A clogged toilet is an annoyance that almost everyone has to deal with at some point or another. No plumbing is perfect, and your toilet is bound to get clogged eventually. Learning how to avoid and unclog a clogged toilet can help minimize the frequency that your toilet gets clogged as well as help make the inevitable clogged toilet less of a disaster for you to handle.

How to Avoid a Clogged Toilet

It’s easier to take steps to avoid a clogged toilet in the first place than to try to unclog a toilet that is already clogged. The marginal extra effort that is required to avoid a clogged toilet is worth the unexpected hassle, stress, and frustration that comes with discovering that your toilet is clogged.

Toilet paper usage is the number-one contributing factor that can lead to a clogged toilet. Try to limit how much toilet paper you use as much as possible and flush frequently when you need to use a lot of toilet paper. Also, make sure that you never flush anything other than toilet paper down your toilet. Even paper towels and tissues can clog a toilet when they are flushed. It’s a good idea to always keep a trash can next to your toilet to encourage guests to throw away rather than flush anything that is not toilet paper.

How to Unclog a Clogged Toilet

No matter how much you limit your toilet paper usage and how careful you are about never flushing anything that isn’t toilet paper, it’s more than likely that you’ll still end up with a clogged toilet despite your best efforts to avoid it.

Once your toilet is clogged, there’s not much you can do but fix it. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to unclog a clogged toilet to make it usable again as soon as possible.

plungers for the toilet

plungers for the toilet

1. Prepare Your Bathroom

Before you start trying to unclog your toilet, it’s important to prepare your bathroom to minimize potential damage throughout the unclogging process. Lay a few rags down on the floor around the toilet to protect your floor from splashes of toilet water or full-on flooding in the case that your toilet overflows.

Also, close the toilet flapper to prevent the toilet from overflowing—which can leave you with a much bigger mess on your hands. You can close the flapper easily by lifting off the top of the toilet tank, reaching inside—the toilet tank water is sanitary—and pushing down on the piece of rubber at the bottom of the tank (the flapper) to stop the water from rising in the toilet bowl.

2. Try a Plunger, Then a Snake

To actually unclog your toilet, try using a plunger first. Make sure you have a heavy-duty plunger that is made out of thick, durable rubber. Before you put the plunger in the toilet, run it under hot water for a minute or two to soften its rubber and help it create a tighter, more effective seal against the inside of your toilet bowl.

Push the plunger against the hole in your toilet with enough force to create a tight seal between the head of the plunger and the area around the hole in the bottom of the toilet bowl. Grip the plunger’s handle tightly and push and pull until the excess water begins to drain out of the toilet bowl. You might need to go through multiple cycles of plunging and flushing to fully unclog the toilet, so be patient during this process.

In the case that plunging doesn’t work, you can also try using a drain snake. A snake reaches the toilet’s lower plumbing and can be more effective than a plunger for breaking up more severe, impacted clogs. Using a snake can be intimidating, but it’s not actually that difficult. Just slowly and carefully feed the metal end of the snake into the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl and turn the snake’s handle clockwise to push it lower into the pipes. Once you reach the obstruction in the pipe, turn the handle counter-clockwise to break up and pull out whatever is causing the clog. You might need to repeat this process several times until the end of the snake comes out clean.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Hire a Professional

Not everyone has the time, patience, tools, or physical ability to go about unclogging a toilet on their own. If you feel unable to unclog your own toilet for any reason—or if you’ve tried a plunger and a snake and have had no luck—there’s no need to stress. Call in a professional to get the job done for you.

If you can’t unclog your toilet on your own, you’re not alone. There are enough people out there in the same situation as you that there is a pretty big market for unclogging services. Many plumbers and home maintenance and repair businesses offer services for unclogging toilets and drains.

plumbing professional

plumbing professional

For those who are located in southern California, consider Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing if you’re looking to hire a professional to unclog your toilet for you. Accurate Leak Locators is a family-owned business that offers a wide range of leak location and professional plumbing services—including toilet and drain unclogging services—at affordable prices. The professional plumbing team at Accurate Leak Locators make customer service their top priority and are highly skilled with more than 20 years of experience.

The team of clogged drain plumbers at Accurate Leak Locators understands how inconvenient it can be to have a clogged toilet in your home especially if you only have one bathroom in your residence—so they offer emergency plumbing services to help you get your plumbing up and running normally again as soon as possible. Their emergency plumbing services include toilet and drain unclogging services outside of regular business hours, on weekends, and even on major holidays.