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Unblocking Your Toilet
You need to know how to unblock a toilet because a blocked one can be dangerous, smelly, and unhygienic. But how do you know when you need to unblock a toilet? You’ll know it’s blocked when it takes a longer time to drain after it’s flushed, or it rises to the brim and stays there.
Fortunately, you won't need to call a plumber to fix this since there are different techniques you can use to unblock your toilet. In this article, you’ll learn more about the different techniques and tools you can use to unblock a toilet. You’ll also learn the causes of a blocked toilet and ways to prevent it.
Why Do Toilets Get Blocked?
A toilet can get blocked for various reasons, but it's often due to an accident or constant use over time. Knowing the cause of a clogged toilet will make it easier for you to find solutions. In most cases, limescale buildup and toilet paper are the main things that lead to a blocked toilet. Regular cleaning or any drain cleaner product can fix this type of blockage.
Other items that can block a toilet include toys, cotton balls, wet wipes, construction waste, and other products. People don't always realise that some of these products cannot or do not flush easily, which is why it is advisable to check the packaging for how to dispose of these items properly.
Items Needed To Unblock A Toilet
Unblocking a toilet is really not rocket science, especially if you have the right items to use. Fortunately, you can get these items quickly because they are readily available. The things you'll need to get the job done include:
• Mask (especially if the smell is bad)
• Rubber gloves
You won't have to worry if you don't have all these items, mainly the plunger. You can get the job done without a plunger, but additionally, you’ll need the following:
• Wire coat hanger
• White vinegar
• Baking soda
• Hot water
Guide To Toilet Unblocking
Here is a comprehensive guide to help you unblock a toilet, almost like a professional would. The methods provided in this guide employ the use of natural products to make them environmentally friendly.
But before you get started, you need to know how to identify the type of toilet blockage. You can do this by observing what happens after flushing the toilet. In general, there are three types of toilet blocks:
• A block has started to form if the water drains slowly.
• There’s an issue with the circulation of air in the waste pipe if the bowl remains almost empty after you flush it.
• There is a complete blockage if the water rises without falling again.
The first type of blockage is easy to clear, and you don’t have to wait till it becomes blocked before you respond. You can avoid toilet blockages with regular cleaning. However, if it’s the third type of blockage you are dealing with, you’ll need to first transfer the water to a different bowl before you try to unblock it.
Using a Plunger
Plungers are usually the first items to use when there’s a blocked toilet because they’re easy to use and effective. You can use plungers to unblock different types of waste pipes. First, place the plunger over the outlet pipe to trap air and water. This will create a vacuum and provide the pressure you need to unblock the toilet.
With the plunger in place, gently push the plunger downwards and then pull it upwards. You can also gradually increase the push and pull force until you observe the water receding. Lastly, add water to the toilet bowl and repeat the process.
Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda is one of the most essential items for cleaning and maintaining bathrooms. It is effective for cleaning drains and removing stains. Baking soda can also unblock toilets, but you’ll need to add water and white vinegar for effective results.
Mixing white vinegar, water, and baking soda will initiate a chemical reaction that will create a powerful cleaning agent. The agent is powerful enough to clean pipes, remove soap residues, and descale pipes. Thus, it can serve as a universal bathroom cleaning agent.
Are you wondering how to mix the chemicals in the right proportion? First, add half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar to your toilet bowl. You can also add warm water to the mix to speed up the reaction. However, the reaction will take place on its own, even without adding water.
Next, cover the toilet with its lid and leave for 30 minutes for the reaction to complete. After 30 minutes, you’ll notice that the water level is back to normal, and with that, you can flush the toilet.
Using Caustic Soda
You can also use caustic soda to unblock a toilet. However, you’ll need to use coverings such as gloves and eye goggles to prevent your hands and eyes from coming in contact with it. You can get caustic soda from a local or online chemical supply store.
To use caustic soda to unblock your toilet, pour the chemical in the toilet and leave it for five minutes. Then, use a bucket of hot (not boiling) water to flush the toilet. This will unblock your toilet and also make it look sparkling clean.
Using Hot Water
Heated water can also help to unblock toilets, especially if it is not entirely blocked. However, for this method to be effective, you must make sure that the water level in the toilet bowl is low. The heat and pressure applied will dissolve products like grease or fats, both of which can cause blockage.
Warm water will also help to clear out tiny particles that can accumulate over time. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to ensure that the level of water is low. You can transfer excess water from the toilet bowl into a separate container. Liquid toilet wash also comes in handy with this method.
Once you have emptied the toilet bowl, you can proceed to add warm or hot water. This should be done quickly and carefully. Wait a few minutes and repeat the process if necessary. You can combine this method with the plunger method if you want faster results.
It is worth mentioning that boiling water is not recommended for unblocking a toilet because it can damage porcelain toilet bowls. Therefore, only warm or hot water should be used.
Using a Coat Hanger
A coat hanger is a perfect alternative for people who don't have any of the items mentioned above. However, it is vital to ensure that it is a hanger with a plastic coating. You can also use tape to wrap the hanger if it's not coated.
With this method, the first thing to do is to unwind the hanger, and what you’ll be left with should look like a piece of wire. Bend it to form a curved shape before pushing the wire down the waste pipe. Next, move the wire in different directions until you have forced out the clog.
When using a coat hanger, extra care should be taken to avoid scratching the toilet. You can repeat the process until you have entirely removed the blockage. Flush the toilet and ensure the water is at its average level.
Whichever method you choose to employ, it is crucial to clean the toilet when you're done. As soon as you can flush your toilet again, use mild products to clean the surrounding area. Also, ventilate your bathroom correctly after cleaning.
Preventing Your Toilet From Blocking
There are so many ways to prevent a toilet from blocking. These include regular cleaning, avoiding flushing items that can block the toilet drain, and knowing the right items to flush down the drain.
The importance of cleaning the toilet regularly cannot be overemphasised. You can use regular cleaning products or baking soda and vinegar. Consistent cleaning helps to prevent a buildup of dirt and particles like limescale and toilet paper.
You might want to check the things you flush down the drain. In most cases, toilets get blocked because of what’s thrown in them. Therefore, the best way to prevent a toilet from blocking is by paying attention to the things you discard in it.
Here are some of the things you should avoid flushing down the drain:
You might be tempted to discard spoilt or old soup down the drain. It may seem harmless since it’s in liquid form, right? However, doing this regularly can cause the toilet to block eventually.
Frequently disposing of coffee grounds in your toilet can also cause it to block. This is because, with time, coffee grounds can become compact and accumulate. Always dispose of coffee grounds in a compost bin and never in your toilet.
Too Much Tissue
It’s okay to dispose of tissues in your toilet but avoid dumping too many tissues in your toilet.
Both cotton pads and ear buds can block your toilet. Always use a bin to dispose of these items.
Most companies claim that their wipes are flushable, but the truth is that they aren’t. The best thing is to throw them in a bin.
Never dispose of a sanitary pad in your toilet. Never.
When To Call A Professional For Help
Is your toilet still blocked after trying some or all the methods above? Then you might just need to call a professional to help you. You might also need to call a professional if you keep having these issues over and over again.
This is because sometimes, toilet blockages can be more technical and beyond clearing the particles mentioned above. In this case, the best option is to contact a professional plumber to get the job done.