How to Unblock a Toilet: Common Causes and Fixes

unblock a toilet

Everyone experiences a blocked toilet some time in their lives, it happens to all toilets. Even those fancy toilets that talk to you can get backed up and blocked. You might even have a horrors story to tell or two about the times you have blocked one up and the aftermath!

For the majority of us, when it happens it is our job to figure out how to unblock it. There are a few things we can try ourselves before we have to call in a blocked drain plumber. So if you need some tips here is a look at what to avoid so it happens less often, plus a few plumbing tips on how to unblock drains.

Common Causes

The problem is people flushing something larger than the average stool size. The most common blockages happen when a large foreign item flushes. Reasons for a blocked toilet include:

  • Flushing nappies or diapers down the toilet
  • Flushing tampons and sanitary towels
  • Accidental or on purpose flushing of children’s toys like toy cars or Lego pieces
  • A dead pet larger than a small goldfish
  • A huge amount of toilet paper all in one go

Children’s diapers and sanitary towels should never go down a toilet. Children have a habit of playing with the flushing but teach them not to do it! And you should bury pets larger than a goldfish. When you have a blocked toilet you should not keep flushing and hope it moves it. Here is what you can do.

Things you will need to unblock a toilet drain

Here are a few things you could use for the job. Some of these are basic plumbing tools that you should always keep in your toolbox.

  • A good plunger
  • A product from a store for pouring down
  • A wire coat hanger
  • Old newspaper or towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • A bucket

Plunging a toilet

When you plunge make sure you put on gloves. Then place the newspaper or towels that you will be throwing out, around the toilet. If it is too full to properly plunge you will need to remove some water first. Then place the plunger over the opening and plunge quickly and firmly then lift slowly. Keep plunging until the water starts to drain or you decide you need to use another method to unblock a toilet.

Using a wire coat hanger

A wire coat hanger can be unravelled and then fed down into the U-bend. Move it around a bit until you find the blockage and keep moving it around until the blockage gives. Flush the toilet and you should have a usable toilet once more. There is an actual plumbing tool you can purchase if you want to, called a drain snake that uses the same concept.

Buying some toilet unblocking liquids

There are some liquids you can buy that claim to unblock toilets and you get them at different strength levels. Make sure you use them safely and that the room has ventilation when you pour.

Call in an expert plumber

If none of this works to unblock a toilet drain then you have a block that needs a bit more expertise. Call in the best plumbers in your area and they will be able to help you for a small fee. It is better to pay the toilet plumbing specialists to get it fixed than have your toilet leaking, blocking all the time and causing a disgusting flood.