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Plumbing Emergency: 4 Ways to Unclog a Toilet That Won’t Drain

Is there anything more horrifying than flushing your toilet but instead of seeing the contents go down, the bowl just continues to fill? We often don't think about anything going wrong with our toilets until the tragic moment it happens.

A clogged toilet can be more than a small inconvenience. It can result in a plumbing emergency. Sometimes clearing the blockage can require using a plunger but there are times when that technique won't cut it.

Some clogs in your toilet might be hard to remove or farther down your pipes. This guide will go over four different techniques you can attempt to clear a clogged toilet. We'll also discuss when you need to call in reinforcements for professional drain cleaning.

Why Won't My Toilet Flush?

There are a variety of reasons why your toilet won't drain. You may have one of the first generations of low-flow toilets. The early models of this type of toilet didn't always have the correct pressure to clear the toilet's internal drain and trap, resulting in clogs.

Another reason is that someone in your household attempted to flush an item that's not meant to be flushed. Toilets are designed to get rid of certain materials, like toilet paper. Some items that shouldn't be flushed include:

  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Cotton balls
  • Wet wipes
  • Q-tips
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Dental floss

If any of these items were put in the toilet, it could restrict the unit's drainage and result in continual backups.

Your toilet trap or plumbing vents could also be blocked. Minor clogs can be resolved with a toilet plunger (we'll discuss that more later) but serious blockages require extra help.

One final reason your toilet won't flush could be because of main sewer line issues. If your toilets and drains are getting clogged regularly, it could point to a major issue that requires professional help.

How to Unclog a Toilet

Most people try to unclog their toilets themselves before calling in a plumber. Below are our top four ways to unclog toilets yourself.

1. Plunger Method

This is one of the most basic and best ways to clear a clogged toilet. We recommend keeping a plunger in your bathroom so you have it close by.

When using a plunger, put it in the toilet bowl and gently push it down. The first push gets rid of all the air. Don't push too hard or you may splash the contents from the toilet bowl on yourself.

Once you've created a seal between the plunger and the toilet bowl, pump it up and down while keeping the seal intact. Pull the plunger up quickly in order to break the air seal. Hopefully, you'll then see the water rushing down the toilet drain.

Repeat the above steps until your toilet clog loosens.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you don't have a plunger, you can use a few household items to create a non-toxic cleaning solution. Vinegar and baking soda are great ingredients to clean a variety of surfaces in your household. They also help keep drains running smoothly.

For this method, pour one cup of baking soda into your toilet bowl and wait for a few minutes. Then, slowly pour two cups of vinegar.

The baking soda and vinegar will react to create bubbles. Make sure you pour slowly and carefully so the toilet water doesn't splash out or overflow. Let the solution work for a few minutes.

After that, flush your toilet to see if the clog has passed. You might have to repeat the above process again if it doesn't.

3. Soap and Hot Water

Here's another option if you don't have a plunger. All you need is a plastic cup, hot water, and soap. You may also want to throw on a pair of rubber gloves.

The first step is to manually remove some of the toilet bowl water since you want to ensure there's enough space for adding in a gallon of hot water. Use a small container or cup to remove the water.

Then, you'll want to lubricate your toilet bowl by adding shampoo, dish soap, or small pieces of bar soap. Slowly pour in a gallon of hot water. It needs to be very hot but not to the point where it's boiling since hot water can crack your toilet bowl.

Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes. Try flushing your toilet to see if the method was effective. If the toilet begins to overflow, turn off the water valve and try again.

4. Coat Hanger

Another method to unclog your toilet is by using a coat hanger. Put on a pair of rubber gloves and unravel one wire coat hanger.

Wrap a cloth around the straightened end of the coat hanger. Use duct tape to ensure it stays firmly in place. You don't want it to scratch your toilet.

Gently push the coat hanger down into the drain and pipe to help shift any debris that may be clogging it. You can push and twist the coat hanger in a circular motion.

Flush your toilet to see if this method was effective. If you can't feel anything hitting the coat hanger or if it's still clogged, the problem may be beyond your reach.

Know When to Call for Backup

If your toilet still won't drain after making several attempts, it's time to call in a professional plumbing company. Having a toilet that won't flush can result in a variety of problems, in addition to you and your household not being able to use it.

Anta Plumbing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact our office today to solve your plumbing problems.

Contact Anta Plumbing if You Have a Plumbing Emergency

Sometimes even the easiest of methods can't unclog a toilet. Don't let the problem grow into something much worse. Reach out to professionals immediately to remedy the issue.

Contact Anta Plumbing 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your plumbing emergency needs.

Written by Tanya Klien

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