A clogged toilet can be a major disaster, especially if it’s the only toilet in your home. Fortunately, there are many simple, low-cost ways to get the toilet water moving again without having to call a plumber. Check out these three tricks to unclog a toilet.
Though it might seem retro to unclog your toilet the same way your grandparents did, a standard household plunger is the best way to start your unclogging adventure. Hopefully, you’ll have one kicking around somewhere, but if you don’t, don’t hurry out to buy the first flat-bottomed one you see. Flat-bottomed plungers are for flat drains, like those in sinks and tubs. The bottom of your toilet doesn’t have a flat drain, so you’ll need a plunger with a narrow flange at the end to better fit into the small hole and make a tighter seal.
The trick is in learning how to use the plunger correctly. First, fit the flange end of the plunger in the drain hole. Make your first push a gentle one, because when you push out air under water, there tends to be a splash. Depending on the clogging situation, that could be a very messy moment. After the gentle plunge removes the air from the plunger, only then can you pump a little more forcefully to encourage whatever is stopping up your drain to loosen up.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Mild Chemical Aids
Do you remember the old volcano project from third grade? That’s when you made a paper-mâché volcano and poured vinegar into the jar inside where baking soda lay in wait. The bubbling over charmed everyone except the janitor who had to clean it all up.
The trick lies in the combination of baking soda and vinegar which releases carbon dioxide bubbles in a mildly explosive reaction. If your clog has left a dirty mess, or if the water is very high, you may want to check out a different method.
Add a cup of baking soda to your toilet and let it settle in the drain. Then pour in two cups of vinegar slowly, and let the mixture burble. Flush, and see if your chemistry experiment worked.
Bring On The Snake
If all other methods have failed, it’s time to bring on the plumbing snake, also known as an auger. Make sure you use the kind meant for unclogging toilets, since they’re specially designed not to scratch or mar the porcelain bowl.
The trick is to place the head of the snake by the drain and turn the handle slowly to send it down into the pipes. Once you feel resistance, draw the auger back out. Hopefully by this action you’ll have removed or broken up the clog, and water will start seeping down.
If all else fails, then you’ve got a serious clog that requires professional help from a trusted plumber.