What to Do About a Clogged Toilet, Sink & Other Common Plumbing Issues

Is there anything worse than a clogged toilet? First, there is the pure panic as you pray that it doesn’t spill onto your floor. Then there’s the frustration of trying to sink it successfully. And all of this doesn’t even take into account the potential for embarrassment. Fortunately, if you are dealing with this situation, we have two pieces of good news. First, you are not alone. Second, we have tips and tricks to help you.

clogged toilet

Protect your shiny bathroom by carefully handling your plumbing problems with this guide. Image: Astronaut Images / Getty Images

Quick statistics on common plumbing problems

Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a Friendly company, recently commissioned a study about this exact situation, and all the other plumbing challenges landlords and tenants face. Here are some quick facts and figures the study uncovered:

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  • Almost one in five homeowners faces a clogged toilet on a regular basis
  • 15 percent of homeowners have recently spent time fixing a clogged drain
  • Almost one in ten routinely deals with a clogged sink
  • 6 percent have low water pressure
  • 4 percent have problems with garbage disposal

Sounds familiar? Whatever plumbing problem is plaguing you, you’ll want to fix it as quickly as possible. And fear not! If you are one of the 46 percent of people who have turned to the Internet for support, we are here to help. We spoke with Mr. Rooter Plumbing to get an expert guide for you.

How to fix a clogged toilet

First things first, stay away from the handle! Continuing to try to flush the toilet when it is clogged will only leave you with a mess all over the bathroom floor.

Instead, grab your trusty plunger. Oh wait, not that one. Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, gave us a crash course in plungers. And it taught us that not all are created equal. The most common type of plunger is a sink plunger, which is a simple flat rubber cup attached to a handle. Your toilet needs something extra.

Toilet plungers have a soft rubber flange that runs the length of the inside of the plunger bowl, making them much more effective at sinking the toilet. “With the universal flanged plunger design, it can also be used in sink and toilet clogs,” says James. “But don’t use the same plunger on both surfaces! Keep one plunger strictly for the toilet and one for flat surfaces. “

clogged toilet - toilet bow

You need a plunger designed to fit well inside the toilet bowl. Image: bymuratdeniz / Getty Images

How to dive properly, as explained by a professional

Ready to dive in? Once you are assembled with your flanged plunger, James offers a step-by-step guide for optimal results:

  • “Grab your plunger (make sure you have a good connection to the plunger and toilet) and start the plunging motion with a good amount of force behind it. The goal is to drive the blockade.
  • “Be quick and repetitive with the sinking motion and watch for movement in the toilet, which means the blockage is being pushed.
  • “Make sure the water is draining before attempting to flush the toilet. Never pour a chemical drain cleaner down your toilet; Harsh chemicals can irritate your skin and eyes or damage plumbing pipes.
  • “If you can’t repair a clogged toilet on your own, contact a professional plumber for help.”

With the right tool and the right action, you’ll have that toilet cleaned in no time.

clogged toilet 1

Plumbing problems can crop up practically anywhere in your bathroom. Image: dit26978 / Getty Images

Fix other common home plumbing problems

Unfortunately, Mr. Rooter Plumbing’s survey revealed that a clogged toilet is far from the only plumbing problem you might face. Fortunately, they offer other tips and tricks that you can use.

Clear a clogged drain or clogged pipe

Whether you have a slow-moving drain or it’s completely clogged, a simple household item could be the solution. Mr. Rooter Plumbing recommends taking a wire hanger and straightening it, then creating a small hook with one end. Use that hook to fish down your drain and lift up any hair or other build-up, cleaning your pipes.

If your fishing expedition doesn’t pay off, Mr. Rooter Plumbing recommends a natural but effective way to go further in your pipes. Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar and pour it down the drain (be prepared to move quickly, because this mixture will foam up quickly). Let it sit for as long as you can. An hour works, but it’s best to stay overnight. The bubbling action will help break up any gunk in your pipes, allowing water to run freely through them.

Are you still puzzled? Read on for more guidance on cleaning your drains.

clogged toilet - aerator

Your sink aerator can be unscrewed for easy cleaning. Image: PAVEL IARUNICHEV / Getty Images

Restore water pressure in a sink

Fix low water pressure in your sink in minutes. Simply unscrew the aerator, the little cap at the end of the spout that prevents your sink from splashing. Clean it up, screw it back in and voilà! Should have improved the water pressure.

Fix a clogged garbage disposal

It’s tempting to run a chemical pipe cleaner through your garbage disposal, but it will likely be ineffective and can damage the garbage disposal itself. Instead, remove the garbage disposal and visually inspect it. You can do this by simply unscrewing it from the base of your sink. Don’t forget to unplug it from the power when doing so to keep your hands safe!

Once you’ve located your issue, safely remove it, replace the garbage disposal, and test it to confirm that you’ve found and resolved the issue.

You see, being your own plumber doesn’t have to be a huge headache or a disaster. With that said, don’t be afraid to ask the professionals for help. If the above tips don’t work, getting help from a professional can save you a lot of trouble.

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