If you’ve been asking search engines for the best way to unblock a toilet, the chances are you’ve pretty much exhausted your own knowledge of the issue.
But before you call out an emergency plumber — and pay a hefty call-out charge — there are a few things you can try yourself. They won’t cost you a small fortune, and some of the things you need to try them may already be in your home.
Here’s our quick guide to unblocking a household toilet quickly.
Grab what you need
Before you get stuck in (not literally, of course), you’ll need to gather a few essential supplies.
- A large plunger
- An unblocking agent (more about that later)
- Paper towels
- Rubber gloves
- Cleaning supplies
We’ve all done it. When a toilet becomes blocked, we flush it over and over again in a bid to get things moving again. If things don’t go to plan after the first flush, investigate. What’s causing the blockage? Is it a toy or some form of foreign object? Is it paper? If you continue flushing, there’s a chance that the water will eventually rise to the top of the bowl — and spill over the edge.
There’s also a chance that the blockage is actually in the waste pipe, and not the toilet. Try using a wire coat hanger to clear the pipe — the contents of the toilet will instantly start moving if you’re able to remove the blockage.
Use your toilet plunger in the age-old way. However, it’s worth checking that it’s shaped to fit your toilet. The rubber end should cover the opening fully, otherwise the vacuum you need to create will prove impossible.
Push the plunger down, then quickly pull it up — and repeat. If there isn’t much flexibility in the rubber suction cup, run it under hot water to soften it up.
Friction is one of the reasons for blockages. The contents of a blocked toilet are held in place by it. Unless it’s removed, the blockage may never clear without professional help. To reduce friction, pour some dishwashing detergent down the bowl. Wait 10 minutes, and if the water level is normal, flush. With any luck, the contents of the toilet will slip away without any further intervention.
Introduce an unblocking agent
When everything else has failed, it’s time to call in the big guns. Yes, you can try a commercial blockage remover, but there are a few natural alternatives. For example, you could start by pouring some white vinegar down the toilet. Add a few cups of baking soda, and watch as it starts to fizz violently. In many cases, this fizzing will be enough to shift the blockage.
Another method involves the use of a “toilet bomb”. Mix three cups of baking soda with a cup of epsom salt, and create a paste by adding dishwashing liquid. Place the paste in a muffin tray, and allow it to set for three to four hours. Place a couple of bombs in the toilet bowl, and let them work their magic for a few minutes.
Preventing future blockages
There are a few things you can do in order to prevent future toilet blockages. For example, you can switch to a softer toilet roll. If the problem lies with the waste pipe at the back of the toilet, you could try replacing it with something bigger or better designed. And ban people from putting anything other than waste and paper in the toilet. In many cases, the faster you act, the easier unblocking is — so always have the tools for the job close by.
If you’ve tried everything, it’s probably time for professional help. However, in the vast majority of cases, these simple steps should be enough to unblock your household toilet.