Imagine this horrific scenario: you flush the toilet after a satisfying session, only to see that the water doesn’t go down. In fact, it bubbles up, with your waste coming up as well. The situation is made so much worse if you are at someone else’s place, or are expecting guests yourself. You need a solution that is effective, quick and creates as little mess as possible. Ideally, it’s also best if you can do this discreetly without others knowing what damage you have wreaked in the bathroom.
First thing’s first, stop the toilet from overflowing. You can do this by taking the lid off the tank and closing the toilet flapper. This prevents the mess from getting worse and allows you to focus on getting to the bottom of the problem.
Next, arm yourself with your plunger. Make sure to have the right plunger for the job. Funnel-cup plungers (the ones with a flange extending from the rubber cup) are best for the task. It’s important that you warm up the plunger under hot water before using it, as stiff plungers won’t work as well.
Stick the plunger in the bowl, using it form a seal. Make the first plunge a gentle one, to prevent splashing water all over yourself. After the first plunge, focus just as much on your downward push as on the pullback. After doing this a few times, flush the toilet and see if the water clears from the toilet. If so, success! If not, close the flapper again and repeat to dislodge the blockage.
However, some harder blockages will require an auger. This cable-like device is slipped into the toilet to either loosen the clog and push it through, or grab hold of it and bring it up to dispose of in another way.
Once you’ve snaked the cable into the hole, turn the crank at the end until it stops – this means it’s hit the clog. If it feels like the auger has pushed the clog, simply flush and the job is done. If, however, it feels like you’ve hooked the clog, simply pull it out and get rid of the waste. Then, simply plunge and flush the toilet a little more to ensure the blockage is completely cleared.
To make this whole process easier, add hot water and detergent to the bowl before plunging. You may be tempted to launch a full-throttle attack on the blockage with your harshest cleaning chemicals. However, this can make it dangerous for you when you’re plunging, as the harsh chemicals can easily be harmful if the water overflows again. This makes hot water and detergent a safer option, as this will break down the waste while not being harsh enough to cause any damage. If you find yourself in this predicament at a friend’s house, this solution can even bypass the need for a plunger and with that, your embarrassment at having to ask your friend for a plunger.
However, if the blockage remains fixed despite your most valiant efforts, it’s time to call a blocked drain plumber. If you see water backing up in the sink or shower when you flush your toilet, it’s a clear sign that there’s a more deep-rooted problem to resolve. This is not something that you can put off either, as a blockage can easily cause a sanitary issue or affect your water supply elsewhere in the home.
Finally, it’s always best to avoid clogging your toilet in the first place. This means avoiding putting anything in the toilet that shouldn’t go there, from your children’s toys and nappies to tampons and cotton buds. Remember that even excessive use of toilet paper can create some blocked drains, so only use what you need.
It’s also important to keep the jets around your toilet bowl’s edge clean, as this means they can operate at full power and clean out any junk. A general clean of your toilet every week should help to keep the jets in tip-top condition.
A blocked toilet is not only a disgusting problem but can also be mortifying if it happens at the wrong place and time. The above tips will help you hack the problem discreetly, but remember that if your blockage is a particularly shocking one, you’ll have to turn to a qualified plumber to prevent the issue of blocked drains from affecting your entire home’s water supply.