Basically, there are two types of toilet clogs. The most common is a clog that simply prevents the waste and water from going down the drain. The second, and more distressing, is a clog that causes sewage to back up into a bathtub or other fixture when the toilet is flushed. The common clog usually indicates a blockage in the pipe below or immediately adjacent to the toilet. If your toilet is clogged but not backing up elsewhere, don’t try to flush it or it may overflow. Just follow these simple tips:
- Remove the lid from the tank and raise the flapper valve to let a little water pass through so you can see whether the toilet is indeed clogged.
- If it is, first try plunging with a bell-shaped toilet plunger. Wearing rubber gloves, place the plunger’s head over the center of the toilet drain hole. Then rapidly push the plunger’s handle up and down to force air and water into the pipe, creating suction to free the clog. If waste water drains from the toilet, you’ve probably managed to break the clog loose. Gradually pour about a gallon of water from a bucket into the toilet to flush it.
- If this doesn’t do the job, you can attempt to snake out the toilet with a closet auger, which will reach down about 3 feet. Work the end of it down into the drain hole, turning the handle clockwise until the cable won’t go any further. Then push it repeatedly to dislodge the clog. If it seems to have hooked onto the obstacle, try pulling it out. If it seems balky, work it back and forth carefully so as not to scratch or break the porcelain. If you are able to break through the clog, plunge the toilet again.
- If your plumbing system has a clog that is causing sewage to back up into other fixtures when a toilet is flushed, you can attempt to snake out the main drain pipes yourself with a long drain auger. Inexpensive drain augers are available for purchase, or you can rent a high-powered model from a tool rental supplier. If this is more than you want to attempt, call a plumber or drain-clearing service.