How to Fix a Stopped-Up Toilet if a Plunger’s Not Working

Having a stopped-up toilet can be a real headache, especially if a plunger isn’t working to sort out the problem. The following will offer up a few additional solutions that could help you deal with a clogged toilet. Keep in mind that these solutions are only recommended to try after you’ve tried and failed to deal with the clog using a plunger. Make sure that you try that first before you make your way through the below list as a plunger will take care of most basic toilet clogs quickly and easily.

Consider Drain Cleaning Chemicals

If it seems like the water is moving, just not well enough, there’s the possibility that whatever is clogging your drain could be dealt with using drain cleaning chemicals. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package but usually, you’ll find these products are easy to use and work by simply being poured into the toilet. These chemicals are abrasive and able to break down blockages (especially those related to too much toilet paper).


Use a Snake

A snake, sometimes also called an augur, is a pretty nifty tool to have around your home. This device is long and skinny, and you can feed the head of it into a clogged drain. You then turn a crank until the device has reached the clog and pushed through or broken it up. All you need to do to get it out again is turn the crank the other way. If you’re on the fence about purchasing a new tool to deal with the problem, note that a snake can be used on any drain in the house (and is especially gifted at dealing with a buildup of hair in the shower drain).

Get Creative With a Wire Hanger

If purchasing a snake is out of your price range or not an option for any reason, you can make a similar tool using a wire hanger. Simply unravel the hanger so that you have a long, thin piece of metal and push that through the drain, moving it around every so often to make sure that you’re breaking apart any clogs that exist. Of course, be sure to keep a sturdy grip on the end of the hanger you’re holding—the last thing you need right now is something else stuck down your toilet.

Consider an Enzyme Product

There are products on the marketplace that work similarly to drain cleaning chemicals but are specifically designed for organic waste. The active ingredients in these products break down organic things within a drain. They won’t work for, let’s say children’s toys, but they will handle organic materials quite nicely.

Read more at flushed down the toilet.

If All Else Fails, Contact a Professional

There are other methods that people claim work like pouring a big bucket of water down the drain (a high-risk, high-reward option because there’s a chance your toilet is just going to overflow if the force of the water can’t push out whatever is trapped) or using a wet vac (which is maybe the most disgusting option we’ve come across—especially because you’re going to need to get the water out of the vacuum when you’re done) but these risks might cause more damage than you’d like. If the above tips haven’t worked, you might need to reach out to a plumbing company that is servicing homes and businesses. Likely if the above tips have failed your clog is a serious problem. You don’t want to do further damage to your plumbing system (or end up with water damage to your home).

If There is a Sewage Smell Call a Professional ASAP

If in addition to the stopped toilet you notice a nasty sewage smell you should skip all the above steps and reach out to a professional straight away. Septic tank issues can sometimes result in the leaking of sewer gases into the air. These gases are extremely toxic. Make sure that your family and pets have somewhere else they can be while the professionals work on this problem.

With the above tips, you should be able to find a solution that works for you and your toilet. Of course, plumbing is a skilled trade and if you feel uncomfortable tackling any of the above suggestions on your own, there’s no shame in reaching out to an expert. In all areas of home maintenance and repair, if you don’t feel comfortable or safe doing a task, don’t do it. Always listen to your instincts where safety risks are concerned.

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