Unclog A Toilet Without Chemicals
If you’ve got a clogged toilet it may be tempting to use a chemical cleaner to try and clear away the clog. But talk to any plumber and they’ll say that it’s not a good idea. Putting any environmental considerations aside, toilets are designed with built in traps – these are the S, U or J bends in the pipe after the drain hole – and chemical cleaners cannot effectively penetrate these traps. But don’t worry there are a number of other things that you can do to unclog a toilet, which we’ll address below.
The first thing to do is nothing. Yes you’ve read that right. Most soft clogs will clear away in time. The toilet paper and human waste that makes up most clogs will usually break up and dissolve away on its own. You can help this process along by adding a few cups of hot water to the bowl. Remember not to use boiling water as this has been known to crack the porcelain due to a sudden temperature change.
If the clog is not clearing on its own, it’s time for the plunger. Specially designed toilet plungers are your best option, as they create a better seal over the toilet drain hole and exert more pressure, but a standard sink plunger will also work with most clogs. Place the rubber cap over the drain hole, press down slowly to remove all the air in the cap and pull up quickly. Do this as many times as necessary. Then flush the toilet a few times, wash the plunger by holding it in the bowl under the flush water and put it away.
It’s best practice to try and pull the deposit back up into the bowl rather than pushing it out along the toilet trap. This is because many toilet traps become narrower as they join the main drain. Also the further down the trap the clog is lodged the harder it is to exert pressure on it with a plunger.
If you’ve got a stubborn clog on your hands that is not clearing away despite your plunging efforts, you may need a toilet augur or plumbers snake to finish off the job. These cost around $40 and consist of a flexible cable that retracts into a hollow tube. At the end of the cable is a coil shaped end that is designed to drive into the toilet clog. The cable is extended and retracted by turning on a handle.