Flushed food can easily clog toilets, especially with more and more homes having water-conserving installations that use substantially less water per flush. It is for this reason that garbage disposals in sinks should be used to dispose of food, and you should never attempt to flush solid food waste down the toilet. If, however, you have found yourself in the situation where flushed food has clogged your toilet, a few tips may help you get your toilet functioning properly again.
The first tip for a clogged toilet is to flush. This may seem counterintuitive, but if some time has passed since you attempted, unsuccessfully, to flush your toilet, the clog may have dissipated simply from sitting submerged. Remove everything you can from the floor around the toilet, and attempt another flush. If the water level goes down, consider this a scary but relatively cheap lesson about what can happen when you attempt to flush food.
The first remedy you should attempt for flushed food clogging your toilet is using a plunger to free the clog. Ensure you have removed everything you can from the surrounding area, such as bath mats and towels. Use a plunger with a toilet attachment, which will resemble a small soda-can-sized mini plunger at the bottom of the main plunger. This will snake in to the toilet's drain, and create a better seal. Plunge several times, watching the water in the bowl for signs of the clog breaking up, such as bits of the food floating in the toilet or the water level suddenly falling rapidly. Attempt to flush again, and repeat.
Liquid Clog Remover
If your plunging has not broken up the clog, it is time to try liquid clog remover. This stuff will contain nasty chemicals that you don't want to get on your floor, but especially don't want to get in your eyes. Wear eye protection when using, and never plunge water that has been exposed to liquid clog remover as it can spray up and cause harm to you and your bathroom. Add the clog remover and wait the prescribed amount of time, as per the instructions, before flushing.
Once you have added liquid clog remover to your toilet, you can no longer use a plunger to attempt to aid the chemical in breaking up the clog. With some caution, however, you can use a plumber's snake. A snake looks like a long piece of flexible cable with a corkscrew at the end. Wear gloves, and use your snake to slowly push down through the toilet drain, being careful not to press too forcefully or turn it too rapidly as you may damage the porcelain. Once you believe you have passed the clog, attempt a flush before removing the snake to reduce the amount of liquid drain remover you will drip from the snake on to your floor.
Andrew Leahey has been a writer since 1999, covering topics as varied as technology how-to guides and the politics of genetically modified organisms to African food supplies. He is pursuing his J.D. while renovating an 1887 farmhouse located in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.