They happen to the best of us. Toilet clogs are just a fact of life. And while your trusted local plumbers will always be there for you, this is often a job you can take care of yourself. All it takes are a few household supplies and a little know-how.
Take the Plunge
If you don’t have a plunger in your home, a clogged toilet is the universe’s way of telling you it’s time to go buy one. In the event your toilet overflows, having a plunger handy can save you from a flooded bathroom. Take advantage of the opportunity by choosing a durable rubber plunger with a flange, which is more effective for plunging toilets.
To ensure a good seal, you can spread a little petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger. Just be sure to get a tight fit at the bottom of the bowl, and ensure that the top of the plunger is submerged. If necessary, add more water. Plunge as vigorously as possible without splashing, and with a little luck, you’ll be flushing again in no time.
The Model Volcano Method
Don’t worry, this won’t erupt -- but the ingredients that make model volcanoes magic, baking soda and vinegar, also make a great toilet clog cleaner. It’s cheaper and gentler on your plumbing than chemical cleaners, and the key ingredients are probably in your pantry right now.
Bring a large pot of water to a simmering boil, then allow it to cool for five minutes. Add one cup of baking soda to your toilet bowl, followed by two cups of vinegar. Pour the water in, taking care to not overflow the bowl, and allow the mixture to work for several hours. If the clog doesn’t prove too tough, you’re back in business.
A variation on the model volcano method uses liquid dish soap to get things moving. As before, heat a large pot of water and allow it to cool slightly. While you’re waiting, squirt a generous amount of liquid dish soap into the bowl and allow it to settle.
Pour the water in, making sure to pour from at least a foot above the bowl -- you want the force of the water to push things through your soaped-up exit. With a little luck, the clog will slide on through.
Fetch the Snake
If you have access to a plumbing snake, you have what you need to tackle some of the most stubborn clogs. There are variations among models, but the basic concept is universal -- feed the flexible end of the snake into the toilet drain until you encounter the clog, then twist the snake handle to break up and dislodge the obstruction.
Just be sure you’re not using a snake that’s too large for your toilet, and take your time when extracting the flexible end. Take it out too quickly, and you could fling dirty water all over the bathroom.
Call the Pros
If these methods fail, or if you just want someone else to do the clog-clearing, you can always call your licensed, local plumbers. They’ll do the dirty work so you don’t have to!