How To Unclog a Backed Up Toilet
- Unflushed toilet paper and waste.
- Abnormally high water levels (which only rise upon flushing; be careful not to get splashed).
- A bowl that won't drain or flood when flushed.
- A bowl with little water in it.
- Water from the toilet backing up into the tub (This one almost always indicates a sewer-line clog rather than a toilet-specific issue; more on it later).
- Dish soap: According to The Family Handyman, if you've got a bowl that won't drain or is nearly empty, you should add a half-cup of some common dish soap. This may provide enough lubrication to loosen whatever's stuck in the pipes.
- Hot water: If the soap alone won't work, slowly pour hot water into the toilet. HuffPost Life recommends the water be very hot but not boiling.
- Vinegar: For this all-natural alternative to soap-and-water unclogging, add 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- The fake drain snake: Unravel a wire hanger until it's straight to create an impromptu snake, guide it into the pipe and poke gently at the clog until it dislodges. (FYI...this may scratch your toilet bowl.)
- The auger: If you know going in that a foreign object is causing the problem (like my 2 year old’s LEGO that he dropped into toilet drain), an auger is the perfect solution. While more expensive than a plunger (about $30 for a good one), it's definitely cheaper than a plumber!
- Shut off the toilet's stop valve so no more water enters the bowl. According to Popular Mechanics, this is usually located to the left of the toilet as you face it.
- Use a DIY snake like the one mentioned above to make space for water to flow around the clog.
- Place the toilet plunger's cup over the drain and rotate it to begin the plunging process.
- Pump the plunger handle straight down to create suction that will drag the mess down the drain and refill the toilet as normal.
And if you’re smart, and you’re prepared for plumbing issues by having in place a home repair or home warranty plan from TotalHome Warranty by HomeServe, you’ll be able to get help with the costs of covered home system and appliance repairs.