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Clogged Toilets

How do I unclog a toilet?

When it comes to toilets, it’s important to remember the 3 Ps: pee, poop, and paper. That means, no matter how convenient or harmless it seems to throw something else into your toilet, don’t do it. Baby wipes, Q-tips, sanitary pads and the like are a recipe for disaster and will eventually wreak havoc on your home’s pipes, costing you untold misery and money to fix.

If the bowl is filling with water and threatens to spill out onto the floor, take the lid off the tank and push the rubber flapper down so it covers the hole leading to the bowl. This will stop both the tank and bowl from filling further. Then follow these steps:

  1. You can often unclog a toilet simply by pouring a gallon of hot water into the bowl from waist height to simulate a regular flush. If the clog is relatively minor, it should respond to the force of the flush. If that doesn’t work, try another gallon of hot water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid added to it. Pour it into the bowl, let it sit for about 20 minutes, plunge, and flush.
  2. If that doesn’t work, next try a plunger. You should keep a plunger on hand just in case a clog appears. The best plungers have a funnel cup at the bottom that helps create a tight seal between the plunger and the toilet’s exit hole. Starting gently so you don’t slosh water from the toilet bowl onto yourself or your bathroom floor, place the plunger over the exit hole and give it a few quick pushes and pulls. Try flushing the toilet to see if the clog cleared. Repeat as necessary.
  3. If repeated plunging doesn’t solve the problem, try twisting an auger into the toilet’s exit hole. It should either push the clog through or “hook” onto it so you can pull it out.

Still having trouble getting your toilet to flush? Check out this article: How to Fix a Toilet that Won't Flush.

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