This is not a magic wand. It is also one of the least effective methods of unblocking a toilet. But feel free to add this to your arsenal of emergency measures to unclog your toilet.
I introduce to you the saran wrap!
|Saran wrap is a thin file of transparent nylon, used to seal and secure pallets, food and similar products during transportation. They are usually sticky on one side of the wrap and normal on the other. This one sided stick property allows it to wrap items without needing an extra application of gum or other sealing material.|
Alright you must have heard a bit about it. Or maybe watched some exergerated youtube videos explaining it as the holy grail of toilet unclogging. It is not.
But here is how it works:
How to unclog a toilet with saran wrap
- Unwrap a saran wrap from its coil.
- Wrap the saran wrap around the toilet bowl 2 or 3 times. Ensure you wrap it tightly and without any gap in each layer of wrap.
- Flush the toilet using the flush handle or button.
- Wait for the pressured water to come up, then press the saran wrap down with both open palms.
- There’ll be bubbles felt under your palm as the toilet attempts to flush, hold down this bubble too.
- This should create a flush. Continue holding down until the flush complete
- Wash palms after this. Or if a glove is worn, wash reuseable gloves or discard single-use gloves.
How the saran wrap technique works
It works on a basic rule of physics: when pressure mounts within an enclosed container, it looks for a vent or opening to release this pressure and form a balance with the outside environment.
If the enclosed container or any part of it is not strong enough to hold the pressure, the weakened section burst open to release the pressure.
When you flush, there are 3 possible areas where the pressure can release from:
- The water jet opening
- The bowl top opening, and
- The sewer line.
Have this at the back of your mind as we explain the process that causes the flush again.:
- When you wrap the toilet bowl with the wrap, you prevent more air from entering the bowl and pressure from leaving it.
- After initiating a flush, there is an downward rush of water into the bowl from the water jet (this prevents pressure from leaving from the jet opening).
- But because the bowl already contains liquid (i.e toilet water ), and air, the water must find a way of displacing either the water or the air in the bowl.
- With the the flushed water rushing into the bowl, pressue is created that must be released.
- There are 2 possible areas from which the pressure can be released:
- The bowl’s top opening, and
- The sewer line
- This pressure must be released. With the saran wrap blocking the release of pressure from the top, and your palms pushing the pressured liquid down. There is only one exit for the pressure to release: the sewage pipe.
- The combination of gravity, and the pressure produced becaused of the absence of opening at the top of the bowl forces the clog open, pushing the clogged materials down the only opening left: the sewage pipe.
- Boom!!! Toilet clog flushed!
How effective is the saran wrap technique
The saran wrap technique is arguable the least effective to unblock toilets. This is because of a simple reason. The whole idea is based on water pressure. And the pressure generated is usually not strong enough to push tough clogs down the drain.
Saran wraps are usually effect for light clogs. If the blockage is caused by a hard extrement, then maybe… I repeat, maybe the pressure will be able to flush it down.
Otherwise, you’ll need something more than a few pressured.
As an alternative. Manually pouring a large amount of water from a bucket should produce better result in clearing mild clogs.
Disadvantages of the saran wrap unclogging technique
- Low success ratio
- Not cost effective
- Only works on mild clogs
- Seal might break while pressing down, thereby causing water to leak from the top.
Tips to improve the effectiveness of the saran wrap
As a standalone technique, the saran wrap is the not the most effective way to unclog your toilet. But you can improve it’s success rate, by combing it with other clogging methods.
For example you can apply some dish soap to the clogged toilet before wrapping it. Let is seat for 30 minutes, then flush, and apply some push.
With the extra waiting time softening some of the clogged materials and the soap lubricating the walls around the clogged particles, you’re are likely to get a better result.
This technique can also be used in combination with coke technique. For a discussion on how to unclog a toilet using coke.
As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t rely heavily on this technique. But by all means, it is worth knowing, because in the heat caused anxieties caused by a clogged toilet, the least of your worries is which technique actually solved the problem. As long the problem is solved every legitimate technique to unblock a clogged toilet is welcome.