Most homeowners never think about the value of a plunger until they need one. And then it is a little too late to rethink the twenty-dollar investment that you decided to put off until later. All you know is that you have a clogged toilet and no time to head to the hardware store to buy a plunger without being late for work. Fortunately, there are a few simple DIY tips that might do the trick for you. And they all use everyday items that you will find around your house.
But because you do not have the best tool for the job, understand that some of these tips can be a little messy. And you should probably grab some rubber gloves, paper towels, antibacterial wipes, and even a few old towels before you get down to business.
Dish soap is not the first thing you might think of to eliminate a toilet clog. But it is designed to remove grease and goop from your dishes and cookware. In addition, it also works as a lubricant to help get that clog on its way to the city sewer main. If the toilet bowl is full or close to it, remove some of the liquid and place it in a bucket to flush later. Next, add about half a cup of dish soap to the bowl. The soap should sink out of sight and begin to coat the clog and pipe wall. Wait about 20 minutes before flushing. If you do not have enough dish soap, you can cut a bar of soap into small chunks. But after dropping the into the bowl, wait a full hour to allow the soap to dissolve and sink to the clog.
If the dish soap did not get the clog moving, pour a bucket of very hot water down the toilet. Getting hot water from your shower is ideal. Never use boiling water as it can crack the toilet bowl and compound your plumbing woes. To increase the effectiveness of the hot water, stand over the toilet and pour the bucket of water from waist level to increase its force. If the hot water is working, the toilet will begin to flush as you are pouring. If it does not flush on its own, be careful not to overflow the bowl.
THE HANGER TRICK
If the soap and hot water did not remove the clog, they hopefully loosened it up enough for a hanger to finish the process. Get an old wire hanger and unbend it to form a straight piece of wire. With the rubber gloves on, insert the wire into the toilet drain and turn it slowly as you work it down the drain pipe. When you reach the blockage, the wire will stop moving. Begin twisting the wire to break up the clog.
A BUBBLY SOLUTION
If you don’t have a hanger, then a couple of items from the kitchen might finish this project. Pour a cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl, followed by two cups of vinegar. The bubbles should break up the clog, but it can take up to 30 minutes. If the drain is not clear when you return in a half-hour, add another bucket of hot water to try and dislodge the remaining clog.
All of these processes are safe for your home’s drain lines. But if they do not work, call (701) 402-6643 for a professional drain cleaning from the licensed plumbers at A-1 Plumbing. Never try harsh chemical drain cleaners that can do far more damage than good.