A clogged toilet is arguably one of the most annoying things that can happen to you. Not only are you left with no access to the most important facility in your home, but you now have a mess on your hands that needs to be fixed.
Following the standard thought process, your first move will most likely be to grab that plunger you’ve got next to the toilet and go to work on that drain. But, what happens if the plunger isn’t working? Let’s find out.
Not all clogs are the same. Waste drain pipes, even in modern homes, aren’t all that beefy as you might think. The standard tubing is only 3” or 4” in diameter. Needless to say, it doesn’t take much to create a blockage somewhere within the system.
On the other hand, a plunger isn’t some almighty tool either. The vacuum it creates has a limited effect on clogs within the pipes. It will work most of the time, but there are instances where you’ve got a problem on your hands that requires a different kind of tool.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can try before you go nuclear and call for help. Professional plumbers over at Lakewood CA Plumbers recommend a whole range of solutions we’re about to discuss. If none of these tips help, you can always get outside help.
Once you’ve tried the plunger and it didn’t work, you’ve got a few options on the table. You can try and dislodge the clog using various lubricants, or you can go kinetic and try to mechanically remove the clog.
To lubricate the clog, you can use dish soap. Start by adding a good amount straight to the toilet. You’ll notice that the dish soap is much thicker and heavier than water, allowing it to sink. Let it sit for a moment. This might be enough to get the clog moving if it’s right behind the U bend, before the siphon.
Another way of lubricating the clog is to add hot water to the mix. The reasoning behind this move is simple – adding hot water is meant to melt the clog and help it along. But wait, what if you’re at someone else’s place? How are you supposed to get dish soap, let alone boiling water?
If you’ve had the unfortunate luck of getting the toilet clogged at someone else’s house, don’t panic. You can use liquid soap or even shampoo to lubricate the clog instead of dish soap. As far as the hot water goes, it doesn’t have to be boiling. Getting a bucket of hot tap water will do the trick just fine most of the time.
If you’ve had zero luck lubricating the clog, it’s time to go kinetic. A drain snake is usually the tool most people turn to. It’s simple to use and is capable of navigating the intricate pipework of your toilet all the way down into the waste drain system.
The only issue with drain snakes is the fact that not everyone has them in their home. There is a solution, though. You can always use the old wire hanger trick. Get a wire coat hanger and unravel it until you’re left with a straight piece of wire.
Create a big dipper shape on one end of the wire, which you’ll use to crank the hanger. If you remember those vintage hand drills and how they work, the principle is the same. Run one end of the hanger down the toilet until you hit the clog. Once you’ve found it, start cranking the wire.
If none of this works, the last resort before calling for help is to use dedicated chemicals. There’s a bunch of clog removers out there, some based on acids. It’s important to be extremely careful with these, as they are sometimes toxic to humans.
The absolute last resort, or a first one if you’re not into getting your hands dirty, is to call a plumber. Seeking professional help is guaranteed to get you out of a bind. More importantly, a professional working on your toilet minimizes the risk of any damage to the plumbing or the toilet itself.
Depending on the type of clog you’re dealing with, you might get off cheap. If you do decide to try and fix the issue yourself, just make sure not to make it worse than it already is.