Toilets clog for all kinds of reasons.
Sometimes, they seem to clog out of spite.
More likely, someone put too much paper in the bowl, or the sewer pipe is getting long in the tooth and working at reduced capacity.
Most toilet clogs are minor and need nothing more than a DIY repair, but you need the right tools and knowledge for the job.
This blog will tell you what you need to know.
Are You Using the Right Plunger? Flange Plungers Are for Toilets
Yes, it makes a difference. Cup plungers, the most common in American households, don’t work for toilets! They’re designed for sink clogs!
So if you have a cup plunger from the Stone Age, by all means, keep it around. It has its uses — just not for the porcelain throne.
For toilet clogs, you’ll need a flange plunger with a “skirt” extending below the cup. The flange fits neatly into the toilet trap for a tight seal. And when it comes to plunging, it’s all about the seal and the suction the plunger produces.
Do You Have an Airtight Seal?
You thought we were done with plungers. We’re not even close! Another thing to consider is the air trapped inside the cup of the plunger. You’ll want as little as possible because air compresses more readily than water.
Air reduces the suction of the plunger cup. Water doesn’t — at least not as much. And you thought you’d never use your high school physics.
If necessary, add a little water to the toilet bowl to operate the plunger efficiently. Don’t flush, though — unless you’re in the mood for mopping.
Plunging a Toilet Clog Like a Pro
- If the toilet bowl is empty, add just enough water to cover the plunger. Again, do NOT flush!
- Add dish detergent to the bowl to help with the seal.
- Force the plunger straight down into the toilet trap; position it to form a tight seal.
- Withdraw the plunger quickly. You’re pulling the clog toward you, not pushing it further in, where it can cause more trouble.
- Repeat the plunging process if necessary.
Plan B: A Toilet Auger for Stubborn Clogs
A snake can damage the porcelain of your toilet. A toilet auger is a better tool, expressly designed for toilet clogs, and less likely to scratch the porcelain.
A toilet auger effectively drills through the clog, hence its name. But it won’t work in every case. The clog may be too far down the line, or pipes may have corroded beyond DIY repairs.
How to Use a Toilet Auger
- Wear gloves; place a bucket beside the toilet for any waste you extract.
- Lift the toilet seat. Insert the auger into the toilet trap. The auger should have a rubber sheath at its neck to protect against scratching. It will reach no more than a few inches into the trap.
- Apply force to the auger until you feel resistance, meaning that your auger has come into contact with the clog.
- Crank the handle to drill into the clog.
- Remove the auger. It should dredge out waste material from the clog. Offload that waste into the bucket.
- Pour water into the toilet bowl and let it drain. If it does, the clog has been removed. Victory is yours! But if no amount of auguring helps, it’s time to call the pros with their hydro jets.