When your toilet is clogged, it can feel like everything is stopping in your house. You know that if this goes on, everyone will start complaining and you will be the one everyone is blaming. Even worse, a backed toilet can lead to mold growth and even plumbing problems. But fortunately, there are ways to unclog a toilet without hiring a plumber or calling an expensive service. Here are some tips for doing that:
Remove the toilet’s plug
The first thing you want to do when cleaning a toilet is to unplug the water. If the water is off while you’re cleaning the toilet, you can use less water, which is less likely to cause damage to the pipes. You can unplug the toilet by untying the hose or removing the connector from the wall.
Once you’ve unplugged the toilet, you can use a toilet auger to remove the plug. A toilet auger is a specialized tool that puts a hole in the center of the plug so that you can remove it without damaging the drain.
Use a plunger
If you don’t have a toilet auger and you can’t remove the plug or it’s rusted in place, you can try using a toilet plunger. A toilet plunger is a metal tube with a cup and plunger at the end. You can use the cup to pour water into the toilet and then push down on the cup to force the water to go down the drain. If the drain is very clogged, this may work; if not, it’s just a waste of water.
Add baking soda
If you’ve tried the plunger and it didn’t do the job, you can try pouring some baking soda down the toilet’s drain. Baking soda is a great natural unclogger that’s safe for pipes. You can also use cornstarch, but baking soda is cheaper and easier to find. Simply add a couple of cups of baking soda to a bowl and then pour the baking soda down the toilet’s drain.
Baking soda is great for removing built-up organic matter like food, hair, paper, and other gunk in pipes. Unlike other products that only break down solids, baking soda reacts with water to create carbon dioxide bubbles that help push away the built-up gunk. It’s a good idea to do this from both ends of the pipe to make sure it’s working.
For stubborn clogs, try Drano
a powerful chemical drain opener. Drano is a high-strength drain cleanser that can make a huge mess if you don’t clean it up right away. You’ll want to wear gloves and rubber boots to avoid getting the chemical on your skin.
Once you’ve got the Drano cleaned up, you can add a little bit of baking soda to neutralize the acid. Baking soda neutralizes acid so that it doesn’t corrode pipes or cause damage or clogs. Simply mix up a bucket of baking soda with a little water and pour down the toilet’s drain as you did for the baking soda.
Don’t flush anything but toilet paper and hair
After you’ve unplugged the toilet, flushed the water, and rinsed the bowl, you should keep flushing toilet paper and hair and nothing else. The idea is to clear the pipe of solids so that it doesn’t clog up again.
If you keep flushing everything but toilet paper and hair, you’re less likely to break any pipes. If you happen to flush all sorts of other things down the toilet, you may be dealing with a more serious issue. It’s a good idea to check your water pressure and make sure you’re not running a full bathtub or dishwasher.
Call a professional plumber
If none of these unclogging methods work, you may have to call a professional plumber. A backed-up toilet can lead to mold growth and even plumbing issues. The good news is that most backed-up toilets can be repaired.
You can either call a plumber and let them know you don’t need a service (a few people will want to charge you for “clog removal,” but you don’t have to pay them). Or, you can do it yourself. There are tons of videos online that can walk you through the process. However, before you do this, be sure to unplug the water and empty the bowl. You don’t want to accidentally flush something down the pipe.