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5 Green Ways to Unclog a Toilet

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5 Green Ways to Unclog a Toilet

Of all the misfortunes that can befall us in our everyday lives, few come with the same blend of horror and indignity as staring down into a toilet that refuses to flush. As the water level in the bowl rises ominously, we plead, we pray, we hope against hope that the problem will somehow miraculously resolve itself and we will be spared the mortification (and mess) of a spillover. And when youíre a guest in someone elseís house, you plead and pray at least 10,000 times harder.

The only consolation in this dreaded scenario is that it happens to all of us. And, in the end, it might make for a good story for your closest friends to enjoy. But take heart, there are some simple solutions for this always-untimely event. The following are 5 time-tested and green tricks that have worked wonders for many a poor soul, listed here from the easiest to the hardest.

1. Do nothing but wait, then flush.

Toilets, like all plumbing drains, work by the force of gravity. A full bowl of water exerts its own pressure on the clog and, over time, often will clear the clog for you. So if you have more than one bathroom in the house, just wait it out overnight, or as long as you can. Then, try to flush again. If itís a standard clog (too much paper, in most cases), this passive solution is surprisingly effective.

Warning: When you do the test flush after the waiting period, be ready to stop the water flow to the bowl (see Top Toilet Tip, below), just in case this method doesnít work.

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4:24AM PDT on Sep 23, 2014


12:31PM PST on Jan 19, 2012

This is what I always do and it worked great

1:05AM PDT on Nov 6, 2011

Thank you for that "Top Toilet Tip". If this unfortunate experience should ever spring itself upon me in future, I won't freeze in a state of terror.
My first experience of a blocked toilet - with rapidly rising water - as my eyes widened to size of saucers, was when I was young and working in a modern, open plan bank. I imagined Mr Flotie casually riding the gushing flood right through the open-plan office and all the clients pointing, screaming and rushing out of the building. The experience has marked my conscious for life. It was so shocking, it is still vivid in my mind.
I breathed a sigh of relief as the flushing water subsided, washed my hands and walked back to my desk with my head held high......
I needed to read this article! Everybody needs to read this article......

6:43PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

I thank-you for this informative article. I've been having clogging toilets a lot as of late. I have two toilets in my abode. One I had to replace due a cracked tank. Personally, I think I got a defective new toilet. I've been told that laws have been passed stating that only 1.5 gallons of water is used to flush instead of the 3.0 gallons old toilets use. Thus, I started using the older toilet more than I used to. Then it started to clog. Plunging, even with the plunger described in the article, is difficult for me do to health issues. I'm extremely careful of what I can control regarding what goes into the toilet to be flushed, however, there are somethings one just cannot control. To prevent a clog, I suggest try flushing the toilet while defecating to prevent an overload that will cause a clog. Also, use less toilet paper especially in newer toilets b/c with less water the toilet paper cannot start breaking down before being flushed. Lastly, no matter how big or how many times the container says the wipes inside the plastic container are flushable, they are a major cause of a clog so save yourself some trouble & pitch them in the garbage instead. I Thank-you for reading this.

10:39AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

I've always made sure to have a plunger in the can; especially with those stupid 'short flush' toilets the idiot government tried to mandate, the standard flush is often not quite enough to send the occasional log down. No chemicals; they corrode the pipes - though there are safe 'bacteria culture' chemicals that can be used to help keep iron piping open without damaging it. Soaps used to clean the bowl also work well. I abhor those stupid in-tank bowl bleach gimmicks; I'll tolerate those that hang in the bowl vice corroding the tank hardware. When emptying a portable commode bucket (used by a handicapped client), I'll help the content along by rinsing out the bucket in the bathtub hot water stream and flushing with that. The fixture usually gives little or no problem; it's a late model short flush set up for 'hold for extra flush water' service and the plunger alongside takes care of the occasional clog.

10:08AM PDT on May 30, 2011

Thank you for the ideas, I hope that I never need them. I've heard that baby wipes often block toilets, they really shouldn't be flushed.

7:13AM PST on Dec 4, 2010

You have forgotten one thing, tree roots. No flush will ever remove those. At my Mum's place we had a massive blockage. I was able to unblock temporarily sticking a hose into an outside inspection cover. But with that hose I was also able to measure where excactly the block was and dug a hole and identified the problem. The neighbour had planted trees many years ago right against the fence. The roots got into Mum's sewer. I bought a 90 mm diamond cutter and opened the sewer, bingo, with a 3 mm wire and a hook on the end I was able to drag the whole root system out, to seal the hole I made a stainless bung which I fitted with silicon and bolted with fasteners. Cost about $280, a plumber quoted a minimum of $4000.

3:12PM PST on Nov 20, 2010

Thank you for the tips! I've always been the plunger pro in my household...seems no one else knows how to plunge properly. :)

3:38PM PDT on Oct 30, 2010


5:55PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

I had guest stay over during a hurricane & the toilets were stopped up. What a nightmare!!

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