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How to Unclog a Toilet
How to Unclog a Toilet

At some point in your life, you will be faced with the uncomfortable situation of a clogged toilet. Whether you jammed it or someone else plugged it or what it is clogged with isn't important. All that matters is that the toilet is not doing its job. And it will need to be unclogged as quickly as possible so that it can go back to what it was designed to do in the first place. Panic and constant flushing will only make matters worse. It can lead to flooding and allowing whatever is safely in the toilet onto the floor. So the steps listed out below should help to keep that from happening.

01

Keep the Toilet from Filling Up

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The first thing to do is shut off the water that runs into the toilet. This helps ensure that there is no chance of more water flowing into the bowl and causing a flooding nightmare to occur. This is very simple to do, though you might need a certain degree of strength and flexibility to do it. You will have to get down behind the toilet and turn the knob on the water line running into the back of the toilet. Remember righty-tighty, lefty-loosey. So turn the knob to the right until you can't turn it anymore and the water will be off. Make sure to leave one full tank of water behind the toilet as well.

2. Buy the Proper Plunger

There are many plungers out there but not many that will deal with tough clogs. So when you go to the hardware store buy a plunger that has a funnel cup. Or an extra bit of rubber on all sides that reaches down into the toilet clog to suck it up and out. Other plungers that look like the classic ones from cartoons and movies won't be nearly as effective.

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02

Plunge Properly

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While this may seem like an intuitive skill, plunging a clog is often about technique. First, unless you've been doing a lot of plunging, you will want to soften up the rubber a bit, so it is as effective as possible when you use it. Run it under some warm water. Next, make sure you plunge properly. Stick the plunger in the bowl and make sure you make a seal around the clog. Push down and pull back with force once this has been established, with equal amounts of force, working the clog loose.

4. Test Your Handy Work

Now see if you unclogged the toilet. You will usually know if there is standing water in the toilet, and it has gone down. Sometimes it's not clear, as most clogs will drain slowly on their own. The only way to really know for sure is to flush the toilet once. With the residual water left in the toilet tank, flush it, to see if it goes down, or if the weight of the water goes down. If it doesn't and fills the bowl up further, you have more work to do.

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5. Use Household Solutions to Dissolve the Clog

One reason the plunger may not have worked is that the clog is significant and needs to be broken down further. The way to expedite this is to use various solutions. One simple one is hot water and dishwasher detergent. This can work without even using a plunger at times.  But it's also handy when working in concert with a plunger. Pour this solution in assuming it won't overflow the bowl and let it sit for a few minutes while it does what it's supposed to do. Then plunge the toilet and test it again, filling the tank back up with water if you have to.

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6. Use Store Bought Clog Solution

If home remedies don't work, always go industrial strength. A trip to the hardware store or pharmacy might be necessary to find a solution that is safe on toilets and deals with clogs. Make one hundred percent sure whatever you are pouring down the drain is OK to pour into your toilet. Some solutions will literally eat into the porcelain or the pipes and cause much bigger future problems than just a clog. But see if this does the trick and plunge after a certain amount of time.

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7. Use an Auger

If the drain still won't clear, it's time to get a little medieval, and by medieval we mean using a tool that looks like a medieval torture device, also known as an Auger. This is a cable that has hooks on the end of it which you poke down the opening in the toilet into the clog, hoping to punch a hole in it or jar it loose.

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8. Remove the Toilet Bowl

This may be out of many people's skill set, but it is the next logical step when the clog can't be removed by all the means above. It will require tools to unscrew the toilet from the bottom and something to cut the seal around the toilet and the floor. But it may be the only logical next step in the whole process. Make sure you have someone help you do this though as it's only a one person job for someone with real experience.

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9. Call a Plumber

At some point, you need to bite the bullet, expect to pay some real money and call a plumber to deal with the clog. Get some references and look at reviews for the plumber online to make sure they know what they are doing and don't rip people off and then set an appointment. They will undoubtedly get it take care of in a few hours.

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10. Keep it From Happening in the First Place

Put up signs to keep people from flushing things that shouldn't go down the toilet. Leave small trashcans for feminine hygiene products in the bathroom. Educate kids not to flush anything other than waste or toilet paper down the toilet. This will reduce the chance of toilet clogs in the first place.

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