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Plumbing Tips - How to Unblock a Toilet

Author: Lisa Jeeves
by Lisa Jeeves
Posted: Oct 28, 2013

Everyone uses the toilet at some stage in their life. That’s just a fact. Whether it’s a hole in the ground or one of those high-tech Japanese toilets that talk to you, we’ve all been there and we’ve all got a horror story about dealing with phantom unmentionables the size of tennis balls left by an unknown assailant in a dingy hall of residence. Haven’t we?

Unblocking a toilet when you know what lurks down there is an unenviable task. But a blocked toilet is no good to anyone. Removing a solid build up of human waste, like a work of art, takes time and patience. You can’t force it out. Here are some useful plumbing tips for dislodging the most foul of domestic blockages.

The Cause

You should not flush anything down the toilet bigger than the average human stool. Blocked toilets are usually a result of “large foreign items” being inappropriately disposed of. Here is a list of things you should never flush down a toilet:

  • Nappies• Sanitary towels• Children’s toys, such as toy tractors or completed Lego pirate ships• Any pet larger than a small goldfish/gerbil etc (a garden burial is more honourable, and do make sure your pet is not just hibernating first.) Also, baby crocodiles that get flushed away have been known to seek revenge.

Don’t keep flushing it

If you suspect your toilet is blocked don’t - we repeat, don’t - keep flushing it. You may only make things incredibly worse for yourself, your flooring and any new clothes you might be wearing.

Tools You’ll Need

To successfully unblock a toilet without the need of a professional plumber, you need the following provisions:

Dependable plunger;Rubber gloves (always have a spare at hand, it will get messy);Old newspaper to catch any spillages/eruptions of sewage;Bucket (for water and also in case the stench gets too much for you);Wire/coat hanger;Cleaning product - strength depending on severity/stubbornness of blockage.


One of the plumbing tips you probably don’t need reminding of is to put the gloves on. Doing this with your bare hands will destroy your soul. Place the newspaper round the bowl to mop up any spills.

Remove some water and press the plunger firmly down, lifting slowly up. Repeat this until the water starts draining. It may take up to 10 goes but it will work providing the blockage isn’t phenomenally bad.

The Coat Hanger Method

If the plunger fails, fear not. A humble coat hanger may be your saving grace. Unravel the hanger and slowly feed it down into the u-bend. Swivel it about a bit until the blockage gives way. Then flush your toilet and watch the hanger’s magic touch unfold before your very eyes. If this fails, try a “flexi snake,” available at all good plumbing stores.

As ever, if you need more plumbing tips, don’t be afraid to consult a local expert who may be able to give you further advice for a nominal fee.

Of course, the best way to unblock a toilet is not to flush massive things down it. General rule: if you can’t eat it in one sitting, it’s probably too big for a toilet.

Sarah Saadoun works for HMS Plumbing, a family-owned business in Manassas, Northern Virginia. If you need plumbing tips, Herve and his dedicated employees at HMS are proud to be serving the plumbing needs of Northern Virginia residents and businesses. For reliable Fairfax plumbers HMS Plumbing is your first choice.

About the Author

Writer and Online Marketing Manager in London.

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Author: Lisa Jeeves

Lisa Jeeves

Member since: Oct 18, 2013
Published articles: 4550

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