Step by Step Guide To Fix a Clogged Toilet [Video]
A clogged is like stomach constipation, but for toilets – it prevents anything from going down and keeps an unpleasant sight floating just at the top.
Toilet clogging is the inability of water and waste materials to flush correctly. The incidence is widespread and happens for various reasons. And, for the average person, this can translate into frustration and a moment of panic, with many resorting to frantically and repeatedly flushing the toilet over and over.
Not only does this not work, but it can also lead to a whole myriad of new problems such as damage to the flushing handle and flapper.
However, with information like what we are about to provide, anybody can learn how to unclog a toilet without hiring a professional plumber.
All you will need to get started are a few tools and materials. The following steps may also require spending nothing or a few dollars depending on whether you are unclogging with a plunger, without a plunger, or with few easy-to-use chemicals.
How to Use a Plunger to Unclog a Toilet
The use of a plunger is, by far, one of the most common ways to fix a clogged toilet. And it can be defined as is a hand-held device with a long handle and an end that may either be bell-shaped or cylindrical with a fold-out rubber flange.
Most toilets already have these for cases like this, but if you do not own one, you would need to buy a large heavy-duty type of $20 to $50.
With your plunger ready, you will need to put on a pair of gloves and set to work. Follow the following 6 easy steps to get the clog out and your toilet working again:
Step 1: Find the main water supply and carefully disconnect it. The aim is to temporally disrupt the supply of water hence preventing overflowing.
Step 2: Treat the plunger to hot water for a few minutes. This is usually to soften the end of the plunger, making it easier to form a seal. The reason we advise that you use a high-quality plunger is also because they are less likely to be damaged by hot water.
Step 3: Dip the plunger into the toilet bowl and push down until it is completely submerged in water and covering the toilet hole. Then begin to pump over the hole slowly by pushing and pulling the plunger several times as close to the hole as possible.
Step 4: Finally, take a breather, turn on the water supply, and flush the toilet. This is to allow you to check if the toilet has been unclogged. If the toilet flushes effortlessly, then congratulations, you have triumphed over the toilet.
However, if it refuses to flush or the bowl runs out of water while the clog remains, don’t get frustrated; repeat the above process a few more times as some clogs are more resilient than others. Always remember to flush after many rounds of plunging to confirm that the clog has been removed.
How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger
And sometimes, you may not have a plunger readily available, or the plunger may not be enough to get the job done. What happens then? Fortunately, plungers are not the only tools we can use to fix a clogged toilet. Other widespread tools used in the fight against “unflushable” waste include a toilet auger (also often called a plumbing snake) or a make-shift toilet wire created from a good old coat hanger.
Not only is all of this equipment easy to use, but they also have more reach than a regular plunger; hence they can be used independently or in conjunction with a plunger.
Using a Toilet Auger
An auger is a flexible wire that can coil down or snake through the toilet curves. The “closet auger” is considered the best type of auger and is designed to carefully navigate the inside of the toilet without damaging the surface of the toilet bowl.
Step 1: Dressed with your gloves, grab the auger by its handle and push the other end down the drain. You should continue to push it down and feel it snake through the curves until it meets the obstruction. Then begin to twist and push the snake through this obstruction until you break it into smaller pieces.
Step 2: As soon as you can feel the clog shift or break, try to see if the water also drains out. And lastly, flush the toilet to be sure it drains as quickly as before the clog.
Using a Make-Shift Wire
Your toilet doesn’t have to stay clogged simply because you can’t lay your hands on a plunger or an auger. You can easily pick up a coat hanger, cut one end, stretch it out, and use it like a plumbing snake.
Step1: Cut and straightened out a coat hanger.
Step 2: Find a rag and wrap it around the sharp end. This will help minimize contact with the walls of the bowl and prevent any damage.
Step 3: Then stick the wrapped end into the bowl and begin to push it in until you can feel an obstruction. (P.S: this wire may have more reach than a plunger, but it may not be as long as an auger; hence it may not reach a clog that is embedded more than a few inches in).
Step 4: When you can feel the clog, begin to twist and push in a circular pattern until you feel it break or shift or until you see the water starts to drain
Step 5: Lastly, make one final flush to ensure all the clog has been completely dealt with.
How to Unclog a Toilet with Fluids and Chemicals
Luckily, we also can fix clogs by using liquids such as enzyme products, baking soda plus vinegar, and a chemical drain cleaner.
These liquids are easy to use (as easy as following specific instructions) and can result in little or no mess. However, they only work against soft and organic waste material and not hard objects such as toys and stones.
Using Enzyme Products
Using an enzyme product may cost you a few bucks, but it easily gets the job done for dissolvable and organic products. To get it right, the trick is usually to use the right product designed for drain clearing.
This will ensure that the bowl remains undamaged during and after the unclogging. Follow the steps below to remove a clog with an enzyme product:
Step 1: Purchase an enzyme product from a typical store
Step 2: Follow the instructions provided on the container
Step 3: Pour in the recommended amount of the product and allow to sit overnight.
Step 4: The enzyme should react and break down the organic waste to undo the clog
Using Cleaning Solutions
Carefully preparing a solution of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water can be used to unclog a toilet and clean the drain to prevent future clogging. However, this solution is also only effective against organic wastes. Follow the steps below to clear toilet clogging:
Step 1: Boil at least half a gallon of water, then allow it to cool for a bit. The high temperature around the waste will make it easier to move through, but using very hot water can damage the porcelain.
Step 2: While the water is cooling, pour in a cup of baking soda into the toilet drain and follow that with 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. This mixture will produce an immediate chemical reaction.
Step 3: Allow the above mixture to sit at least 2o minutes before flushing with the hot water.
Step 4: Alternatively, you can allow the solution to sit overnight and then flush with the hot water in the morning.
Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
There are industrial chemical cleaners explicitly made for draining toilets and getting rid of clogs. But while the right chemical gets the clog out of the way without ruining the toilet sink, it is advisable to use them as a “last resort” as they are mostly considered harmful to both people and the environment.
But if you still believe a chemical cleaner is the best option and you are sure the obstruction isn’t a hard object, then apply the following steps:
Step 1: Put on gloves and wear as much clothing as possible to prevent direct contact with your skin
Step 2: Ensure the windows are open and the area well ventilated to avoid you from inhaling the chemical
Step 3: Follow the manufacturers’ instructions and pour the recommended amount into the toilet sink
Step 4: Allow to sit overnight or as described on the container before you flush
Step 5: Be sure to flush properly to clear off any remains of the chemical
Will a Toilet Eventually Unclog Itself?
Like we said earlier, clogging can occur for a myriad of reasons. It could also be an obstruction by different sizes of human waste, tissues papers, wipes, diapers, cotton, female hygiene products, toys, or small stones.
While all of these can cause clogging, only very few of them don’t require your interference to get unclogged. For instance, wastes and tissues may eventually clear even though this may require varying amounts of time ranging from an hour to 24 hours depending on the size or type of substance.
The rest of the things listed usually don’t unclog themselves as they don’t even belong in the toilet drain in the first place. The rule here is “if it’s not degradable, then it is flushable.”
However, in most cases, you will need to apply any of the above methods and steps to avoid clogging, considering how vital the toilet is in everyday life, especially if you have just one.
Clogging can happen even to the best of us and can cause a lot of frustration. When it happens to you, you may choose to wait it out for a few hours or an entire day, glove up and unclog it, or call a professional plumber.
Showing you how to unclog a toilet aims to provide you with all the knowledge you need if you choose to do it yourself.
The process itself is not the most pleasant; hence when you do get rid of the clog, be sure to carefully select what gets flushed down the toilet and what doesn’t to prevent future occurrence.