How To Unblock A Toilet

How To Unblock A Toilet: An Introduction

The moment when you press the toilet flush and instead of a familiar swirl, the water seems reluctant to go down is undeniably unsettling. This all-too-common household issue can be a result of various reasons, from simple oversights to more complex plumbing problems. Understanding how to unblock a toilet not only saves you from potential embarrassment but also spares your pocket from unnecessary plumbing expenses. In this guide, we’ll equip you with knowledge and practical steps to tackle this challenge.

How To Unblock A Toilet: Initial Safety Precautions

Safety should always be a priority, especially when dealing with potential germs and bacteria.

Preparing the workspace

Ventilating the bathroom

Open windows and doors if possible to keep the air circulating. This reduces unpleasant odours and prevents the buildup of harmful fumes, especially if chemicals are involved later.

Wearing appropriate clothing and gloves

An old T-shirt and trousers would be ideal. Rubber gloves are essential to protect your hands from bacteria and potential chemical burns.

Choosing safe and appropriate tools

From a reliable plunger to a toilet auger, ensure you have tools specifically designed for toilets. This will help prevent damage to the porcelain and improve the effectiveness of your efforts.

Ensuring the health of your plumbing system

It’s a good habit to check your toilet’s flush mechanism regularly and ensure no foreign objects accidentally get flushed.

Recognising the Severity of the Blockage

Understanding the extent of the blockage can guide your next steps, ensuring you don’t employ drastic measures when a simple fix would suffice.

Minor blockages

These usually result from too much toilet paper or non-flushable items like dental floss. They often require less aggressive measures.

Moderate blockages

Caused by larger foreign objects, built-up mineral deposits, or even early-stage pipe issues. These might need a combination of methods to resolve.

Severe blockages

If your toilet frequently clogs or if multiple fixtures in your home are backed up, the problem might be deeper in the main drain. Such situations typically need a plumber’s expertise.

How to Unblock A Toilet: Common DIY Methods

A majority of blockages can be addressed with simple home remedies before resorting to chemicals or professionals.

Plunger method

Types of plungers and their uses

The flange plunger, with its bell-shaped rubber end, is ideal for toilets. Its design ensures a tight seal, which is crucial for effective plunging.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the plunger’s rubber end.
  2. Position the plunger to create a tight seal over the exit hole.
  3. Push down and pull up vigorously about 15-20 times, then give a final forceful upward pull to create suction.
  4. Test by flushing. Repeat if necessary.

Natural cleaning solution: Baking soda and vinegar

Why this method works

The chemical reaction produces carbon dioxide gas, which might help in dislodging the blockage.

Instructions for use

  1. Pour two cups of baking soda followed by two cups of vinegar.
  2. Allow the solution to fizz and work for about an hour.
  3. Flush the toilet to see if the blockage has cleared.

Hot water and dish soap

The science behind this method

Dish soap acts as a lubricant, softening the blockage, while the hot water helps to melt fats and move the clog.

Guided steps

  1. Add a few squirts of dish soap.
  2. Pour a bucket of hot water (not boiling) from waist height to create force.
  3. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Try flushing.

How To Unblock A Toilet: When to Use Chemical Solutions

Chemical drain cleaners should be a last resort due to their potential to harm pipes and the environment.

Choosing the right chemical drain cleaner

Look for those labelled safe for all pipes and septic systems.

Risks and precautions

Always wear gloves and eye protection. Ensure the room is well-ventilated, and never mix chemicals.

Step-by-step guide to using chemical solutions safely

  1. Carefully pour the advised amount, avoiding splashes.
  2. Let it sit as per the product’s instructions.
  3. Flush the toilet multiple times to clear the chemicals.

How To Unblock A Toilet: Advanced Techniques for Stubborn Blockages

If common methods fail, it’s time to up the ante but cautiously.

Using a toilet auger (plumber’s snake)

What is a toilet auger?

This long, coiled tool can reach deeper into the drain, turning and moving to break up blockages.

How to use a toilet auger properly

  1. Insert the end into the bowl, aiming for the drain.
  2. Slowly turn the handle clockwise while pushing downward.
  3. Once you hit the blockage, twist and pull to break it up.
  4. Retrieve the auger and flush to test.

Inspecting with a camera

Advanced issues may need a visual inspection. Professionals like Swaley Plumbing And Heating can use specialist cameras to pinpoint blockages deep within the pipes.

Enzymatic drain cleaners

What are enzymatic cleaners?

These eco-friendly cleaners contain bacteria that break down organic matter, turning it into water and CO2.

Advantages over chemical cleaners

They’re gentler on pipes, safe for septic systems, and won’t harm the environment.

Preventative Measures for Future Blockages

Prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to plumbing!

Proper toilet usage and habits

Educate family members on what can and can’t be flushed. Even “flushable” wipes can be a menace.

Regular maintenance and cleaning

A routine cleaning with a toilet brush and periodic checks can help prevent build-up and potential blockages.

Recognising early signs of potential blockages

If the water level in the bowl is unusually high or low or if you hear gurgling noises, these could be early warning signs.

How To Unblock A Toilet: Calling a Professional Plumber

When DIY methods don’t yield results, or if the problem recurs often, it’s time to call in the expertise of professional plumbing services.

Identifying situations beyond DIY fixes

Regular blockages, foul odours, or water backing up in sinks or bathtubs signal larger issues.

Benefits of hiring professionals like Swaley Plumbing And Heating

With expertise and advanced tools, professionals ensure that the problem is thoroughly addressed, bringing peace of mind.

Costs and considerations

While hiring a plumber involves costs, it’s an investment against potential larger expenses down the line due to unresolved

For a local plumber you can trust, contact Swaley Plumbing & Heating today.