I am no stranger to clogged toilets. As a mom, I have seen my fair share of toilets clogged with everything from bowel movements that are way out of proportion for the person they came from to toys cars and underwear? My life is weird. Knowing how to unclog a toilet has always been, well, vital.
As a kid, my sister could be seen dancing down the street on a Saturday night on the way to grandmas house holding a plunger. My son once clogged the toilet so bad we had to run for an emergency trip to Walmart for a device called a TURBO Plunger that had handles like a pogo stick. I wish I could find a new one.
When you have a clogged toilet you want to get it dealt with as soon as possible. If you have only one bathroom this can become an emergency situation really fast. The good news is that most toilet clogs can be fixed quickly. These tricks will save you some stress and help you get everything back to normal as fast as possible.
How to use a plunger
The fastest way to clear most clogs is to use a plunger. Most homes have a plunger near the toilet for situations like this.
Slide the plunger into the toilet and push down creating a seal around the drain hole. This can be tricky with some cheaper plungers that don’t bend to match the shape.
Press down on the plunger as hard as you can. Pull the plunger up and repeat pushing down without breaking the seal to push water and air through the pipe and release the clog.
Pull out the plunger carefully and see if the drain now works. If not repeat and move on if the 2nd round fails to avoid causing damage to your drains.
The best plunger for clogged toilets
Clogged toilets can be a major inconvenience and every home should have a plunger just for their toilet in the house. While most homes have cheap bell style plungers the best plunger option is the accordion-style that is able to push more air and water down the drain per thurst than the traditional bell style.
How to unclog a toilet without a plunger
If you don’t have a plunger on hand and getting one is not an option you may need to look at alternatives to help you get your toilet unclogged. The good news is mild clogs can often be cleared without a plunger if you have a little time to deal with the situation.
How to unclog a toilet with baking soda and vinegar
Place 2 cup baking soda into your toilet bowl. Allow it to settle into the drain for a minute before following with a cup of vinegar. Let sit for 20 minutes before checking if it worked. At the very least your toilet will get a good cleaning.
This simple method is great for most clogged drain issues.
How to unclog a toilet with dish soap
A lot of toilet clogs are fat-based from human waste. This can often be broken down with good dish detergent like Dawn. Place one cup of Dawn dish detergent into your toilet and let sit for 30 minutes. Follow with hot water to break up the clog and help clean the drain.
How to unclog a toilet with a snake
If you suspect the clog is from something other than human waste do not use a plunger to try and clear the clog. Toilet clogs are vary commonly when “flushable” wipes back up in the system and pushing them down the drain can make things worse.
How to snake a clogged toilet
Snakes are an easy way to unclog a toilet. Using a traditional metal snake can leave your toilet with scratches. If you care about the appearance of your fixture avoid using a traditional snake and opt for a toilet auger.
A toilet auger device includes a cable that runs through a long hollow tube with a sweep elbow at the bottom, This is protected by a sleeve to prevent your toilet from being scratched. At the top of the auger, a hand crank is attached to the cable.
Place the end into the drain of your toilet and slowly crank the auger until it stops moving.
Slowly continue to crank until the cable is fully extended to break through the clog.
Wind the auger back up pulling out anything that caught onto it.
What to do if your child flushes a toy or other object?
Many parent’s worst nightmare is the moment they find themselves walking in on their child peering into the toilet hitting the flush handle giggling as a toy slips down the void into the toilet drain. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in this situation try to remain calm so you can think clearly.
Reach into the toilet and feel for any part of the toy or other object is sticking out allowing you to grab the toy and pull it out. While not the most pleasant experience this is better than your next option.
If you can not pull the toy out you will need to remove the toilet to get the toy out. Start by making a run to the local hardware store for a new wax ring. With children in the house, you may want to consider a newer model made of silicone “wax” ring that can be out back on and taken off over and over again. This option makes a great bathroom upgrade.
Drain the toilet bowl. A water squirter or turkey baster can help you get the water deep in the toilet out.
Remove the toilet and use a coat hanger to help push the toy out of the drain. Follow the directions on your wax ring to reinstall your toilet.
If you do not feel comfortable with the process you can call in a plumber that will get the job done quickly whit tools you do not have at your disposal.
Unclog a toilet with a main drain problem
Do you hear your drawing gurgle in your tub or shower when you flush your toilet? This can be one of the first sins that your toilet clog is a bigger issue down the line. In most cases, this can be fixed with a simple treatment of your drains but you need to act fast as waiting too long can create damage that is very expensive to fix.
Tree roots in pipes
The most common cause of this is tree roots in your pipes. It is common for drains to experience tree root growth as the contents of your drains provide trees with nutrients. You can use a tree root killing chemical that will only kill the roots inside the drain shrinking them back to allow proper flow without hurting your neighborhood trees.
Your septic tank needs care
If your septic tank has not been drained in a very long time you may need to call in a pro for this one to have your tank drained. To keep your septic tank running well and prevent the need for draining you can use a monthly septic tank treatment packed with beneficial bacteria that break down grease and waste.
When to call in a plumber to clogged toilet.
Sometimes despite our best efforts to clear a clogged toilet drain, we need to call in a pro. If you are unable to clear the drain using the advice above you should take a step back and call in a professional to lower the chance that you will need to invest in a new toilet. Check out these 8 signs you need to call a plumber.