It's a fact of life that from time to time, a toilet can get clogged. But when your toilet becomes blocked and you're in an emergency, it can be quite a terrifying situation. Toilet snakes and plungers can be very useful in times of stress, but if you find yourself without one, there are other options. Making homemade toilet snakes out of household items can be a great emergency option for unclogging a toilet in a pinch.
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Unclogging a Toilet
Remember to wear rubber gloves when you're working around a toilet. Prior to going in with a drain snake, it's a good idea to first try to clear the toilet of any major clogs. Squeezing a good amount of regular dish soap down your toilet bowl can work wonders on clogs caused by an excess of toilet paper. You can also try loosening your toilet's clogs by adding hot water into your bowl. Make sure the water is not boiling, as this can crack your porcelain.
If dish soap isn't working, you can go in with a commercial drain-cleaning product. You must empty your toilet of excess water and adequately ventilate your room before using any of harsher chemicals to clear a toilet clog. Make sure you follow the manufacturers' instructions when using any drain cleaner.
If these methods of dissolving your blockage aren't working, a plunger is a great next step. Submerge your toilet plunger under the water in the bowl. Then use it to form a vacuum over the clogged pipe. A persistent up and down motion can be very efficient at shifting blockages. If this works to drain your toilet bowl, you may not need to go in with a toilet snake at all.
Homemade Toilet Snakes
If other toilet unclogging methods haven't worked, snaking your toilet could be the way to go. You can purchase readymade toilet snakes, but if you find yourself without one in an emergency situation, you can create one using regular household items too. Toilet snakes work by reaching further down your drain and dislodging deeper blockages, so finding something with reach and leverage is key.
The most common item recommended to create a homemade toilet snake is a wire clothes hanger. Unwind the triangular part of your hanger, but leave the hook on the end in place. Feed this down your toilet and once your hit resistance, pull back. The hook should grab onto your clog and help loosen it. Once the water starts to drain from your toilet bowl, you'll know your blockage has been broken up.
It's worth bearing in mind that a wire clothes hanger can potentially damage the porcelain of your toilet bowl. If you're concerned about your toilet surface, it may be best to call a professional to unclog your drain. But if the blockage has reached emergency status, a wire hanger could be a real lifesaver.
Preventing Toilet Clogs
Once you've cleared your toilet blockage, it's a good idea to try to prevent these blockages from happening again in the future. Be very careful about what you flush down your toilet, as items like wipes and female sanitary products can be very harmful to your drain.
Keeping your toilet at a good level of cleanliness can also help prevent problematic blockages. Make sure you're keeping your drain clear by giving it regular treatments, whether you suspect a blockage is forming or not. Using a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar as a homemade toilet cleaner can help keep your drain clear and clog-free.
- Amarco Plumbing: How to Snake a Toilet With a Hanger
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- Bob Vila: The Best Drain Snakes for Unclogging Pipes
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- Family Handyman: How to Unclog a Toilet With a Drain Snake
- Terry Love: Blocked Toilet, Tried Everything
- Bob Vila: No Plunger Needed: 7 Easier Ways to Clear a Clog
- Bob Vila: 10 Things Never to Flush Down the Toilet