Toilet Not Draining Properly? 10 Tips and Tools to Try First

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a worried shout from a little one who’s put too much toilet paper down the loo, or you’re stood over the bowl wondering why your toilet isn’t draining like it should be, a blocked toilet isn’t ever on our to-do list.

There’s no need to panic though. There are plenty of ways you can try to sort out the problem yourself without needing to call in the pros, and some of them don’t even require specialist tools.

We’ve been in the plumbing business for more than 20 years – and there isn’t a toilet blockage that can phase us. So, if you find yourself stood in the bathroom wishing that flusher you take for granted every day would just do its only job, this is the post for you.

London Drainage Services’ Top 10 Toilet Draining Tips

Tip 1: Get out the plunger

It’s the classic toilet unblocking scenario for a reason. If you have a plunger in your home for emergencies but you don’t know how to use it, the Family Handyman blog has a great step-by-step guide – with a charming illustration showing crayons and not…let’s just call it ’other stuff’ blocking the loo. Creative!

One extra mini-tip: You’ll need your plunger to have a ‘flange’ on it in order to suit the toilet bowl better. As the Family Handyman says: “you could pull a woodchuck from a hole with a toilet plunger with an extension flange.” This’ll get the job done.

Tip 2: Clean the siphon jet

In many toilets, the ‘siphon jet’ could be the reason your toilet isn’t flushing completely or draining very slowly.

In this video by Know How Now, the siphon jet is located and reasons for its blockage are given. The most likely cause is a build-up of mineral deposits, so if your toilet is a few years old, this might be your most likely diagnosis.

You’ll need rubber gloves and some white vinegar to fully carry out this tip, and it requires a little bit of elbow grease, but trust us, it works. Once you’re finished, you’ll have sorted out your toilet troubles without any harsh chemicals, and isn’t that a job worth celebrating?

Tip 3: Make your own drain cleaner

A lot of toilet draining tips will tell you to bung a load of enzyme cleaner down that toilet bowl. While this is effective, it can be damaging to the ceramic of your toilet and isn’t exactly environmentally-friendly.

One way to reduce your usage of harsh chemical cleaning products and to save yourself some cash is to make a drain cleaner yourself from ordinary household products. Crunchy Betty is a blogger who’s put together a simple guide to making your own drain cleaner with baking soda, vinegar and water. While it involves a little effort, it’s really not difficult. If you can boil water, you’ve got this. Then, just pour it down the toilet and leave it to work its magic.

Tip 4: Use a plumbing snake

If your toilet isn’t draining and there’s no hope of getting out whatever’s blocking it with your trusty plunger, it might be time to bring out the plumbing snake.

You’ll find a plumbing snake in all good DIY shops, and using one is a piece of cake. Take a look at this WikiHow step-by-step guide and you’ll be armed with all the info you need to clear that blockage and have your toilet working good as new.

Tip 5: Use washing up liquid

If you don’t have a plunger, don’t worry. There are other options!

The very funny Clean My Space channel has created a video that will help you clear that clog in no time, using just washing up liquid, hot (not boiling) water and time. Take a look at the video to find out exactly how to do it with minimum fuss and mess.

Tip 6: Use a plastic bottle

In this video by Handyman for the Everyman, you’ll be impressed by his gloveless bravery, but also by his innovation.

Using a plastic bottle isn’t a common solution to the toilet not draining situation, but it really works. You’ll need to get your hands into the toilet though, so it’s recommended that you use rubber gloves when using this method. You’ll see that even the maker of this video is absolutely delighted with the results from his shouts of “Hallelujah.” That’s job satisfaction!

Tip 7: Check and repair your ballcock or valves

Home inspiration site The Spruce rightly point out that if your toilet isn’t draining properly, the problem might be in your toilet’s tank, rather than in the bowl.

This post on their site highlights what you could do to solve any problems with the cistern valve and ballcock to resolve your issues. This might mean you’ll need to order some replacement parts, but at least you’ll know what’s causing the problem and how to fix it.

Tip 8: Make your own plunger with a mop

You read that correctly – it is possible to create a plunger-like contraption with a mop. Beautiful Plumbing have made this video to give you not one, not two, not even three but four different ways to fix your toilet’s not draining habits with a handy household mop.

Tip 9: Diagnose a weak flush

If your toilet isn’t draining correctly, it might mean that there’s a problem with the flushing mechanism of your toilet. If there isn’t enough water being brought into the cistern, it means that the flush can’t operate as it should, leaving you with a weak flush.

This video will help you to diagnose what’s going on in that toilet tank, so you can get a better idea of what you’ll need to do to fix it. Don’t worry – it isn’t as complicated in there as it appears and the video will really help you figure it all out.

Tip 10: Call the professionals

We know you’d rather try to fix the problem yourself than admit defeat, but sometimes you just need a pro to come and help out, and that’s what we’re here for.

20 years in the business means we can quickly diagnose the issue you’re experiencing and sort it out for you as efficiently as possible. We also really appreciate it when you’ve taken steps to try and work it out yourself, and we can talk you through what you could have done next. You know, in case you ever need to fix your toilet again.

Of course, we’ve got all the tools for the job too, so there’ll be no scratching the ceramic with coat hangers or cracking the bowl with boiling water – both are issues we’ve come across before thanks to irresponsible YouTube videos giving bad advice!

Get in touch with us if you’re having trouble with your toilet, whether it isn’t draining or there’s an more serious problem at hand. Call our helpline on 01727 875975 or 07563 571200 and if you’re in London or the surrounding counties, we’ll be able to send someone out to you as soon as possible.

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