I am not a toileting expert. I am just a mom with three kids who all think our bathroom is a fascinating place. Especially the toilet. If you really stop to think about it, the toilet is a wonderful device, considering the design, usability, and functionality. It’s a terrific god-send, until something goes wrong. Especially when that issue seems to involve crayons, GI Joe, Polly Pockets, Legos, or other fun toys. My kids love to watch Polly spin and spin until she is no more. And then I hear the inevitable, “Mom! The toilet water is everywhere!”
Maybe it’s not so bad at your house but when dealing with a clogged toilet there are a few things parents can try before calling the plumber. With a little practice, even a home repair rookie can get most clogged toilets back up and running in minutes, without flooding the bathroom and making the situation worse. Avert a household disaster (and save your sanity) by clearing a clogged toilet fast.
- Flush Only Once
If it’s not flushing the first time, don’t flush the toilet again. This will cause more water to be pumped into the toilet bowl. If the toilet becomes clogged, the first flush will not cause the bowl to overflow, but the second flush might.
- Protect Yourself and The Floor.
Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands. Then, minimize any potential damage by placing newspapers or old towels on the floor to soak up liquid. Besides, minor splashes and spills are bound to occur when you’re unclogging the toilet. I suggest paper as it will make for easier cleanup later.
- Dish Soap and Hot Water.
If you know it is a toy, skip this method and go to the next. If it is Toilet paper or waste, this method may work. Add just a few squirts of dish soap to the toilet. Pour a pot or half a bucket of tap-hot water from about waist level into the bowl. ( if you pour from waist level the weight of the water can help to clear the clog, or erode it away if some amount of water is getting through.) The water should be no hotter than a hot tea you can drink comfortably, but not boiling, since very hot water can crack porcelain. A little water won’t work––you want to raise the temperature of the water passing around or pressing on the clog. Let the water and dish soap sit for a few minutes. Sometimes doing this will soften a clog enough for the clog to loosen and clear on its own. If the water has not gone down, move on to the plunging method.
- Grab the Right Plunger
For roughly 90% of clogged toilets, you only need one special tool—a plunger. Buy one with an extension flange on the rubber bell-shaped end. It’s specially designed to fit toilets better so you can deliver more “oomph” to the plunge. Seriously, you could pull a woodchuck from a hole with one of these things! Make your first plunge a gentle one, though. A hard thrust will force air back around the seal and blow water all over the bathroom and you! Once you force out the air, plunge vigorously in and out, maintaining the seal. You’ll be forcing water both directions in the drain, which will effectively loosen most clogs. Stick with it, plunging 15 to 20 times if necessary. Be patient. Try alternating between steady strokes and occasional monster heaves.
- Reach for The Snake
If the plunger won’t open the drain, or if you can force out the water with the plunger but the toilet still won’t flush well, reach for the snake. A drain snake is a long coiled wire with a corkscrew-like tip that you feed into your pipes until it encounters the clog. Then you turn the snake clockwise, so that the tip screws into or through the clog and breaks it up. Or the debris winds onto the wire so you can pull it out.
- Major Surgery (if all else fails)
If the clog resists all your efforts, you’ll probably have to pull up the toilet. This is a major job that will take several hours, so be sure you have the time to devote to it. You have to turn off and unhook the water supply, partially disassemble the toilet, and unscrew it from its mounting ring. Chances are, you can then get at whatever the problem may be. Be sure to buy a new wax ring and new mounting bolts to reseal the toilet base to the mounting ring when done.
- Call A Professional
However, if other drains in your home are plugged, or if you don’t have time to devote to fixing the toilet yourself, it is time to call a professional. Plumbers can put your bathroom back in service fast, even if there’s a major blockage. Just FYI: plumbers report that the most common foreign objects are toys. I tell you this so you know you are not alone (we’ve seen many toys disappear down the drain) and that plumbers are practiced at getting toys out of the toilet pipes. Trust me, they won’t judge.