How to Effectively Unclog Your Toilet
Very few plumbing issues can cause the level of panic and distress whenever a clogged toilet is involved. While the intricacies of toilets and sewer systems are not very familiar topics for homeowners, you can usually handle this plumbing emergency without calling for reinforcements. All it takes is a little knowledge and patience – and of course, the right tools.
A clogged toilet is commonly caused by objects that are flushed down the toilet drain. These objects and materials may not create the clog right away; they can slowly build up over time. Below are some beneficial and practical tips and strategies you can use to unclog your toilet effectively.
Liquid Dishwashing Soaps Are Not Just for Dirty Dishes
Before you even attempt to take apart your toilet or use any mechanical means, take out your dishwashing liquid to treat the clog. Solid materials are usually the cause of clogging. They clump up and get stuck within the sewer pipes or trap just beneath the toilet. Friction keeps these materials sticking together, but liquid and slippery substances like dishwashing soaps can mitigate the grip between the solid elements and the pipe.
Pour a cup of dishwashing liquid slowly into the toilet, making sure it reaches the lowest area of it where waste materials go. Don’t stir or dilute the dishwashing soap with water; it will lose its slippery trait when you do. Allow the dishwashing soap to gradually seep down the drain and into the trap and pipe beneath the toilet. Don’t use the bathroom for about ten to 15 minutes. You can then try to flush it and see if the clog has loosened. Remember to be ready to clean up any overflow or backup if this strategy doesn’t loosen the obstruction.
Take Out Your Trusty Plunger
If the liquid dishwashing soap didn’t work or if you have none available, take out your trusty plunger to fix the clog. While using a plunger may seem like a rather plain and straightforward task, there are a few things to remember before you start.
Firstly, know what type of plunger you need to use. There are two common types for plungers: the flanged kind is used for toilets, while the flat kind is for sink drains. A flanged plunger lets it create a firmer seal between the toilet and the plunger. Once you have the right type of plunger ready to use, put a good amount of petroleum jelly all over the edges of the flange. Petroleum jelly can improve the tight seal with the toilet. It can also enhance the plunger’s ability to unclog the toilet. Next, put in the plunger directly into the shallowest part of the toilet and set it firmly into position. You should be able to tell once the plunger settles into a good position as it is placed. Once the plunger is placed correctly inside the toilet, tug it consecutively towards yourself. Do not attempt to push it long and hard as it can cause high water pressure resulting in a leak beneath the toilet. Concentrate on pulling it loose with small upward movements.
Use a Toilet Auger
If a plunger still can’t fix your clogged toilet, you may be able to do one more method before calling professional help. If you have a toilet auger, which is a shorter and smaller version of what is called a plumber’s snake, then you can use it to fix the clogging.
Toilet augers are relatively cheap. You can get them from hardware or home improvement stores. To use it, find the flexible metal coil and pull it out of its place. Next, place the hooked end of the toilet auger housing into the toilet drain. Gently push the metal coil back in its place and down the drain. Carefully move the coil back and forth to put it into the pipe and within the trap. Once the metal coil is in the trap and sewer line, use the attached handle to rotate it. The movement of the coil will suggest if you are successful in fixing the clog. If not, now is the time to call on the professionals. The clogged toilet problem may be beyond your DIY capabilities.