How to Unblock a Badly Blocked Toilet

How to guides

When you flush a toilet, water from the cistern falls into the bowl with enough force to carry waste away from your toilet and into the waste pipe. A blocked toilet may mean that the flushed water drains slowly or is not able to escape at all, filling up your toilet bowl. Needless to say, if this happens to you, don’t keep flushing! 

As most things that cause a blockage are water-soluble, a toilet may unblock by itself if you just give water a bit of time to work its magic. But, of course, waiting does not always work, and there may be situations in which you need a solution, fast.

Ways to unblock a toilet

There are several ways to approach a blocked toilet. You could try dissolving the blockage, forcing it down the drain, or extracting it from the pipes.

1. Hot water and washing-up liquid

  1. If your toilet bowl is full of water and not draining, you’ll first need to remove as much of that water as possible into a bucket or another container.

  2. Pour half a cup of dishwasher liquid or soap into the toilet, this will help to break down fatty substances, as well as acting as a lubricant for the waste pipe. Leave the soap to act for a few minutes

  3. Next, fill a bucket or large pot with hot water and quickly pour it into the toilet from a height. This will create pressure, which should help dislodge the blockage. 

You may want to repeat this process a couple of times. If the water level goes back to normal, the problem might be solved. Try flushing to check that the blockage is gone and everything is working properly.

2. Baking soda and vinegar

Another way to break down the blockage in your toilet is to create a reaction with baking soda and vinegar.

  1. As before, remove excess water from your toilet bowl.

  2. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the bowl.

  3. Follow with half a cup of vinegar mixed with warm water. 

  4. At this point, the mixture will begin to foam, close your toilet lid and let it dissolve the blockage for around 30 minutes. Come back to check whether the problem is solved by flushing your toilet.

This method will also help deodorise your toilet and break down any built-up limescale from your pipes.

3. Using a Plunger 

A plunger is often the go-to tool when a blockage happens. If you happen to have one at hand, here is how to use it.

  1. Fit the plunger over the draining hole to create a vacuum. The plunger should be completely submerged, add some more water to your bowl if this is not the case. 

  2. Gently push the plunger down then up at first, increasing the force gradually. Do this for a few seconds without breaking the seal.

  3. Repeat this process, adding a bit more force if necessary.

  4. Flush your toilet to check whether the problem has been solved.

You can run your plunger under hot water before using it, to soften up the material and help create a stronger vacuum.

4. Using an Auger

An auger or drain snake is a flexible tool with a corkscrew tip that can perforate the blockage to break it down or pull it out of the pipes. This method for unblocking a toilet is particularly useful in the case of solid objects falling and getting logged into the waste pipe. To use a manual toilet auger:

  1. Push the tip of the auger down the toilet until you can feel the clog. 

  2. Use one hand to hold the auger in place and gently rotate the handle with your other hand while pushing downwards. 

  3. Once the auger has pierced through the clog you can rotate the handle back and pull the auger out of the toilet. 

  4. Check that the blockage is gone by flushing.

How do I avoid toilet blockages?

You should deal with toilet blockages as soon as they start forming. When your toilet drains slower than usual, it is a sign that something needs to be fixed, and it’s best not to wait until the blockage becomes total. 

Keep the lid closed to avoid accidents

Make sure that small items, like toys and beauty products, do not end up in your pipes. Where possible, keep your toilet lid closed when it is not in use.

Toilet paper only

Do not flush rubbish, wet wipes, cotton wipes, earbuds, sanitary products, or any items other than toilet paper down your toilet, they can cause blockages and problems down the line. 

Contact us

If your problem is ongoing, or you are unable to solve the blockage yourself, it may be time to call in a professional. Home Assist can provide you with qualified plumbers, on hand for toilet repairs and plumbing issues. Contact us today for more information, or to arrange an appointment with one of our plumbers.

Scott Flannigan

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