The logo of adu contractors, indicating they specialize in damage repair services related to water, fire, mold, and storms.
How To Fix a Gurgling Toilet: Step-by-Step Guide

How To Fix a Gurgling Toilet: Step-by-Step Guide

As you walk by your bathroom, you hear a strange noise. You walk in to investigate.

After a quick look around, you realize the sound is coming from your toilet. The water in the bowl is bubbling and making a gurgling noise.

You think it’s odd, but your toilet seems to be working fine otherwise. You aren’t concerned and brush it off.

A gurgling toilet might not seem like a big deal, but it can be a sign that something’s wrong with your plumbing. If not dealt with, it can turn into a much bigger problem. Considering that your toilet amounts to almost 30% of water consumption for the average household, it’s a problem that can get messy and expensive—fast.

In some cases, you can fix a gurgling toilet on your own. No plumbing experience is required. Read on for our step-by-step guide!

And, if the problem is too severe for you to handle, we’re here to help. Call All Dry USA for professional plumbing services!

Step 1: Understand Why Your Toilet Is Gurgling

Before diving in, you should understand why your toilet is gurgling.

For a toilet to function correctly, your plumbing system needs to be in working order. It means that nothing should be blocking the lines.

But, of course, blockages happen. A blockage prevents air from flowing as it should. More specifically, it causes negative air pressure.

Negative air pressure forces the air back to the bowl instead of letting it travel through the pipes. It results in the toilet gurgling and bubbling.

Now that you know why your toilet gurgles, you need to figure out what is causing the blockage. The next steps will help you check for the most common types of blockages.

Read more: How to fix an overflowing toilet

Step 2: Check for a Clog

Typical clogs are the most common types of blockages. They happen when you try to flush too much toilet paper, or a toddler drops a toy in the bowl. Whatever the case may be, the object prevents airflow. It pushes air back up and causes gurgling.

How to Know If You’re Dealing with a Clog

In most cases, clogs are apparent. You probably know that an object you flushed is causing the blockage.

Not sure if you’re dealing with a clog? Check for plumbing problems in other parts of the house. If the toilet is the only fixture with a problem, you’re most likely dealing with a clog.

Grab a Plunger

You’ll be glad to hear that clogs are usually easy to fix yourself. Start with a plunger. If possible, use a plunger with an extension flange. It will help you get a better seal.

Fit the plunger over the hole and give it ten or so plunges. The suction should be enough to loosen most clogs.

Use a Plumbing Snake

If plunging doesn’t work, you might have to resort to a plumbing snake (AKA a toilet auger).

Plumbing snakes are available at your local hardware store. They consist of a flexible metal shaft that “snakes” its way through your toilet drain. You control the shaft via a crank at the other end.

Clogs are usually easy to fix on your own. But, if a plunger or plumbing snake doesn’t work, you might have to call a professional.

White Ceramic Toilet

Step 3: Check Your Vent Stack

If a clog isn’t the culprit, you’ll want to check your vent stack.

A vent stack is part of your home’s plumbing system that connects various lines and leads to your roof. It’s the part that comes out of your roof looks kind of like a chimney.

The vertical column sticking out of your roof serves a couple of purposes. For one, it allows the odor to escape. It also regulates the air pressure of your plumbing system.

A vent stack is an open system. It means that nothing (not even water) runs through it.

But, like other parts of your plumbing system, a vent stack can become blocked. A blockage can cause negative pressure and lead to a gurgling toilet.

Look for Signs Your Vent Stack Has a Blockage

A blocked vent stack often causes slow draining around the house. You might also notice a smelly odor in your home.

Climb Up on Your Roof

To confirm that your vent stack has a blockage, you’ll have to climb up on your roof.

Not everyone is comfortable with or capable of this. If this is beyond your comfort zone, call the pros.

But, if you can, use a ladder to get on your roof. Carefully check your vent stack for blockages. The blockage could be a variety of things, including:

  • A bird’s nest
  • A carcass of a small animal (rodent, bird, etc.)
  • Leaves
  • Snow

Hopefully, the blockage will be near the top of the vent stack. You’ll be able to clear it out with ease.

But, if the blockage is further down, you’ll probably have to call a professional. It will be too tricky and dangerous to deal with on your own.

Read more: How to drain a clogged toilet

Step 4: Determine If Your Mainline Has Clogged

The mainline is a vital part of your plumbing system. It drains all the water out of your home and connects to your sinks, bathtubs, toilets, etc.

Several things can clog your mainline. Some, like overgrown tree roots and sagging pipelines, are out of your control. You may have also caused it by flushing foreign objects or pouring grease down the drain.

Whatever the case may be, a clogged mainline is a serious issue. You will need to call a plumber to fix it.

Signs You Have a Clogged Main Line

Some signs you have a clogged mainline include:

  • Unusual reactions when using fixtures (running your sink causes your toilet to bubble, flushing the toilet causes your tub to back up, etc.)
  • Multiple fixtures have clogs

Read more: How to fix a toilet that is cycling on and off

Step 5: Determine If Your Municipal Sewer Line Has Clogged

Your mainline (and your neighbors’ mainlines) run into a municipal sewer line. If you and your neighbors are experiencing plumbing issues, the municipal sewer line could have a blockage.

The good news is that your city, not you, will be responsible for fixing it. Call your local water company and ask them to resolve the issue.

Call All Dry USA

With this guide, you should be able to fix your gurgling toilet.

But, we understand that you’re busy. You might not have the time nor patience to figure out what’s causing the issue.


Want the pros to take care of it? Call All Dry USA today! Our experts will be over right away to save you the hassle.


Before You Go

We know that you'll love our service!

Schedule an inspection with All Dry USA today.


Schedule Inspection