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How to Unclog a Toilet

October 26, 2023
Author Picture
Written By
Robert Estrada

Is not fun having a clogged toilet around the house, when this happen there is some techniques that you can try before calling an expert. In this guide you will learn how to unclog a toilet the easy way using a plunger, chemical drain cleaners and a plumbing snake.

1. What to Do When a Toilet is Clogged

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When your toilet is not flushing properly, try these techniques before plunging.

  • Turn Off the Water: If your toilet is about to overflow, lift the lid of the tank and either close the toilet flapper inside or turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve. This will prevent any mess.
  • Protect Your Space: Place towels or newspapers on the floor around the toilet to catch any potential splashes. It makes cleanup a breeze.
  • Hands-On Approach: If you suspect a solid object like a children's toy or a hand towel is causing the blockage, try to remove it by hand. Be gentle, and don't forget to wear rubber gloves for hygiene.
  • Stay Safe: Safety first! If you smell gas or suspect an issue with the sewer, open the bathroom window for ventilation and get in touch with a plumber right away. Some problems are best left to the pros.

Tip: Toilet clogs tent to move forward and create mayor problem in your main sewer line overtime. Try to take action immediately and clear the problem.


2. How to Plunge a Toilet

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Plunging a toilet may not be the most glamorous task, but it's a handy skill to have. Whether you're dealing with a stubborn clog or simply want to be prepared, follow these simple steps to plunge your toilet effectively.

  • Choose the Right Plunger: To start, grab a heavy-duty plunger with either a ball-shaped head or rubber flanges on the bottom. These plungers are much more effective than the conventional suction cup-shaped ones.
  • Prepare the Toilet: Ensure the toilet bowl has enough water to submerge the plunger head. This is crucial for creating a proper seal.
  • Position the Plunger: Place the plunger over the hole in the toilet bowl. Make sure it covers the drain completely.
  • Maintain the Seal: To plunge effectively, keep the plunger submerged under the water level. Only lift it about an inch or so on each upward stroke. This maintains the seal and creates a vacuum.
  • Plunge with Persistence: Be patient. It may take multiple cycles of around a dozen plunges per cycle to loosen the clog.
  • Check for Success: After plunging, flush the toilet to see if the clog has cleared. If not, don't worry; you can repeat the process.
  • Keep it Clean: As needed, clean the plunger before putting it back in storage.

Pro Tip: Before you start, run hot water over the plunger to soften the rubber, allowing it to create a better seal, which can be a game-changer in getting the job done.

By following these simple steps, you can confidently tackle a clogged toilet and keep your plumbing in working order.

3. How to Snake a Toilet

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When a stubborn clog resists the plunger's efforts, it's time to bring in the heavy artillery – the plumbing snake, often called a toilet auger. This flexible wire coil is designed to navigate your pipes and dislodge obstructions without causing harm to your plumbing. Here's how to use it effectively:

  • Prepare Your Gear: Grab your toilet auger, also known as a plumbing snake. Ensure the cable is clean and in good working condition.
  • Position the Auger: Gently feed the end of the cable into the toilet, taking care not to scratch the bowl. Guide it down until you feel resistance.
  • Get Cranking: Hold the handle and crank it clockwise while gently pushing the auger down the toilet's drain. Keep cranking until you either snag the obstruction or break it up so it can be flushed.
  • Success?: If you feel the auger snag the obstruction, it's time to carefully pull it back out. Make sure the clog is attached to the auger, not left in your pipes.
  • Clean the Auger: After use, clean the auger thoroughly to prevent any residue from lingering.

Pro Tip: If you find yourself without an auger, you can improvise with an unbent coat hanger or garden hose, though they may not be as effective.


4. Try using a Drain Cleaner

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Got a clogged toilet and no plunger or auger in sight? Don't worry, you can use drain cleaners for a swift solution. Here's the lowdown:

  • Chemical Drain Openers: These can be your go-to. Just follow the instructions on the bottle.
  • Enzyme Waste Removal Products: Pour as directed. Wait for it to do its magic.
  • DIY Solution: In a pinch? Pour one cup of baking soda, two cups of vinegar, and a half-gallon of hot water into the toilet. You can even add a bit of dish soap.
  • Wait and Flush: Let it sit overnight, and next day, give it a flush to see if the clog's gone.

Pro Tip: Be cautious with corrosive drain cleaners. Make sure they're safe for toilets. If all else fails, then call a plumber. Keep it simple and get things flowing again!

5. Prevent Toilet Clogs

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Nobody enjoys dealing with a clogged toilet. To save yourself from the hassle, take these simple steps to prevent toilet clogs in the first place:

  • Watch Your Toilet Paper Usage: Don't go overboard with toilet paper. It's both eco-friendly and clog-reducing. Consider using bidets for a more hygienic alternative that uses less paper.
  • Mind What You Flush: Only flush appropriate items down the toilet. Heavy paper items like paper towels, sanitary products, or non-flushable wipes should go in the trash, not the toilet.
  • Keep the Water Jets Clean: Those water jets around the edge of your toilet rim are essential for a powerful flush. Regularly scrub them with a toilet brush to prevent blockages and maintain flushing efficiency.
  • Teach the Little Ones: If you have small children, make sure they understand what should and shouldn't be flushed. Toys and other inappropriate items can lead to clogs.
  • Plungers: A Bathroom Essential: Plungers can often save the day when it comes to unclogging a toilet. Ensure you have one on hand. If you're wondering how to tackle a clog without a plunger, consider using an auger or a chemical cleaner before seeking professional help.
  • Need a Drain Cleaner Tool? Rent One: If you find yourself in need of a drain cleaner tool, renting one can be a practical and cost-effective solution.

By following these straightforward guidelines, you can greatly reduce the chances of a clogged toilet and keep your bathroom running smoothly. Keep it simple, and make your toilet no hassle.

If you are dealing with a clogged toilet in Pearland give our plumbers a call today at (832) 281-4022 or schedule your service online.

Related plumbing services:

Contact us for emergency drain cleaning and plumbing repairs. Red One Plumbing is your licensed plumber in Pearland.

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