Knowing how to unclog a toilet is an important skill. A clogged toilet can be an embarrassing and messy problem, especially if the clogged toilet is not in your own home. A clogged toilet can also cause unhygienic, dirty water to overflow onto a clean bathroom floor. The overflow water can create a serious health issue if it is not dealt with immediately. If you don’t know how to unclog a toilet yourself, you will have to enlist the help of a family member, roommate or landlord to stop the overflow and unclog the mess. If you can’t enlist the help of a friend, family member or roommate or landlord to unclog your toilet, you may have to resort to hiring an expensive professional plumber to remedy the situation. To spare yourself the time, expense and embarrassment, you can unclog the toilet yourself. With some simple supplies, a plunger, a few techniques and a little time, you can get your toilet back to flushing properly.
To unclog your toilet, you will need a few basic supplies that can be purchased at your local hardware and grocery store. You will need a funnel-cup plunger, a small bucket and dishwashing detergent. Keep in mind a funnel-cup plunger will create a tighter seal then your standard plunger. The tapered end of the funnel-cup will fit inside your toilet’s exit hole to create a tight seal. A tight seal is key to quickly eliminating any minor clog in your toilet. You may also want to have a mop and bleach on hand. If your clogged toilet is overflowing, you will want the mop and bleach accessible for easy clean up of any overflow from your clogged toilet. Overall, it should take you anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to unclog your toilet. If it is taking more then 30 minutes to unclog your toilet, then you may have a serious plumbing problem that will need to be fixed by a professional plumber.
It is usually a good idea to give the toilet a quick glance before use. A quick look at the toilet can save you from having to clean up a nasty overflow situation. If your toilet bowl seems to be filled with too much water, then it may be clogged. If your toilet bowl seems to have much lower water then usual, then it may be clogged. Do not flush your toilet if you suspect it is clogged. Flushing while it’s clogged will usually cause it to overflow. You can avoid a nasty mess by simply checking your toilet before you flush.
In most cases, you will know your toilet is clogged because you flushed and it has started overflowing all over your bathroom floor. Before you can attempt to unclog your toilet, you will need to stop the overflowing water. Lift the lid off your toilet tank located at the back of the toilet. Carefully place the lid to the side. Look inside the tank, and you will see a rubber flapper at the bottom. The rubber flapper releases the water from the tank into the bowl via a hole underneath the flapper. Reach inside the tank and push the flapper into the hole beneath. You have now closed the toilet flapper. The toilet will stop overflowing. Take the tank lid and place it back onto the top of your tank. You will want to immediately clean up any overflow on your bathroom floor. Use a mop and a strong disinfectant or bleach. Be sure to disinfect your mop with bleach when you are finished cleaning.
Fill your small bucket with one to two cups of hot water from your faucet. Be sure to give the water from you faucet a chance to warm-up by letting it run for about 30 seconds before you fill your bucket. Add two to three squirts of dishwashing detergent to the hot water. Pour the hot water and detergent into your clogged toilet bowl. Let the hot water and detergent sit in your toilet bowl for three to five minutes. The hot water and detergent will not unclog your toilet, but the hot water and detergent will assist in breaking up the clog in your pipes.
As you wait for the hot water and detergent mixture to work its magic, you will want to warm your plunger. Strangely enough, your plunger will work better if it is slightly warm. Warming the plunger softens the rubber surface and makes it pliable for a better seal. To warm up your plunger, you will need to run it under hot water for a minute. Do not attempt to warm your plunger in the oven or microwave. A microwave or oven will melt your plunger and it could start a fire.
While your plunger is still warm, take your plunger by its wooden handle and hold it with both of your hands. Insert the funnel-cup plunger into your toilet bowl. Position the rubber, funnel-cup plunger over the exit hole located at the bottom of your toilet. Make sure you have the exit hole centered under your funnel-cup plunger. To ensure you have your funnel-cup plunger positioned in the right spot, quickly push down and then pull up on your plunger handle. If the funnel-cup plunger sticks when you pull up, then you have it positioned in the right place. You are now ready to plunge your toilet. Pull up and down several times with your plunger and flush. If you have cleared your clog, then the water will flow down the exit hole. If your toilet is still clogged, the water will start to overflow again. If your water starts to overflow again, lift the lid off the back toilet tank, and quickly close the toilet flapper to stop the water from entering the bowl. Once you’ve stopped the overflow, try plunging and flushing again. You may need to repeat this process several times until the clog is cleared and you can cleanly flush.
Now that you know the correct procedure for dealing with a clogged toilet, you can fix the situation with confidence and as little mess as possible.