It’s bound to happen at some point. You finish going to the bathroom, go to flush the toilet, and nothing happens. Or worse yet, the water in the toilet bowl begins to rise and you start wondering how to unclog a toilet.
A gurgling or clogged toilet isn’t something any of us want to deal with, but knowing what to do and how to use a plunger can be useful knowledge when the time comes.
Use these tips so you’ll know how to unclog a toilet when the time comes.
Using Products to Unclog Your Toilet
Clogged toilets can be panic-inducing. Your first reaction might be to grab a bottle of drain cleaner if your toilet is draining slowly (or not at all). Be careful before you grab those chemicals.
They can be slow to work and if you’re having to plunge your toilet after you’ve used them, you’ve now got chemicals in the water that’s splashing around.
Here are a few ways to unclog a toilet without chemicals:
Dish soap and hot water
To use this method, you need to make sure there’s room in the toilet bowl for about a gallon of water.
Heat up about a gallon of water so that it’s warm. It’s important to make sure the water isn’t too hot. Boiling water will crack your toilet bowl.
While that’s warming up, squirt some dish soap into the toilet bowl. Pout the warm water into the toilet bowl. The soap will work as a lubricant in the toilet trap as it passes between the toilet walls and the blockage. Let it sit for about 20 – 30 minutes. Try flushing the toilet to see if that removes the clog.
Baking soda and vinegar
For this to work best, the toilet bowl should be less than half full of water. Pour one cup of baking soda into the bowl of the clogged toilet carefully.
Next, add two cups of white vinegar to the bowl. This mixture is going to fizz a lot so be prepared for the chemical reaction.
Let the mixture sit about 30 minutes before trying to flush the toilet to see if the clog broke up.
Enzyme based cleaners
If you’d rather try something else to remove the clog, look for something that is an enzyme product that’s designed to break down waste. Enzyme-based toilet drain cleaners are best because they’re designed to not cause damage to your drain pipes.
The last resort should be using a chemical-based drain clog remover like Draino or Liquid Plumr. Regardless of what you choose, make sure to follow all of the directions on the product you’re using.
How to Unclog a Toilet with a Plunger
The most common way to unclog a toilet is with a toilet plunger.
Before you start plunging, here are a few tips:
- Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Water will likely splash out of the toilet and onto your hands while you’re plunging. The rubber gloves will help to keep that water off of your hands and arms.
- Grab some towels. Depending on how full your toilet is, it may overflow or water might slosh out while you’re plunging. Be ready with some towels on the ground to catch the water.
- Be careful. You usually realize you have a clogged toilet after you’ve gone to the bathroom. In addition to the water in your toilet, there’s also human waste.
- Start out slow then gradually increase the speed, in an up and down motion. The first time you’re plunging the toilet, you’re creating a seal. If you use too much force, you could break that seal and splash water all over yourself and the bathroom.
- Remove some of the toilet water. If your toilet is very full, you may need to remove some of the water so you can plunge the clogged toilet without the dirty water splashing everywhere. Use a small container to empty the water from the toilet bowl into a bucket.
- Don’t drain all the water in the toilet. You want enough water in the bowl of the toilet to cover the rubber part of your toilet plunger.
Once you’re ready, put the plunger into the toilet. Make sure the bell of the plunger is over the drain inside the toilet. Start by giving the plunger one gentle push to create a seal. After that, try plunging to remove the toilet clog with quick, short plunges. You’ll only need to do this for about 20 seconds before checking to see if the clog was removed.
Check to see if you’ve cleared the clog by filling up the toilet bowl slowly with water. If the clog has cleared, you should see the toilet drain. Stop adding water to the toilet bowl if the water isn’t draining.
Don’t have a toilet plunger handy? Try removing the toilet clog using a toilet brush. Use it like you would a plunger, pushing up and down with steady strokes. You won’t be able to form a seal using a brush, so the water may slosh around more than it would with a plunger.
Using a Toilet Snake to Remove Your Clog
If you need to unclog a toilet without a plunger, then you’ll want to use a drain snake to get everything back in working order.
If a plunger doesn’t help remove the clog, there could be something large stuck in your clogged toilet. Using a drain snake will help you determine where the clog is and if you’re able to remove it.
Don’t have a toilet snake? You can try using a wire coat hanger to help remove the clog. Straighten out the hanger the best you can, leaving the hook part of the hanger intact. Taping a rag on the hook end of the hanger can help prevent scratches to your toilet.
Be sure that you’re very careful sticking anything into your bathroom plumbing. You don’t want to make the problem worse by causing damage to your toilet or the pipes.
While your toilet auger or plumbing snake is in the toilet, you’re trying to see if you can push the clog through the pipes. Use enough pressure to help move the clog, but not too much so that you make the clog worse. You should be trying to break up the clog in the toilet with the snake.
How Can I Tell When My Toilet is Unclogged?
When you flush the toilet, the water should clear. If the toilet continues to overflow or if the water level just gets higher, then there’s still a blockage.
You’ll know everything is in working order again when you see the water level on your toilet start to go back down. Once the water level goes back down, you’ll know that the blockage that was clogging your toilet has been removed.
When Should You Call a Plumber?
If you’ve tried to unclog your toilet yourself and it hasn’t worked, it’s time to reach out to a professional plumber. You don’t want to cause any damage to your toilet or plumbing.
Toilet clogs can be caused by toilet paper, feminine products, and even foreign objects. If you’re not sure what clogged your toilet, it can be frustrating to unclog a toilet yourself.
Our team of licensed plumbers will come out and take a look at your toilet to help you remove the clog. If there’s something wrong that’s more than just a clog, your plumber will be able to let you know.
Call E Dennis today for a free consultation. We’re available 7 days a week to help with all of your septic and plumbing needs for your home or business. One of our friendly and professional team members will be able to answer your questions.