5 Ways to Unclog a Toilet – And Only One Requires a Plunger!
Uh, oh. It’s happened to all of us, but it’s always embarrassing nonetheless. Learn the tricks of how to unclog a toilet and you’ll learn how to do this with minimal mess. You may even get away with it without anyone knowing the clog happened in the first place, which is the goal, right?
1. Create a Volcano in Your Toilet
Remember that model of a volcano you made back in third grade? You combined baking soda and white vinegar, and a foaming substance bubbled out of the top of your fake volcano. Baking soda and vinegar is a marvelous cleaning agent, and when dumped into a clogged toilet, often will break up the clog without you having to do a thing.
This is what you want to do: combine two cups hot water with two cups white vinegar. Pour one cup of baking soda into the clogged toilet, and then chase it with the hot water/vinegar mixture. Leave the volcano mix to do its job, checking in about 30 minutes. In most cases the clog will have come apart, and a simple flush with send it all down the drain. Plus your toilet bowl will be cleaner!
2. Use the Degreasing Power of Dish Detergent to Break Up the Clog
If you hate the smell of vinegar or don’t have enough room in the toilet bowl to do the volcano trick, try this inexpensive and very effective plumbing trick. Pour a half cup of dish detergent (degreasing dish detergent like Dawn works best) into the clogged toilet. Follow this with three to four cups of boiling water. The boiling water and degreasers will break up the clog, sending it right through.
Hint: This is a great way to discreetly unclog a toilet if you ever get stuck with a clogged toilet when you are on a date or at a friend’s house. Look around the bathroom for liquid soap – shampoo or hand soap will do the job almost as well as dish detergent – and dump a liberal amount of liquid soap or shampoo into the toilet bowl. Then follow with hot water from the tap. With any luck, you’ll be able to flush away before anyone suspects anything is awry. Plus the soap helps a little to disguise the smell, which is a plus.
3. Use a Little Petroleum Jelly on the Plunger
Keep a plunger in your home — a durable rubber plunger with a flange works the best. What many people don’t realize is the seal is the key to a plunger working. Just put a little petroleum jelly (Vaseline works well) around the rim of the plunger, press the plunger around the drain so the seal is tight, and add water if the top of the plunger is not submerged (otherwise you won’t get an effective plunge). Plunge until you break up the clog. Add hot water as needed to keep the plunger submerged.
As s side note, for the sake of comfort to guests who use your bathroom, always keep a plunger in every guest bathroom. There are plungers that come with modest and sanitary holders, intended for this very reason. Visitors to your home will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
4. Head to the Hardware Store for a Snake
If the volcano, dish soap, and plunger have all failed, you’ll want to bring out the big guns: the snake. Talk to someone at the hardware store to ensure you don’t get an industrial grade snake that can do serious damage to your pipes; you want something pretty tame because the cost of plumbing repairs is not low when it comes to damaged pipes.
Feed the flexible end of the snake into the problem area and then twist the snake handle to break up the clog. Don’t force anything; if you hit a blockage that seems immovable, be cautious and try backing out the snake and trying to feed it in again. Be careful not to further impact the problem area, making the clog worse.
5. Call a Professional Plumber
If you still haven’t been able to dislodge the clog, you need to call in the pros. You don’t want to risk damaging your pipes, and the cost of unclogging a toilet is low when compared to the cost of dealing with damaged pipes or toilet.
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