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What to do When the Toilet Won’t Flush

When your toilet is clogged, it’s understandable that you want the answer to the question, “what to do when the toilet won’t flush,” as quickly as you can. You’re in luck- Goodbee Plumbing is here to help! While it’s always best to recruit the assistance of a professional plumber, sometimes you need a quick fix. Read on for some quick toilet fixes. 

What to do When the Toilet Won’t Flush: Quick Fixes

Sometimes it just can’t wait. For example, your toilet might be overflowing, this might be the only toilet in the house, or maybe you don’t want a clogged toilet sitting in your home while you wait for the plumber to show up. Whatever the case, plenty of at-home remedies should solve your problem.

The Plunger

A classic: the plunger is the traditional answer to the question, “what to do when the toilet won’t flush?” The most important thing to remember when operating the plunger is to ensure you get a seal over the hole in the rim before plunging. Check out our blog post to learn more about the different plungers you may want to keep in your home. 

Dish Soap

If the plunger doesn’t cut it (or you don’t have access to one), dish soap can be a helpful alternative. Dish soap is a powerful emulsifier that can help break up whatever is clogging your drains and allow the toilet to flush again. To unclog your toilet with dish soap, you should:

  1. Pour about a half-cup of soap into the clogged toilet bowl.
  2. Wait approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Flush!

If the initial try doesn’t work, you may want to try a few more times before giving up on this method. If continued attempts don’t work, try manually pouring hot water into the toilet bowl after the soap, or using this method in conjunction with a plunger, if one is available.

Drain Snake

Drain snakes help knock loose any debris that may be causing the toilet to clog, primarily if that debris is located further down the drain. Drain snakes typically come in all shapes and sizes. In general, you need to find the end of the snake that is meant to go down the drain (typically, one side is a handle, and the other is in a shape that helps unclog the drain) and stick it down the drain until you feel the object that’s causing it. From there, you rotate the snake to loosen up the debris in the drain and then attempt to flush the toilet again. 

Certain household objects can be used instead if you don’t have a drain snake. The most common is a wire hanger. Simply uncoil the hanger, curve a small hook shape on one end of it, and then push that end down the drain, operating it as you would a standard drain snake. 

Vinegar Solution

Baking soda and vinegar are helpful for more than just making volcanoes in your middle school science fair- they’re useful for cleaning and unclogging drains. To use the baking soda and vinegar method, you should:

  1. Put equal parts baking soda and vinegar into the clogged toilet bowl (typically a half cup of each)
  2. Wait for the foam to subside
  3. Flush!

If this doesn’t work initially, it may be worth trying several times. Be careful, though- the fizz could overflow the rim if you add too much or your toilet bowl is already nearly full. If you can’t get this method to work, adding some hot water may assist the solution in loosening the cause of the clog.

Various Alternatives

Your toilet is clogged- you’ve thrown everything from your kitchen and your child’s science fair at it, and it still won’t flush. If you don’t have a plunger, you can try a few alternatives.

  • Water bottle: This method is for the brave- it could get messy if you aren’t careful. To do this, you should remove as much water from the bowl as possible. Next, fill an empty plastic water bottle with warm water. From there, you should place your (gloved) thumb slightly over the bottle opening like you would a hose and shoot the water into the clogged drain. Again, it may get messy, but this could help loosen up any debris causing the clog.
  • A toilet brush: You may be hesitant to sacrifice your favorite toilet brush, but it could prove helpful as an alternative to the drain snake. Often with toilet clogs, the location of the clog itself doesn’t lie behind many twists and turns- this makes it possible to use an object like a toilet brush to loosen up whatever may be causing the clog. 

Take Caution

Mixing chemicals and other home remedies can get dangerous. It’s important to remain conscious of the substances you’re pouring into your toilet and be careful not to mix chemicals. In addition, drain snakes or other objects can damage your pipes, resulting in an issue worse than a casual clog. You should contact a professional plumber when you’re struggling to remove the problem.

To prevent issues like this in the future, check out our blog on some helpful plumbing tips to keep up with your home’s drain health. 

Hire a Professional With Goodbee Plumbing

If you’re ever wondering what to do when the toilet won’t flush, you can never go wrong with contacting Goodbee Plumbing. Trying at-home remedies is useful for a quick fix, but they can be ineffective and risky- the best way to combat drain issues is to work with a professional plumber. 

Goodbee offers periodical services or same-day support for any issues you may have. Contact us today to see how we can help, or visit our website to learn more.

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