How to Unclog a Stubborn Toilet

Clogged toilets bring visions of water spilling onto the floor and all kinds of nasty stuff floating in the bowel. It is probably one of my least favorite jobs. However with a large family I have picked up a few tricks that just might help you get things flowing again.

First, don’t try to constantly flush the toilet. If the first flush does not do the trick, a second flush will only add water to the toilet bowel. Sometimes if you let the water sit for a while, it will drain slightly.

Second, always remember to wear rubber gloves when working on a clogged toilet. Why??? Germs.

Third, remove any items on the floor around the toilet. Bath mats and trash cans will only get in the way.

To start clearing the clog, think small and work your way up to larger fixes.

Plunging the clog

The larger the plunger, the more force you can apply to the clog. You want to make sure that you seat the plunger fully onto the toilet as you do now want water shooting back at you as you push down (take it from me, this is no fun). A couple of quick pumps should clear most clogs. Now you might not think it but there is a correct way to use a plunger. You should be pushing water and not air. If there is not sufficient water in the bowel, then add some with a bucket. You want to firmly push down and then pull up on the plunger to create suction in the drain. It is the combination of pressure and suction that will gradually cause the clog to be loosened. Some advise that you need to pull first on the plunger as pushing will pack the clog more. I don’t know about that. I usually don’t have any problems pushing first.

If that does not work, time to turn up the intensity.

Use a plumbing snake

A snake is a flexible coil of wire that can “snake” through the curves of a toilet or drain. Insert one end of the snake into the drain and push down, feeding the snake into the drain until you feel a blockage. Once you are at a blockage, start twisting and pushing the snake through the obstruction until the water begins to drain. Once the clog has been cleared, flush the toilet. If the clog is cleared the flushing will remove any remaining debris (fancy word for poop).

Better living through chemicals

If the plunger and snake did not clear the clog, try a drain-cleaning chemical that you can get at most grocery and hardware stores. These chemicals are extremely harsh so be sure to read and understand all the directions on the label. You also want to make sure that the chemical you purchase is designed for toilet clogs.

Know when to call in a pro

Sometimes you just can’t clear the clog. Perhaps there is an underlying condition causing the blockage. Calling in a plumber is not an admission of failure. In fact knowing when to call in a pro is the sign of a knowledgeable homeowner.

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