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How to Unclog a Toilet by Yourself


“Did you hear the joke about the toilet?”

“Never mind, it’s too dirty”

All joking aside, most people have no interest in touching toilets: even their own. However, when “s*&% happens” knowing what to do can save a big mess.

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First, if you think you may have clogged the toilet, the best thing you can do now is to stop the water from overflowing. In a standard toilet, there’s a tank behind the toilet seat, that’s topped with a lid you can easily lift off.  Once the lid is off, find the “float ball,” (typically a black ball attached to a stick) lift it, and then the water should stop flowing into the toilet almost instantly.  Also, behind the toilet should be the water valve, shut this valve to stop more water from entering the toilet.

Once the water is done going into the toilet, now you can focus on getting the water out.

How to Unclog

  • Plunger – The right tool for the job that really doesn’t need instructions to operate, but where is it? If you can find your plunger, stick the rubber side down and “plunge” 5-10 times. If you didn’t turn the water off, the toilet should “flush” itself. If the toilet did not drain, then continue to “plunge” 5-10 times, using increasing force, until the clog appears sufficiently broken up. Turn on the water and flush, but keep your hand on the “float ball” in case you need to quickly cut the supply of water to prevent an overflow.
  • Hanger – Use wire cutters to cut off the straight piece from the bottom of the hanger. Stick this 12”-14” metal rod into the middle of the clog/bottom of the bowl. Work the hanger up/down, left/right, and clockwise/counter-clockwise to break up the clog. Turn on the water and flush toilet. If you did not turn off the water valve before using the hanger, the toilet may “flush” as soon as the clog is loosened enough.
  • Soap and Bucket of Water – Fill a bucket full of warm/hot water and squeeze several squirts of liquid soap into the toilet. Add the water (do not overflow toilet) and let the soapy water mixture sit for about 10-20 minutes. Hopefully, the soapy water mixture loosened up the clog and your toilet can drain. Be careful before using any store-bought chemicals as they may harm the materials that make up your home’s plumbing/sewer system.

Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling has been providing New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania with emergency plumbing and drain cleaning services since 1948. Our team of clean, courteous, and professional plumbers will have your home’s plumbing system fixed and back to normal 24/7. Call us today to learn more.