A clogged toilet is an inconvenience that often induces panic and discomfort. Here, we delve into various DIY fixes for toilet clogs, offering step-by-step instructions and essential precautions. However, remember that even the most ardent DIY enthusiast should know when to call professionals like Canberra Plumbing & Drains.

Common Reasons for a Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet can be caused by a plethora of reasons. The toilet is designed to handle human waste and toilet paper, but many other items often find their way into the toilet, leading to blockages.

Foreign Objects

Items such as feminine products, tissues, paper towels, cotton buds, and even hair and floss can expand in the pipes and lead to a clogged drain. Additionally, food scraps, grease, and ‘flushable’ wipes are common culprits. Gum, pet waste, and other bathroom basics such as bandages and unused medications also contribute to blocked toilets and require unblocking.

Mischievous Children

Children, in their natural curiosity, often use the toilet as a play area, leading to unusual items being flushed and, in turn, blocking drains. It’s important to educate children about the appropriate use of the toilet and bathroom sink and consider childproofing your bathroom from extra curious little ones in your home.

Low-Flow Toilets

Older models of low-flow toilets often need more pressure to move waste through drains, leading to frequent clogs and toilet overflow. Consider replacing your low-flow toilet and having a more reliable toilet installed.

DIY Fixes for a Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem. Fortunately, there are several DIY methods, from homemade drain cleaner to using a toilet snake; you can try to unclog your toilet before calling a plumber. So put on your rubber gloves and give these methods a try.

Plunging the Toilet

The most common method to unclog a toilet is using a plunger. To use a plunger effectively:

  1. Make sure the plunger completely covers the toilet drain hole. If the toilet plunger is too small, it will not create enough suction to dislodge the clog.
  2. Fill the toilet bowl with enough water to cover the plunger cup at least halfway.
  3. Place the plunger over the drain hole and press down firmly to create a seal.
  4. Push and pull the plunger vigorously in a vertical motion for several minutes.
  5. Listen for a gurgling sound, indicating the clog is being dislodged.
  6. Flush the toilet to see if the clog is cleared.

If the clog is not cleared after several attempts with the plunger, try one of the other methods below.

Hot Water and Dish Soap

A mixture of hot water and dish soap can often dislodge a badly clogged toilet. To use this method:

  1. Pour about half a cup of dish soap into the toilet bowl.
  2. Slowly pour a bucket of hot water (not boiling) into the toilet bowl.
  3. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes.
  4. Flush the toilet to see if the clog is cleared.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar, and in some circumstances, hot water, can create a fizzing reaction that can help unclog toilets. To unclog a toilet without chemical drain cleaners, use this method:

  1. Pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl.
  2. Pour two cups of white vinegar into the toilet bowl.
  3. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes.
  4. Flush the toilet to see if the clog is cleared.

Wire Coat Hanger

If your clog is severe and you are on your way to having an overflowing toilet, you may need to use a wire coat hanger to dislodge it and clear the blocked drain. To do this:

  1. Unravel a wire coat hanger and straighten it out.
  2. Bend one end of the wire hanger into a hook shape.
  3. Carefully insert the hooked end of the wire hanger into the toilet drain hole.
  4. Use the wire hanger to prod the clog and break it up.
  5. Once the clog is broken up, flush the toilet to see if it is cleared.

Plastic Bottle Method

Wearing rubber gloves, you can use a large plastic bottle to create pressure and unclog a toilet. To do this:

  1. Fill a large plastic bottle with warm water.
  2. Remove the cap from the bottle.
  3. Fit the top of the bottle into the toilet drain hole.
  4. Squeeze the bottle forcefully to create pressure.
  5. Release the pressure and repeat until the clog is cleared.
  6. Flush the toilet to see if the clogged drain is cleared.

Tips for Preventing Clogged Toilets

To help prevent future clogs, follow these tips:

  • Avoid flushing non-flushable items, such as paper towels, wipes, feminine hygiene products, or nappies, into toilet drains.
  • Use less toilet paper.
  • Use a toilet bowl cleaner regularly to break up organic matter contributing to clogs.
  • Install a toilet guard to catch debris before it enters the drain.

If you have tried all of the DIY methods and your toilet is still clogged, you will need to call a plumber.

When DIY Fixes Fail

If you’ve tried all the methods above, and your toilet is still clogged, here are some situations where professional help is necessary.

Deep-seated Issues

If your toilet clog is not responding to plunging or other DIY methods, there might be a deep-seated issue in the sewer line or toilet tank. These issues could be due to an accumulation of waste or even tree root intrusion affecting your plumbing system.

Hard Water Issues

Hard water, rich in minerals, can calcify inside drain pipes, reducing water flow and causing toilet clogs over time. A professional plumber can flush out your system or install a water softener to unclog a toilet and prevent further problems.

Other Toilet Troubles

Modern toilets have a roof vent that allows wastewater gases to exit. This vent can become congested with leaves and other debris, reducing drain flow and causing clogs.

Know When to Call Your Plumber

While DIY fixes can often solve minor clogs, it’s important to recognise when to call a professional plumber. If you’ve tried all the DIY fixes, and the clog persists, it’s time to call your trusted professionals at Canberra Plumbing & Drains. They have the expertise and equipment for unclogging toilets that DIY fixes can’t handle. A clogged toilet is a common household problem, but it can often be easily solved with the right approach.