How to Plunge a Clogged Toilet
Toilets are an incredibly important part of our lives. They allow us to easily dispose of all types of human waste, ensuring that everything reaches your sewage system where it can be easily and safely treated. However, they can only do this if they’re in good working condition. And over time, that condition will deteriorate as more and more waste goes down the drain. If your toilet refuses to drain when you flush, you probably have a clog in the line that needs to be eliminated, but doing so can be a real nuisance when you consider the curves and bends in a typical toilet drain.
For this, we have the trusty plunger. But how do you properly plunge a clogged toilet without damaging the drain or risking making a huge mess in your bathroom? This blog has the answer.
Here are some step-by-step instructions for how to properly plunge a clogged-up toilet:
Step 1: Prepare the Toilet Area
The first step is to make sure your area around your toilet is prepared. When your toilet is backed up, it isn’t uncommon for your toilet to be extremely full, to the point where it is almost overflowing. This full toilet may very well have waste in it, and the last thing you want is raw sewage all over your bathroom floor. We recommend putting down old rags or towels you don’t care about surrounding your toilet bowl to mop up any water and waste that might get out. Don’t use anything nice—you’ll probably want to simply throw these towels away when you’re done, particularly if they have had to absorb any of the mess from your toilet bowl.
You should also make sure you have the right safety gear, including:
- Pair of latex or rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- Protective mask to keep your face safe
This way any water that splashes out of the bowl during this process doesn’t accidentally get anywhere near your eyes or mouth.
Step 2: Acquire the Right Plunger
There are several different plungers on the market, however we have a simple recommendation: go for one with a sturdy wood or plastic handle, and a solid rubber cup on the end. There are plungers that have an accordion-like attachment on the end, but we have found these aren’t nearly as effective. A good plunger is available for just a few bucks at a local hardware store, or even at a big-box store like Walmart or Target.
Step 3: Thoroughly Plunge the Toilet to Dislodge the Clog
After donning your safety gear, slowly lower the plunger down into the bowl until it completely covers the hole at the bottom. Once you have the hole completely covered, firmly press down on the handle further so that the cup collapses. Then, forcefully pull the cup upward, forcing a vacuum to form in the line. Repeat this process in quick succession several times. Before long, the water in the bowl should recede, as the line will have reopened at least partially. If the water does not recede after several fast and forceful plunges, you may have a more serious problem and you should call a professional to have your line properly inspected and cleaned.
Step 4: Ensure the Clog Is Fully Eliminated
Now that your toilet has receded, you’ll have the job of cleaning up the area and making sure that your toilet continues to flush properly. Once the water has receded, flush the toilet like normal and make sure the bowl does not refill as it did before. This will also help you get rid of the waste that might be left in the toilet bowl at this point.
For the next several flushes, you might want to pay close attention to your toilet’s behavior when you flush. Make sure all of the waste quickly and successfully goes down the drain with the first flush. If your toilet doesn’t get rid of everything in one go, then there’s a strong chance there is still a partial clog in your drain line that hasn’t been taken care of. This isn’t uncommon, but it can be an issue. We recommend giving us a call and letting our professional plumbers take care of the issue the right way for complete confidence that your toilet is working properly.