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In my experience, most toilet blockages can be cleared without employing a plumber. It is not a pleasant job to do yourself, but it can save you a lot of money, and often isn’t as difficult as you might think. The vast majority of clogged toilet issues can be resolved by using some reasonably simple and straightforward methods and tools.
Once you have unclogged the toilet, you should work on preventing or reducing the chances of it happening again—see my suggestions at the bottom of the page.
Here are my advised methods for how to unclog a toilet.
I will be looking at each of the 7 steps/methods listed below. Make sure that read #1 first, as it covers some of the basic safety and hygiene procedures that will need to follow.
If plunging on its own doesn't work, try adding a couple of cups of hot water to the bowl and letting it sit for a while, then plunge again. Dishwater detergent can also help to break up the clog.
This method can be employed without the use of a plunger. Baking soda and vinegar are non-toxic and can be found in most homes.
If you look in your local plumbing or home improvement store, you should find products with a mixture of enzymes that liquify waste materials. They are specifically designed to break down organic waste in septic systems. They won't work with solid items such as children's toys. They are better to use than drain-clearing chemicals, as they won't damage your pipes, and they are not harmful to the environment.
You should follow the product instructions closely. Typically, the product is left in the toilet bowl overnight to do its job. Once the clogging matter is broken down, the toilet should flush and drain.
If repeated plunging and other methods don't work, you should try using a special tool called a toilet auger. It's a cable that runs through a long hollow guide tube with a sweep elbow at the bottom, protected by a rubber sleeve. The rubber sleeve is important as it prevents the porcelain from getting scratched. Never use a plumber's snake as it can damage the fixture.
If all the above methods fail, then you should call out a professional plumber. You may have a blockage farther down the pipe that is out of reach. If other fixtures in your home such as sinks, showers, and bathtubs are also backing up, that's also a sign that there's probably a much more serious problem. Calling a plumber is the most expensive option, but sometimes it is simply unavoidable.
Toilets are constructed with a built-in trap configuration that is part of the porcelain fixture. The configuration is designed to hold standing water and stop sewer gases from leaking back into the bathroom. However, the bend that holds the water can also cause any objects that get flushed down the toilet to get trapped partway and cause a clog.
The clog may simply consist of too much toilet paper or waste. Non-flushable objects like children's toys can also be a problem. Other items such as diapers, sanitary pads and tampons can create clogs. Hair, whether human or pet fur, can also tend to get caught and contribute to the build up of a blockage.
Below are some tips for preventing or minimizing toilet clogs.