What to Do About a Slow-Draining Toilet: A Handy Guide
Not a blocked drain again! Clogged pipes and drains can be – and often are – a common domestic issue, causing huge problems in the home, with water damage being the main one. One of the most problematic blockages, though, is definitely the toilet – after all, you use it daily, and if it’s out of action, you’ll soon be aware of it!
Most toilet blockages are caused by too much toilet paper travelling down the pan and through the pipes, but fortunately, as it’s not always possible to get a professional out to fix the problem, there are several at-home remedies that can help. In this piece, we take a look at some of them to help you work out your options, before you get your loo up and running again!
Before attempting to clear a blockage, it’s vital that you don’t keep flushing your toilet, as this can clog the bowl up even more, causing it to overflow and water to flood the bathroom. Trust us, it’s a problem you could do without.
At Home Efforts Can be the Best
Plunge In – Plungers are definitely your best bet for unblocking your toilet, although as odd as it may sound, a mop with a plastic bag tied around the head is a good alternative.
Depending on the size or severity of the blockage, you may want to put on a pair of rubber gloves before you begin, placing towels around the toilet to soak up any liquid that spills.
Once you’re ready, press the plunger down firmly into the toilet and then slowly pull upwards. Repeat a minimum of 10 times until you hear water going down the pipes. Et voila – you may just have lift-off!
This method might not work straight away, but with a little bit of effort – and plunging interspersed with flushing – you should soon have a fully functional loo again.
Rod & Prod It – If plunging just isn’t fixing the problem, the blockage may be further along your pipes and drains. So, find your nearest drain inspection cover (it’s often somewhere on your property or by the road outside) and check for blockages there.
If the chamber is blocked then you might want to try using a drain rod. This sounds more daunting than it actually is.
All you need to do is insert the rod (which can be or should be fitted with a plunger) into a chamber at one end of the location of the blockage. You can add more rods if you need them, in order to work the plunger along the pipe to the clog. If you’re doing this, though, ensure you turn the rods clockwise to avoid the risk of them unscrewing and causing more problems.
Keep pushing against the blockage and withdrawing the plunger a little. If this method doesn’t remove the clog, take out the rods and replace the plunger with a corkscrew attachment. The sharpness of the tool will help break up a tightly-packed or hardened obstruction more easily.
If the chamber isn’t blocked, the clog will likely be somewhere between the chamber and the toilet pan, and one of the methods below may prove more helpful in rectifying the problem. Stay positive and we bet you’ll sort it!
Wire It – This method works best on obstructions in the first few inches of the drain or pipe – and a pair of gloves is recommended!
Unravel and straighten a wire coat hanger, wrapping the end of it with a rag or small cloth. Secure the cloth or rag with tape to avoid the wire damaging the porcelain – and away you go.
Stick the wrapped end of the wire into the drain or pipe, then twist, push and manoeuvre it in a circular motion. If you can feel the obstruction, push against it a little with the wire, and keep doing so until the water begins to drain.
Can’t feel the obstruction? Or maybe the toilet still won’t drain? That simply means that the clog is out of the hanger’s reach, and you’ll have to try another method.
Make Your Own Remedy – Time for a spot of DIY! These days there’s a make-your-own way for fixing all sorts of problems – and, you guessed it, unblocking a toilet is one of them. All you need is hot water, vinegar and baking soda, though this method only works on clogs caused by organic material and products.
First, boil half a gallon of water, but ensure it’s no hotter than a cup of tea you can drink comfortably. Now, leave it to cool for a bit, before pouring one part baking soda to two parts vinegar (distilled white is most commonly used but any will work) into the toilet bowl. The vinegar and baking soda will react, triggering a chemical reaction that, as it fizzes, will get to work on the blockage.
Pour the water into the bowl, from about waist height. The force of the water falling into the bowl can help clear a clog – so try this before you panic. Now, all that’s left to do is let the mixture stand overnight, and in the morning, the water should have drained.
Time to Try Some Chemicals?
If you’ve had no joy with the methods we’ve mentioned above, there’s all sorts of that can help. Have you considered Domestos? It’s thought to be a handy choice for clearing a blocked drain.
Coming with child-safety caps to minimise the risk of little ones opening them and ingesting them. or suffering serious injuries such as chemical burns, the products put your family’s safety first.
To use, simply pour the whole bottle into the toilet bowl and leave to work on the blockage for up to two hours, depending on the size and seriousness of the clog.
If you’re not a fan of stronger chemical products that tend to have a whiffy odour, but still want a product that will unclog your toilet with ease, try an enzyme product instead. You’ll find that the liquid should be left in the toilet overnight to allow the enzymes to do their stuff – and they’ll just about clear anything.
If none of these methods help with your blockage, then it’s time to call out the professionals! We’ll get to your blockage quickly and help ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to your pipes or drains.
A Few Preventative Measures…
There’s no way to 100% avoid the nightmare that is a blocked toilet, but there are a few steps you can take to reduce the chances of it happening.
One of the easiest is to keep a small bin in the bathroom and ensure all family members put tissues, feminine hygiene products, and anything else, in it before they attempt to flush them down the loo.
Some toilet papers – particularly recyclable ones – can also cause blockages, so a quick check of the degradability of your paper before you purchase may just reduce the chances of a blockage occurring in the future.
Like most pipes and drains, toilets often get clogged up with foreign objects – such as toys and phones. Avoid any mishaps, then, by telling young children not to play in the bathroom and informing them of what can and cannot go down the toilet.
Keeping the toilet seat down when it’s not in use will also minimise the chances of a foreign object falling in and potentially causing problems.
Want some more help? Get in touch with our friendly and professional team today.