What Do I Do If I Have a Clogged Toilet?
John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.
Don’t Panic if You Find Your Toilet Clogged
“My toilet is clogged – what do I do?” A clogged toilet is not an ideal situation, even more so if it led to an overflowing toilet. What can you use to clear a clogged toilet? Can you unclog it yourself? These are the questions that come to mind when you find your toilet suddenly not flushing properly. Don’t worry because a clogged toilet is easy enough to fix.
Do you want to know what causes a clogged toilet and how to clear it? Read on to find out!
Common Causes of a Clogged Toilet
Before we talk about what to do when “my toilet is clogged,” let’s talk about the typical causes behind it. Knowing the different causes behind the clog in your toilet is crucial as it will help you prevent the same issue from happening again. With that said, you’ll find below a brief discussion of the common causes of a clogged toilet.
Flushing Too Much Toilet Paper
While it’s safe to flush the toilet paper down the toilet (they’re made to dissolve), too much can still clog the pipes. Flushing an excess amount of toilet paper will soon cause a blockage to your main sewer line, clogging your toilet and causing it to overflow. So, try not to overuse it.
Flushing Non-Flushable Items
These refer to items like paper towels, wipes, menstrual products, disposable cloths, napkins, and other things that don’t dissolve as toilet papers do. They can cause a huge problem for the home plumbing system and even for the municipal sewage system.
Damaged Main Sewer Lines
The main sewer line runs underground from the house to the municipal sewer system or a septic tank. While it’s relatively protected from snow, rain, sleet, and freezing, it’s vulnerable to tree roots that can puncture it. The tree roots might be the culprit behind your clogged toilet while the damage caused to the main sewer line can lead to more toilet and plumbing issues.
Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons your toilet might be clogged, along with some suggested solutions and DIY tips to get it fixed.
Some places have hard water going through their faucets. What does it mean? It means that the pipes have water running in them containing magnesium, calcium, and iron. These hard minerals would cling to the toilet jets, causing huge buildups as time passes.
Old Toilet Bowl
Sometimes, the reason behind a clogged toilet is nothing but an outdated bowl that no longer works. In that case, you may need to replace some parts of the toilet to fix and prevent the clogs. But typically, you’ll need to replace the entire toilet bowl to avoid blockage issues in the near future. Good thing there are many affordable toilet fixtures today that suit a wide range of bathroom styles and budgets.
Not Enough Water Supply
Another possible reason behind the dilemma “my toilet is clogged” is there’s not enough water in your tank. This usually happens when the valve of the tank is made to release less water. If this is the case with your toilet, you can easily resolve the issue by opening the valve to fill the tank with water.
What to Do if Your Toilet is Clogged?
Now that you know the possible why’s, you want to know what you can use to clear a clogged toilet. There are various things and methods that can help with a clogged toilet, and we’ll discuss a few of them in the section below. Continue reading to know how to get rid of the blockage inside your home’s plumbing system.
Close the Toilet Flapper
Before anything, you have to close the toilet flapper. Raise the top part of the toilet then shut the inlet. Next, make sure that you close the toilet valve tightly. This is important in ensuring that your toilet won’t overload. For extra safety, you can also turn off the water supply either only to the bathroom or if you want, even the entire house.
Use the Plunger
The first method to clear your clogged toilet is to use a plunger. Now, the best way to plunge a toilet starts by making sure the bowl has enough water to create pressure. Fill the bowl with water then lower the plunger down the drain hole, making sure it completely seals around the hole. Work it with both your hands, pushing the cup forcefully. When you pull back, make sure you don’t break the seal. Repeat around five or six times before pulling the plunger completely off the hole. This should start to clear the blockage.
Try Baking Soda and Vinegar
What can you pour down a drain to unclog a toilet? If you don’t have tools, you can always use a DIY cleaner using baking soda and vinegar. All you need to do is add a cup of baking soda down the clogged toilet and then wait a few minutes. After a couple of minutes, pour down a cup of the vinegar. Let the two ingredients work for around 10 to 15 minutes then flush the toilet. It should clear whatever’s blocking your toilet.
Take a Go With the Plumbing Snake
If not a plunger, you can also use a plumbing snake to clear a clogged toilet. The question is, “how to snake a toilet?” Start by placing the head of the plumbing snake in the toilet bowl. Turn its handle clockwise slowly until you can feel resistance. Once you do, start winding the augur counterclockwise. This should loosen the clog so that it clears when you finally flush the toilet. If it didn’t work the first time or there’s still blockage left, we advise repeating the process.
Try Dish Soap and Hot Water
You can also clear a clogged toilet using dish soap and hot water. If you don’t have a snake, plunger, or soda and vinegar, you can try this handy combination of ingredients available in your kitchen. Start by heating a gallon of water. While the water’s heating, squirt dish soap in the toilet. The water doesn’t need to be boiling, just very hot. Once it has reached the right temperature, pour it into the toilet and wait till it softens the blockage. After a few minutes, you can now flush the toilet and see if it unclogged.
Call a Licensed Plumber
If none of the methods mentioned above worked, we think it’s time you call a professional. Call a licensed plumber near you to check your toilet. Your toilet drain may have a major issue if none of the DIY solutions worked. The plumber can try fixing it for you and if necessary, install a new toilet.
Clogged Toilet Plumbing Repair FAQs
Does a Toilet Eventually Unclog on its Own?
If normal things like feces or toilet paper are what caused the clog, your toilet will eventually unclog on its own. It can be as quick as an hour for the blockage to unclog if it’s easily degradable but can take over 24 hours if there is a lot of organic matter clogging the toilet. If it isn’t unclogging even after a whole day or if you don’t want to wait, you can call a plumber instead. They will take care of it as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent My Toilet from Clogging?
You can prevent clogging by making sure you maintain the sewer lines. Keep it clean and regularly look for minor repairs, getting them fixed before the damage becomes costly. Also, avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. Doing these things goes a long way in keeping your toilet working properly.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Toilet Unclogged?
The cost depends on how severe the clog is and the labor rate of the plumber. However, the national average pay for unclogging a toilet ranges from $200 to $700. If you want to know for sure, it’s best to simply call the professional service. They will be able to provide you with an estimate so you know for sure how much it will cost.