There’s nothing more frustrating than your toilet being blocked.
Not only does this feel like a big chore to have to deal with, but it can be tricky to know how to go about it and annoying to have to pay for it.
How much does it cost to have a toilet unblocked?
Generally, it will cost you around £112.50 to unblock your toilet.
But before you call the pros, you might be able to fix the problem yourself.
Here are some easy ways to unclog your toilet.
Why Do Toilets Become Blocked?
Before you go about trying to unblock your toilet, it’s worth knowing what caused it to become blocked in the first place.
This could help you prevent it from happening again in the future.
Here are common reasons why toilets become clogged.
- You have an old toilet. Modern toilets have low-flow designs that save water, but earlier versions of them don’t have enough pressure to prevent clogs. If your toilet was made in the mid-90s, this means that you could have a low-flow toilet that’s prone to blockages.
- You’ve flushed something you shouldn’t have. Non-flushable items include disposable tissues, Q-tips, wet wipes, dental floss, condoms, and female hygiene products.
- Your toilet’s trap is blocked. The toilet trap is the curved part of the toilet bowl. It holds standing water and prevents sewer gas from entering the bathroom. Non-flushable items such as those mentioned earlier, as well as toilet paper, can block this trap.
- You have the main sewer line problem. If you have regular toilet blockages, the culprit could be that you have a problem with the sewer line. For example, tree roots can puncture the sewer line which results in sediment and other items blocking your toilet.
You can troubleshoot your toilet so that you have a better idea of what could be causing the blockage.
- If the water in your toilet is draining very slowly from the bowl, this is the first sign that your toilet has a blockage or one is slowly starting to form. Act quickly to prevent a bigger blockage from happening!
- If the bowl remains empty after flushing, this points to a problem with air ventilation in the waste pipes.
- If the water rises and doesn’t go down, this means that the blockage has become larger and is preventing the water from passing through.
How To Unblock A Toilet
If your toilet’s being blocked by a main sewer line problem, then you’re going to have to call the professionals to help you out.
To deal with other problems that could be why your toilet is blocked, here are the steps to follow:
- If the water of your toilet is still draining, albeit slowly, flush the toilet to see if this does anything to remove whatever’s clogging the toilet. If the water has remained high in the bowl and it doesn’t go down, avoid flushing the toilet again as that can cause it to overflow.
If flushing the toilet doesn’t help, or you can’t flush it, you can move on to the next step in these instructions to try to fix the problem.
- Start with soap and water. Sometimes this is the easiest way to unclog a toilet, and it’s really simple to do. The soap will lubricate the pipe and allow the obstruction to move through it.
So, pour half a cup of soap into the toilet, and follow it up with hot water. Avoid using boiling water as that could crack porcelain.
(If your toilet water won’t go down, you might have to wait for it to do so before you try this step, or you could empty as much water as you can from the bowl.)
- If your toilet trap is blocked and hot water doesn’t help, you should use a toilet plunger to try to unclog it.
How to use a plunger correctly:
When using a plunger to unblock your toilet, start by running the plunger under a stream of hot water. This will soften it up and help it to seal the toilet bowl properly.
Then, place the plunger over the toilet bowl opening so that it covers it and gently push it backwards and forwards.
If you find that your plunger is too small to fit the hole properly, you can still make use of it but here’s a clever tip: flush the toilet as you pump the plunger so that you’ll get more pressure to push the blockage.
- Use baking soda and vinegar. You can unblock a toilet with this DIY remedy. What you need to do is pour a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, then pour a cup of vinegar down too.
Let this solution fizz for about 20 minutes.
Afterwards, flush the toilet. While this can be a useful way to eliminate a clog, you should never use it if your toilet’s connected to a cesspit or septic tank as the chemicals could destroy the enzymes that make those systems work properly.
- Make use of a plumbing snake (sometimes referred to as an auger). This is a coil of wire that moves through the toilet’s curves and can move further into the pipe. To use it, put one end of the snake into the toilet drain.
Gently push it down so that you can push the snake further into the drain until you can feel what’s clogging the toilet. Keep pushing the snake gently so that you can break up the blockage.
When the water drains, flush the toilet to test that it’s working in the way it should.
- Use the DIY plastic bottle method. This method of unblocking your toilet involves removing water from the toilet bowl with a small container. You should try to eliminate as much as possible.
Then, fill a large plastic bottle with warm water. Fit the bottle’s top end into the toilet outlet that’s located at the bottom of the toilet. Squeeze the bottle to make the water get flushed down the pipe.
This works well to create pressure so that you can hopefully dislodge the blockage.
- You might have tried the above steps but still can’t seem to make your toilet become unblocked. In that case, you should try the water pressure method. For this, you’ll need a pressure washer.
If the blockage is further down the waste pipe, this method can especially be useful. Make sure you use a pressure washer that has a long hose which has a nozzle at the end of it.
How to use a pressure hose:
a)Insert the pressure hose so that its nozzle goes down the bowl first.
b)Turn on the pressure washer. This will ensure the hose will move along the pipe and the water being produced by the nozzle will help to move or break down the obstruction.
When the hose has made contact with the obstruction, the water jet will push it and start breaking it down.
Note: if you have a toilet connected to a cesspit or septic tank, avoid using a pressure washer because it can damage the system. It’s therefore a better idea to call a professional to help you.
How To Make And Use Your Own DIY Plumbing Snake
If you don’t have a store-bought plumbing snake, you can make your own at home with an item you probably already have: a wire clothes hanger!
Hold the hanger with one hand while using your other hand to unwind its triangular section. Make sure you leave the hook on the end in place.
How to use it properly:
- Slowly feed the DIY snake down your toilet. When it hits something, pull back instead of pushing at it too much.
- The hook will work well to grab the item that’s caused the obstruction so that you can carefully loosen it.
- When the water begins to drain from the toilet bowl, this is a good sign that your blockage has successfully been broken up.
- When using your DIY plumbing snake, remember that the wire hanger can scratch and damage the toilet bowl’s porcelain so you want to be gentle.
What kind of plunger should you use?
Make sure you have a heavy-duty rubber plunger.
It should be ball-shaped or have a fold-out rubber flange on the bottom, as this will ensure a better seal.
What should you do if you have an old low-flow toilet?
If you have an old low-flow toilet, you should try to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use. A longer-term solution to the problem would be to install a modern toilet that won’t give you hassles.
If you’ve found yourself in the stressful situation of dealing with a blocked toilet, you don’t have to work up a sweat about it. After reading this article, you now know how to go about unblocking a toilet quickly so you can get on with the rest of your day.