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How to unclog a toilet

How to unclog your toilet

While we’ve been in the plumbing business for more than 40 years and love helping our customers one-on-one, we know that there are simple things our customers don’t always need us for. Plunging a toilet to remove a clog is one of them. We’ve created a quick cheat sheet to help you get out of that jam and go about your day.

Step 1: Remove excess water from the toilet bowl

Before using all of your strength with the plunger in an act of panic, you will want to first remove the toilet lid and lift the flapper valve slightly to let some of the excess water out. After this, close the flapper to prevent more water from entering the bowl. Keep in mind that the water in the tank is not dirty, so it is perfectly safe to reach your hand in for the flapper. 

Step 2: Prepare the bathroom

It is not a shock to anyone that these types of situations can become messy. In case of overflow or splashing, place newspapers, paper towels, or even old t-shirts around the toilet to help soak up any spillage. If you would like to take even more sanitary precautions, putting on a pair of gloves is a great way to feel clean when you are doing a dirty job. 

Step 3: Prepare your plunger

It is best to buy a heavy-duty rubber plunger. These keep you prepared no matter the degree of the clog. 

Heavy-duty rubber plungers are typically ball-shaped and have a fold-out rubber flange on that bottom that helps to form a secure seal. A simpler suction-cup type of plunger will typically not get the job done if it is tough. However, if you’re reading this article, we’re going to assume the clog is a little bigger than first anticipated.

Run the plunger under hot water before use. This will soften the rubber to create a better seal when you are attempting to unclog. Another trick is to add hot water to the bowl before plunging. This will help to break up anything contributing to the clog making your plunging experience much easier. 

Step 4: Seal the plunger and plunge

Make sure that your plunger covers the entirety of the hole. This is important so that you are pushing water directly into the drain to help release the clog.. You may add water from the sink to the bowl if it is needed. Start slowly at first, and be sure to push down and then pull up sharply to loosen whatever may be causing the blockage. It may take multiple reps of this step before you notice the water draining. 

Step 5: Flush the toilet 

If the water has drained but there is still something stopping the toilet from flushing correctly, refill the bowl with water from the sink and repeat the plunging process. If the toilet water recedes after plunging, and you are able to flush with ease, you’ve done it! Nice work.

Still stuck with that clog after several attempts? Give us a call at 615-382-8131 and we’ll be happy to help!