- 1/4" Compression to 1/4" MIP adapter
- TWO 1/4" to 1/4" MIP "Nipple" ***
- TWO 1/2" to 1/4" "Bushings" (reducers)
- 1/2" "Check Valve" (backflow prevention valve)
- 1/4" Ball Valve ("Shutoff Valve")
- Kitchen Sink Sprayer handle and hose kit
- Teflon Tape (pipe thread tape / plumber's tape)
- Something to hang the sprayer handle on the wall, if desired
***One 1/4" MIP nipple is needed for the connection to the check valve, but a second one is needed if the ball valve is female-threaded on both sides.
One roll of 1/2" wide Teflon tape should be more than enough for this project, and you might already have some lying around. Make sure to use some though, because not using it could result in leaks!
I was able to find all of these parts at Home Depot, Standard Plumbing Supply, and Durk's Plumbing Supply. I don't know if any of the stores have a 1/4" Ball Valve (Shutoff Valve) that is female on one side and male on the other, but I could only find one that is female on both ends, so I had to buy an extra 1/4" MIP to 1/4" MIP (Nipple) for a male fitting to connect the sprayer hose to the outlet of the ball valve.
Also, as mentioned in the previous step, if your water supply to the toilet tank is a stiff plastic tube, then you will need to replace it so there will be enough room to connect the T fitting just past the supply shutoff valve. If that is the case, then you will also need to get a flexible hose with 3/8" and 7/8" fittings, and make sure to get one that is long enough for the distance between the T fitting and the inlet of the toilet tank.
As for tools, I just used two different sized crescent wrenches and some vice-grip locking pliers.
Step 4: Making the Connections
Before you disconnect any fittings of the unmodified toilet water system, make sure to turn the shutoff valve on the water supply all the way off, flush the toilet, and make sure that the toilet tank does NOT refill with water.
You will want some towels or a bucket under or near the water supply shutoff valve to catch any water that is still in the pipes after closing the valve and flushing the toilet. Then, use a wrench and carefully loosen the toilet water supply hose fitting from the water supply shutoff valve. Be careful not to damage the threading on the outlet of the supply valve.
The most important part of this step is that you MAKE SURE TO WRAP TEFLON TAPE ON EVERY THREADED FITTING. Wrap at least 4 turns of tape on each fitting, and use wrenches to tighten each fitting to ensure nothing leaks (except for the plastic 7/8" fittings on the toilet tank - those are usually just hand tightened - but make sure that there is a rubber O ring in the plastic fitting before connecting it to the toilet tank inlet).
The order of how everything is connected isn't strictly important, as long as the check valve is installed in the correct direction of water flow. Here is the order of how I connected everything:
Connect the 3/8" inlet of the T to the outlet of the water supply shutoff valve. Then connect the 3/8" fitting of the toilet water supply hose to the 3/8" outlet of the T. Tighten both connections with a wrench but be super careful not to damage the threading on the water supply shutoff valve, especially if you want to be able to remove the T in the future to put the toilet water system back to it's original setup. Make sure the 7/8" plastic fitting end of the toilet water supply hose is tightly connected to the inlet of the toilet tank.
Connect the 1/2" to 1/4" reducers (bushings) to both ends of the check valve. The reducers are needed because the check valve is 1/2" size, which is the smallest size I could find in stores without special ordering, and the inlet and outlet both need to be 1/4" MIP to connect to the other parts of this setup.
Connect the 1/4" MIP side of the Compression/MIP adapter to the INLET (with reducer) side of the Check Valve. Connect one of the 1/4" MIP Nipples to the OUTLET (with reducer) side of the Check Valve. Then connect the other side of the 1/4" MIP nipple to the inlet of the 1/4" Ball Valve. Then make sure that the arrow on the check valve is pointing TOWARD the ball valve. I will explain the purpose of these valves in the "NOTES" step of this instructable.
If the OUTLET of the Ball Valve is female, which mine is, then connect the other 1/4" MIP nipple to the outlet of the ball valve. Then connect the 1/4 MIP inlet fitting of the sprayer hose to the other end of the 1/4" MIP nipple (OR to the MALE OUTLET of the Ball Valve if you were able to find one that has female inlet and male outlet).
Make sure that all included O rings and washers are in place in the sprayer handle where it connects to the sprayer hose.
Now you can connect one end of the PVC hose to the 1/4" Compression side of the Compression/MIP Adapter, and the other end of the hose to the 1/4" Compression OUTLET of the T that is connected to the water supply shutoff valve.
Once everything is connected and tightened with a wrench, turn the water supply valve to the OPEN position, allow the toilet tank to refill with water (since we flushed it before disconnecting things), and OPEN the 1/4" Ball Valve. Grab the sprayer handle and spray some water into the toilet bowl to make sure there is correct water flow. If everything is connected properly, there should be a pretty powerful spray from the sprayer handle.
And of course, check every fitting and connection for leaks, and tighten things as necessary.
Make sure to read the NOTES section of this instructable about the Check Valve and Ball Valve.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
You might want some way to hang the sprayer handle on the wall so that the hose isn't just dangling on the floor. You can use almost anything as a hanger. I used a piece of scrap aluminum angle with a hole drilled on the edge. the plastic base of the sprayer handle (right above the hose) fits perfectly in the hole. I mounted it to the sheet rock wall with two little screws.
Double check every threaded connection to make sure there are no leaks, and tighten as necessary.
Step 6: Notes - Important!
There are a few important things to mention about this project:
This can be greatly simplified if you leave out the Check Valve and the Ball Valve, but I don't recommend it.
The Ball Valve provides a quick and easy way to shut off the water supply to the sprayer handle, thus preventing water pressure buildup which can easily make a big watery mess of your bathroom if your kids happen to get hold of the spray handle! Some people also suggest that shutting the ball valve will prevent the sprayer from leaking. I personally leave the ball valve on mine open, because I have checked and double checked that there's no leaks, but closing the valve when not in use is a good extra precaution.
And about the Check valve... My original build of this sprayer was simpler, as it didn't have a Check Valve. You may opt to leave the check valve out of your system, as the person on the "Gidget Goes Home" blog did, but I highly recommend using a Check Valve. After more research of this sprayer system, I found that several people recommend using a Check Valve to prevent fecal matter from going back into the water supply and causing contamination of your household water. The Check Valve is basically a one-way water flow valve that has a spring-loaded stopper to allow water to flow forward through the valve from a water supply but prevents water from flowing back out of the INLET of the valve back into the water supply. It's a back-flow prevention valve. Maybe some people are too paranoid in recommending the use of a check valve, but better safe than sorry! And also it may be required by your local household building codes depending on where you live.
Now, even though the water flowing in to the sprayer is clean water, it is a good idea to sanitize (using sanitizing wipes or spray) the handle on a regular basis, especially if you're using it as a bidet.
One last thing worth mentioning... The option of removing the whole sprayer system to move it to a different toilet. If for any reason you ever need to remove this sprayer from the toilet, you simply just close the water supply shutoff valve, flush the toilet, then disconnect the 3/8" end of the toilet water supply hose from the 3/8" OUTLET of the T. Then disconnect the 3/8" INLET of the T from the water supply shutoff valve, but leave the PVC hose and all other parts connected to the T. Then just connect the 3/8" end of the toilet water supply hose back onto the 3/8" outlet of the water supply shutoff valve WITHOUT THE T in between, and open the valve and allow the toilet tank to refill with water. You can then install the sprayer system onto any other toilet that has a 3/8" water supply hose connected to a 3/8" water supply shutoff valve outlet.
Thank you much for reading this instructable! Comments/suggestions are welcome. And my next instructable will be for something more interesting.