What to Do When You Have a Blocked Toilet
Encountering a blocked toilet is something none of us would willingly sign up for.
It’s a perplexing predicament that could open a can of worms (figuratively, of course!) in your daily routine. So, let’s delve right in and learn how to deal with it.
The Initial Telltale Signs of a Blocked Toilet
Nobody enjoys dealing with a blocked toilet. But alas, it’s one of those tricky issues that can pop up in any household, uninvited. In such situations, the first line of defence is recognising the early signs before they turn into a major plumbing debacle.
Water Level Fluctuation in the Toilet Bowl
One of the primary signals of a blocked toilet is the strange performance of the water in your toilet bowl. If the level of water swells higher than its usual mark or takes an age to drain after a flush, it’s a hint that your toilet may be dealing with a blockage.
Slow to Drain Bathroom Fixtures
Apart from the toilet itself, other bathroom fixtures such as the sink, shower or tub might reveal symptoms of a blocked toilet, too. If these fixtures are draining notably slower than usual, this could be a clue that you’re dealing with an obstructed toilet.
The slower drainage could be an offshoot of the blocked toilet, causing water to back up in the plumbing system.
Strange Gurgles from Bathroom Drains
Bubbling or gurgling sounds from your bathroom drain are another telltale sign that your toilet might be blocked. These sounds are created when air trapped by the blockage is suddenly released and pushed up through the plumbing system.
All these signs warn us about a blocked toilet, requiring prompt attention, and in some cases, professional interference. Acknowledging these initial signals of a blocked toilet and taking swift actions could save you a significant amount of time and a potential flood of problems.
Tools You’d Need to Unclog a Toilet
When faced with the daunting task of unclogging a toilet, having the right tools on hand can make the process much more manageable. Essential items for this task include the following:
- Rubber gloves
- Plunger (the kind with a flange or rubber cup is best for toilets)
- Dish soap or dishwashing liquid
- Bucket of hot boiling water
- A wire coat hanger or toilet snake (for persistent clogs)
- An optional homemade drain cleaner – baking soda and vinegar
- If you face a badly clogged toilet, and the problem persists, you might require a plumbing snake or toilet auger.
Simple Steps to Unclog a Toilet
While it may not be the most pleasant task, unclogging a toilet need not be a saga. With the right tools in your arsenal and a few helpful tips, dealing with this unruly intruder can be easier than you think.
To get you started, here are some simple ways to unclog your toilet:
- Using a plunger: If your toilet is not yet overflowing, we suggest wearing rubber gloves and giving a toilet plunger a try. Start by inserting the toilet plunger into the toilet bowl, ensuring it covers the toilet drain. Firmly push the rubber cup down to create a seal and pull up sharply. The aim is to dislodge whatever is causing the toilet blockage.
- Dish soap and hot water trick: If a plunger can’t resolve things, fear not! This method involves the domestic wizardry of dish soap and hot water. Pour about eight to ten tablespoons (half a cup) of dish soap or dishwashing liquid into the blocked toilet bowl just above the drain. Let it sit while you heat about two litres of water – not boiling, but quite hot. Once the water is hot enough, carefully pour it into the toilet. The theory behind this hot water trick is that dish soap acts as a lubricant, breaking up the fatty residues of the clogged pipe. Hot water, on the other hand, works to dissolve the organic material, which is often the culprit behind a clogged toilet.
- Toilet snake or wire coat hanger: If your blocked toilet persists through these attempts, it’s time to introduce the toilet snake or wire coat hanger into the equation. They can reach deeper into the toilet drain, dislodging stubborn clogs that the earlier methods may not have reached. First, unwind the wire hanger and wrap one end with a cloth (secured with tape), to prevent any toilet damage. Push the covered end into the toilet drain and twist and turn it to break up the blocked material. This method should unclog toilets plagued by deeper blockages.
- Baking soda and vinegar: To transform into an alchemist of toilet drains, consider using a homemade drain cleaner for your blocked toilet. The process is straightforward:
- Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl.
- Follow this with two cups of vinegar.
- Wait a few minutes, then rinse it down with warm water.
Baking soda and vinegar create a fizzy, bubbly reaction, which can help dislodge and dissolve toilet clogs. Always follow this with a warm rinse to wash the loosened material away.
When to Call for Professional Plumbing Services
DIY methods for unclogging toilets can be an initial solution to the problem. But when toilets keep overflowing, the clogs resist surrender, or you constantly have slow-draining toilets, it might be time to call your local plumber.
Professional plumbers have plumbing tools and experience that eclipse the effectiveness of a DIY drano bomb or homemade drain cleaner. From draining snakes to high-pressure water jets, their arsenal is designed to obliterate the nastiest of toilet clogs and blocked toilet drains.
So, when your DIY efforts result in a standoff with a stubborn clog, it’s wise to bring in plumbing services. They’ll ensure your plumbing system is functioning optimally, without compromising the integrity of your pipes or toilet drains.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Even with home remedies and professional help, preventing your toilets from clogging with the right practises and maintenance can save you time, money, and energy in the long run.
Avoid inviting blocked toilet drains into your life, by following these simple steps:
- Limit toilet paper usage: Overusing toilet paper is a common cause of blocked toilets. While there’s no need to skimp, using moderate amounts per flush can make a big difference in preventing clogs. If there’s a need to use more, consider flushing in stages rather than attempting to put through a large amount at once.
- Only flush toilet-friendly materials: Only toilet paper and what we might politely call “human waste” should be flushed down the toilet. Items like paper towels, baby wipes, cotton swabs, sanitary products, and even so-called ‘flushable’ wipes do not disintegrate in the same way as toilet paper does and can easily cause a blockage.
- Regular cleaning: Regularly cleaning your toilet has dual benefits – not only does it keep your loo looking pristine, but it can also help prevent build-ups of stubborn clogs. Regular application of toilet cleaner can aid in dissolving potential blockages before they become a problem.
- Install a lint catcher on your washing machine hose: If your washing machine drains into a sink that feeds into your toilet waste pipe, fibres from your laundry can end up down your toilet, leading to potential clogs. Fitting a lint catcher to your washing machine outlet hose can help prevent this issue, capturing the lint, hair, and fibres that come off your clothes during a wash.
- Educate household members: Finally, make sure everyone in the household understands what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet. A simple rule of thumb is the “Three Ps”: Pee, Poo, and toilet Paper are the only things that should be going down your loo.
Remember, little preventative measures can infuse you with peace of mind. They can stave off the inconvenience, potential embarrassment, and cost of dealing with a blocked drain or toilet.
Blocked Toilet Drain No More!
Unclogging a blocked toilet or a clogged drain may not win anyone the popularity contest, but we’ve all been there. Remember, if your best efforts are falling short, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.
Peace of mind and a fully functional toilet are truly priceless, not to mention a relief.
Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See Cyber Plumbers’ Terms & Conditions here.