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Tips To Unclog The Toilet!

Way back in the day when I moved into my first apartment, I thought I was completely prepared.  I bought all my own dishes and furniture and linens and bedding.  What I didn’t buy was a plunger…and didn’t realize I needed one until my toilet overflowed.  It goes without saying that toilet related floods are the worst to deal with.  Being prepared is the key to avoiding that kind of mess.  Without further ado-doo (yeah, I went there!), here are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with toilet issues:

1)       Turn the water off to the toilet before doing anything else.  The toilet’s water shut off should be right behind the toilet.  You don’t want to continually flush and add more water to the situation.

2)      Plumber’s secret:  Add dish soap and hot water to the bowl.  How much dish soap?  About the same amount you use to wash dishes is sufficient.  Add about a gallon of hot water to the bowl and let it sit a while so the dish soap can do its work.  Dish soap will break up anything stuck in the pipes that is organic…aka waste, hair, etc.  After 30-45 minutes, add another gallon of hot water (slowly, don’t keep filling if the water line isn’t receding).

3)      If this isn’t working, get out the trusty plunger.  Hopefully, you already have one on hand.  Make sure to use the right kind of plunger with the cup shaped end.  Another plumber’s secret:  Warm the plunger up first by running it under hot water in your utility sink.  This loosens the rubber and makes it more malleable.  When using the plunger, it should create a seal allowing no air to escape.  The plunger uses water to push/pull whatever is stuck in there.  Plunge slowly, but forcefully several times until the water recedes or you realize it’s time to try something else.

4)      Snake it out.  Most people call a plumber at this point, but it’s not always necessary.  You can either use an auger or even a straightened wire hanger to snake your toilet yourself.  If you’re not successful, the problem could lie beyond the reach of your auger or wire hanger.  At this point you may want to call a plumber.

5)      One last idea – use a wet/dry vac, set it on ‘suck’ and see if it’ll pull out whatever is clogging the toilet.  My only beef with this idea is that I don’t like the thought of Lord-knows-what coming up into my wet/dry vac.  But, since the water is turned off, you’ll only suck up what water is between the clog and the bowl.  It’s your call!

When working with toilet clogs or floods, always wear gloves and make sure the bathroom is properly ventilated.  Sewage and sewage fumes are not something you want to ever touch or inhale.  I suppose that goes without saying, but in the heat of the moment, we don’t always remember safety first!

Also – if your toilet has already flooded your bathroom floor, call in a professional to help clean it up.  Again, dealing with waste infected waters is a job that should be left to the professionals.  You don’t want to risk your health to save a few bucks.

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