A clogged toilet is a stressful experience we’ve all faced. Most often, unclogging a toilet doesn’t require calling a plumber, or expensive repairs. We’ll start with the simplest ways to resolve the problem and discuss some other steps you can take.
Plunge the Toilet
Before plunging, you can prevent an overflow by removing the tank lid, closing the toilet flapper, or turning off the toilet’s water supply. Water might splash as you plunge, so place towels or newspapers on the floor around the fixture. If a solid object or other obstruction is visible, try to remove it by hand, but put on rubber gloves first.
At this point, you’ll only need a plumber if you smell gas. If so, open a window and immediately call your local plumbing company to check the sewer line.
How to Use a Plunger
Some plungers have suction cups while others have rubber flanges or ball-shaped heads. To clear a drain with a plunger:
- Submerge the head of the plunger in the water.
- Place it over the drain hole, ensuring there’s a seal to maintain a vacuum.
- Move the plunger up and down rapidly under the water line.
- Use many plunges (around 15 to 20) and then check if the clog has loosened.
- Repeat the step above if necessary.
- Flush the toilet to see if it’s unclogged, if not, continue plunging
- Once the clog has been freed, clean and store the plunger.
How to Snake a Toilet
A plumbing snake, or toilet auger, is a wire coil that reaches into the pipe to pull out obstructions or force them through the line. To properly use one:
- Place the auger in the toilet, with the curved end facing into the drain.
- Insert the end of the cable into the hole.
- Push the auger while turning the handle clockwise.
- When you reach the obstruction and feel resistance, pull out the auger.
- Clean the auger if the obstruction has been snagged.
- Flush the toilet to see if it is clear.
- If not, repeat the process and try to break up the clog.
Other Ways to Unclog a Toilet
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to unclogging a toilet. Some other methods that might work for you may include:
- Toilet Brush: If a plunger isn’t available, you can use a toilet brush. You’ll want to get the bristles into the drain. Then you can use the brush like a plunger, moving it up and down to loosen up the clog.
- Hanger: Unwind a wire coat hanger until it’s straight with a hook at the end. Wrap a small rag around the hook. This will prevent scratches. Wearing rubber gloves, carefully push the hanger into the toilet drain until you reach the clog. When you do, the water will start to drain; then flush the toilet to finish clearing it.
- Drain Cleaners: We only recommend this if a commercial drain cleaner is indicated for use with toilets, as some have chemicals that can damage plumbing. Some products use enzymes to liquify solid waste, but you can make your own safe drain cleaner by mixing one cup of baking soda, two cups of vinegar, and a half gallon of hot water. Let it sit overnight and then try flushing the toilet.
- Wet/Dry Vacuum: Never try to use a regular vacuum on a toilet. You can rent or buy a wet/dry vacuum from a hardware store, but this should be a last resort. With the bowl emptied of water, create a seal by wrapping an old rag around the hose, and place the vacuum into the drain. Turn the vacuum on. It should suck out whatever is clogging the toilet.
Additional Toilet Unclogging Advice
When you’re unclogging a toilet, don’t pour a liquid down that’s going to harden, such as grease, caulk, wax, or drywall joint compound. And try to avoid chemicals if at all possible. They don’t always work, or may work slower than you expect. Chemicals can make your toilet water corrosive as well. If you’ve used a chemical cleaner and let it sit overnight, and you still need to plunge, make sure to wear rubber gloves and safety goggles (some drain chemicals can harm your eyes and skin).
Contact Village Plumbing and Air
If unclogging a toilet isn’t possible, you’ll need an experienced plumber to fix the problem. At Village Plumbing, we specialize in clogged toilet repairs and many other plumbing jobs. Our technicians can troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix the underlying cause quickly. They’re equipped with the parts and tools they need to do so in one visit. Request service online or call 713-526-1491 today!