A nationwide survey found that 20 percent of American homeowners regularly have to deal with a clogged toilet.
Often, clogs are the result of trying to flush unsuitable items down the toilet, such as feminine hygiene products, dental floss, and wet wipes. Remember, toilets are not trash cans. You should only ever flush “the 3 Ps” down there–pee, poop, and (toilet) paper.
However, there are several steps you can take if you find that your toilet is clogged for whatever reason. Keep reading for the best ways to unclog a toilet.
Use a Toilet Plunger
If you have a plunger to hand, this is the most efficient way to resolve a clogging issue in your sink or toilet. That said, many people don’t know how to use a plunger correctly. For the best results, follow these steps:
Step 1: Make sure that there’s enough standing water in the toilet to cover the base of the plunger. If not, add water from the sink or shower.
Step 2: Introduce the toilet plunger into the bowl at a slight diagonal angle. This allows the plunger cup to fill with as much water as possible, strengthening its suction force.
Step 3: Taking care not to break the seal between the plunger cup and hole, pump the plunger up and down with both hands. Repeat this action seven to 10 times. If it seems as though air is coming out of the sides of the plunger, reposition it and start again.
Step 4: Flush the toilet to check if it’s working. If not, repeat steps 1 to 4 as necessary.
Pour Hot Water Down the Toilet
Hot–but not boiling–water works well for removing clogs if you don’t have a toilet plunger at home. The method calls for large quantities of hot water, though, so you’ll need to heat some on the stove or fill a big saucepan with hot water from the kitchen tap.
Before you pour the water down your toilet, remove all the standing water from your toilet using a mop and bucket. This avoids the possibility of an overflow and ensures that all water entering the drain is hot.
Once the bowl is empty, pour in the hot water then let it sit for a few minutes to see if it works. You’ll know that the water has resolved your toilet problems if the water starts to drain.
Add Dish Soap
Hot water alone isn’t always enough to unclog a toilet. To take the unclogging process up a notch, empty out the toilet water again and squeeze a good amount of dish soap down there. About a quarter of a cup should do the trick.
To help the dish soap move down the drain and reach the clog, add a cup or two of hot water. Leave the soap to sit for five to 10 minutes then pour large quantities of hot water down the toilet. In most cases, the dish soap acts as a lubricant and greases the toilet drain enough to get things moving again.
Mix Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Baking soda and white vinegar is a winning solution for all kinds of toilet issues, from stubborn stains to clogs.
As with the hot water method, you’ll want to empty the toilet bowl of water beforehand. Then, pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar into the toilet. When these substances combine, they start a natural chemical reaction that should loosen the clog.
Close the toilet lid and let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. After this time, pour some hot water down there. If it drains, you’re good to go. If not, repeat the process.
Unwind a Wire Coat Hanger
A plumber’s snake is an effective tool for resolving a clogged bathtub, sink, or toilet. But if you don’t have one, you can fashion something similar using a wire hanger from your closet.
To try this method, unwind the coat hanger so that it’s straight but with the hook still intact. Next, wrap a thin rag around the hook. This helps the wire from scratching the porcelain toilet bowl.
Wearing rubber gloves, angle the hanger down the drain until you find the clog. If it’s worked, the water should start to drain. To get things moving again and clear out the clog, flush the toilet a couple of times.
Try the Toilet Brush
Although it sounds a little unpleasant, a toilet brush makes for a good alternative to a plunger if you don’t have one at home.
To try this option, angle the bristle down the drain and pump up and down a few times as you would with a plunger. This can often be enough to loosen everything up and clear the clog.
If the bristles are too wide to get in very far, another option is to turn the brush upside down. Doing so allows you to angle the toilet brush handle farther down the drain and dislodge the clog this way.
The Best Ways to Unclog a Toilet
As this guide shows, it’s often possible to unclog a toilet using the kinds of items most people have at home.
That said, frequent or stubborn clogs can be a sign of a more serious plumbing problem. If you’ve tried several of these DIY unclogging methods and the problem persists, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Stuck with toilet issues or plumbing problems you can’t solve? Contact us here at Plumb Time to take care of all your Columbia, SC plumbing needs!