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Common Causes for Clogged Toilets and Their Solutions

May 25, 2023
A black plunger suctioned to the top lid of a white porcelain toilet.

Flushing toilets are one of the greatest modern conveniences—that is, until they stop working properly. Not only is a clogged toilet frustrating to deal with, but it can also be unsanitary. A backed-up toilet may overflow, which can cause wastewater to spill out of the bowl and onto your bathroom floor. Needless to say, it's crucial to give a toilet clog the attention it needs as soon as possible.

Before you tackle the issue, though, it's helpful to understand the most common causes of clogged toilets and their solutions. To help you get to the root of the problem and figure out the next steps, let’s explore:

  • Common items that cause toilet clogs when flushed
  • Other common causes of toilet clogs
  • How to fix a clogged toilet yourself
  • When to call the professionals

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Our experienced, licensed, and insured plumbers offer speedy toilet repairs. In fact, we can fix most clogs in just 1 hour on average. So, for fast response times, clear pricing, and our famous Red Carpet service that keeps your home clean and protected, call today or book service online today. Our friendly customer service team makes scheduling easy!

Common Items That Cause Toilet Clogs When Flushed

Many clogs are caused by flushing inappropriate items down the toilet. While toilets are designed to flush waste and small amounts of toilet paper, they aren't built to handle certain hygiene products and other items. Some everyday objects that should never be flushed down the toilet include:

  • Too much toilet paper
  • Baby wipes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Q-tips & cotton balls
  • Dental floss
  • Hair
  • Foreign objects (e.g., a child’s toy)

Other Causes of Toilet Clogs

In addition to items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, clogged toilets can also result from other issues. Below are some of the most commonly reported plumbing concerns that can lead to a clogged toilet.

Poor Flushing Pressure

When your toilet doesn't have enough flushing power, it'll struggle to send waste and paper down the drain. Common reasons for poor flushing pressure include a worn-out flapper, a clog in the trap, a faulty float, and blocked rim jets. Examining your toilet tank can help you identify the reason for the low pressure and find the right solution, such as unclogging the trap or adjusting the float.

Blocked Plumbing Vent & Sewer Gas Buildup

A blocked plumbing vent (sometimes called a “stink pipe”) is another potential cause of a clogged toilet. If clogged with debris, it will impede sewer gases from escaping, which can impact the pressure inside your toilet’s flushing system and cause a clog. Depending on where your vent is located, you can try feeding a plumbing snake down the length of the pipe to clear the clog and get everything up and running again.

Damaged Sewer Line

Sewer line damage can be caused by various issues, such as tree root invasion, pipe corrosion, and damaged pipe joints. If you're experiencing any kind of damage to your sewer line, you’re likely to have multiple clogged drains in your home, including your toilets. If this is the case, we recommend calling in a professional plumber for a video camera inspection. They’ll be able to identify the location of the pipe damage and recommend repair or replacement options.

How to Fix a Clogged Toilet Yourself

A hand holding a black plunger over the inside of a toilet bowl

Before you call an expert to look at your clogged toilet, you might be wondering if you can attempt to fix the problem on your own. The answer is that it depends on the severity of the issue. While minor problems can usually be solved in a few simple steps, more extensive damage will likely require an outside expert.

A plunger is one of the most common ways to fix a clog. Plunging about 5 to 10 times is usually enough to clear a clog. When using a plunger, alternate between lighter and heavier strokes to achieve maximum effectiveness.

If the clog is stubborn, you might want to use a drain snake instead. Sometimes referred to as an auger, a drain snake can help you remove whatever is clogging your toilet.

Avoid pouring harsh chemicals down the drain to unclog the toilet. These chemicals usually take a long time to clear a clog and often do more harm than good.

When to Call in the Professionals

Despite your best efforts, some clogs are too stubborn to handle alone. If the clog won't budge even after using a plunger or toilet snake, it's highly recommended to call an expert to solve the problem. Professional plumbers have years of experience under their belts and a myriad of advanced tools to tackle any clog. While you only have certain items on hand, pros are well-equipped with various tools and techniques to do the job quickly and efficiently.

Need help with your toilet clog? Call Jon Wayne.

With fast response times and over 200 trucks on the road, you can expect our plumbers to arrive at your home quickly and on time. Call us today and see why thousands of fellow Texans have rated us 5 stars!

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