How to flush a clogged toilet

How to flush a clogged toilet
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Toilet blockage can be like an annoying noisy neighbor,… or even worse. If you’re stuck with this dilemma, you’re not alone.

According to Businesswire, 76 percent of Americans in a survey with 49 percent having experienced odor caused by clogged toilets. “This is appalling”, you’ll say. But that’s the point, toilet clogs are a real menace.

Before discussing how to flush a clogged toilet, we must first determine what causes toilet blockage.

Determining the causes of toilet clogging

How to flush a clogged toilet

Clogging occurs when:

  1. The wrong substance is flushed, or forced down the toilet drain. 
  2. The water pressure is not sufficient enough to move it down the sewer.
  3. Bad plumbing.

The wrong substance is flushed, or forced down the toilet drain

There are 3 things that are allowed down the toilet drain? And they are:

  • Human excrement or urine
  • A minimal amount of toilet paper, also called tissue paper, and
  • Water.

Any thing other than the 3 mentioned above are unwanted and can potentially cause clogging when flushed down the sewer

Insufficient water pressure

The volume of water and the pressure of flushing can determine whether your excrement will flush down the drain, or be stock halfway.

This is with the assumption that you are actually flushing feces or urine. When excrement are not properly flushed down the drain, they get stuck in the sewer and limits water flow to the soakaway. 

With each occurrence, you have a pile of feces, which only get harder to flush. After a number of buildup, you get a full fledged blockage of the plumbing lines. At this point, dowsing the wc, even with a fire hose, will have little effect.

Bad plumbing

A rather common cause of clogged toilets is bad plumbing. Here is the reason why.

Sewer lines are built to take advantage of gravity. 

In most buildings, water pressure only gives the initial push to move the excrement or any other item flushed down the drain. The rest of the work is done by gravity.

To achieve this, pipes are connected to each other to form a subtle slant from the WC connection point, down to the sewage pit

When sewage lines are not properly slant, human wastes flushed down the drain only go as far as they can. Without gravity to continue the motion, they get stuck halfway. 

Each unsuccessful flush serves as a barrier to the next flush. In time there is enough buildup to stop even water flushed down the drain.

How to flush clogged toilet

How to flush a clogged toilet
  1. Determine the cause of the blockage
  2. If an item has just fallen into the toilet bowl, do not flush it down the drain, wear a latex hand glove on your hands and manually remove the item.
  3. If the item has gone a few inches in, and beyond the reach of your hands, find a long pointed item and attempt to remove it with it.
  4. If it has gone out of sight, call a plumber. It is still safe and reasonable to pull out the pipe from the toilet bowl to get the item out.
  5. If the blockage is caused by a tough solid sewage, and is halfway down the pipe:
    1. Fill the wc tank with water.
    2. Also fill a bucket (10 liters or bigger) with water. 
    3. Now flush the wc from the tank’s flush button, while at the same pouring the water from the bucket with full force.
    4. The pressure generated should push off the clog.
    5. Try steps a – d, two or more times.
    6. If the clog remains, call a plumber
  6. If the blockage is down the sewage line and the blockage is caused by other foreign matter other human pee and poo, call a plumber.
  7. Do not attempt to flush it further. Doing so will only complicate things further.
  8. If unsure what the cause of the blockage is, do not attempt to flush it. Simply call a plumber.

Is flushing always the answer

As indicated above, flushing a clogged toilet can have both good and bad effects.

  1. It can either free-up the blockage, or
  2. It can worsen it – pushing it to a difficult-to-approach point.
  3. Flushing a clogged toilet, can fill the bowl and spill over into the toilet or restroom

Here is where you need to use good judgment. If unsure what the cause of the blockage is, it is safer not to attempt a flush. Simply call a plumber, who’ll rectify things with little damage to the house and at less cost.

If an item has fallen down the sewer, inform the plumber before he attempts a repair. Tell him what has been done to attempt the rescue.

If more flushing is needed, he’ll make the call. Often though, further flushing at this point will yield little or no good.

What not to flush down the drain

How to flush a clogged toilet

Below is a list of common items flushed down the sewer that can clog your toilet fast.

  1. Excess toilet paper
  2. Sanitary pad, tampoon, etc
  3. Menstruation stained underwear
  4. Human hair
  5. Soup 
  6. Shampoo and hair gel

For detailed discussion of what not to flush down the toilet, see this article.

⚛Did you know!
Flushing a clogged toilet can send water out the toilet bowl and into your restroom?
Exercise caution when doing this.


Clogged toilet is not just a nuisance, it can also pose some health challenges. Knowing this will help you to take it seriously.

Talking about “seriously!”, do you know that the best way to free a clogged toilet is by not getting it clogged at the first place?

Many have seen that with discipline and proper care, most toilets will hardly get clogged for the duration of their lifespan.

But if yours get clogged, determine the next best action to take. Often it is not to take any action, simply call the plumber and he’ll determine the best way to free your sewage line.

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