Clogged toilets are a common household problem that can be frustrating and inconvenient. A toilet clog can occur for various reasons, such as flushing inappropriate items like feminine hygiene products, excessive toilet paper or foreign objects. However, unclogging a toilet is not impossible; it just requires some basic knowledge and tools.
Before attempting to unclog the toilet, you should understand the common causes of clogs and how to prevent them from happening in the future. It’s important to avoid flushing anything except human waste and toilet paper down the toilet.
If you notice that your water isn’t draining properly or if there’s standing water in your bowl after flushing, then it’s likely that your toilet is clogged. Trying to flush repeatedly will only worsen the situation by overflowing water onto your bathroom floor.
Fortunately, there are several ways to fix a clogged toilet without calling a plumber. In this article, we’ll explore different methods for dealing with stubborn blockages so you can get back to using your bathroom normally again!
Understanding the Problem
Before we dive into the solutions for unclogging a toilet, it’s important to understand what causes clogs in the first place.
One of the most common causes of toilet clogs is flushing non-flushable items down the toilet. Examples include sanitary products, baby wipes, cotton balls or swabs, and even dental floss. These items do not dissolve in water and can get caught in pipes leading to blockages.
Another cause of clogs is excessive toilet paper use. While it may seem harmless to use more than necessary, too much paper can also cause blockages when flushed.
In some cases, old plumbing or sewer line damage can also lead to repeated clogs requiring professional repairs.
Lastly, diet can play a role in how easily waste moves through your system and out into your septic tank or municipal sewage system. A diet high in fats and oils can create grease buildup that sticks to pipe walls causing blockages over time.
By understanding what causes clogged toilets you’ll be better equipped with knowledge on how best to prevent them from happening again after you’ve cleared your current issue.
Tools and Materials Needed
To successfully unclog a toilet, you will need several tools and materials. These include:
- Plunger: The plunger is the most essential tool for unclogging a toilet. It creates suction that dislodges the blockage in the drain.
- Rubber gloves: Wearing rubber gloves will protect your hands from coming into contact with unsanitary water or waste during the process of unclogging.
- Bucket: A bucket can be useful when there is a risk of overflow or if you need to remove excess water from the bowl before plunging.
- Closet auger: If using a plunger does not work, consider using a closet auger to break up any stubborn clogs deep within your pipes. This tool consists of an adjustable crank handle connected to a long cable with an angled end piece that helps clear obstructions.
- Dish soap: Adding dish soap may help lubricate and loosen any debris within the pipes, making it easier for them to be dislodged by plunging or snaking.
- Vinegar and baking soda: If you prefer natural remedies, combining vinegar and baking soda can create fizzing action that helps dissolve blockages in your pipes. Pour one cup of baking soda down your clogged toilet followed by two cups of hot vinegar. Wait about five minutes before trying to plunge again.
Having these tools on hand will make unclogging your toilet much easier—but keep in mind that if none of these methods work, calling in professional plumbing services may be necessary to fully resolve more severe clogs or other plumbing issues.
Basic Steps for Unclogging a Toilet
If you’re dealing with a clogged toilet, don’t panic! It’s actually quite common and can be easily fixed with the right tools and techniques. Here are some basic steps to follow:
- Assess the situation. Before you start plunging away, take a moment to evaluate the severity of the clog. Is the water level high or low? If it’s high, you may need to remove some of it before attempting to unclog.
- Gather your tools. You’ll need a plunger, rubber gloves (optional but recommended), and possibly a bucket if there’s excess water that needs to be removed from the bowl.
- Create suction with your plunger. Place it over the hole in the bottom of your toilet bowl and push down firmly but slowly. Then pull up quickly, creating suction that will dislodge any blockage in its way. Repeat this several times until you feel like progress is being made – usually at least six times should do it!
- Add hot water if necessary. If plunging alone isn’t enough, try adding hot water (not boiling) into your toilet bowl. This can help break up stubborn clogs by loosening them up so they flush more easily. Wait for about ten minutes after adding hot water before trying again with your plunger as described above.
- Clean up any messes carefully, such as spills or splatters around or under toilet using disinfectant wipes or sprays; ensure everything is neat and tidy once done unclogging.
If none of these methods work after several attempts on separate occasions, then it’s worth investigating something is blocking the sewage or pipeline, and it’s best to call a professional plumber for assistance.
Tips and Tricks for Stubborn Clogs
When a plunger just won’t do the trick, there are other methods you can try to unclog your stubborn toilet. Here are some tips and tricks:
1. Hot Water Method
Pouring hot water into the bowl may help soften and break down the clog. Boil a pot of water on the stove, let it cool slightly for a minute or two, then pour it into the toilet bowl from waist level. If this does not work initially, give it time to cool off before trying again.
2. Dish Soap Method
Squirt dish soap into the bowl and let it sit for 15-30 minutes to lubricate and loosen up any blockages in the pipe before flushing with hot water.
3. Wire Hanger Method
Bend a wire hanger straight, leaving one end hooked like a handle. Insert it into the drain opening of your toilet to fish out any excess debris that may be causing your clog.
4. Wet/Dry Vacuum Method
If you have access to a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, use its suction power by placing its hose over your toilet’s drain opening while setting it on “wet” mode (ensure that there is enough water in the bowl). This method will suck out everything including objects that could cause obstruction in pipes such as toys or sanitary pads.
5. Toilet Auger/Snake Method
An auger or snake is another tool used when plungers fail; insert one end of an auger/snake directly through your toilet’s drain hole until reaching resistance from whatever object is causing obstruction—turning clockwise should remove the clog.
Remember to always be cautious when trying these methods, and seek professional help if the obstruction is too severe. Practice good toilet habits by not flushing anything that shouldn’t go down a toilet, such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene products or paper towels. Following these tips will help avoid future clogs and save you money in plumbing repairs!
Preventing Future Clogs
Once you have successfully unclogged your toilet, the last thing you want is for it to happen again in the near future. Therefore, it’s important to take preventive measures to avoid future clogs. Here are some tips:
1. Use less toilet paper
One of the main reasons why toilets get clogged is because too much toilet paper has been flushed down at once. To prevent this from happening, use less toilet paper or split your wiping into smaller amounts.
2. Don’t flush non-flushable items
Another common cause of clogs is flushing non-flushable items such as wipes, tampons or dental floss down the toilet. These items do not break down like regular toilet paper and can easily cause blockages in pipes which may require professional help to fix.
3. Install a drain screen
A drain screen can be placed over your shower or sink drains that will catch hair and other debris from entering your pipes and causing a clog.
4. Regularly clean your drains
Over time, buildup of soap scum, grease and other materials can accumulate within pipes along with hair and debris leading to a slow-draining water system or even worse – complete stoppages in plumbing lines! Regular cleaning will help reduce both risks by keeping everything flowing smoothly!
By following these simple steps above on how to prevent toilets from getting clogged again in the future; you’ll save yourself time spent fixing costly repairs caused by improper maintenance habits!
In conclusion, knowing how to unclog a toilet is a fundamental skill that every homeowner and renter should possess. It may seem like an unpleasant task, but it’s something that needs to be done from time to time.
Remember the following steps when attempting to unclog a toilet:
1. Use a plunger: A plunger is usually the first tool you should reach for when dealing with a clogged toilet. It creates pressure that can push the blockage out of the way.
2. Use hot water and dish soap: If plunging doesn’t work, try adding some hot water and dish soap into your bowl. This mixture helps break down any organic matter causing the clog.
3. Use an auger or plumbing snake: When all else fails, using an auger or plumbing snake can help clear any blockages further down in your pipes.
It’s essential to take preventative measures so that you don’t have to deal with clogs frequently in your bathroom toilets such as avoiding flushing non-flushable items like sanitary pads and cotton swabs; also ensure you use enough water while flushing- this will make sure everything goes down smoothly without getting stuck on its way out.
Finally, if none of these methods works for you, consider calling in professional plumbers who are trained experts at handling difficult situations like this efficiently and effectively!
Ben is one of the founders and editor of Structured Living HUB. His interests are automotive and architecture. For over 10 years he worked as a modular house contractor in the United States.