Things You'll Need
Ball-force type plunger
Toilet auger (sewer snake)
A clogged toilet is a major annoyance. It can't be ignored since everyone uses the toilet several times a day, and problems with it can get very messy. You don't want to make a bigger mess out of a simple toilet repair, and you certainly don't want to get hurt in the process. You might be tempted to treat this plumbing fixture the same as any other, but the results can be disastrous. If you've ever unclogged a sink or tub drain, you know that pouring in half a bottle of off-the-shelf chemical drain opener usually does the trick. Don't try it with a toilet, however; you'll have to stick with old-fashioned mechanical methods for that.
Store-bought chemical drain openers are caustic. They are not designed for the twists and turns of toilet piping, so they won't fix the clog. Worse, when you try to use a plunger or a snake to remedy the problem, the chemicals can splash out of the toilet, causing serious burns. Do not use a chemical drain opener for a clogged toilet; save it for the sink.
Start with a ball-force type plunger. This type of plunger forms a stronger, more airtight seal, and with a few good, straight pumps, you can probably dislodge the clog.
If the plunger doesn't do the trick, put on some rubber gloves to protect your hands from the mess that's stopping up your toilet. Insert the end of the toilet auger (also called a sewer snake) down the toilet drain. Wiggle it around until it stops. It may stick several times before you reach the actual mass of the clog. When you think you've reached something that won't budge, spin the snake clockwise, and try to hook the clog. Then pull, and the clog should break up.
If all else fails, don't break out the chemical drain opener. Call a plumber. If you've already used drain opener, let the plumber know so he can bring appropriate protective gear before facing a toilet full of caustic chemicals.
Michelle Rosa Raybeck
Michelle Rosa Raybeck worked for a decade as a reporter/editor at North Jersey Community Newspapers in New Jersey, covering diverse topics. She has published freelance articles in the "East Coast Rocker," "Aquarian Weekly" and "Fit Pregnancy." A graduate of New Jersey City University, she has a Bachelor of Arts in English and is a certified English teacher.