We’ve all been there: you flush the toilet and the water starts to rise instead of draining away. Ugh. Nothing is more annoying than a blocked toilet! Even if you haven’t had any experience unclogging a toilet bowl, don’t worry. It’s really not that hard, you just need to know where to start. In this post, we’ll show you how to quickly and easily unclog a toilet without having to call in a professional plumber. So without further ado, let’s get straight to the facts and show you how to unclog a toilet with the simple steps outlined below.
The first step in unclogging your toilet is to turn off the water supply at the base of the toilet. Then use either a plunger or an auger or snake to clear out any clogs or blockages in the drainpipe.
Understanding What’s Clogging the Toilet
Understanding What’s Clogging the Toilet is the first step in being able to effectively unclog it. If you can determine what is causing the clog, then you are more likely to be able to resolve the issue. There are two main culprits when it comes to toilet clogs: foreign objects that have been flushed down the toilet and a buildup of toilet paper, hair, soap scum, or grease.
If foreign objects have been flushed, such as wipes or toys, then they need to be removed from the pipe. This requires switching off the water supply valve at the back of the toilet, usually located on either side of the tank or on the wall behind it. You may have to unscrew the connector with an adjustable wrench if it’s difficult to turn off by hand. Once you have access to the piping behind the toilet, you can use pliers or other tools to remove any solid items blocking your drain.
However, if it appears that just a clump of items, such as toilet paper, hair, soap scum, or grease has caused the clog, then you need a different approach. In this case it may be possible to clear out the blockage yourself using some basic household items. The next section will discuss how to use a plunger to unclog a toilet quickly and easily.
Toilets can be clogged due to foreign objects, such as wipes and toys, or a buildup of items like toilet paper, hair, soap scum, and grease. To resolve a clog caused by foreign objects, you will need to access the piping behind the toilet and remove them with pliers or other tools. If it appears that just a clump of items has caused the blockage, then you may be able to easily unclog the toilet yourself by using a plunger.
Using a Plunger to Unclog a Toilet
Using a plunger to unclog a toilet is a popular and widely accepted method for quick resolution of the issue. Generally, any type of plunger can be used to address the clog; however, cup style plungers are more specifically designed for toilets since they have flanges that fit into the bowl and form an airtight seal around the hole. The two-handed cup-and-handle style should be used with both hands in order to provide full power when plunging; one hand holds the handle while the other supports the base of the plunger cup.
It may be necessary for the user to experiment with different plunging techniques before finding one that will effectively break the clog. One effective technique is pumping up and down in a forceful manner but only submerging just enough of the plunger in order to form a seal. In addition, some people prefer a rotating motion while others may find it helpful to alternate between plunging with fast, hard strokes and slower, gentler ones.
There is some debate as to whether adding safe cleaning agents such as dish soap or bleach may aid in breaking stubborn clogs; while these solutions may help dissolve organic blockages, they also have potential risks associated with them as well. Therefore, it is wise for homeowners to proceed with caution when using them in their attempt to unclog their toilets.
After several attempts at using a plunger, if there is still no success in resolving the clog, the user should call in professional help before attempting any additional methods.
Now that we’ve discussed using a plunger to unclog a toilet, let’s move on to discuss plunger technique and how best to use one for maximum efficiency.
The plunger technique is a popular and highly effective way to unclog a toilet quickly and easily. This inexpensive and straightforward method of unclogging a toilet involves using a plunger to dislodge the clog organically. The straight- or cup-style plunger works best for plunging clogged toilets, though other types may work to some degree of success.
To use a plunger, begin by putting on some rubber gloves and checking that the clog is from the roll itself, not from the drainage pipes. If the issue is from the pipes, you should consult with a professional plumber rather than trying to fix it yourself.
If you determine that the issue lies in the toilet itself, you can use the plunger by filling the bowl with enough water for it to reach about one to two inches above the neck of the plunger. With quick but powerful thrusts, place your plunger over the drain hole and then plunge out deep onto the water’s surface several times. As you plunge out, work steadily upward through both deep and shallow thrusts until you gain momentum. It’s important to be persistent with this process since it has been known to take several minutes before results appear. When vacuuming out you should try and anticipate where the blockage might be as well as how large it may be.
If you find yourself facing significant resistance when plunging, try adding more water or even soap and hot water, which can sometimes help break up hard objects like wads of toilet paper lodged in the pipe. Regardless of what type of object is clogging your toilet there are always potential risks if not done correctly; therefore, we recommend attempting to fix it only when necessary!
When finished plunging, flush away any remaining debris or water left in the bowl. Use caution when flushing as there could still be more resistance than expected due to any remaining backpressure in the pipes.
This concludes our discussion on using a plunger technique to unclog a toilet quickly and easily. In our next section we will discuss cleaning around your area before jumping into these techniques!
Preparing the Area
When attempting to unclog a toilet, it is important to take some steps to properly prepare the area. This includes protecting the floor and walls, preparing the necessary tools, and collecting any spilled water.
Protecting the Floor & Walls: It is important to protect the floor and walls because cleaning agents and water will likely be spilt during the process of unclogging a toilet. To protect hard floors cover them with a tarp or old towel and for carpets, temporarily move furniture so that the carpet can be wrapped up in plastic before beginning work on the clogged toilet. Additionally, this will also make it easier to move should you need access from behind the toilet.
Gathering Necessary Tools: Prior to working on a clogged toilet, you should be sure to have certain items on hand including rubber gloves, rags, a sponge, clean towels, baking soda, white vinegar and an auger (plumber’s snake). With these tools at your disposal you are now ready to begin clearing out the clog.
Collecting Spilled Water: Depending on how long your toilet has been clogged sediment may have built up or backed up into the tank. This could lead to spills when you try and remove the lid that covers the tank. Put towels down near your tanks as well as around your toilet’s base so that any spills can be quickly absorbed.
Now that you have taken all of the necessary steps to properly prepare the area for unclogging a toilet, it is time to move onto clearing out the clog itself. The next step in this process involves using an auger (also known as a plumber’s snake) which will be discussed in more detail in the following section.
Clearing the Clog with an Auger
Clearing the Clog with an Auger is a great way to tackle toilet clogs caused by issues too tough for a plunger or plumber’s snake. An auger is a long, flexible cable (some are up to six feet long) with a handle, and it has a corkscrew-shaped piece at the end. Some people feel that using an auger is the surest way to unclog a toilet, while others may not be familiar with how to use one correctly or may have had negative experiences in the past.
When it comes to using an auger properly, there are some things to keep in mind. First, be sure to wear protective gloves when handling the auger, as well as safety goggles. Next, you’ll want to cover the floor around the toilet with a tarp or newspaper in order to protect it from any overflow while working on the clog. Finally, make sure that your auger has enough slack so that it can reach underneath the water level and down into the drain pipe in order to remove whatever is obstructing the flow.
Once your protective gear is on and your floor is covered, you can begin. Insert the auger down the drain and turn its handle clockwise. Once moving about two inches forward and backward, twist counterclockwise for better traction between the spring heat-treated coil and whatever blockage needs to come out. Move forward slowly as you work on clearing away soap scum and other debris until you hit resistance. Then rotate clockwise again until you feel something break away from inside—that will allow for an easier passage of water. Finally, flush your toilet until everything runs clear and then take off any protective gear and check that your unclogged toilet is running smoothly before packing everything away again.
Now that you know how to clear a clog using an auger, it’s important to understand how to choose the right one for your job. In the next section we will discuss how to pick an auger that is up-to-the-task of unclogging your slow-draining or blocked toilet effectively.
Choosing the Right Auger
If a plunger fails to unclog a toilet, the next option is to use an auger. An auger, sometimes referred to as a sewer rod or closet auger, is designed to snake through the tough blocks and clear them out so the water can freely flow away. Choosing the right auger is important, as some are necessary for certain blockages more than others.
For most clogs, a toilet auger with 6-8 feet of steel cable will be sufficient. If the drain line beyond the toilet seems blocked, then using a longer or smaller cable could be beneficial. Smaller cables are helpful for narrower pipes and longer ones for deeper clogs. Shop around for the best selection in terms of size and design before making any final decisions.
On the other hand, there are also heavy-duty varieties like drum machines that operate using electric power and come with 3-4 cables up to 100 feet in length. While these devices are ideal for more stubborn clogs, they may not be necessary if a regular model can do the job just as well.
Regardless of which model is chosen, always make sure it has the correct fittings on either end – one should fit snugly onto the toilet’s outlet while the other should rest correctly in your hand. The wrong end fitting can cause damage to your pipes or your skin so double-check this detail carefully before making your purchase.
Now that choose you’ve chosen the right auger for your needs, it’s time to move on to operating it. The next section will cover how to best use an auger to quickly and easily unclog a toilet; read on for all of the details.
Operating the Auger
Using an auger to unclog a toilet is often the go-to solution for difficult clogs. An auger, sometimes known as a “plumbing snake” or drain snake, is a tool that has a cylindrical steel cable or spring with a corkscrew head at one end. Inserting the snake into the drain allows you to physically break apart the material clogging the pipe. Unlike acidic liquid drain cleaners, this method uses no chemicals and is generally more effective at dislodging large blockages. With just a few simple steps, it’s easy to use an auger to quickly clear your toilet pipes of troublesome clogs!
To operate the auger:
1. Ensure that the auger is fully extended before inserting it into the toilet bowl.
2. Insert the head of the auger into the drain hole at the bottom of your toilet bowl and slowly turn the handle in a clockwise motion as you pull outward until there is resistance against clogged debris.
3. Push in on the handle while turning it in a clockwise direction to create pressure against any blockage inside.
4. Continue pushing and turning until either the blockage is freed or you can’t turn anymore without risking damage to your plumbing system. You may need to remove and reset several times if needed.
When using an auger, it’s important to be careful not to damage any pipes or fixtures on your toilet when rotating and pushing in on the handle. Also, keep in mind that by manually removing blockages from your pipes, you may still have residue left behind from whatever was originally blocking them up. Therefore, after unclogging your toilet with an auger, you may want to follow up by pouring some boiling water into the bowl to further loosen any remaining debris (this does have its drawbacks though, so consult an expert if unsure).
In sum, operating an auger requires caution and skill but can be incredibly useful for clearing stubbornly blocked toilets. Before beginning however, ensure you are prepared and familiar with operating such a tool to ensure safety as well as effective use.
Now that we’ve discussed how to quickly and easily unclog a toilet using an auger, let’s move onto other clearing solutions available for removing blockages from your plumbing system!
Other Clearing Solutions
There are several other clearing solutions for clogged toilets, such as chemical and mechanical solutions. Chemical treatments typically involve a combination of acidic and alkaline agents used to dissolve clogs. These can be effective but should be used with caution since they may cause damage to pipes if not handled properly. Additionally, certain chemical agents, although safe for humans, can harm surrounding vegetation or wildlife if not used properly.
Mechanical clearing solutions involve the use of tools such as plumbing snakes and plungers to break up and remove the obstruction in a pipe. Plumbing snakes are flexible metal rods that are inserted into a pipe and twirled around to break up the clog so it can be flushed out; however, these tools can cause further damage if they’re not properly handled. Plungers are also an effective tool for loosening tough clogs, especially when combined with an alkaline-based product that helps break down obstructions.
It’s important to take safety precautions when using either chemical or mechanical solutions to unclog your toilet. Wearing rubber gloves, protective eyewear, and other protective clothing is essential whenever working with harsh chemicals or any type of mechanical unclogging tool. Additionally, one should always make sure that all areas surrounding the toilet are adequately ventilated when using either type of solution.
Now that you know some common clearing solutions for unclogging your toilet, let’s look at some prevention tips to help keep your toilet from becoming clogged in the first place.
To avoid clogged toilets in the first place, follow a few simple prevention tips:
1. Know what is flushable and what isn’t. Toilet paper designed for septic tanks is the safest choice of material to use. Never flush anything that doesn’t disintegrate quickly, such as baby wipes, paper towels, cotton swabs, feminine hygiene products, diapers, or tissues that are labeled unflushable.
2. Monitor your water usage. If you notice your toilet bowl takes longer to refill after it’s been flushed or hear gurgling sounds coming from inside the pipes when other fixtures in your house are being used, you may have a problem with pipes running slower due to clogs. Consider installing a low flow device in your restroom to regulate and limit water usage each time the toilet is flushed.
3. Be aware of what you throw into the garbage disposal and keep an eye on when it’s full. Fibrous items such as celery and banana peels should never be placed into the garbage disposal as they can cause buildups that block the drain line.
4. Schedule regular plumbing maintenance for your home if you live in an area with hard water as hard-water deposits can solidify over time, causing clogs deep within your plumbing pipes. A plumbing technician will be able to identify any potential concerns before they become major problems and provide helpful solutions for avoiding future problems.
- According to the National Association of Plumbing and Drain Cleaning, clogged toilets are one of the top 10 plumbing emergencies.
- A research paper published in 2017 found that the top two methods used for unclogging blocked toilets were manual plungers and chemical treatments.
- According to plumbing experts, plunging and chemical treatments are usually successful in clearing blocked drains within 30 minutes.
Common Questions Explained
What should I do if the toilet won’t unclog after multiple attempts?
If the toilet still won’t unclog after multiple attempts, the best course of action is to call a plumber or drain-cleaning professional. They have the necessary tools and expertise to diagnose and fix a clogged toilet. Additionally, they can advise on what caused the clog in the first place, so that you can avoid similar problems in the future.
How much time should it take to unclog a toilet?
The amount of time it takes to unclog a toilet can vary depending on the cause of the clog and the methods used to unclog it. On average, it should take 5-30 minutes to unclog a toilet. However, if you are using drain cleaning chemicals, tools, or augers, it may take up to an hour or more. Additionally, if the clog is severe, multiple attempts with varying tools and techniques may be required.
Is there a natural and Eco-friendly way to unclog a toilet?
Yes, there are several natural and Eco-friendly ways to unclog a toilet. One of the simplest methods is by using baking soda and vinegar. Start by pouring a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes and then flush the toilet. The combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a natural foaming reaction that will break up clogs in the pipes. Another eco-friendly option is to use boiling water. Boil some water and carefully pour it down the toilet bowl. Boiling water will help to dissolve any clogs in the drainpipe or toilet trap, without damaging your plumbing or releasing harsh chemicals into your home or the environment.
How can I make sure the toilet stays unclogged?
The best way to make sure the toilet stays unclogged is by regularly inspecting and cleaning it. Look for any signs of clogging, such as slow draining or bubbling noises when the toilet is flushed, and be sure to address them immediately. If a clog does occur, use a simple plunger or a closet auger to remove it. Additionally, make sure not to flush anything that doesn’t belong in the toilet (such as cotton swabs, diapers, paper towels, etc.). Installing a drain strainer can also help prevent foreign objects from entering your drainage system. Finally, consider investing in higher quality toilet paper that is specifically designed to reduce bulk and break down quickly. With these easy steps, you can ensure that your toilet remains clog-free.
What are the best tools to use when unclogging a toilet?
When unclogging a toilet, the best tools to use are:
1. A Plunger: The plunger is essential for dislodging blockages. It works by creating suction and dislodging any buildup in the drain line. Be sure to use an appropriate sized plunger that completely covers the hole of the drain.
2. A Toilet Auger: A toilet auger can reach further down than a plunger can, so it’s ideal for more severe clogs. It works by using a long metal cable with a crank handle at one end to push its way through the clog before snagging it and pulling it out.
3. An Enzyme Cleaner: Enzyme cleaners work by breaking down organic matter, like toilet paper and waste, without harming the plumbing pipes or septic system. These cleaners come in liquid form and need to be poured into the bowl and allowed to sit for several hours in order to restore flow and break down any chunks that may be causing the clog.
These three tools are essential for quickly and effectively unclogging a toilet, allowing you to save time and money. With these items at hand, you will have your plumbing running smoothly again in no time!