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How to fix a clogged toilet using a plunger

This article explains the right technique of using a plunger to fix a toilet. A right type of plunger will enable a good seal between it and the drainage hole of a toilet bowl. The right technique adopted will then enable drainage of clogged materials and the toilet gets fixed.


A clogged toilet can often lead to a morning household disaster. We all have experienced and gone through this common mishap. There are many causes behind clogging. The most important one is decreased water pressure. The material does not move further down because of the low water pressure. This results in clogging of a toilet. Another important cause is built up of toilet paper and other such materials, over a period of time. Clogging needs to be removed as soon as possible to prevent flooding. We can avert it by doing simple tricks. We can clear clogged toilet without the help of a plumber, except if the clog is very severe. Most of the clogs which are near an opening of the toilet drain do not require the help of a plumber. If the clog is built up deep in the pipes then there is a need to call for help. There are various tricks which can unclog it without flooding the bathroom.

Prevent overflowing of water

When there is a clog formation in a toilet, water along with waste materials does not get flushed properly and water level keeps rising. Remove the lid from the tank and close the toilet flapper. By doing this, we will be preventing water from entering the toilet bowl. The toilet flapper is the one which allows water from toilet tank to enter into the toilet bowl. The flapper is attached to a chain and it appears like a circular drain. More the water level in the toilet bowl rises, more water spills out and overflowing with water can be a mess. To avoid this, we need to close the toilet flapper. Also, we can turn off the knob and shut down the water supply completely which means that we will be making sure that no water is allowed to enter inside toilet tank or toilet bowl. This is a more efficient trick which will prevent overflowing.

If the toilet does not get properly flushed, first or second time then we need to stop flushing. It does not mean that we need to keep flushing it again and again. Within first time itself, we need to understand that the reason behind improper flushing is clogging in the toilet and need of the hour is to unclog it. More flushing can only result in overflowing of water which in turn can lead to the creation of a mess. If overflowing has already created a mess in the bathroom then open bathroom windows or turn on ventilation fan to get rid of foul odors. In case overflowing has not taken place then there is every chance that things may get messy. So it is necessary to prepare bathroom floor for the same. Place paper towels, newspapers and old clothing in case things get messy. These things will soak up the overflow of water and it will be easy to clean up later.

Hygiene related preparations

Toilets are unhygienic and getting rid of the clogged toilet is not a that difficult task, but still, it can lead to spillage and thus we need to prepare ourselves to protect from germs. A pair of rubber gloves will do the trick. Irrespective of whether clog is serious or not, protecting hands with a pair of gloves is a must. Take care that gloves reach the elbows. Wear old clothes which we no longer use. In case there is a spillage, we would not like our new clothes from getting dirty. If clog is a little serious type and bathroom is filled with nasty odor then wear a mouth mask which will not only minimize the nasty odor also provides extra safety from toilet germs

Look into the cause of obstruction

Look into the reason behind clogging. Sometimes we can clearly see a material clogging the toilet bowl. Just reach out and remove it and the problem will get solved immediately. Water will start getting flushed normally. Sometimes the material gets stuck so trickily that it poses difficulty in removal, especially with hands. Reach for a pair of big tweezers or other such holding devices and do not go for treatment with chemicals, enzyme methods or plunging method.

Make use of plungers

Almost 90% cases of the clogged toilet can be solved by using a plunger. When purchasing a plunger, make sure that it has extension flange which helps to fit a toilet in a better way. This flange is connected on the end to a bell-shaped rubber. Purchase heavy-duty rubber plunger. It should be either ball-shaped or fold-out type. Rubber flange should form a seal which will help in unclogging and thus cheap suction-type plungers which are usually small in size should not be purchased. These kinds of plungers usually do not work well. If during the time of crisis, a good plunger is not available and the old one is inefficient in making a tight seal then wrap an old piece of cloth on the end of the plunger which will somewhat help in preventing leaking and also helps in the formation of the seal. Another effective tip to help in the formation of the seal is to run plunger under hot water which will thereby help it to soften up and create a seal. Folding flange of the plunger back into the bell itself will do the whole trick of unclogging the clogged toilet. It can also be used to drain tubs and unplug sinks.

Fixing a clog in the toilet with a plunger

Insert plunger inside a clogged toilet bowl and see that plunger is efficiently covering the hole. It should form a nice seal with the exit hole of a toilet bowl. It is important that some water is present in the bowl. Add some water if necessary. When the plunger is pulled in and out along with some water, only then it shows its effectiveness in unclogging. It is of no use when it is simply pulled in and out along with air. At the onset, pump the plunger slowly. This is because the first plunge will push lots of air inside a toilet bowl. At the onset, the bell of the plunger is filled with air. Plunging hard will pull the air back around the seal. This can result in spilling of water and to prevent this, the first plunge should always be slow and gentle. With the help of plunger, pump over the toilet hole. In order to loosen the clogs, push down the plunger and then sharply pull it up. The purpose is to force water inside and out of the drainage hole of toilet sink to loosen clogged debris. Later vigorous pumping needs to be done. Vigorous pushing and pulling will drain the water.

Time is taken to fix the clogged toilet actually depends on the type and size of clog that is formed. Sometimes a few pumping done with plunger can drain away the whole water. Sometimes clog does not soften easily and repeated flushing and dozens of plunging efforts need to be done which then ultimately will help in getting rid of clogs. Sometimes plunging drains the bowl but still, water does not flow very freely due to the presence of clog. In such cases, fill the toilet with water slightly in an excess amount and then do the plunging. Repeated plunging with the slightly excess amount of water will soften the clogs and drainage will take place effectively. The force of plunging should also be changed frequently. Try plunging vigorously and then in between push gently. It is not enough if we just keep making downward pull. During plunging, pull back should also be done correctly to get rid of clogs quickly.


Clogged toilet is the most common problem we all have encountered at some or other point in our lives. 90% of the times clogged toilets can be cleared by us and the rest 10% where the problem lies in drainage pipes, demand the need for a plumber. Next time when there is a clogged toilet, fix it with the help of plunger which is easily found in each and every household. Instead of panicking and making a call to the plumber, make use of the plunger and fix the clogged toilet. First and foremost rule of plunging is that plunger so used should form a good seal between it and exit hole of a toilet. Use funnel-cup plungers as they are the most effective ones. Next important trick or rule is to use plunger correctly. Most of us only push it downwards effectively, but we do not make upward movements with the same amount of force. Upward strokes are as important as downward strokes are. Purpose of push and pull movement is to push water in and out of the drainage hole of toilet sink. This movement will soften any clogged material and once clog gets drained then water present inside the toilet too drains easily. Prepare the bathroom by covering the tiles with old newspapers or tissue papers so that if spillage takes place then bathroom tiles do not get messy and clean up afterward can be handled easily. A plunger is a cheap and easily available tool which comes in handy when toilet gets clogged. Use it properly and solve the problem instantly to get rid of a clogged toilet. To know how to deal with a clogged toilet without the help of plungers, go through How to fix a clogged toilet and How to fix a clogged toilet using drain cleaning agents.

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