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Step by Step Guide: How to Clear a Clogged Toilet

Are you dealing with a clogged toilet? Before reaching for an over-the-counter chemical clog remover, consider trying some more natural approaches to unclogging your toilet. We’ll provide easy step-by-step instructions so you can quickly get your toilet flowing freely again.

Clearing a Clogged Toilet – San Diego Plumbers.

Examine the Toilet Bowl and Determine the Clog.

clogged toilet - San Diego CA - Black Mountain PlumbingBefore you start unclogging your toilet, you need to inspect the toilet bowl in order to determine if the toilet is clogged and what is causing you to have a clogged toilet. Use a pair of gloves and examine whether there is an obstruction or if something might be stuck at the bottom of the bowl. If you locate an item that’s causing the clog, try putting on kitchen tongs to grab it and pull it out.
If there’s an obstruction in the drainpipe then you’ll need to use a plunger. Make sure that the plunger is placed firmly into the bowl before starting. Once it is firmly in place, begin pumping with the handle and try to work the clog out of the drainpipe. Keep pushing and pulling until you feel resistance from your efforts. If you still have a clogged toilet, you may need to call a plumber or use a special clog-clearing tool such as a plumbing snake or toilet auger.
Try Using a Plunger Before Using Chemicals/Tools.
Using a manual plunger is an effective first step in fixing a clogged toilet. To do this, place the plunger cup over the hole at the bottom of the bowl and start pushing down on it vigorously. You might need to repeat this several times before seeing results, so make sure you remain persistent. If it seems that nothing is happening, don’t be afraid to move on to the next step!
Depending on the size and clog, plunging your toilet with a regular plunger can be an effective way to push out the debris. Make sure you have a good seal before pushing down (you might need to use petroleum jelly or water around the edge of the plunger to get a better seal). Start pushing down vigorously and keep doing this for a good minute or two. If you still have a clogged toilet after several attempts, then it’s time to try some more aggressive approaches.

Use an Auger to Reach Clogged Areas without Breaching Toilet Bowls.

plumber using auger on clogged toilet - Black Mountain Plumbing - San Diego CA
A plumber using a hand auger to snake a toilet

If the plunger method wasn’t successful, try using an auger or toilet snake. This tool is designed to reach deeper into your toilet and break up clogged material that might be stuck further down in the drainpipe. To start, insert the end into the bowl and push it down until you meet resistance. Moving the auger around while gently pushing it downwards will help reach tough-to-reach areas. Be patient as this process may take some time!

Once you feel the auger has reached the clog, slowly rotate its handle in a clockwise direction to begin breaking up the blockage. When it’s gone, slowly pull out the auger and flush your toilet again. If water still slowly drains through the bowl, repeat this process until the toilet flushes properly. Take extra caution when using an auger to never push too hard and avoid breaching or cracking your toilet bowl.

Avoid Chemical Removal Solutions Whenever Possible.

If you are having trouble clearing a clog with the tools and methods above, it’s important to avoid using chemical removal solutions whenever possible. These solutions can be dangerous to your health, corrode the inside of your pipes, and cause further damage down the line. It’s always better to take preventive measures instead of resorting to harsh chemicals!
If a chemical solution is your last resort, it’s important to use the right type. Chlorine bleach, corrosive soda crystals, and caustic soda are effective but should only be used in small amounts as they can damage your plumbing. You should also avoid products that contain lye or phosphoric acid. Additionally, make sure you leave the product in the toilet for a few hours so it can work its magic before flushing it away. If you find yourself using chemical solutions on a regular basis, this is an indication of bigger problems with your toilet and pipes. Seek professional assistance from a qualified plumber at this point!

Remove Stubborn Blockages with Hot Water and a Sponge/Microfiber Rag

If after following the previous steps, you are still unable to unclog your toilet, add hot water and a sponge or microfiber rag to the bowl. Boil water in a tea kettle and slowly pour it into the bowl with one hand while using your other hand to plunge with a rag in between pours of hot water. This additional steaming liquid should be enough to break up stubborn clogs and clear your clogged toilet.
Ensure the hot water does not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does, it can damage plastic and rubber seals in your toilet tank and cause them to break. Keep an eye on the thermometer if you’re using a thermometer to monitor the water temperature or heat up smaller batches of hot water at a time. Before adding more hot water, push the rag down into the hole with the plunger while it is still submerged in water. Do this several times until all of the clogs have been removed.

plumber using plunger on clogged toilet - Black Mountain Plumbing Inc - San Diego CA

What To Do if You Need to Call a Plumber for a Clogged Toilet

The best way to identify when you need a plumber is to know the warning signs of a clogged toilet bowl. Here is a look at some of the warning signs that require your need for professional plumbing services near you.

Why is the Plunger Not Working?

Using a plunger effectively is sometimes a very difficult task. It is probably better to call a professional plumber. A plumber can usually clear a clogged toilet in a short time.

overflowing toilet - San Diego CA - Black Mountain PlumbingWhen Your Clogged Toilet Is Overflowing

If your toilet has sewage flowing out of it, it has become a serious health hazard. Sewage can often mean more trouble than just a clog. It’s time to contact your local plumber in San Diego.

How to Fix a Running Toilet

If you have problems with your toilet, or if it keeps running, please contact us for help. Noise in your home from running water can make it difficult to sleep at night. It may increase your water bill as well.

Foreign Objects Clogging Toilet

The best way to remove a clog is to hire a professional plumber. Plastic toys and electronic items can damage your pipes and cause a clogged toilet. Sanitary pads and diapers may cause a clog in your pipes, so it is best to remove them with the help of a professional plumber.

Your Sewer Drain Needs Repairs

A clogged sewer line or clogged toilet drain can cause sewage to back up into your basement, foundation, or yard. The wastewater can be caused by clogged pipes or overflowing toilets. If you notice a strong smell of sewage, it’s time to call the professionals to inspect your sewer line.

June 2024
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