Eventually, every toilet will experience a clog whether it’s a minor, temporary problem caused by the use of toilet tissue or a major issue that results from years of debris settling inside of the pipes. Whether the problem is minor or severe, dealing with a clog is always unpleasant, as there’s simply no “good” time to have to deal with a commode that won’t flush.
If you find yourself in the midst of a clog situation, use the following tips to handle the problem:
1. Close the flapper. Remove the top from the toilet and look for the plastic flap that rises to allow water to travel from the tank to the bowl. Gently push the flapper down to stop water from entering the tank.
2. Switch off the water. Get down on the ground and look behind the toilet for a metal knob. Turn this to stop the flow of water to the tank.
3. Cover the floor before you take on the clog. Use plastic garbage bags or plastic tarps.
4. Inspect the problem. Kneel down and see if there are foreign objects in the bowl, such as a child’s toy or your dog’s ball. If you spot anything, use a toilet brush and tongs to try and pull it out.
5. Add hot water. Assuming that the water level inside the bowl is low enough, this can sometimes dissolve a blockage. Use water from the hot tap. Never put boiling water in a toilet, as this can cause cracks. Wait five minutes to see if the clog has dissolved.
6. Try dish soap. Three or four squirts of dish soap can sometimes succeed in dissolving clogs when hot water alone fails. After dispensing the soap, wait five more minutes and check the status of your clog.
7. Get the plunger. If the clog is not obliterated by the dish soap, it’s time to get out the plunger. The best plunger to use is the funnel-cup plunger, which has an additional flange on its end; however, any plunger will do in a pinch.
8. Create a seal. Place the plunger over the drain hole. The water in the bowl should be at least partway up the sides of the plunger before you begin to go to work.
9. Push and pull. Without breaking the seal, push the plunger down firmly, and then pull it up quickly. You should see the rubber tip contract and stretch as you move. Repeat this four to ten times.
10. Push down one last time. Then, pull quickly away to break the seal. If your toilet remains clogged, repeat steps 8, 9 and 10 one more time.
11. Call for plumber for help if your plunging efforts produce no results the second time.