Problem: Toilet becomes
clogged and does not flush, or flushes only partially.
Background: Excess material may plug up a toilet, but
often nondegradable items, including children’s plastic
tub toys, combs, and other items that fall h the bowl and
clog the trapway, cause stoppages. A toilet that does not
flush properly may indicate defective toilet plumbing (Toilet
(Old-Style) Runs and
(New-Style) Runs or problems within the
drain system beyond the toilet
Pipes Are Clogged.
What to do: The first method of attack is to use a
rubber-cupped plunger, often referred to as a plumber’s
friend. To make this tool work more effectively, coat the
out side lip of its working end with petroleum jelly.
Position it in the toilet bowl, making sure the cup part
is covered by water. Plunge it vigorously for a few
minutes, then pull it away sharply. Try this several
If plunging doesn’t clear the toilet, a second approach is
to use a wire hanger or what is known as a closet or
toilet auger, a special plumber’s snake composed of a
flexible length of cable with a sharp, spiralled hook on
one end and a handle on the other.
Use an auger carefully because it can scratch the
porcelain. Push the auger into the trap while turning the
handle until it bites into the clog. When you think you
have dislodged the blockage, try flushing with wet toilet
paper in the toilet bowl. If the water goes down, but not
the paper, the drain pipe is still obstructed. Try using
the auger again. In extreme cases, you may need to have
the toilet removed to clear the blockage, or to gain
access to the drain pipe below.
Special advice: Do not use commercially available
drain cleaners, or bleach solutions in a toilet because
noxious gases may be produced if the chemicals mix. Drain
cleaners are also ineffective in toilets because the
structure of the trap prevents the cleaner from reaching
the clog. Also do not use commercially available
balloon-type devices which attach to a garden hose; the
pressure they exert may break the toilet.
Helpful hint: If you
suspect a foreign item is causing the blockage, try
holding a small compact-size mirror down in the opening,
and shining a flashlight on it to illuminate the
passageway. Then try to dislodge the object with a wire or