How to clear a clogged toilet

How to clear a clogged toilet

clogged toilet heading image

How to clear a clogged toilet

Having a clogged and overflowing toilet is a pain in the neck any time. But if you’re unlucky enough to find your toilet blocked over the Christmas period, it can be an absolute nightmare. With the kids home from school, and your house packed to rafters with visiting friends and relatives, the last thing you want to be dealing with is an overflowing loo!

If you find yourself facing a clogged or overflowing toilet during the holidays, our team of northern beaches plumbing experts are on call 24/7 to come to your rescue. However, depending on the cause of the problem, you might be able to fix it yourself.

How to unclog an overflowing toilet:

Avoid a flood 

If you suspect you might have a clogged toilet – for instance, if it’s very slow to drain after flushing – do not keep flushing in the hopes it will clear away a blockage. This is one sure-fire way to end up with a flood! Instead, take the lid off the tank and push the flapper (which looks like a circular drain stopper attached to a chain) down to stop more water from entering the bowl. Then, turn off the water supply by locating the tap which connects the water pipe from your wall into your toilet. Turn it clockwise to turn it off.

Easy fix or expert job?

If you think the blockage is organic waste, too much toilet paper, or a cleaning cloth that accidentally got flushed, your will most likely be able to unclog the toilet yourself. However, if you think it’s something more solid, like a toy, you should give our team of Sydney plumbers a call – hard plastic or metal objects that are logged in your pipes can be pretty tricky to get out, and you could make the situation worse by trying to fix it yourself.

Prepare the area

Whenever you’re dealing with your household plumbing, there is a high chance that you’re going to end up with a lot of water splashing around! Keep the clean-up to a minimum by putting down newspaper and having old towels handy before you begin trying to fix the problem. You should also make sure you’re wearing old clothes, and rubber gloves.

Choose your weapon

To unclog your toilet, you will need a large heavy-duty rubber plunger, either the ball-shaped type or one with a fold-out rubber flange on the bottom which forms a seal. The normal circular suction-cup style drain plungers won’t usually do the trick. One great tip is to run the plunger under hot water before using it. This will soften it up, which will help with creating a good seal.

How to plunge

Put the plunger into the bowl, making sure it completely covers the hole. The plunger needs to be pushing and pulling with water, not air, so make sure there is enough water in the bowl. Start plunging slowly at first, since the first plunge will push air into the bowl. Push down, then pull up sharply to disturb the clog and loosen it. Continue vigorously pushing and pulling until the water begins to drain. It may take 15 to 20 times before the toilet unclogs.

DIY drain cleaner

If you have more than one toilet in your home and can afford to have the clogged toilet out of use for a day, try using a homemade drain cleaner. A combination of baking soda, vinegar and hot water will often work as well as a commercial cleaner. Pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar into the toilet, which will start to fizz, and pour two litres of hot (not quite boiling) water into the bowl. Let the mixture stand overnight. In the morning, the water should have drained and any clogs caused by organic material should be cleared.


Remember you should never use harsh chemical drain cleaners like Drano to clear a clogged toilet. These cleaners can slowly eat away at your pipes, and can cause heat in the ceramic bowl of the toilet that can make it crack or even explode!

If you find yourself dealing with a clogged and overflowing toilet over the Christmas period, and the situation can’t be remedied by a plunger or a the vinegar/soda solution described above, you’re going to need an expert to take a look. Our team are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – even on public holidays – and can get your toilet back into good working order in no time.

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