How to unclog a toilet?

22 June 2021


A toilet can easily be unclogged with the help of simple tricks that don’t require special skills. However, if using these techniques does not solve the problem, it is strongly recommended that you hire a professional plumber.

What can clog the toilets?

There are many solutions to avoid lime deposits and problems related to toilet flushing. Here are the 5 most common causes of a clogged toilet:

1. You have a first generation low-flow toilet

Early toilet versions may not have the pressure needed to clear the internal siphon and drain, which means they often get clogged. Look at the back of your toilet to find the date of manufacture.

If your toilet is from the mid-1990s, you might have a first-generation low-flow toilet. You can sometimes reduce clogs in low-flow toilets by limiting the use of toilet paper and avoiding items that can clog them.

2. Someone tried to flush non-disposable items down the toilet

Your toilet is designed to remove certain materials. Toilet paper, for example, is designed to dissolve quickly in water. However, some products such as wipes or sanitary napkins should not be flushed down the toilet.

Other items, such as cotton swabs, cotton balls, plastic bottles, wet wipes, and dental floss, can restrict the flow and cause constant backflow in the toilet. At Top Drain, we often unclog drains full of wipes and sanitary napkins so don’t forget to throw all of this in the trash to avoid clogging your toilet.

3. The toilet drain is clogged

The drain is a curved segment of the porcelain fixture that is built into the bottom of your toilet bowl. It is created to trap standing water and prevent sewage gas from entering your home.

Toilet paper, paper towels, and various non-disposable items can clog the siphon and cause the toilet to backflow. Each time you flush the toilet, more debris coils and collects around the stopper, which can eventually clog your toilet completely.

Using a suction cup can sometimes solve the problem by sending all the debris down the drain, but if an object like a toothbrush falls into the toilet, it will get stuck because its shape makes it difficult to cross the S-curve of the drain.

4. The plumbing vent is blocked

Modern toilets, along with other plumbing fixtures, use roof vents to bring fresh air into the plumbing system and prevent air depressions that can obstruct the flow of the drain.

You may not know it, but the toilet piping needs an air vent or ventilation to get fresh air into the plumbing system and prevent air depressions that can impede the flow of the drain.

If the vent is clogged or obstructed, the toilet will drain much slower and this reduced speed will result in poor disposal of the most important wastes. In this case, it’s best to have a professional unclog your vents, as blockages can be difficult to spot and require special tools to be removed.

5. There are problems in the main sewer line

If your problem is not limited to the toilet but also affects other plumbing fixtures, this is usually a sign of a problem in the sewer line. Tree roots can grow in the sewer line and create a plug. There may also be a partial obstruction in a sewer action.

Sewer line problems can cause major problems inside and outside your home, and even threaten the health of your family. It is better to hire a professional company to solve any problem with the sewer line.

How do you unclog a blocked toilet?

Siphon or suction cup

The suction cup may seem basic, but it is still the best solution to unclog the toilet. To use this tool, position the suction cup in the toilet bowl and gently push it down. The first push is simply to remove the air. Be careful not to push hard, otherwise you may splash dirty water on yourself.

Once you have achieved a good seal, push the suction cup down and up with force while maintaining the seal. Finally, pull the tool sharply upwards while breaking the seal. You will notice water rushing down the drain. If this did not resolve the problem, repeat the steps until the clog unclogs.

Hot water

Water may not necessarily sound like a good way to unclog a toilet, yet it is a quick tool for unclogging the toilet. Heat a gallon of water as hot as possible (you can also add a little dish soap, the surfactants in it will help slide stuck things out), and quickly pour it down the toilet hole.

This sudden influx could push a small plug that could be in the siphon. In addition, the heat will help dissolve any organic matter. If hot water does not work, then you will have to move on to more serious tools, and adopt products that will have real action.


Most effective techniques for unclogging a toilet

Snake or auger

For more difficult plugs or if the suction cup does not work, use a snake or auger. It’s a cable-like device that is passed through a toilet hole to help unclog a clog. You can find it in most hardware stores.

To use a lead snake, simply slide the cable through the hole. Start turning the crank on the end you are holding until it stops. This means that you have reached your plug. The cable will either break the plug or get caught in it. If you feel like you’ve hooked the cork, remove it. Dispose of the waste that is at the end. Use the siphon in the toilet to remove any remains of the plug left and flush the toilet.

Vinegar and baking soda

Baking soda comes in powder or crystal form, to which you should add cold water and half a cup of white vinegar. Mixing baking soda and vinegar causes a reaction that forms white foam.

Close the bowl and leave to act for 30 minutes before adding hot water to rinse the pipes. The baking soda and vinegar solution will then flow all over the pipes and neutralize bad odors. Baking soda and vinegar help filter out soap scum and other deposits that became stuck in the pipes.

When to call a professional plumber?

In some cases, simple unblocking actions are all that’s needed to smooth out the clog. On the other hand, in other cases, the plug is much harder to remove. In these more serious situations, it is recommended to contact a professional plumber.

How to avoid clogging the toilets?

Flush the toilet smoothly

The easiest way to avoid traffic jams is to flush the toilet properly. This means that you have to be more attentive to the products you throw in the toilet drain.

If you flush the toilet with toilet paper, be sure to throw out the correct amount. A good rule of thumb is that you can flush whatever comes out of your body. Anything other than toilet paper should be avoided.

Do a double flush

You can also consider flushing the toilet twice. After disposing of your trash, flush the toilet first before throwing the toilet paper into the toilet. Then flush the toilet a second time to make sure the toilet paper goes all the way to the bottom of the toilet. You can also split your toilet paper usage between the two flushes.

Clean the tanks

Never use the toilet tank as an additional counter. Avoid placing items like soap, toilet paper, and brushes on top of the toilet tank. You could accidentally drop these items into the toilet bowl.

Regular cleaning is a must

Always clean your toilet regularly. While it’s more on the aesthetic side of things, cleaning your toilet allows you to spot potential leaks faster. Cleaning the toilet will help you detect if water is dripping or collecting on the floor. From there, you can determine where the flow is coming from and take immediate action.

Avoid pipe cleaning chemicals

When it comes to toilet cleaners, choose safe products. Chemical pipe cleaners can be too strong for some pipes and damage them. The same goes for chemical tank cleaners which can damage toilet hardware.

Perform inspections regularly

Finally, don’t forget to inspect the inner workings of your toilet twice a year. Thorough inspections will allow you to ensure that all key components are functioning properly.

It will also help you determine whether you need to get some upgrades or replace certain devices. Replacing an old toilet is sometimes more economical in the long run.

Top Drain can proceed with all types of unblocking. You can get a free estimate or call us directly at (514) 298-31911.

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