You go to flush your toilet, and notice that instead of the water level going down, it is rising. This is most often caused by a clog. The clog could be in the toilet itself, or farther down the sewer line. Regardless, the clog has to be removed in order for your toilet to work properly. If you don't have the money to buy expensive chemicals or plumbing tools, check out these inexpensive ways to unclog your toilet yourself.
Dig for the Clog
As disgusting as it may sound, using your hand is one of the best ways to remove clogs from a toilet. As you insert your hand into the bowl, you may discover that a paper towel, feminine hygiene product or a child's toy is stuck inside. Follow these steps to dig inside your toilet and remove a clog:
- Use a disposable cup or bowl to scoop out as much water as possible from the toilet bowl.
- Put gloves on your hands. Place a hand into the toilet bowl, reaching into the hole.
- Feel around. The opening to a toilet bowl is shaped much like a humans mouth and throat. At first, you will be able to stick your hand back into the toilet, just like you would a mouth. Soon you will hit a wall and will have to move your hand downward, just like if you were hitting the back of the mouth and having to go down the throat. The walls in the toilet should feel even and smooth. If you feel anything else, there is something in there, and odds are, it is what is causing the clog. Grab the item and attempt to pull it out.
- If you are able to remove it, try flushing the toilet to see if your problem is solved. If you are unable to remove it, do not attempt any other unclogging methods. They will push the item further down the toilet. Instead, call in a professional plumber to assist you.
Dish Soap and Hot Water
Dish soap and hot water can help to loosen clogs from both your toilet and sewer line. The dish soap helps to break down anything greasy, while the hot water helps to break apart clogs and push them out of the way. Follow these directions to help unclog your toilet using this method:
- Grab a disposable cup or bowl and remove as much water from the toilet as possible.
- Pour 1/2 cup liquid dish soap in the toilet. If you don't have dish soap, shampoo will also work. Try to pour as much soap as possible down the hole in the center of the toilet, rather than around the edges of the toilet. Allow the soap to sit.
- Grab a large pot, fill it with water and heat it up on the stove. Pull the water off the stove just before it begins to boil.
- Dump the pot of hot water down the toilet. As you pour it, be careful not to spill any on yourself. As the water fills the bowl, your toilet should flush.
- Repeat the process a few more times to remove stubborn or difficult clogs.
Baking Soda, Salt and Cream of Tartar
The combination of baking soda, salt and cream of tartar can help to remove difficult clogs from toilets, sinks and other drains. Cream of tartar is an acid. An acid eats through hair, grease and other stubborn clogs. When combined with cream of tartar and water, baking soda has a chemical reaction which also helps to eat through tough clogs. The salt adds a gritty texture, which works like sandpaper as it makes its way through the pipes, removing residue stuck inside. Follow these steps to make a drain cleaner that may work to unclog your toilet:
- Remove as much water from the toilet as possible.
- In a bowl or container, mix 1 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup cream of tartar and 1 cup of salt. Stir the ingredients.
- Add 1/4 cup of the mixture into the center of the toilet bowl.
- Add one to two cups of boiling water to the mixture immediately.
- Allow it to sit for five minutes, before attempting to flush.
- Repeat the process a few more times if needed.
Unclogging a toilet may not be a fun way to spend your time, but it is necessary. The longer you allow a clog to sit in the toilet, the harder it will be to remove it. If you are unable to remove the obstruction, you will need to call in a plumber such as Amyotte's Plumbing & Heating. Some plumbing issues, such as collapsed or pinched pipes, emulate the symptoms of a clogged line. A plumber can determine if you have a clog or another issue and then fix the problem.