Two Ways to Unclog a Toilet
PlungingMost clogs are fairly simple and can be cleared out with a plunger. We highly recommend spending the extra couple dollars and getting the narrow ended plungers that can get down into the toilet drain rather than the wider (typical red colored) plungers that you have to fit over the top of the drain. The latter are messier, cause more splashing, and can even get inverted (inside out) if over worked.
Before plunging, you should spread out some newspaper around the base of the toilet, and even scoop out some of the water from the toilet bowl into a bucket to make adequate room for plunging. Once you've got everything prepared, insert the plunger securely into the drain at the bottom of the toilet bowl, and carefully exert short pumps until you can feel the suction building up.
You should be able to physically feel the clog loosening and you can increase the pressure that you exert until the drain clears. Often, if you've done an adequate job, it will begin to drain on its own without manually flushing the toilet handle.
WARNING: DO NOT try and flush the toilet until you are relatively certain the clog has cleared, or you will risk overflowing the toilet bowl onto the floor.
Be sure to clean the plunger adequately after use, rinse it with a hose or in a bucket, and sanitize it with some bleach before storing it.
Toilet Augers aka Plumber's Snake
A toilet auger or plumber's snake is another fairly inexpensive tool ($10-30) that can be very useful in unclogging toilets. They come in either 3-ft or 6-ft models and are designed to either retrieve or break through clogs in the drain of your toilet's plumbing.
Toilet augers are made up of a cable, a hand crank, a sleeve handle and an auger bit. The biggest benefit of this tool is that it is flexible, and you can direct it deep down into your toilet's plumbing where a plunger cannot reach.
Using a toilet auger is pretty simple, just tighten the set screw (this will secure whatever amount you need between the auger bit and the sleeve handle - usually about 6 inches) and insert the flexible cable into the drain at the bottom of your toilet bowl. The toilet auger has a crank handle on it, and you just turn the crank clockwise until you start to feel it hit the clog.
You should never force the crank handle, but rather gently turn it and agitate it with enough pressure so that you can feel it doing one of two things - 1. piercing through the clog OR 2. hooking onto the clog, so that you can retrieve it from the pipe (kids are notorious for flushing toys and washcloths down the toilet, and these can often be retrieved with a toilet auger).
Note: Forcing the crank and exerting too much pressure on the toilet auger can result in cracking the porcelain and permanently damaging to your toilet. If you are ever in doubt, we recommend going the safe route and calling a drain cleaning professional.
Contact us if you have questions or if you want us to come down and take a look!