How to unblock a toilet

If your toilet isn't flushing properly let us show you how to fix the problem.

Although embarrassing to admit, blocked toilets are a common occurrence in the household, and in 2014 we unblocked 6,373* toilets.

A common cause for a toilet to become blocked is that there is too much toilet paper or heavy loads attempting to travel down the pan. Although a messy job, a blocked toilet fix can be relatively easy.

If you find yourself with a blocked toilet, remember do not keep trying to flush the toilet in an attempt to clear it. This could cause the toilet to overflow and flood the bathroom!

To draw out the blockage and encourage it to go down the pipes, follow these steps:

  • Your best weapon of choice is a plunger. If your plunger is too short, a mop with a plastic bag tied around the head can be used as an alternative and may reach further down the toilet pan.

  • Press your plunger (or makeshift plunger) down firmly into the toilet and then pull upwards slowly.

  • Repeat this at least 10 times until you hear water going down the pipes.

If the plunger doesn't solve the problem you will need to check your drains for blockages.

If your drain inspection cover is outside, lift the one nearest the pan and look around for blockages.

Chamber is blocked

If you find that the chamber is blocked you will need to clear the obstruction in the pipes or around the drain. Use a specialist rod or wire (or even a long piece of wood) for this job.

Chamber isn't blocked

If the drain is unblocked then the blockage must be located somewhere between the chamber and the pan. In most cases the blockage is found at the pan itself.

If the blockage still hasn't been dislodged you'll need to return to the toilet bowl.

  • Insert a flexible drain cleaning wire down the WC pan

  • Get someone to observe the drain chamber to see if the item causing the blockage passes through

  • Remove the item immediately as it could cause another blockage further down the system, which may be more difficult to unblock and require professional drain unblocking services

If you still haven't dislodged the blockage, a chemical drain cleaner may help. Follow the instructions carefully and remember these products need to be handled safely.

If none of these solutions work then you'll need to enlist the help of a professional drainage engineer to fix the problem.

* HomeServe claims data 2014

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