How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

Matt Hoffman

plumber, pömpel, figure

No one likes dealing with a clogged toilet. It’s inconvenient and stressful. Knowing how to fix it quickly can save both time and worry. Using some items you might already have at home, you can often unclog a toilet without even needing a plunger.

Common household items like dish soap, hot water, or baking soda and vinegar can work wonders. For example, pouring hot water mixed with dish soap into the bowl can help break up and loosen the clog. If that doesn’t work, you can try using a wire hanger bent into a makeshift plumbing tool to push or pull the clog out.

Sometimes, the clog is too stubborn for simple methods. When that happens, a shop vac can be a lifesaver. Place the vacuum hose into the drain to suck out the blockage. If none of these work, it may be time to call a professional.

Identifying the Type of Clog

Knowing what type of clog is in your toilet can save you time and effort. There are two main types: partial clogs and full clogs. Each needs a different approach.

Addressing Partial Clogs

Partial clogs slow down the water flow when you flush. You might see the water level rise but eventually go down. Slow drainage is a common sign. If the toilet seems to struggle to empty, there is probably a partial clog.

To fix a partial clog:

  • Inspect the toilet bowl. Look for items like toilet paper or other flushable items that might be causing the clog.
  • Use a plunger. Place the plunger over the drain and push down gently at first and then more firmly. This might move the clog.
  • Pour a bucket of hot water into the bowl from waist height. Make sure the water is not boiling as it can damage the porcelain. This helps to break apart any remaining clog.

Dealing With Full Clogs

A full clog stops the water from draining when you flush. The water level will rise and stay high. This can lead to an overflow if not handled quickly.

To clear a full clog:

  • Stop flushing to prevent overflow. You don’t want extra water flooding the bathroom.
  • Use a closet auger. Insert it into the toilet drain and crank the handle. This snakes through the pipes and breaks apart the clog.
  • Press a plunger firmly over the drain and push down forcefully. This can help dislodge the clog.
  • Check for objects. Sometimes toys or other non-flushable items cause full clogs. If you see any obstructions, try to pull them out carefully.

These actions help identify and fix different types of toilet clogs quickly and safely.

Methods for Unclogging a Toilet

There are several methods to fix a clogged toilet. In this section, we will outline different tools and techniques you can use at home.

Using a Plunger

A plunger is the most common tool for unclogging a toilet. Flange plungers are best because they fit well in the toilet drain.

  1. **Put on rubber gloves for protection.
  2. Place towels around the base to catch splashes.
  3. Position the plunger over the drain.
  4. Push and pull the plunger without breaking the seal.

Press firmly. The suction and pressure should dislodge the clog. Repeat as necessary.

Applying Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners can be effective but should be used carefully. These cleaners contain strong chemicals that break down clogs.

  1. Wear goggles and protective gloves.
  2. Follow the instructions on the cleaner’s label.
  3. Pour the cleaner into the bowl. Usually, you need to wait about 15-30 minutes.

Flush with hot water. Ensure the room is well-ventilated.

Clearing Clogs With a Toilet Auger

A toilet auger is a tool designed to snake through the drain and clear blockages.

  1. Insert the auger into the toilet bowl.
  2. Turn the handle clockwise while pushing the cable down.
  3. Keep turning until you feel resistance.

This means the clog has been reached. Pull the auger out slowly. Clean the tool after use.

Alternative Tools and Techniques

  • Dish Soap and Hot Water: Pour 1/4 cup dish soap into the bowl. Follow with hot water. Wait a few minutes and then flush.
  • Baking Soda and Vinegar: Pour 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar into the toilet. Wait for the fizzing to stop, then flush.
  • Vacuum: Use a wet/dry vacuum. Fit the hose into the drain. Create a seal with an old towel, turn on the vacuum and suck out the clog.
  • Plastic Bottle: Fill a plastic bottle with warm water. Insert it upside down into the drain and squeeze quickly.
  • Wire Coat Hanger: Straighten a wire hanger, bending a small hook at one end. Push it into the toilet to dislodge the clog.

Use these techniques if plunging doesn’t work. If all methods fail, it might be time to call a professional. These methods can save time and money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Clogged toilets are a common household problem. Here are some typical questions and clear answers to help you fix the issue yourself.

What can you use to unclog a toilet if you don’t have a plunger?

If you don’t have a plunger, you can use dish soap and hot water. Pour about a quarter cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes, then add hot water. This helps lubricate and break down the clog.

What are the most effective household remedies for quickly unclogging a toilet?

Common household remedies include using vinegar and baking soda. Pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar into the toilet. This mixture will foam. Wait a few minutes then pour hot water to see if the clog clears.

Is it possible for a toilet to unclog itself over time?

Yes, sometimes a toilet can unclog itself. If the clog is minor, the water pressure in the bowl might be enough to push it through the pipes. Waiting a few hours and then flushing can sometimes work.

How can you safely use chemical drain cleaners to unclog a toilet?

Chemical drain cleaners should be used with caution. Always wear gloves and follow the product instructions. Pour the cleaner into the toilet and wait the prescribed amount of time. Then flush the toilet. Do not mix different chemicals as they can create dangerous fumes.

What should you do when a toilet is overflowing with water and won’t drain?

If the toilet is overflowing, stop the water supply first. Turn off the valve located behind the toilet. Then, remove some water from the bowl using a bucket or container. You can then try other methods to clear the clog.

How do you handle a severely clogged toilet when a plunger isn’t effective?

For a severe clog, you might need an auger, also known as a plumbing snake. Insert the auger into the toilet bowl and carefully feed it into the drain. Turn the handle to break up or snag the clog. Pull out the auger and see if the toilet drains.