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How to Fix a Clogged Toilet (and Prevent It from Happening Again)

16 August 2018

Using the toilet: it’s no big deal, right? But when it refuses to flush, it can feel like all hell’s about to break loose. In this blog post, we look at a few simple, but very effective, methods of fixing a clogged toilet so that you can avoid a potentially messy situation.

We’ve all had our fair share of embarrassing moments in life, but a clogged toilet — especially at someone else’s home — can feel like your worst nightmare. In these cases, we’d have saved ourselves considerable humiliation if we knew how to fix it. Prevent yourself from finding yourself in that situation again with these top unclogging tips.

1. Use a Plunger

When your toilet is clogged, the only direction the water (and other materials) can go is up. When this happens, the water level will continue to rise until, before you know it, you have a huge mess all over your bathroom floor. Having a plunger at hand is crucial to prevent the situation from becoming a messy crisis.

Start by closing the toilet flapper. This is a small plug at the bottom of your toilet’s tank that holds water until you flush and controls the flow of water from the tank to the bowl. Closing the flapper will stop water from continuing to build as you use the plunger.

There are many different types of plunger. While you might be tempted to opt for your standard plunger, investing in a more premium product can make the unclogging process easier. The Pongtu Plunger is often hailed as the best ‘mess-free’ plunger, but plungers with a flange are also suitable for fixing a clogged toilet, as they fit snugly in the bowl.

The next step is to warm the plunger under hot water. A hard plunger won’t work as effectively, so applying heat will help soften it.

Then, it’s time to unclog the toilet. Place the plunger directly into the exit hole, using a continuous pushing and pulling motion. Do this several times, before opening the toilet flapper and flushing the toilet. If the toilet flushes, you’ve successfully unclogged it. If the toilet still won’t flush, either repeat the process, as you may not have moved the offending material causing the blockage or move onto method two.

2. Use Hot Water and Liquid Soap

Pouring a mixture of hot water and soap directly into the toilet bowl can be an effective way of unclogging a toilet. As with the previous step, first close the toilet flapper to prevent water from flowing into the bowl. Mix liquid soap with water — the hotter the better — and pour into the bowl.

Close the toilet seat and leave for a few minutes. The hot water should dissolve the blockage. This is a preferable method if you’re a guest in someone else’s home — soap and water can be found in any bathroom and you’ll save yourself the potential embarrassment of asking for a plunger. It’s important to note, however, that you may still need to use a plunger to dislodge the blockage and push it down the drain

3. Prevent It from Happening Again

Dealing with a clogged toilet can be stressful. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to ensure it doesn’t happen again. To avoid unwanted blockages, follow these tips:

    1. It goes without saying that you should only flush human waste. It might be tempting to flush wet wipes, dental floss, hair, nappies and feminine products down the toilet to get rid of them quickly, but flushing these items puts you on the fast track route to a clogged toilet. You should also avoid flushing moist toilet paper. Premium toilet paper is often coated with a resin, designed to make it stronger. While this is good in theory, these papers can take up to five days to break down.
  1. Monitor signs of a potential clog. If your toilet is flushing increasingly slowly, it’s an indication that a blockage is building. Address it quickly, using hot water and soap, or a plunger, to avoid having to deal with a clogged toilet in the near future.

4. Call a Certified Plumber

If the above methods don’t unclog your toilet, you’ll need to call a plumber. While a blockage is often caused by flushing too many non-disposable items, there are many other issues that can lead to a clogged toilet. Your toilet’s plumbing vent may be blocked, requiring specialist tools to fix, or there may be a problem with the drain itself. Hiring a professional plumber will ensure the blockage is dealt with effectively. A qualified plumber will also be able to explain what caused the issue and provide advice to prevent it happening again.

Is your toilet clogged? Homecure Plumbers specialises in drainage and blockages. Our team of certified and experienced plumbers in London are on hand to help. Call our team of qualified engineers on 0800 020 9222.

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