How to fix a clogged toilet

January 14, 2020

From time to time, the unexpected happens. You sit comfortably on the home toilet reading a magazine or browsing Facebook, minding your own business(pun intended). You finish, press the button to flush, water starts filling the toilet’s bowl and not going down the drainage; well, it’s clogged. From time to time, this is bound to happen as the draining system gets obstructed over time.

Before trying to unclog it, you should take a second and think about the reason why that is happening. Knowing the cause makes the process simpler, and you’ll be less frustrated.

Why does a toilet gets clogged?

A toilet consists of two parts, a visible part – the bowl, and an invisible part – the pipes system. When something is obstructing the pipes, the effect can be seen in the bowl. Water takes a long time to drain, or it does not go away at all. If that happens, you need to be patient and take your time. Rushing things may do more damage.

Flushing tissues and other things that should not be flushed is the main reason why a toilet gets blocked. All tissues and toilet paper should be stored in a bin next to the toilet. Flushing them might block the main drainage.

In time, the drainage pipes get obstructed. On the pipe’s interior, fat from the kitchen or hair from the shower starts adhering to the pipe. If the paper gets blocked in the house’s main drainage, you are in a world of frustration. Water may overflow in the shower or sinks, resulting in a flooded room.

How to unclog a toilet

Before going into the methods, you should close the toilet’s water tap. It’s usually located next to the toilet. Inform your family not to use any water in the kitchen. You need to close it, so you don’t accidentally add water in the bowl. Well, if you want poo floating on the bathroom’s floor, you can leave it open. It’s up to you.

Equip yourself with a pair of gloves and a bucket.

Clearing a Toilet Clog With a Plunger

A plumbing plunger is a simple device. It’s composed of two parts: a cup and a handle. The cup is made from flexible plastic. Being flexible, it can easily be fitted to the drain’s opening. All you have to do is to press down on the handle, and the resulting pressure underneath will unclog the pipe.

If there’s too much water in the toilet’s bowl, remove some of it. If there’s none, add little by little until the plunger’s submerged in water. Only add enough water. Don’t overdo it. Without water, the plunger will not work properly; being immersed in water guarantees that it’s sealed.

Position the plunger above the hole and start by pressing gently to observe if the level of water increases or decreases in the bowl. Repeat the steps until the clog is removed. This method usually works if the clog is not entirely solid. If the pipe was partially obstructed from before, a piece of toilet paper could totally block. In that case, it would be close to impossible to remove the clog.

Using a plunger does not always result in success. If that is the case, try the next method.

Removing the clog with an auger

This method should be used only if you failed to unclog the toilet with a plunger or you don’t own one.

Before starting, you should know if you have the proper auger. Don’t confuse a drain snake with a toilet auger. A toilet auger is a little different, meaning that it has a rubber exterior. The rubber is there to protect the toilet from scratches. The length is also shorter, as you’d use it only for a small portion of the pipe.

The toilet’s drainage pipe is usually smaller in diameter than the main one. Take your time when inserting the auger. Pushing it aggressively can damage the pipe or the toilet bowl. Insert it until it gets blocked. Sometimes, it may get stuck in a pipe’s turn. Use the hand crank to rotate it, then start slow and gentle. Back the auger a little bit, and try pushing it again to move the clog. Start rotating again. Even if you are not able to break the clog, you can push it in the main drainage. From there, the water will take it to the sewer.

This method can be used to successfully remove all kinds of clogs.

Breaking the clog using liquid soap and hot water

From the start, I have to clarify something. This method is intended only for kitchen sinks. Sink drains get clogged from fats. When we cook, the fat turns to a liquid state. In contact with cold water, it starts to solidify. If there is a prior obstruction, the grease will adhere to it. It will totally obstruct the pipe.

Hot water and/or soap will soften the clog and break it. It rarely works on a bathroom clog.

You can still try it if you don’t have an auger or a plunger. Start by removing all the water from the toilet. Heat some water up to the boiling point and pour it down the toilet. Be careful not to spill any on you as you might suffer severe burns.

Next, go to the kitchen and grab some dish soap. Dish soaps have chemicals that dissolve the fat. Pour as much as you can. Ideally, you should stir the water a little bit so it mixes.

Don’t try the following methods

Some methods are just ridiculous. One of them is using a squirt gun drainer. Yeah, that’s a thing, it seems.

I am going to let you judge for yourself. But for that, an explanation is in order. Before using the squirt gun, you need to remove some of the water from the toilet. The squirt gun first takes water from the bowl and then squirts it into the toilet’s opening. However, that rarely works as solid clogs don’t go no matter how much water you “squirt” on them. And since there may be pee or poo in the bowl, you may accidentally be spraying the bathroom with liquids from the toilet. Additionally, it may take lots of time.

Another ridiculous method is using a clothes wire hanger. If you don’t have the proper tools, go to the local shop and buy one. Some methods sound good in theory but not in real life. Using a clothes hanger to break a clog may damage the toilet or the pipes. The reasoning behind it is that it will act like an auger, but an auger is flexible. As the hanger is solid, it may scratch the toilet. Or even worse, perforate the plastic pipes that are connected to the toilet.

Conclusion

Needless to say, there is more than one way to deal with a clogged toilet. No matter which one you choose, the ideal situation is to get rid of the cause. The methods explained above, however, should help you out.

More often than not, it’s possible to unclog a toilet without calling a plumber. Using an auger or plunger usually does the job. But it all depends on where the clog is located. If it’s in the vicinity of the toilet, then you may be successful. If it’s located way down the road, in the house’s main drain, then you need the help of a professional.

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