Tips on How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

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Nothing can be more annoying and stressful than a clogged toilet. An overflowing toilet on your bathroom floor can be potentially toxic if not addressed right away. It can also hide a bigger plumbing problem. A clogged toilet is straightforward to fix; it’s infrequent that the help of a plumber is required unless you own an old toilet. In this case, toilet repair might be necessary.

clogged toilet

How can a toilet get clogged?

The main reason why the toilet gets clogged is mostly due to the built-in trap system designed to retain standing water to avoid gases from the sewer to come out. See it as the U-Shape or P-trap you have behind a kitchen sink.

Unfortunately, this system can trap all kinds of objects such as bathroom items, paper towels, toys, etc. 90% of clogs can be cleared quickly with a plunger and without the help of a specialist. If using a plunger doesn’t work, try using a toilet auger. If that does not work you might have to either remove the entire toilet or call a plumber to have a full review of your plumbing system and septic tank. Most plumbing services will offer a free evaluation of the main sewer line and septic system.

Can an overflowing toilet cause water damage in the house

A blockage in the drainpipe left unattended can cause the water to spill over and cause water damage to a hardwood floor. In an apartment, it can cause severe damage to the neighbor’s ceiling.

7 Tips on how to unclog a toilet without a plunger

  • With dish soap
  • Choose a better toilet paper
  • Drain snake made with a wire coat hanger
  • Use a squirt gun
  • Hot water
  • Plastic bottle
  • DIY Plunger mixture with baking soda & vinegar

Dish soap technique

Pour about a 1/2 cup of dish soap in the toilet bowl as soon as you suspect it is clogged. If you don’t have dish soap at home, grate a block of bar soap with a grater. Soap will lubricate the pipes and should help loosen the clog.

Hot water

If the dish soap technique is not working, try to add hot water in a bucket (do not use boiling water as it could cause the ceramic to crack). Pour the hot water directly in the toilet. The hot water can sometimes dislodge the debris that is causing the clog.

Better toilet paper

Make sure that the toilet paper you’re using can easily break down in the water. Some toilet paper brands take too long to break down and will clog the pipes easily.

Drain Snake DIY made with hangers.

Straighten up a wire coat metal hanger. Plunge one end of your DIY drain snake into the clogged area. Keep making a back and forth motion until it becomes free, and the water gets drained.

Squirt gun technique 

You can use an old squirt gun to remove the water in the bowl. Some people use a sponge, but this is a prolonged process. Suck the water out of the clogged toilet and squirt it into a container.

Plastic Bottle

Make sure to remove all of the water from the toilet. Grab a large water bottle (1 Liter) and fill it with warm water. Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves! Keep your thumb on top of the bottle to prevent water from coming out.

Plunge the bottle in the direction of the toilet drain and squirt the warm water in it. Repeat the process until the water clears out.

unclogged toilet with baking soda and vinegar

DIY Plunger mixture with baking soda & vinegar

Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 2 cups of white vinegar and let it sit for 30 minutes until it fizzes. Pour the mixture in the toilet and wait 30 minutes before flushing.

How to unclog a toilet with a plunger

Required tools and material

  • Toilet plunger
  • Rubber gloves
  • Mask

In most cases, clogged toilets can be cleared with a plunger. Make sure that the plunger you buy has an extension flange on the rubber end. It can unplug both toilets and sinks, fold the flange back into the bell.

how to unclog a toilet with a plunger

How to use a plunger

  1. Plunge the plunger down the water in the direction of the toilet drain. Plunge gently at first as the bell-shaped rubber end is full of air. Releasing the air too fast can create a mess in your bathroom.
  2. Plunge quickly and vigorously back and forth to force the water in and out the drain. Keep doing this 10 to 20 times if needed.
  3. Make sure that there is enough water in the bowl, so the plunger stays immersed.

In most cases, the toilet plunger will release the blockage within the toilet drain. If you’re encountering a tougher clog, you might want to use a toilet auger.

How to unclog a toilet with an auger

Required tools and material (available in all hardware stores)

  • Toilet auger
  • Rubber gloves
  • Mask

A toilet auger is a tool worth owning if unclogging the toilet with a plunger isn’t working. Please do not use a plumbing snake, also called toilet snake, as this tool is not designed for bathrooms and might damage and scratch the porcelain coating of the toilet bowl. 

how to unclog a toilet with a auger

How to use a toilet auger

  1. You must insert the toilet auger in the toilet bowl. Make sure to pull the handle all the way so the cable is close to the curved end of the auger so it won’t scratch the porcelain. If it’s inserted the right way, you’ll only be able to see the housing. Also, make sure that the toilet water supply is shut down.
  2. Start cranking the handle and auger the cable into the clog. Keep rotating the wire to move it into the clogged drain. Most of the time, clogs occur in the trap system built into the toilet. The auger has enough cable to reach this area. Hold the toilet auger housing firmly with one hand to keep it in place and keep cranking gently and work your way into the toilet drain. It is essential to operate the cable smoothly.  Too much force can damage the plumbing behind the toilet bowl. For a more stubborn clog, you’ll need to crank in one direction and switch to another direction. Keep going back and forth until the clog is removed from the toilet trap. If you were able to release the clog, simply release the toilet tank and flush with enough water to fully drain the pipe. If the blocked toilet still isn’t fixed at this time, you’ll need to call a plumber as it can be a plumbing issue.

What is the cost of having a toilet unclogged by a plumber?

In most cases, you won’t need to call a plumber to unclog a toilet. But if the location of the blockage is out of reach with conventional tools, more specific materials will be needed, such as a high powered jet of water tools, electric augers, and even in some cases a camera to locate the clog.

The average cost of this type of plumbing service varies depending on several factors:

  • Type of toilet
  • Pipes access
  • How serious the issue is
  • Removing and reassembling the toilet
  • Apartment or house

In most cases, the cost will range between $150 to $600, depending on the seriousness of the issue.

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