How to Unclog Your Toilet
We’ve all been there. You go to flush, but instead of water going down, you see it rising up and up and up. . . . You panic: Did I really use that much toilet paper?
Toilet clogs are a pain to deal with anytime, but during the pandemic, they can really make you panic—you can’t afford to have a nonworking toilet, and you may be reluctant to have a plumber in your house. The good news: “Most clogs you can clear yourself,” says Andrew Chandler, lead plumbing technician at Plumbing in Pink in Greenville, S.C. The key, he says, is usually a good plunge.
1. If you drop something in your toilet—say, a child’s toy—try extracting it first. Don’t force it down with a flush. Even if it carries down the pipes, it still has to move around 100 to 200 feet to get to the city’s sewer. “For a lot of people, once the object is out of sight, it’s out of mind,” says Mike DeSilva, a plumber and president of Plumbing Plus in Poway, Calif. “But this can cause problems later. Use a coat hanger or whatever you can to fish it out.”
A note on wipes: Don’t flush them, even if you see “flushable” on the package. Unlike toilet paper, wipes don’t break down easily and may include adhesives that help them stay taut, and that can cause problems down the line. “They’ll go down,” Chandler says. “But they can totally ruin a septic tank and cost you about $5,000 to $10,000 to fix. If you’re on a city sewer, they’re an extra cost to the city to clean up.” The city’s waste treatment workers have to fish out the wipes and take them to a dump. Likewise, don’t flush paper towels or shop towels.
2. If a wad of toilet paper is stuck, reach for the plunger. First, you’ll need to turn off the water to ensure that the toilet doesn’t overflow while you’re working. Just make sure a decent amount of water is in the bowl so that when you free up the stoppage, there’s water to help move the waste down the drain, DeSilva says.
Place the plunger directly over the bowl drain. Slowly push the plunger down so that it compresses, then vigorously and quickly pull the plunger up and then down while trying to maintain a seal between the plunger and the toilet bowl. You should feel some resistance and suction until the stoppage is released. Raise the plunger. If you see the waste and water go down, immediately turn the water back on and start flushing. If not, keep plunging until the stoppage is completely cleared.
3. If a plunger gets you nowhere, try a toilet bowl cleaner. Pour a small amount of liquid cleaner that’s formulated with hydrogen peroxide as a lime and rust remover directly into the toilet bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes to a few hours. Check to see if chemicals in the cleaner have broken down the waste and your toilet bowl has drained, DeSilva says. Flush once the water has gone down.
4. Get an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners, such as Green Gobbler, are made of a concentrated mixture of bacteria that break down waste in your toilet but won’t hurt the pipes. You can buy them at home improvement stores. They’re ideal for older homes with cast iron pipes because harsh cleaners such as Drano can corrode metals. Once you pour it into the toilet, let it sit for about 24 hours (don’t flush) so that it has time to work. DeSilva suggests pouring an enzyme cleaner down the toilet a few times a month to maintain a healthy system.
5. Call a plumber. “When you can’t unclog a toilet with a plunger or if you notice a mainline stoppage between the house and the street, you need professional help,” Chandler says. Water coming up in other places, such as in a sink or shower, is an indication that there’s backed-up waste farther in the pipes that you can’t see.
Because of the pandemic, when you schedule a visit, ask the plumber if he will wear personal protective equipment when he comes to your house, and whether he cleans his equipment after each service call. Explain the issue on the phone with the plumber in advance; if you need to talk in person, stay at least 6 feet apart, keep the conversation as brief as possible, and make sure you are both wearing masks. Plan to have your family stay in a separate room of the house while the plumber works, and open the windows for airflow.
Don’t use boiling hot water. Though it could unclog the toilet, you could end up damaging it. “If you start using too much hot water, you’ll heat up your toilet,” DeSilva says. “Your toilet sits on a drain connection with a wax ring. If you heat it up too much, you might melt that seal.” That can result in a leak at the base of the toilet, and you’ll have to remove the toilet entirely to replace the seal underneath.
Don’t pour Drano down your toilet. Drano is a highly corrosive chemical. It can damage pipes, so much so that they can eventually break apart. If they break, you’ll have a much bigger problem than a toilet clog.
CR members with digital access can read on for ratings and reviews of the top three toilets from our tests, all of which earn Excellent ratings for solid-waste removal.
I’m interested in the intersection between design and technology—whether for drywall or robotic vacuums—and how the resulting combination affects consumers. I’ve written about consumer advocacy issues for publications like The Atlantic, PC Magazine, and Popular Science, and now I’m happy to be tackling the topic for CR. For updates, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@haniyarae).
No Plunger, No Problem: How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger
When it comes to plumbing, the fear upon realizing your toilet just isn’t going to flush is second only to the fear of realizing that there’s no plunger in sight. Before you resort to a “Do Not Use” sign and an emergency trip to the hardware store, try one (or all) of these household life hacks for unclogging your toilet without a plunger, compiled byReader’s Digest.
1. Dish Soap
Pour half a cup of dish soap into your toilet and let it sit in the bowl for a little while before trying to flush. Hopefully, it will sink down and coat the sides of the pipe enough to ease the passage of the clogged mass. If you’re down to your last drop of dish soap, you can cut a bar of soap into cubes and use those instead.
2. Hot Water
Pour a bucket of hot water into the toilet from waist-level (to prevent it from splashing the toilet bowl’s contents all over your bathroom and you), which could force the clogged mass through the pipe. You can combine this method with the soap method to maximize your chances of solving your problem; just make sure the water you use is not boiling, which could crack the porcelain.
3. A Wire Hanger
Grab a wire hanger from your closet and untwist it until you have one straight length of wire. Then, use it just like you would a drain snake: Stick it down into the pipe and poke the mass until it gets dislodged or broken up enough to continue through the pipe.
4. Baking Soda and Vinegar
Pour one cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar into your toilet and let it sit for half an hour. It might unclog the pipe on its own, but feel free to pour in a bucket of hot water if it doesn’t.
5. A Plastic Bottle
If you felt like the wire hanger method was a little too hands-on for your comfort, you might not be keen on the plastic bottle trick—but it could be your ticket to a clog-free toilet. First, take as much water out of your toilet bowl as possible, and fill up a plastic bottle with warm water. After donning a pair of rubber gloves (or large plastic bags, in a pinch), plug the top of the bottle with your thumb, and place the bottle and your thumb at the mouth of the pipe. Then, remove your thumb and squeeze the bottle to propel the water, and hopefully the clogged mass, through the pipe.
[h/t Reader’s Digest]
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Is the water pooling around your feet in the shower? Is your toilet struggling to flush? Clogged drains are the cause of these everyday blunders. For many, they’re inconveniences that cause stress and irritation. You may be putting off dealing with the problem, but without attention the blockage will continue to get worse. Luckily, you can easily unclog a toilet drain or a shower drain if you know the right steps to take.
If you’d rather leave it to the professionals, call areputable drainage serviceto help.
But if you’re in the DIY mood, here’s how to remove blockages on your own and get your drain flowing again.
What Causes Clogged Drains?
When the pipes are clear, water easily flows through them. It’s when there’s a blockage in the pipes that the water can’t pass. This results in backed up water in your shower or toilet bowl. There are a few common culprits that often clog shower drains. The first is hair. We all lose 50-100 hairs per day, most of which fall out during the shower. This is normal because the massaging of your scalp as you lather shampoo loosens the strands. The water pressure also causes some of the hairs to fall out. However, once the hair goes down the drain, it can easily get hooked on debris trapped in the pipes. As more hair goes down, the blockage grows and eventually takes up the entire width of the pipe.
Another cause of clogged shower drains may surprise you: soap. Did you know that traditional bars of soap contain oil? Soap companies do this because it makes the soap more moisturizing, and it helps the bar feel smoother in your hands. This can sometimes be a concern; everyone knows that oil should never go down the drain because it quickly turns into a blockage. If you’re using bar soap in the shower, check its ingredients. It may contain oil and be clogging your shower’s drain.
The last common cause of clogged drains is a mineral buildup. The minerals found in hard water tend to stick to the sides of the pipes and build up over time. This usually only happens in homes that don’t use a water softener. If you use hard water in your home, beware of mineral buildup.
As for clogged toilets, you can likely imagine the most common cause. Besides lodged bowel movements in the pipe, another common culprit is excessive toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper is made to dissolve and break down in the water. However, when you try to flush too much paper at once, it can turn into a clump that cannot break down and then gets lodged in the pipes, preventing water from flowing properly.
How To Unclog A Shower Drain
So, how do you unclog a shower drain on your own? There are a handful of effective ways to unclog a drain with DIY fixes. If after trying these options the blockage is still there, don’t hesitate to call a drainage service for help.
*Unclogging a slow drain – If the water in your shower is pooling slightly or not draining as quickly as it usually does, pour a pot of hot water down your shower drain using a funnel. This will help dislodge any slight blockages and break down some of the sediments on the walls of your plumbing. Try this method a couple of times to see if it works for you.
*Unclogging a hair blockage – Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain (you may need to lift the drain cover to do this). Wait five minutes to allow the baking soda to settle into the blockage. Then slowly pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain (you want the fizz to happen in the pipe, not in the shower). When baking soda gets combined with vinegar, it becomes a natural heavy-duty cleaner. Let the mixture sit in the drain for a couple of hours, and then flush it out with boiling water (as above).
How To Unclog A Toilet
With all of these tricks, you will have to flush the toilet to ensure that the blockage has cleared. Remember – if the blockage hasn’t cleared, flushing may make the toilet overflow onto the floor. Keep some old towels on hand, just in case.
Also, use hot, not boiling, water to unclog your toilet; if the water is too hot, it could potentially damage some of the inner workings of your toilet.
*Use a plunger – Plungers are incredibly effective tools for unclogging toilet drains; even professional plumbers use them (before breaking out the big guns). Try using your plunger to remove the blockage.
*Dish soap – If the plunger didn’t do the trick, try this neat DIY trick. Add a couple of healthy-sized squirts of dish soap into the toilet bowl. Let it settle to the bottom, and then add some warm (not boiling hot) water. Let that rest for 20-30 minutes, and then try flushing.
*Baking soda and vinegar – If the dish soap trick didn’t work, then add baking soda and vinegar to your toilet, using the same methods (and amounts) as with your shower. Make sure that the bowl is at least ½ full; add warm (not boiling) water if it’s not. (If it’s too full, you’ll have to scoop some out. Sorry.) Remember to pour the vinegar in slowly! Let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then flush the toilet to ensure that the blockage is cleared.
If these DIY methods don’t work, you can either use a drain snake yourself or call a drainage service. It’s often easier at this point to call a professional for help.
How to Prevent Clogging in the Future
There are numerous ways to prevent future clogging, and they only require a slight tweak of your habits and keeping some extra tools handy.
*Not too much paper – Obviously, you can monitor your own use; but if you have children, you may need to watch theirs as well. If the situation calls for lots of paper, flush before wiping instead of adding all of it to the bowl at once. This allows the toilet paper to break down and not cause a blockage.
*Get a drain cover – You’ve probably seen these in the hardware section, but they never made an impact on you before. This round grid collects hair and other debris so it doesn’t go down the drain. All you must do is clean the cover regularly. If soapy residue is clogging your shower drain, you may want to research other products. Try a liquid body wash or a nontraditional soap bar for reduced buildup in your drains.
Knowing When To Call A Plumber
If you’ve tried some of these DIY methods to unclog your shower drain or toilet and they were ineffective, call in the big guns. A professional drainage service has the expertise and training to deal with your problem quickly and efficiently, and without damaging your fixtures or plumbing.
Allowing a clogged drain to stay clogged can create a health risk. For your families health (and stress levels), resolve clogged drains as soon as they happen. Call a plumber that is fully licensed and certified to provide the plumbing services you need.
Plumbing Authority has been providing drainage services to the Greater Toronto Area for over 20 years. Our team of licensed, certified, and expert plumbers are available 24/7 for plumbing services, emergencies, and repairs. We have the experience, resources, and dedication to keep your drains clear so you can shower and flush stress-free.
To inquire about our drainage services, send us a message or give us a call today: (647) 992-PIPE.
How To Unclog A Toilet Using Water And Dish Soap
If you don’t have a rubber plunger and you clog your toilet, try this DIY hack by Chris DIYer on YouTube on how to unclog a toilet using water and dish soap. I’ve learned this technique from my grandma and dad because there was a time that the plunge didn’t work and my grandma told me it would better. Honestly, I understand the science behind it because the soap will make the toilet bowl nice and slippery. It would take about 30 minutes max, but it is worth it rather than spending extra money for a plumber. Sometimes, it will take less time. The hot water lubricates and pushes everything down the drain. This DIY hack takes patience because you need everything to sit.
- dish soap
- hot tap water
First, fill up your bucket with really hot water, and pour it into the toilet bowl. Then, add about 8 oz of dish soap to the bowl.
Next, add another bucket of hot water to the toilet bowl after the dish soap has been added after 10-15 minutes. If the water goes up to its rim and then immediately back down, then the clog is probably taken care of. Hit the flush to see if it works. Continue to watch Chris DIYer on YouTube for full instructions and details.
Overall, this is a great bathroom hack if you have a mishap on the toilet. It’s important to use really hot water for this hack to get everything flowing quickly. Save money and try this hack on your own before calling a plumber. I think unclogging your toilet on your own is better if you’re able to solve it. Plus, this method is cleaner rather than using a plunger that might create splashes.
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Youtube unclog toilet
How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger
It’s safe to assume that most homes have a plunger. Unfortunately, however, bad luck has a way of finding the rare times when you’re unprepared. There may come a time, no matter how unlikely, when you find yourself with a bad toilet clog and no plunger. Panic-inducing as this scenario sounds, it’s not insurmountable.
This blog details the easiest ways to unclog a toilet when you don’t have access to a plunger. Next time the unexpected happens, just take a deep breath and try…
When we say hot water, we mean hot–not boiling. Pouring boiling water into the toilet bowl could crack the ceramic, which would make an existing problem much worse.
Use a bucket to pour about a dozen cups hot water into the toilet slowly. Let the hot water sit in the toilet bowl for several minutes. The heat from the water should break up the existing clog, allowing it to be properly flushed down the drain.
Copious amounts of dish soap
Another option is to take a bottle of dish soap and squeeze a large portion into the bowl. Let it sit for about thirty minutes. Before the time is up, you should see that water is starting to drain, but don’t freak out if it takes longer.
How quickly the soap breaks down the clog depends on how severe the clog is. If you don’t have any dish soap, basic (don’t use a fancy, expensive salon brand) shampoo will work just as well.
Pouring some epsom salt into the bowl
This option could be especially helpful when you’re a guest in someone else’s home, and don’t want to leave the bathroom before you fix the clog. Snoop around the bathroom and look for a bag of epsom salt.
Pouring epsom salt into a toilet bowl triggers a fizzy, soapy chemical reaction. This reaction can help break up the clog and clear the drain. If you can’t find epsom salt, a rogue bath bomb dropped in can help, too. Of course, then you’ll have to explain why you threw one of your host’s bath bombs in the toilet.
Using a toilet brush
Sometimes you won’t find a plunger, but you’ll almost always find a toilet cleaning brush. You could always use that to clean out the clog.
This method is going to take some elbow grease, and, honestly, it might be gross, so prepare yourself. Hold the handle, push it into the drain hole, and pump back and forth several times. Don’t pump so forcefully that you damage the inside of the toilet. It happens more often than you think! After about thirty seconds, stop pumping. Then, you just have to cross your fingers and hope the water starts to drain.
Sometimes, with or without a plunger, drain clogs just can’t be fixed without professional help. Next time you find yourself in that situation, call the experts at Mike Diamond and someone will be by to clear things up in no time.
Filed Under: PlumbingSours: https://mikediamondservices.com/blog/unclog-toilet-without-plunger/
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