Realising that you have a blockage in your toilet can be an absolute nightmare scenario. When only your feelings are sinking (and not much else), it’s time to put on your rubber gloves and get to work. The majority of toilet blockages can be dealt with without calling in a plumber and doing the work yourself.
To ensure you unblock your toilet correctly and efficiently, we have compiled this handy guide to unblocking your toilet:
So to start, you will need the following:
• Rubber gloves
• Toilet plunger
• Chemical cleaning agent
• Bucket or large container
• Toilet auger or makeshift wire
Step 1: Draining the toilet
The first port of call is to get rid of as much water as you can from the toilet pan. You can do this by using a bucket to move the water from the toilet bowl into another container or down another toilet in your home if you have one. Once this has been done, you should be able to access the blockage more effectively with a wire or toilet plunger.
Step 2: Checking your drain
Next, you’ll need to check your drain to find out where the blockage is located. Lift the drain cover nearest to the affected toilet to see if the main chamber is full of water. If it is, the blockage is located further along the soil pipe. If the chamber is not full of water, the blockage sits in the toilet pan or in the soil pipe from the loo to the chamber. If the blockage is not located in the toilet, you’ll need to use drain cleaning rods or call out a professional drain unblocking company to undertake the work for you.
Step 3: Using a plunger
The majority of us will be familiar with the good ol’ fashioned toilet plunger. They work in much the same way as smaller sink plungers, except with a larger rubber head to fit toilet pans. A steady up and down motion with the toilet plunger forces the remaining water and blockages in the pipe to move, encouraging the blockage to break apart and shift. There are also plungers available with a pump action handle to force air down the soil pipe and they can be much more effective. You’ll be able to find these at any high street DIY shop.
Step 4: Using a toilet auger
More stubborn blockages require a more tactical touch. You can acquire what is known as a ‘toilet auger’ from any plumber’s merchant or DIY store. This is quite simply a long piece of flexible metal wire that you can feed into the pan of the toilet and into the soil pipe itself. A few well-placed jabs can displace the majority of blockages in the toilet pipe. If you don’t want to purchase a toilet auger, you can make your own by dismantling a wire clothes hanger but be careful when doing so as they can have very sharp edges. If you’ve successfully cleared your blockage, flush the toilet 2-3 times to ensure that there is no remaining blockage present in your toilet. If your blockage still remains, it might be time to call in a plumbing professional to undertake the job.
Tips for unblocking a toilet
• If it’s simply a blockage of toilet paper, you can try using a chemical cleaning agent to dissolve it. Ensure that you put a generous amount down the toilet bowl and leave for 10-15 minutes. Always use rubber gloves to protect your skin and flush the toilet several times to ensure that you have removed all traces of chemical. Always refer to the toilet manufacturer’s instructions for using chemical agents as some can damage the ceramic finish
• If there are hard objects causing the toilet blockage, try to remove them instead of forcing them further down the pipe. Generally speaking, the further you push the blockage down the soil pipe, the more costly it can be to repair.
Please note that this guide is a rough step by step guide. Unblocking some toilets will require a slightly different method so if you don’t feel confident with the process, make sure that you hire a DIY or plumbing professional to carry out the work for you.