How to Fix a Clogged Toilet?
I am a hands-on kind of guy when it comes to home repairs. But if I either have not done something myself, or maybe have not done a particular type of repair RECENTLY, I usually look for advice prior to undertaking the task at hand. I went to Google, and searched on “How to fix a clogged toilet”, and there I received all kinds of advice from various websites. Most of the advice was good, but some of it was obviously bad … and so I will share with you MY OPINION on this subject. I can also tell you that what I did actually worked ;o)
MY DIAGNOSIS – Partial clog. In my case, the toilet still flushed … but it was obviously not draining properly because when flushed, the water level in the bowl came right up to the top of the bowl. It did not spill over – but with just a slightly worse clog, it would have.
WHAT I DID – here is exactly what I did to fix the partially clogged toilet:
- Turned off the water feeding the toilet.
- Bailed out excess water from the bowl … leaving a few inches of water at the bottom. Yes – bailing out the water was nasty, but no I could not avoid it.
- Took a plunger that looked like what you see below, put it into the toilet, established a “seal” with the plunger at the bottom of the toilet, and then vigorously worked the plunger in-and-out probably ten to fifteen times.
- Got a bucket – I think it was a two-gallon or so bucket. I filled the bucket up with water from the bathtub.
- Now (with the toilet water feed still off), I flushed the toilet AND then as I saw the water disappearing at the bottom of the bowl, I quickly poured the entire two-gallon bucket of water into the bowl … and watched it disappear. [The idea behind pouring the bucket of water was to create extra water pressure on whatever was left of the clog to force it out … plus if it would have been too clogged to continue, then I could have simply stopped pouring from the bucket.]
- I then turned the water feed to the toilet back on, allowed the tank and bowl to return to their normal post-flush state … then I flushed the toilet several more times, and verified that it was working properly. Success – problem solved!
I mentioned there was some BAD ADVICE on the internet about how to fix partial or full toilet clogs – let me run through that quickly (to save you a possible headache). Don’t put harsh chemicals intended for sink clogs into your toilet. Those chemicals take time to work – and they are typically meant to dissolve organic things like hair (which commonly clogs sink drains). If you put those harsh chemicals in your toilet – you suddenly have a toilet full of toxic chemicals … and if those chemicals don’t fix the clog, then you will find yourself using a plunger in such water, and possibly spilling it on yourself and elsewhere in the bathroom – not good! Plus if your toilet overflows after you have put chemicals like that in there – then you could ruin any carpet that the water finds it way to, or you could step into it and then accidentally track it into your carpet, etc. You get the idea – stay away from harsh chemicals.
What would I have done had the plunger and bucket of water not worked? Well I didn’t have to try it, but there are toilet augers available for around $15 (according to several websites I was reading) that have rubber-coated hoses which won’t scratch the porcelain in the toilet. The idea with one of these hand augers is that you push it down the toilet, and turn it … essentially snaking through and clearing whatever is causing the clog.
If whatever approach to unclogging a toilet you take causes you to wind up pushing the clog further down your pipes, the best thing to do is to call a plumber. Plumbers are not cheap – but they can fix your problem in a very short amount of time.