How to Unclog a Toilet
A clogged toilet is not something that anyone wants to deal with, and there are a number of causes for this problem. Some involve young children and various object and toys, which is equally distressing for both child and parent. Others have different causes, but regardless, the issue must be dealt with.
Ways to Unclog a Toilet
Sooner or later, you are going to need to be ready to address a clogged toilet, so you need to consider tools and how to use them in order to get your bathroom functioning again.
How to Unclog a Toilet with a Plunger
Plunger – this is the most commonly used tool for a clogged toilet. There are several different options for types of plungers: cup, flange and accordion. A cup plunger is the most commonly found plunger but is actuality designed for sinks and bathtubs as it requires a flat surface to create an effective seal. Flange and accordion plungers are the most effective for use in a toilet as they are designed to seal the drain area of the toilet and create pressure and suction in the area of the toilet drain.
How to use a plunger: You will want to have the toilet bowl halfway full of water, which will also mean that you will want to place towels around the toilet as water is likely to splash. Make sure the tip of the plunger fully covers the drain area, and use fast, strong pushes to send pressure down the drain and dislodge the obstruction. If the water then runs easily down the drain, you will know you have cleared the blockage. If not, you will want to try again, making sure again that the toilet bowl is half full of water. You may need to add some more water in after your previous efforts. If this still doesn’t work, you may want to try something else or call a plumber.
How to Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger
How to Unclog a Toilet with an Auger (Snake)
Auger – a toilet auger is designed to get to more difficult obstructions using a cable with a spiral wire tip that is fed into the drain by a hand crank deep into the drain of the toilet. You will need to be careful as there is a risk of the wire bristles scratching the toilet bowl. (A toilet auger is not the same as a drain snake. Drain snakes were not designed to be used in toilets.)
How to use a toilet auger: To use an auger, you will need to fully retract the auger cable into the end of the guide. Place the guide into the curve of the drain. Then turn the handle of the auger, moving it around until it does not move any farther into the drain. Gently remove the auger by pulling it from the toilet. You will be dislodging the blockage as you do so as well. Flush the toilet to move the pieces of obstruction on down the drain. You may find it helpful to use a plunger at this point to move the chunks down the drain now that they are broken up.
Should You Call a Plumber?
If you notice back up in other drains in the house when you flush the toilet, you will want to call a plumber immediately, as this is a sign of a problem in the main water line and not one you can handle yourself. An auger and a plunger will not be effective in this situation and may even make the situation worse. If you haven’t noticed back up in other drains, but all your attempts with the plunger and auger are not freeing up your toilet drain, it is also time to throw in the towel and call in a plumber. He will have the expertise and tools to deal with a more complex problem than can be addressed by simple home care.
How to Prevent Toilet Clogs
To keep your toilet drain clear, there are steps you can take so you don’t have to frequently address the issue of a clogged toilet.
- Limit the volume of toilet paper used at one time. If for some reason you need to use a larger volume of toilet paper, flush several times, adding in the additional toilet paper with each flush.
- Be sure that all items you flush are really meant to be flushed down the toilet, most especially feminine care products. Some simply are not designed to be flushed and need to be disposed of in another way. Check your labels. Don’t flush wet wipes, paper towels, or similar items as these are too large to effectively clear the drain because of their size and weight.
- Talk to your children about what goes in the toilet and what does not. Consider toilet lid locks when your children are small so toys don’t get tossed in when you aren’t looking!