Clogged toilets are as inevitable as death and taxes – and no more welcome in your home. But virtually all of us have to deal with this particular fact of life from time to time. In some instances, it’s possible to deal with the problem yourself without calling in a professional. All that’s required – when it’s successful – is a bit of know-how and a few basic household supplies.
If you made the mistake of not having a plunger handy in your home, a clogged toilet is a definite reminder that it might be time to get one. When you have an overflowing toilet, having a plunger ready to use can keep your bathroom floor from getting flooded. If you’re buying one now, make sure you pick a reliable rubber plunger that comes with a flange – these are much more effective for clearing out clogs.
Before using a plunger spread a bit of petroleum jelly on the rim. Then ensure that it is tight against the bottom of the toilet bowl and that the top of your plunger is fully submerged. If not, add a bit more water. Now start plunging as vigorously as you can – without splashing yourself. With any luck at all, you will soon be flushing away.
Make a Volcano
Yes, the same materials that go into making your kid’s model volcano for the science show can be used to clean out toilet clogs. This approach is gentle on your plumbing and much cheaper than chemical clog removers. And the ingredients you need are probably sitting on your kitchen shelves right now.
After bringing a large pot full of water to a boil, let it cool for a few minutes. Pour a single cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, along with 2 full cups of vinegar. Next, pour in the water, being careful not to make the toilet overflow. Let this mixture do its magic for a few hours. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to move on to the alternatives.
Clean it out with Soap
One alternative to the volcano approach uses a bit of liquid dish soap to get things flowing. Once again, you need to heat up water and let it cool for a while. In the meantime, squirt at least half a cup of liquid dish soap into the toilet, allowing it to settle to the bottom.
Now pour in the hot water from at least a foot higher than the bowl – this adds a bit of force to things and might push the clog through the soaped up pipe. If it does, you’ll be back in business. If not, it’s time for the snake.
Using the Snake
If you happen to have access to your own plumbing snake, you have precisely what you need to get rid of even the most stubborn of clogs. Keep in mind, plumbing snakes can be rented from tool rental shops.
Start feeding the flexible end of your snake down into the toilet until it encounters the clog. Then begin twisting the snake handle to dislodge the obstruction or break it up. Once you’re done, make sure you remove the snake very slowly so as to avoid splashing filthy water all over your bathroom floor.
Call for Help
If none of the above has worked for you – or you don’t want to handle such an admittedly unpleasant job yourself – the only option left is the call in a licensed and experienced plumber to do it for you. It’s going to cost some money, but it may well be worth it to get the job done quickly and right.