I recently had a family member with some toilet problems; they had two clogged toilets and were desperate need to get it fixed, ASAP. They insisted that they had tried several times to unclog the toilets with a plunger, and were nervous that the clog was a sign of a more costly plumbing issue.
Within 10 minutes of arrival I had unclogged both toilets. No chemical, no special equipment required. I used nothing more than a common household tool; A PLUNGER. I see these types of cases time and time again. So I decided to put together a few tips on how to correctly plunge your toilets to save you the time and money of hiring a plumber.
Please note that the following tips are for clogs that have already cleared the toilet drain. If you are able to see the obstruction, it's best to put on a pair of rubber cleaning gloves and remove it by hand. Forcing the obstruction down with a plunger could result in a more costly removal.
1. FLUSH ONLY ONCE
Once you notice the toilet is clogged do not flush again. Flushing more than once can cause the toilet to overflow. If nessasary turn the water valve off (the shut off valve is usually located behind or to the side of the toilet)
2. CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLUNGER
A cup plunger is the most common plunger found in homes. However it is not the appropriate plunger to use on toilets. Cup plungers are designed to sit on a flat surface, i.e. sinks, tubs, showers.
Flange plungers are specially designed to use on a curved surface, when in use the suction will seal around the bottom of the bowl to maintain the appropriate vacuum and pressure during the plunging action.
3. USING THE PLUNGER
Slowly insert the plunger alowing the air to escape the plunger (you want to be plunging with water not air), and press the plunger firmly to bottom of the bowl, the plunger should be completely covered with water (Add water from a bucket if nessasary to the point it is normally after a flush). Once you have creted a seal, plunge the handle of the plunger up and down rapidly, but don't be too aggressive. It is more the suction than the pressure, constantly disturbing the clog in both directions will gradually cause it to be loosened.
4. TAKE YOUR TIME
Clogs can take time to loosen, if you notice the water drains the bowl but the clog is still blocking a free flow down the drain, fill the bowl with water again. Then plunge again until the water flows free.
5. CLEAN UP
Toilets contain a lot of germs, so once the clog is cleared. Disinfect the toilet bowl with a disinfectant cleaner. If you used rubber gloves and/or the flange plunger, be sure to disenfect properly so as not to spread germs. Flange plungers can hold water inside of it after plunging. Be sure to hold it over the toilet, turn it a slightly, and gently shake it before removing it.
Toilets can clog for many different reason, the most common culprit is the use of too much toilet paper. However if you experience clogged toilets frequently or are unable to clog the toilet with the tips above. It may be time to call a professional.