Want to know how to unclog your toilet?
You’ve landed in the right spot.
We’ve got a number of ways you can try to get your toilet unclogged.
Sometimes though, no matter what you try, the toilet will remain clogged. If this happens it’s obviously time to call in the skilled help. Call PlumberMelbourne4u to stop the family complaining and avoid the toilet from overflowing.
Now let’s get started on clearing the blockage.
Do I need anything before I start?
At the very least you should have the following:
- Rubber gloves to protect your hands from the germs.
- Plenty of newspaper or paper towel to lay around the toilet to soak up any water spillage.
- Old towels (it you don’t have any newspaper).
- Eye protection (goggles) for any debris splashes.
Depending on which approach you take, you may need:
- dishwasher liquid.
- bucket or large pot.
- hot but not boiling water.
- plumbing snake (also called an auger).
- 500 gram box of bicarbonate of soda (Bi-carb Soda or Baking Soda).
- medium size bottle of vinegar (any type – say 750 mls)
What do I do first?
Put your eye goggles on.
If the toilet is not flushing properly don’t keep flushing it. This will cause it to overflow. You certainly don’t want that to happen.
Just in case there are any bad smells, turn on the fan or open the window to ventilate the room. This will make it more bearable to breathe and stop it going through the rest of the house.
Make sure you place plenty of newspaper, paper towel or old towels on the floor around the toliet to soak up any liquid that splashes or spills.
If you can see what’s causing the blockage, remove it from the toilet with your rubber gloves on.
What do I do next? – 4 methods to try
Hopefully you’ve removed the blockage at the first attempt. It’s then just a matter of cleaning up and getting on with life as normal.
But if you weren’t so lucky, and it’s still clogged there are a number of different methods you can use. Some methods we recommend and some we don’t. Some require special equipment and some don’t. So let’s start with those we do recommend and the order you should try them. Try each one in turn if you’re not successful.
1. Dish Soap and Hot Water
This only require a bucket (or large pot), dishwashing liquid and hot (but not too hot) water.
* fill a large pot or half a bucket with water that is no hotter than you have for your tea or coffee. Any hotter and you could crack the porcelain that is the toilet.
* add a few squirts of dishwashing liquid to the toilet.
* from about waste level pour the water into the toilet bowl
* wait for a few minutes to see if the water and liquid softens and clears the clog
You can repeat the process if the water in the toilet clears away slowly. It might need a couple of extra attempts to be successful. But if it doesn’t work, move on to using a plunger.
The plunger we’re talking about here is not the normal small suction cup type of plunger you might use on your kitchen sink. For the toilet you need to use a large heavy duty rubber plunger (the larger the better because of the force you can apply). It should be either ball shaped or have a fold-out rubber flange on the bottom. Using this type of plunger will ensure water doesn’t shoot back at you when you push down forcefully on it.
- soften the plunger with hot water before you use it as this will help create an effective seal.
- place the softened plunger into the bowl making sure it’s covering the hole completely and in turn is itself covered by water. This means you’ll be pushing and pulling water not air (you might need to add some water).
- next pull the plunger up sharply to create suction and then push in to create pressure, but not too hard. In this way you’re looking to create greater suction than pressure to avoid jamming the clog any further.
- pulling and pushing like this should cause the clog to loosen to the point where the clog no longer exists or has allowed the water in the bowl to drain away.
- in the latter case, fill the bowl with water to it’s normal level and resume plunging again until the clog finally clears.
3. Plumbing Snake
Unless you’ve planned ahead for such an emergency, you probably won’t have a plumbing snake in the house – so it’s either borrow one or buy from the local hardware store. Note a plumbing snake is also called an auger and there are different types. In this case you should be using a “closet auger” which is designed specially to clear toilet clogs without damaging or staining the toilet.
- insert the non-handle end of the snake into the bowl
- push and feed the snake further down the drain until you feel the clog
- with the handle, twist and push at the same time to work your way through the clog until the water begins to drain away
- it may be that some of the clog remains attached to the end of the snake and you have to pull that out back to the bowl
4. Bicarbonate of Soda (Bi-carb Soda or Baking Soda) and Vinegar
Now we’re getting into a slower method. This may well take overnight and you’ll need to have a 500 gram box of bi-carb soda, a medium sized bottle of vinegar and 3–4 litres of hot tap water.
- pour almost the whole box of bi-carb soda (approximately 450 grams) into the bowl
- very slowly pour a medium sized bottle of vinegar into the bowl. It’ll fizz a lot. Pause when it foams up but empty the whole bottle into the bowl.
- go have a cup of coffee while the chemical reaction of the soda and vinegar does it’s work dissolving the clog.
- after 10–15 minutes pour 3–4 litres of hot tap water into the bowl to help with the chemical process.
- you may need to leave it to work overnight and repeat the next day if the clog is not totally cleared.
What shouldn’t I try? – 2 methods to avoid
There are two other methods that can work but they carry some risk. And it’s risk we don’t think is worth taking. It’s up to you if you want to go for it.
1. Wire Coat Hanger (not recommended)
If you are not careful, this method could damage the porcelain of the toilet. For this reason we don’t recommend trying it.
In short, though it could be used if the plunger hasn’t worked and the obstruction is not too far down the drain.
- untwine a wire coat hanger so that both ends are unconnected
- tightly wrap some rag around one end of the hanger.
- open out the hanger so that you can push, twist and work the wire in a circular motion (like the snake) in the drain when you reach the obstruction.
- the hanger is only likely to reach a short way down the drain so it may not reach the obstruction.
2. Chemicals (not recommended)
If the recommended methods haven’t worked you could try a drain-cleaning chemical. They’re available at the supermarket or the hardware stores. But we don’t recommend going down this path because they’re very harsh on the environment.
- Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Only use a product specifically listed to be used for toilets.
It’s still clogged – is there anything else?
Yes there are two more methods you can try.
This method will only work on organic waste. It’s easy on the environment but it does have it’s limitations. Like chemicals, it won’t work on hard objects but it also won’t work on hair. And whilst it’s not fast, overnight it can unclog a toilet.
Purchase an enzymes product – something like this product at Bunnings and follow the instructions on the container.
2. Vacuum Method
This method is not available to a lot of people because it requires a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.
DO NOT USE an ordinary vacuum cleaner.
- use the vacuum cleaner to empty the water out of the toilet bowl.
- using the flexible hose only (with no attachments), place the end a few centimetres into the drain. Wrap old towels around the hose to create a seal for the drain.
- turn on the vacuum at the same time as you push on the towels to firm up the seal.
- if all goes well the suction from the vacuum cleaner will suck out the clog. Somewhat messy but it could work.
Still clogged? – it’s time to call PlumberMelbourne4u
If you’ve tried some or all of the above methods then it’s unlikely to be a simple clog. There’s probably a more serious problem that requires the skill and experience of a licensed plumber here at PlumberMelbourne4u. We’ll be able to diagnose and clear your clogged toilet quickly.
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