Clogged toilets are standard in American households, from overuse of toilet paper to flushing items that you probably shouldn’t have; badly clogged toilets are an annoying issue but a relatively easy fix, especially if you know what caused the clog in the first place.
A study by the Scott Clog Clinic found that 1 in 5 people suffer from a clogged toilet daily. Seventy percent of those agree that clogged toilets caused them a real headache. Out of 92 percent of people who own a plunger, only 87 percent use the plunger in the event of a clog. However, for those who find that a plunger won’t do the trick, there are plenty of options for fixing the problem.
While 45 percent of people agree that most clogs can be avoided by using septic-safe products, that doesn’t matter much if your toilet is already clogged. Luckily there are plenty of solutions to a clogged toilet. If you’ve got somewhere else to be, some options require a few hours to set in so you can come back and check on it later, or if you need a quick fix, other options only take a few minutes.
1. Soap & Hot Water
Dish soap greases the clog and dislodges the debris; if you don’t have enough dish soap, cut up a soap bar and drop the chunks into the toilet. Lubricate the blockage with half a cup of dish soap and give it about 10-15 minutes to travel down to the source of the problem; next, add some hot (not boiling) water and let it sit.
2. Drain Cleaners
If you have drain cleaner, you’re already a step ahead! Make sure to use gloves to protect your hands from the harsh chemicals in most drain cleaning products to avoid caustic skin burns. Are you looking for an option that doesn’t require chemicals? Try this DIY drain de-clogger.
Make a combination of 1/4 cup of Epsom salt, two cups of baking soda, and about ten tablespoons of dish soap (at the dish soap, one tablespoon at a time).
Get a muffin tin and some liners to pour the mixture into, and let harden and dry overnight. Drop one into your toilet the next day and add four cups of water. Let sit for a few hours and check the results. Another explanation for a clogged toilet could be a calcium buildup.
Using a ratio of one cup of baking soda to two cups of vinegar will cause a chemical reaction that will bubble and hopefully loosen the clog. Once this mixture is in the toilet, wait about thirty minutes, follow it with hot water, and see if it drains. If it doesn’t seem draining, try again or move to the next solution
3. Hot Water
If you don’t want to throw soap into your toilet, try adding hot water! Pour hot water into the toilet, and let it remain for a few minutes to see if it loosens the blockage. If the water begins to recede, you’ll know it’s working. Make sure the water isn’t boiling, especially if you have PVC pipes.
A clogged drain will trap the boiling water in the pipes and warp or soften your lines and seals, potentially causing a leak. Afterward, be sure to flush your toilet a couple of times to break apart the clog even more
4. Plastic Bottle
As crazy as it sounds, a plastic bottle is very effective on clogged toilets. You’ll want to grab a pair of long rubber gloves, old clothes, and towels or something equivalent to soak up any overflow. Once you have your supplies, cut the bottom off of the plastic bottle and set it aside. Next, remove the dirty water from the toilet with a small container.
When you’ve removed enough water to reach your hand into the bowl without causing overflow, it’s time to grab the plastic bottle. To create a seal, you can leave the cap on the bottle. If you’ve already thrown out the cap, place your thumb over the top or use plastic wrap and a rubber band to seal it. For the last step, push the bottle, open-end down, into the toilet and plunge it up and down using force. Make sure the bottle stays entirely underwater during the whole process.
This will create a vacuum that should pull the clog back into the main drain allowing you to remove it. While it would seem that a plunger would do the same job, the size of the bottle compared to a generic plunger makes it much more powerful.
5. Plumbing Snake
Readily available in most homes, you’ll be able to find a plumbing snake, also known as a closet auger. When going to use an auger, make sure to wear gloves to avoid getting dirty toilet water on yourself. With your gloves on, put one end of the auger into the toilet and gently push down further and further into the toilet until you feel resistance.
Then push and twist the handle or other end of the auger in a clockwise direction to allow the auger to push the clog into the toilet drain. Continue driving and turning until the drill can move freely without any resistance. Once you can no longer feel any resistance, flush the toilet. If it flows faster, you’re good to go. If not, try it one more time.
If these tricks don’t work for you and you can’t unclog badly blocked toilet, consult a plumber near you, as the issue may lie in the main line, especially if the water is backing up into other sink and drains.