toilet with plunger

Toilet Clog Blues? Here's How to Take Care of It

In summer 2020, Texas hit a new record high worth celebrating! Over 67% of Texans are now proud homeowners, marking the most homeowners in Texas state history.

A downside of homeownership? It can come with a few serious learning curves, especially when you realize that you no longer have a landlord who can address all of your basic maintenance needs.

Now we're going to talk about a plumbing problem just about everyone will encounter at some point: the dreaded toilet clog. This guide will help you learn everything you should know about how to unclog your toilet with basic household tools. We'll also talk about what you should do if that clog simply won't go away!

Proper Way to Plunge

If you've never used a plunger, or if you have but aren’t usually successful, it's time to learn how it works. First, make sure you have the right plunger for a toilet: it should have a rubber bell-shaped end with a flange on the bottom, not cup shaped. (Rubber cup plungers are for flat drains like in a shower or sink.)

One of the most important tasks when plunging clogged toilets is to maintain a tight seal between your plunger (rubber part) and toilet bowl. You will need enough toilet water to partially cover your plunger, so if there isn't any, get some water from your bathroom sink and pour it in.

Place the bell so that it covers the toilet hole. Hold on to its handle around waist level and exert light, even pressure on the handle so that a seal forms and your bell dips slightly. When you do this, there will be air trapped between the bell and drain.

When you're sure your seal is tight, push and pull the handle vigorously, but not so hard that it comes away from the bowl. Your goal is to send that air pressure down into your drain so the blockage breaks up. Push and pull your plunger five or 10 times before removing it from the bowl.

If your clog has broken up, it may rise to the surface. You may then flush. If the blockage isn't visible, repeat the process until it is. This may take plenty of work, but with patience and elbow grease, your chances at success are high.

Hot Water Trick

No luck with your plunger? Let's try a hot water trick since it requires only two things that you likely have: hot water and a container ( large pot, bucket, or bowl).

You can either run your tap at its hottest level or, if you're using a pot, heat it up on your stove. A key takeaway here is that you should not use boiling water. Boiling water can crack porcelain, creating a much larger problem than a clog ever posed!

Once you've got your hot water, (carefully) pour it down the drain. You want to create some pressure, so try to hold your pot or bucket at least one foot over the drain. Then, let it sit for a few minutes.

If the water level starts to go down in your toilet bowl, your efforts were successful. You may need to flush once or twice to get rid of left over blockage, but this will often do the trick.

Try Your Toilet Brush

If you think your clog is near the surface and you don't have a plunger, you may have some luck using your toilet brush. That being said, this method can get a little messy and you may want to wear a pair of rubber gloves.

Angle your brush so bristles are pointing straight down the drain. Pump your brush in and out of the top of the drain a few times, until you start to see the source of the blockage break up and rise to the surface. If nothing happens, the clog is lodged further down the drain and your brush can't reach it, which means you may want to give one of our other methods a try.

Yes to Wire Hangers

This is one of those times when wire coat hangers are actually good to have around. As long as you are careful, you can attempt to use a wire hanger as a handy toilet snake, although you'll need to do some altering first.

Unwind your hanger so that you have one continuous length of wire, rather than a hanger. Leave the hook bent and give it a bit of a pinch so that it's narrow enough to fit down your drain. Make sure the hooked end is facing somewhat inward so that you don't scratch up your porcelain toilet. Once you've got your makeshift snake, gently feed it into your drain. When you feel resistance, you've likely encountered the clog. Prod and pull at the clog until water starts to drain, indicating that you've broken the clog up enough for water to pass through the drain.

At this point, you can try flushing your toilet. The clog should get swept away, leaving you with a functional, unclogged toilet.

When to Call a Professional for Toilet Clogs

Some blockages are not meant to be tackled without expert skills and professional tools. It's important to recognize signs that it's time to call in a professional to address your toilet troubles.

Clog Is Too Deep to Reach With Conventional Methods

One thing you don't want to end up doing is pushing a blockage deeper into the pipes without managing to break it up. When this happens, you may need a plumber to actually get into your pipes and tackle the clog directly.

Oftentimes, this is the case when the clog isn't something that's going to break up with conventional methods. For example, your child may flush a toy. Someone in your household may try to flush something that isn't meant to be flushed, like a wad of paper towels or a sanitary napkin.

If the clog seems to be out of reach or you fear that your methods are pushing it even further down your drain, it's time to put down your tools and pick up your phone to call in the pros.

Issue Isn't a Clog At All

Clogs aren't the only thing that can disrupt the usual flow of a toilet. Sometimes, the issue is your plumbing itself.

Old pipes can start to erode over time. Mineral deposits may start to build up inside your pipes, creating obstructions that make the flow of water and waste next to impossible.

If you notice that your toilet seems to clog frequently, you may want to look into plumbing repair. A toilet that clogs on a regular basis for seemingly no reason is usually connected to pipes that need to be repaired or replaced, a job that only professional plumbers can tackle.

Count On Mr. Rooter to Unclog Your Toilet!

Whether you're a new homeowner or you've been in the homeownership game for years, a toilet clog can be a real doozy. We hope that our guide to dealing with a clogged toilet has helped you deal with your toilet clog blues, but if you've got a truly persistent clog on your hands, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Dallas will get it taken care of quickly and efficiently.

Give us a call any time of the day or night at 214-838-8232, or request a job estimate online, and let us know what kinds of issues you're experiencing so we can get your plumbing back in perfect working order.
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