If You Have a Clogged Toilet
Possibly there are only a few things worse than having a completely clogged toilet. Sometimes it may be very easy to unclog it, just a few pushes with the plunger or a few flushes and it’s done. But other times you can found yourself working on the issue for long hours without any visible result. In this case, people use a wide range of methods in order to solve the problem, and when they run out of the ideas, they turn to their old friend, Google for preparing a new plan.
If you check the forums, there are tons of questions on this topic. Like for example the following:
- Can you use Liquid Plumr in a toilet?
- How to use a plumbing snake?
- How to unclog a toilet with saran wraphttp://jeffemanuel.net?
- Can you recommend me a superhero toilet cleaner?
- Does WD-40 clean toilets?
- What can I do if the paper towel clogged the toilet?
The Usage of Drano in The Toilet
Indeed, one of the most popular questions is “Can I use Drano in the toilet?”. If you found this article also because you are looking for the answer to this question, then keep reading because I will tell you if you can use it or not, and I will also explain to you the reasons behind the answer. (A little note for those who don’t know what is Drano: it is a very popular drain cleaner product in the USA, manufactured by the company S. C. Johnson & Son.)
At first, Drano seems like a reasonable alternative when you think about dissolving the clog. You may think if this product is able to clean the toughest clogs in the drains (containing hair, soap scums or leftovers) and people use it all the time in the bathroom and in the kitchen, it must work also in the toilet.
BUT it definitely would not be a wise decision, so the answer is a big NO.
Why Drano Can’t Be Used in the Toilet
Don’t use Drano’s traditional clog remover products in the toilet, because while these products are safe to be used in the kitchen or bathroom sink, they can cause serious damages in the toilet. In general, they make no harm to plastic and metal pipes, but they can crack the toilet’s porcelain bowl very easily. If it stays for too long in the toilet, the chemicals start to produce some heat while dissolving the clog and it causes that the porcelain can burst into a lot of pieces and you may also end up getting hurt.
Furthermore, if you put Drano in the toilet and it is not solving your clog issues, you may start to use a plunger or toilet auger in order to stop the blockage. But it is very dangerous because the Drano could accidentally splash on you and it would burn your skin. You should also be aware that if you mix Drano with other chemical products, toxic fumes can be created. And I guess I don’t have to explain to you why is it bad.
So for your own and your toilet’s safety, avoid the usage of Drano clog remover in the toilet. Moreover, also Drano warns everyone on their website among the Frequently Asked Questions to not use their clog remover in the toilet.
The Only Exception – Drano Max Build-Up Remover
But there is one exception. Drano has another product called Max Build-Up Remover, which you can safely use, but keep in mind that it is good only for preventing plumbing issues. If the toilet is already clogged, it is not helping. For prevention, on a monthly basis apply this product overnight or in the morning before you leave the house to go to work, and a few hours (optimally 6-8 hours) later simply flush the toilet. It will help to dissolve the toilet paper and other organic elements in the toilet.
So What Now – Other Alternatives to Unclog a Toilet
I guess because you can’t use Drano in the toilet you may still want to solve your problem. So here are some other alternatives to unclog the toilet:
- Natural home-made Drano
You can make at home a product similar to Drano, which is not just safe to use but it is also cheaper and contains only natural ingredients. You don’t need any special ingredients, only 3 things that can be found in every household: baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. First, pour 1 cup of baking soda in the clogged toilet. If the toilet is not filled with water, add some hot (but not boiling) water as well. Then wait until the baking soda sinks to the bottom. After this slowly add two cups of vinegar and let it sit overnight or for a few hours. If the water has drained, the problem is solved and the clog has dissolved. But if there is still water in the toilet bowl, try to plunge. Possibly this magic mixture and the plunger together will be able to break the blockage and then you can flush the toilet.
In the case of a clogged toilet, everybody’s first attempt is to grab the toilet plunger and start to unclog the toilet with it. However, some people don’t know how to use it correctly, so I will give you some tips about it.
First, you have to verify whether there is enough standing water in the toilet bowl. By enough water, I mean that optimally, the water should cover the head of the plunger, but if not, at least it should submerge the plunger cup’s rim. Therefore, if you think that the amount of water is not sufficient, add some water to the toilet bowl.
Maybe you would never think about it, but it is crucial to hold the plunger in the right angle. When you put the plunger in the water, avoid going straight down, because like that too much air gets trapped in the cup of the plunger and the plunging force would also get reduced. It is better if you put the plunger into the bowl in a way, that the cup gets filled with water as much as possible. Pay also attention to fitting the cup over the drain hole of the toilet, because in that way the flange goes inside the hole and a complete seal gets formed around the hole’s outside.
The next step is to hold the plunger with both hands and push it down strongly, then pull it back up. But when you pull it up, try to not break the seal around the hole. Repeat the same push and pull movement a few times (5-6 times), and pull the cup out of the hole after the last push. The goal is to loose the clog by creating alternating forces of suction and compression in the drain. Continue to push and pull until the clog dissolves and the bowl empties itself. After this simply flush the toilet. If it flushes like how it supposed to, then you can set the plunger aside and you are done. But if it seems that the toilet is still clogged, start to plunge again.
- Toilet snake or auger
Another popular tool to unclog a toilet is the toilet snake. Actually, it is a long wire coil, which is designed to go through the toilet drain and get rid of the clog. To break up the clog, turn the snake clockwise until the tip of the snake screws into the clog and breaks it up. After this, you can pull out the snake and flush the toilet to see if it really worked. Because things can get messy, I advise you to always wear gloves when using a toilet snake.
The toilet auger is similar to the snake. The difference is that the auger was designed especially to clean the toilet, so it can’t be used to unclog the kitchen or bathroom sink like the snake.
- Saran wrap/plastic wrap
There are plenty of videos all over the internet about a really clever lifehack, which can be very useful if you run out of ideas to unclog the toilet. To do the magic, you will need only a package of saran wrap/plastic wrap. First, cover the toilet bowl with the plastic wrap. Pay attention to the details, because it must be covered completely! After you covered it, flush the toilet. This should make the plastic wrap to bubble up. When this happens, push the air down forcefully. If you did it well, the clog should be forced through the pipe due to the air pressure.
- Hot water
You can try also to dissolve the clog with pouring some hot water (optimally about 10-12 cups) into the toilet. The water should be hot, but not boiling, because if it is too hot, it can even crack the toilet bowl. If you added the water, wait a few minutes, and flush the toilet. Hopefully, this little trick will break up the blockage.
- Dishwashing soap
If the hot water alone didn’t solve the problem, you can try to add some dishwashing liquid to the water. This should help to dissolve the clog in the toilet.
- Call a plumber
There are some situations when you can’t avoid calling a plumber. Maybe the problem is even bigger than you first thought. So if you used all the ideas above and your toilet is still clogged, you should definitely call a professional before you make some damage to your plumbing system.
How to Prevent The Toilet Blockage
I hope that the tips above helped you to solve your toilet issues. In order to avoid having a clog again, it is better to focus on prevention. There is a lot of things that you can do to prevent the toilet blockage. Here there are some ideas that you can easily implement in your everyday life:
- Learn what is flushable and what isn’t
It is important to know what is actually flushable and what isn’t. Many people used to flush a lot of things down the toilets because they don’t know that those materials can also contribute to clogs. Don’t throw hair, tampon, pantyliner, diaper, coffee grounds, facial tissues and plastic bags in the toilet. Maybe they won’t cause a blockage immediately, but later on, when you use the toilet properly and flush the toilet, a clog can form. Pay attention to the children as well, because they like to throw things into the toilet (especially toys).
On the other hand, toilet paper can be flushed because it disintegrates in the water.
- Flush the toilet properly
Clogs can be formed if you don’t flush your toilet properly. You should use only as much toilet paper as absolutely necessary because too much toilet paper can form a ball and it can’t be dissolved completely. The remains of this toilet paper together with the waste can easily clog the toilet. It is necessary to use every time enough water to flush the toilet. Some people prefer to save money on the water, but it is better if you know that it isn’t worth it because later you can get in trouble because of this.
- Don’t put anything on the toilet tank
Try to keep the shelf above the toilet and the toilet tank clear, because one of the most common reasons for clogs comes from simple accidents near to the toilet. It must seem very comfortable and useful for you to put the feminine hygienic products, your brush or the extra toilet paper on the shelf or directly on the toilet tank, but they can fall very easily in the toilet and can clog the toilet.
- Act immediately in case of slow drains
If the water goes down slowly when you flush the toilet, it possibly means that a blockage is forming in the toilet drain. Don’t wait until it gets clogged completely and no more water can go down. Grab the plunger and start to plunge immediately. If you are lucky, with acting quickly, you can prevent the clog.