Blocked drains and toilets are an unfortunate but very real part of life and should be dealt with as soon as they occur in order to prevent unpleasant water from backing up. When it comes to blocked toilets, most of us immediately reach for the phone to call emergency plumbing services, as the task of unblocking it can be really unpleasant. However, this can be expensive when it can be simple to fix yourself.
As you may be dealing with dangerous germs and generally unsavoury material, make sure to wear old clothes you don’t mind throwing away or that can be easily put straight in the wash. If you have long hair, tie it up and make sure you wear some rubber gloves.
You may also want to protect the area with newspaper or old towels, and have some cleaning products handy, which contain disinfectant, so you can clean any spillages or splashes after you’ve cleared the blockage.
The simplest and easiest method of unblocking clogged drains or toilets is by using a plunger to suck out the blockage. This is usually the first method plumbers will try, so doing this yourself will save you a lot of money. You can buy plungers in a range of sizes and shapes so ensure you’re using a toilet plunger and not a sink plunger; they’re not expensive at all.
All you do is lower the plunger into the toilet water and pump it against the pipe that waste is flushed down. This should bring up the material causing the blockage, often just excess toilet roll, which you can now flush away or discard in a plastic bag (ensure to secure this and double-bag it before disposing). If you hire a plumber, they will do the same thing.
Alternatively, you can make your own plunger using a mop covered in a plastic bin bag. Use the same pumping motion as with a regular toilet plunger.
Coat hangers can come in really handy when it comes to drain cleaning. They can make good substitutes for the tools professional plumbers will bring with them to deal with a blocked toilet. They can be manipulated into hooks in order to bring any plugs of toilet roll or push the blockage through until the pipe widens and allows the plug to wash away.
When using this method to unblock a toilet, unravel the wire coat hanger and use pliers to bend one of the ends so it’s a blunt curve. Tie an old rag around the end using an elastic band to prevent it from scratching your toilet bowl. Feed the coat hanger through the pipe, pushing until you feel the clog moving and the water starts draining. Flush the toilet to ensure it’s clear.
There are other methods, which use chemical cleaners that you allow to dissolve the blockage and specialist tools that most residential plumbing services will carry themselves. However, the trick is to either create a plunging motion to extract the blockage or a pushing device to push the clog to the other side. Hose pipes, for example, are another great tool you’re likely to have at home that can snake its way through the pipe and push away any material blocking it.
However, if the blockage is not clearing, the problem may be more serious and you’ll need to hire plumbing services. A clogged toilet is considered a plumbing emergency as it’s likely you’ll need to use it soon and it’s unsanitary to have waste water sitting around in your toilet bowl. Therefore, you should be able to get a plumber to your home in no time. Make sure the room is well-ventilated. It’s also important that you don’t continue to flush your toilet if the water level isn’t decreasing, as the water will only continue to rise and even overflow onto your floor.