Most people use the bathroom 2,500 times per year. The average American household has about 2.5 people living in it. So most toilets are going to get flushed at least 6,250 times over the course of 365 days.
If we use our toilets that much, something is bound to go wrong at some point and it usually happens at the worst possible time.
When your pants are down!
But don’t panic. If you need to learn how to unclog a toilet fast, this article is for you. Read on to learn more.
1. Let Gravity do the Work for you
Okay, so this isn’t the fastest method, but it is the easiest. Also, if you only have one bathroom, this may not be the option for you, but it is surprisingly effective.
Toilets use gravity to push water through the drainage system. Sometimes when too much toilet paper gets used, it takes a little longer for the water to pass through.
If you let your toilet sit overnight, you might come back to find it has unclogged itself.
2. Dish Soap and Hot Water
If you can’t wait overnight or you just want to help gravity along, you can try to unclog your toilet with common dish soap and hot water.
Heat up about a gallon of hot water on your stove. While the water is getting hot, squirt liquid dish soap into the toilet bowl. Once the water steams up, pour it carefully into the bowl and down the drain.
It is best to get as much water out of the toilet as possible before pouring the hot water in. Also, make sure you do not use boiling water as that can crack the toilet bowl and then you have a much bigger problem on your hands.
3. How to Unclog a Toilet with Plungers
It should come as no surprise that a plunger is the best tool to use when your toilet starts to back up. What you may not know is that there are different kinds of plungers and not all plungers are created equal.
The one thing they do have in common is they need a proper seal to create a vacuum and water to force through the pipes and break up the clog. So before you begin, it is important to inspect your plunger to ensure there are no holes or cracks that would prevent a proper seal.
There are other kinds of plungers than what we will be discussing here, but these are the only ones you need around your house. The others are for industrial plumbing issues and we will leave those to the professionals.
Close your eyes and think about a plunger. If you conjured up an image of a red rubber cup attached to the end of a wooden stick, then you are thinking about a sink plunger.
These plungers are the most common type of plunger, but they will do nothing to help you unclog a toilet. As the name suggests, they are primarily used to unclog sinks.
The bottom surface of the rubber cup is too flat to create a proper seal in the curve of a toilet bowl. However, if your clog is in a sink or tub (or really any drain surrounded by a level surface) this plunger is your go-to tool for getting rid of it.
A flange plunger, or toilet plunger, gets its name from the flap or flange at the bottom of its rubber cup. Other than the flange and their color (most flange plungers are black) they look a lot like your typical sink plunger.
The flange may not look like anything special, but it is what makes it possible for this type of plunger to create a seal in the curve of your toilet bowl.
How to Use it
- Make sure the toilet bowl has enough water in it to cover the rubber cup. Too much water and you will have a mess. Too little water and there will be air in the cup reducing the pressure when you compress the water.
- Coat the flange and bottom edge of the plunger with petroleum jelly. The jelly will help to seal the rubber to the bowl.
- Fully Cover the drain hole in the toilet with the bottom edge of the plunger. Make sure the flange goes into the hole and is not folded into the cup. Also, ensure the water in the bowl completely fills the plunger before you begin.
- Plunge down with a quick solid stroke to compress the water.
- Plunge up with as much force as you used with the downward stroke, but don’t break the seal. The upward motion is just as important as the downward motion, so don’t skimp on either.
- Pour water into the toilet bowl to see if it worked. Repeat two to three more times until the clog is dislodged. If after the second or third attempt, you still have a clog, it may be time to upgrade to an accordion plunger.
Accordion plungers are plastic instead of rubber and they get their name from their accordion-like appearance. This collapsible design allows for more forceful water compression and can often help clear out more stubborn clogs.
Despite its odd look, you use the accordion plunger in the same way you use a standard toilet plunger.
If this doesn’t get rid of your clog, don’t despair. We still have a couple of other tricks up our sleeve.
4. Wet Vac? To Unclog a Toilet?!
It may sound a bit weird, but using a wet vac (not a regular vacuum!) might help you avoid calling in a plumber.
Fair warning: you are about to put your hands in the toilet bowl, so grab some rubber gloves.
- Vacuum out any excess water that is still in the toilet bowl.
- Put the vacuum hose in the drainage hole and secure a towel around it so the vacuum can create suction.
- Firmly hold the hose in place and turn on the vacuum.
With luck, the clog will get sucked right out of the pipe and into the vacuum. Now, go sanitize that wet vac.
5. Closet Snake
A closet snake, also called a toilet snake, is an auger specifically designed for toilets to prevent scratches to delicate porcelain.
If you think you have something solid like a rag stuck in your drain, then you may be able to use a closet snake to retrieve it. They are also great for larger blockages even accordion plungers have trouble breaking up.
Call a Plumber
Okay. You have tried waiting, hot water with dish soap, plungers, augers, and even a vacuum cleaner. And so far, nothing has worked. At this point, it is safe to say you are not working with a small blockage you can take care of yourself.
But not to worry. Stallion Plumbing has got your back with this very common plumbing problem. We are a full-service plumbing company dedicated to customer satisfaction and we will gladly take care of that clog for you.
If you have additional questions about how to unclog a toilet, please ask them in the comments below!