A clogged toilet is one of the most common misfortunes we all experience. Have you ever been at someone else’s house and clogged their toilet?
You look around frantically and eventually find the plunger, to immense relief.
However, the plunger won’t always cut it – here are a few different methods and techniques for you to consider.
Unclogging a Toilet – 4 Methods
Here are 4 different methods to unclog your toilet the right way.
This is the best method and should be used if you know for sure that there is a foreign material causing your toilet to clog. We recommend using a plunger of good quality, as they form better seals and are overall more effective.
When unclogging the toilet, make sure that the plunger is fully submerged in water; the suction has to come from water and not air. Also, the plunger should be covering the whole hole. For clean up purposes, lay down newspaper around your toilet to help keep your bathroom clean.
✓ Plumbing Snake
A plumbing snake or auger is one of your best bets to unclog a build-up of waste material in the drainpipe. A plumbing snake is a flexible coiled wire which can reach inside your toilet, ‘snaking’ through the twists and turns of the pipes. Once you feel the waste impediment, start twisting and turning the coil. This movement will break up the mass into smaller, flushable pieces, unblocking your drainpipe.
A plumbing snake can be used for other drains around the house as well, although we recommend purchasing a separate snake so you don’t have to use the same one for all drains.
✓ DIY Drain Cleaner
You can use products available in your kitchen to create a concoction certain to dissolve many clogs from your drains. Particularly if organic waste causes a clog, a drain cleaner is a highly effective method for removing the waste.
To start, heat up a half-gallon of water or more. The water should be warm enough to change the temperature of the water around the clog. Once you have warm water on hand, pour one part baking soda and two parts vinegar into the warm water. We recommend 1 cup of baking soda, 2 cups of vinegar, although the quantity can vary. After combining, pour the warm water into the toilet bowl from waist heigh or higher so that it has considerable force when it enters the bowl.
Let the toilet remain undisturbed for at least 5-6 hours or overnight for best results. This is one of the most trusted methods to clear out organic clogs of any kind in drains around the house.
✓ Store-bought Enzymes
Enzymes also work on the same premise as the method above. Instead of creating an at-home solution, you purchase these at the store, and they can be stronger in comparison. Enzymes will break down the clog using a chemical process.
When you know for sure that your toilet is clogged, don’t continue flushing. Instead of dislodging the blockage as you may hope, repeated flushing will only result in an overflowing toilet. Instead, when you notice a clog, turn off the flapper so no more water enters the toilet bowl and then use one of the methods above. With these steps, we hope you’re able to solve all of your future clogging needs quickly and conveniently.
Unclog a Toilet When Nothing Works
If you have tried all of the above and nothing works, you can try a few more things. Here are 5 top methods to try when you need to unclog a toilet.
1. Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you have a toilet you need to unclog, using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar is the first step that you should try. To start, you’ll want to gather baking soda, white vinegar, cups, and water. With these items ready, it’s time to make a mixture.
Take a bowl and pour two cups of water and a single cup of baking soda. Mix the solution, and then pour it down the toilet bowl. Then, pour two cups of vinegar into the bowl and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. You need to allow the vinegar to mix with the baking soda as much as possible. It will cause a bubbling reaction in the water which can help break down waste blocking the toilet.
Not only should the reaction help dissolve materials that block your toilet, but the mixture will also reach places that a plunger can’t. If you want to further help the mixture along, you can also add a gallon of boiling water which will help with the process. However, do note that you should wait at least 6-8 hours before flushing the toilet after trying this method.
2. Dish Soap and Boiling Water
If you don’t want to go to the store, you can use the simplest items that every home has – dish soap and boiling water. First, you will need to bring a few liters of water to a warm temperature. Then, cut a few pieces of dish soap and put them in a bowl.
After preparing the ingredients, pour the mixture into the toilet bowl and then wait for some time. After a few minutes, flush the toilet. This approach is one of the simplest solutions that will successfully loosen materials that have clogged your toilet.
3. Wire Coat Hanger
If you have a wire hanger at home, it can be a quite useful tool for unclogging your toilet. But first, cover one end with an old towel so that you don’t damage the bowl. Then, insert that end into the bowl and push it down the drain while twisting the hanger. Continue pushing until the water starts to drain again. This approach is an ideal method for unclogging the toilet if the clog is just a few inches from the drain.
4. Plunger or Suction Cup
A suction cup, or plunger, is another tool that can help with unclogging your toilet. However, you will need to buy tools specially designed for unblocking materials from the drain. For toilets, in particular, you’ll be able to buy a plunger with a long handle so your hands won’t get dirty.
Simply place the cup into the bowl so that it completely covers the hole to create a vacuum. Then, press firmly and lower it to create a suction effect. However, you should know that a suction cup can only suck small materials, and won’t be affected with larger plugs.
5. Enzyme Product
An enzyme product turns most plugs into liquid, completely or partially, allowing them to drain more easily and unclog the toilet. Most enzyme products are affordable and you can be found in most stores. However, note that enzyme products only work on organic waste, so if anything non-organic is blocking the drain, you will have to use a different tool.
When using an enzyme product, make sure that you read the instructions first. Then, based on those instructions, pour a certain amount down the bowl and wait a few minutes for the block to dissolve. If the waste is organic, when you flush, you will notice that the toilet is not clogged anymore. Be sure to read the product description to understand if there are any risks to using the product.
Prevent Toilet Clogging
If your toilet clogs frequently, you are probably doing something wrong. There are a few things you can do to prevent the toilet from clogging, so let’s check them out.
1. Don’t Flushing Inappropriate Items
This is the primary tip to consider if your toilet clogs often – what is your toilet-flushing routine like? For example, many people tend to flush dirty water down their bowls, which is not a good thing to do. Dirty water might contain tiny rocks or other objects which can cause trouble in the long run. As another example, sometimes people try to dispose of non-organic items by flushing them down the toilet.
Anything not human waste or toilet paper should never be flushed. If you don’t live alone, you might want to attach a list of things that should and shouldn’t be thrown down the toilet.
Read our full guide of items to never flush down a toilet.
2. Double-Flush More Often
Especially if you throw a lot of toilet paper down the bowl, you should use double flush more often. Essentially, flush partway through toilet use to clear initial waste and paper, and then flush again at the end. Otherwise, if you try to flush large amounts of paper or waste at once, you have a larger risk of clogs.
3. Clear the Toilet Surface
Most people use the top of the toilet’s tank as an extra space to store supplies such as soap, brushes, and other bathroom items. However, although it might seem convenient, it’s not a good idea because some of those items might fall into the bowl. If they reach the drain, it might be difficult to pull them out and will eventually cause a clog. Therefore, we recommend using other storage solutions to avoid accidentally dropping objects into the toilet.
4. Trace the Growth of Roots
Sometimes, a clog might be caused by tree roots near the sewer lines. If there are trees around your house, they might reach the pipes and even penetrate them, which would cause clogs. It doesn’t happen often, but if you suspect that the tree is causing a clog, you should call a professional to resolve the situation. Especially if you’ve tried several other solutions with no success, consider investigating if there may be a larger issue like this one at play.
5. Don’t Use Strong Chemical Drain Cleaners
Picking the wrong cleaner for the toilet is one of the things that can easily cause clogs in the future. The fact is, strong chemicals can cause a chemical reaction with the pipes, making them corrosive. When the pipe gets corroded, it will lead to clogs sooner or later. Practice responsible cleaner usage and toilet maintenance to avoid clogs in the long term.
You may consider using homemade toilet cleaner recipes.
In this article, we mentioned 5 different methods to effectively remove clogs from your toilet. However, if your toilet clogs too often, we recommend looking into the root cause of your clogs to see if you can prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.
From avoiding disposal or inorganic waste to exercising proper toilet maintenance, we hope these tips help you resolve and avoid all future clogging issues. And, ultimately, if you try all the methods above and nothing works, you can always call for professional help.