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How To Unclog a Toilet Quickly and Effectively

How To Unclog a Toilet Quickly and Effectively

When you least expect it, the dreaded moment strikes – your toilet refuses to flush, leaving you in a panic. You might have already attempted the plunger route, only to worsen the situation, making you contemplate calling a plumber. But fear not because learning how to unclog a toilet yourself is possible and surprisingly straightforward.

Before you reach for those rubber gloves, dive into this comprehensive guide. We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of how to unclog a toilet effectively, covering everything from mastering the art of plunging to exploring handy home remedies, essential plumber tools, and preventive strategies. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be equipped to tackle any toilet blockage like a seasoned pro.

Will My Toilet Unclog Itself?

The dream of a self-unclogging toilet may be wishful thinking, but here’s the silver lining – your toilet operates on a basic principle: gravity. If you’re fortunate enough to have another toilet, you can sometimes let nature take its course. Give the clog time to settle, perhaps leaving it untouched for a few hours or overnight.

This hands-off strategy often works for minor obstructions. However, if the situation persists or you face a more stubborn blockage, it’s time to explore the methods on how to unclog a toilet outlined below.

Read more: How to unclog a drain pipe.

Unclogging a Toilet with a Plunger

Plunging is the first thing you think to do when unclogging a toilet. It’s the most common solution, but there are techniques that not everyone knows.

Choose the Right Plunger

Not all plungers are the same. There are primarily two categories: the cup plunger and the toilet plunger, also known as a flanged or closet plunger.

  • Cup Plunger: Characterized by a rubber cup with a flat rim, ideal for flat surfaces like sinks and bathtubs.
  • Toilet Plunger: Similar rubber cup design but distinguished by a narrow bottom, designed to snugly fit the toilet bowl’s hole, ensuring a secure seal.

When unclogging a toilet, opting for the right tool is crucial. Using a cup plunger for this task is generally ineffective, given its design isn’t tailored to the toilet bowl’s shape. To ensure efficient results, it’s advisable to have a toilet plunger on hand. If you don’t already own one, consider a quick trip to the store to acquire this specialized tool. It’s a wise investment that will prove its worth in handling future toilet clogs effectively.

Unclogging a Toilet: The Process

With the correct plunger in hand, follow these steps on how to unclog a toilet:

  1. Check Water Level: Add water to the toilet bowl until it’s about halfway full. This level ensures a proper seal when using the plunger.
  2. Adjust the Plunger: Extend the narrow bottom of the plunger, known as the flange. Some plungers allow you to fold the flange up for use on sinks and bathtubs but keep the flange down for toilets.
  3. Position the Plunger: Slowly lower the plunger into the water at an angle. This angle helps create enough force for effective plunging.
  4. Seal the Drain: Place the cup of the plunger over the toilet drain, ensuring that the flange is inside the hole and the larger cup seals the outer rim.
  5. Plunge with Force: Use steady and powerful thrusts to unclog the toilet. As the clog loosens, the water in the bowl starts to go down.
  6. Monitor the Water: Avoid flushing the toilet immediately if the water goes down after plunging. Instead, add more water to the bowl. If this added water goes down smoothly, you’ve cleared the clog successfully.
  7. Repeat as Needed: If adding more water doesn’t result in a clear drain, repeat the plunging process.
  8. Consider Alternatives: If several attempts with the plunger don’t resolve the blockage, it may be time to explore different unclogging methods.

What to Do When a Plunger Doesn’t Work

If a plunger isn’t doing the trick, other methods may help unclog the toilet:

Use an Auger

Discover an effective technique for unclogging a toilet using a hose.
A toilet auger (also called a closet auger) has a cable that retracts into a long hollow tube. The cable comes out at the bottom of the tube through a rubber sweep elbow. At the top of the tube, there is a hand crank that you use to control the cable.

Before starting, make sure you use an auger designed explicitly for toilets. Don’t try to use something like a drain or a plumbing snake to unclog a toilet. The metal cable on a plumbing snake can severely scratch the porcelain.

Using a Toilet Auger: Step-by-Step Process

  1. Retract the Cable: Begin by using the hand crank to retract the cable into the tube of the toilet auger.
  2. Position the Auger: Insert the tube into the toilet bowl, ensuring that the sweep elbow rests at the bottom of the bowl and the end of the cable reaches the mouth of the toilet drain.
  3. Start Cranking: While gently pushing the cable into the toilet hole, begin cranking the handle clockwise. Maintain a slow and steady pace to prevent the cable from kinking.
  4. Maneuver Carefully: Sometimes, you may need to reverse direction and crank counterclockwise to navigate the toilet trap and beyond.
  5. Check for Progress: Once you can no longer extend the cable, it’s a sign that you’ve likely cleared the clog. Observe the water starting to go down.
  6. Retract the Cable: Slowly turn the handle counterclockwise to retract the cable from the toilet drain.
  7. Confirm the Clog is Cleared: To ensure the clog is entirely cleared, flush the toilet after using the auger.
  8. Repeat If Necessary: If the auger doesn’t initially break through the clog, don’t hesitate to repeat the process as needed.

Home Remedies

Are you left scrambling without a plunger or auger? While you should buy these tools anyway, here are some home remedies you can try to unclog a toilet.

Use Mild Soap

Don’t use chemical drain cleaners. There’s debate surrounding using chemical drain cleaners for clogged toilets. We say that there are other, more effective methods. The chemicals can be harmful to your health and damage older fixtures. They are especially problematic for homes with septic tanks as they kill off the good bacteria.

While harsh chemicals shouldn’t be used, mild soap can help loosen a clog. The lubrication will allow the contents to keep moving down the pipe.

Pour about half a cup of dish soap into the bowl. If you don’t have any liquid dish soap, you can cut small chunks from a bar of soap. Wait a few minutes to see if the water starts to go down.

Add Hot Water

If mild soap alone doesn’t work, try adding hot water. Pour a bucketful of hot water into the bowl. The pressure alone will further help everything move along.

Try Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar can work wonders. Pour two cups of vinegar and one cup of baking soda into the bowl. Let the baking soda mixture sit for half an hour and see if the water starts to go down.

Makeshift Plumbing Tools

The internet has hundreds of hacks for those who don’t have the right tools. Some suggest using a coat hanger as a makeshift auger. Others suggest using a water bottle or a squirt gun to mimic the seal of a plunger.

While these methods might work for some, we advise against them. They are usually more trouble than just going out and buying the tools. A wire coat hanger, for instance, will likely scratch the porcelain, and the water bottle and squirt gun will probably just create a mess.

Crucial Tip

As you try to unclog a toilet, it’s also good to know how to prevent the bowl from overflowing.

You can do this one of two ways: Remove the tank lid and close the flapper to prevent water from flowing into the bowl, or close the water supply line’s shut-off valve.

If None of These Methods Unclog the Toilet

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  • Rent a Wet/Dry Vacuum: If you’ve exhausted your options and the clog remains stubborn, consider renting a wet/dry vacuum from a hardware store. Insert the nozzle into the toilet bowl and suction out the contents. While this may not be the most pleasant task, it’s a reliable method to resolve your clogged toilet.
  • Address Plumbing Issues: If your toilet frequently experiences clogs, it might be time to address underlying plumbing problems. Particularly, older low-flow toilets are prone to blockages. Investing in fixing your plumbing system can prevent future issues.
  • Call in the Professionals: For particularly challenging or persistent clogs that defy DIY efforts, it’s prudent to seek the expertise of a plumber. A professional can efficiently assess the situation and resolve the problem, preventing further escalation.

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Call the Experts to Unclog a Toilet

Of course, it can be satisfying to tackle plumbing problems on your own. You can fix things quickly and avoid the hassle of calling in a professional.

However, in some cases, it’s best to seek the help of an expert. Hiring a professional plumber to unclog your toilet can save you time and address any underlying issues that may be causing the blockage.

Here at All Dry USA, we respond to calls quickly and efficiently. Our experts address your plumbing issues so you don’t have to lift a finger. Call today to put your mind at ease!

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