Every landlord and homeowner dreads a blocked toilet, because a blockage in an S-bend inevitably means a call to your local plumber and handing over cash. But some toilet blockages are simple to fix, so this is one DIY plumbing job you can have a go at rectifying.
For a successful unblocking mission you’ll need some or all of the following: disposable rubber gloves, a plunger designed for toilets, a toilet auger or wire coat hanger, wire cutter, pliers, dishwashing liquid, vinegar, baking soda, caustic soda.
Let’s get started!
How To Unblock A Toilet With A Plunger
It’s always a good idea to have a trusty toilet plunger on hand and Bunnings sells ones specifically designed for Australian toilet bowls. Put on your rubber gloves (it’s not surgery but it could get messy) and take the toilet plunger and insert into the bowl. Plunge up and down. The Bunnings toilet plunger works well on small blockages and is supposedly ‘5 times’ more effective than normal sink plungers.
If you don’t want to buy a toilet plunger, then you can make do with other tools, such as, the toilet brush or a household mop with the head wrapped in a plastic bag. The first may dislodge minor blockages if you jiggle it around. The second can work like a plunger by creating suction.
How to Unblock a Toilet Without a Plunger
If the Bunnings plunger or DIY versions don’t work, then you could try a Kinetic toilet auger, also sold at Bunnings. The auger, aka ‘plumbing snake’ has a flexible wire cable that can reach the S bend and by spinning a handle it should hopefully dislodge a blockage.
According to the directions by Bunnings you simply “Push the shaft of the auger down the toilet until you get to the blockage. Tie off the pin to hold the auger in place and spin it around until it grabs the blockage. The auger will push the blockage further down the pipe until it’s released or it will cling onto the blockage and bring it back up the pipe.”
If you don’t want to buy a toilet auger, then you can feasibly make your own by using a wire coat hanger. Unwind the hanger until it’s straight apart from the hook at the end. Wind an old rag around the hook to avoid scratching the toilet. Insert the hanger and rattle it around until you can feel the blockage has moved. Flush the toilet.
If you’re lucky then this will do the trick. If you’re unlucky, and water is still overflowing or not draining properly you’ll have to move to phase three…..chemical assistance.
How to Unblock a Toilet With Chemicals
There are a variety of chemical methods you can try to unblock your toilet. These methods range from mild, to heavy duty.
Dishwashing detergent & hot water - pour dishwashing dishwashing detergent into the toilet bowl and allow to settle. Next pour in a bucket of hot water. Hopefully this will dislodge the blockage and the soap will help it slide down. Try again with the auger/coat hanger to see if the obstruction has loosened.
Vinegar & baking soda - these produce a chemical reaction when combined and may work to dissolve the blockage. Remove some of the water from the bowl and shake in a whole container of baking soda for optimal effect. Pour on the vinegar and let it bubble for around half an hour. Flush the toilet to see if this has worked.
Caustic soda - if the vinegar and baking soda hasn’t worked, then caustic soda might. This is highly corrosive and will burn skin, so use rubber gloves and extreme caution. Carefully add around 1 kg of caustic soda to a bucket of water and stir slowly. When fully mixed, pour into the toilet bowl, put the lid down to contain the toxic fumes and wait for an hour or so. Pour some hot water into the bowl to flush the caustic soda remnants down and hopefully your toilet will now be unblocked.
If you’ve tried everything we’ve suggested and your toilet is still blocked you may have to admit defeat and call a professional. At Bricks+Agent we make it easy for you to get the help you need from local plumbers. Simply list your job and connect with the person with the right credentials and quote for you!