How To Clear A Simple Toilet Blockage Before Calling The Plumber

2 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog


There are few things more unpleasant or inconvenient than a blocked toilet.  There are a number of possible reasons for your loo refusing to clear; a blockage within the loo itself, a blockage in the pipework a little further down, a blockage deep within the domestic pipework or in drainage system outside your property.  In the case of the latter two options, you'll need to call the plumber to fix the problem.  However, you can often eliminate the first two options yourself, before you call the plumber out.

Here's what to do:

The toilet

If the toilet pan doesn't clear quickly when you flush, or the water level actually rises or overflows, there's a blockage somewhere that you'll need to clear. 

  1. The first thing to do is see if the blockage is within the toilet pan itself, and for this you'll require a large toilet plunger and a pair of rubber gloves.   
  2. Put on your rubber gloves to protect your hands from soiled waste in the toilet.  Hold the toilet plunger so that the rubber end is covering the waste outlet situated at the bottom of the toilet pan.  Pump the plunger vigorously several times to try to clear the blockage.   
  3. As soon as the blockage has been cleared, the water should rapidly clear away.  Flush the toilet to make sure the obstruction has gone completely.

If this method doesn't work, try the following:

  1. Take a large cupful of shampoo or washing-up liquid and pour it into the toilet bowl.  
  2. Pour a large bucketful of hot water into the toilet bowl.  Don't use boiling water as this could crack the porcelain toilet pan.  
  3. Allow the soap and hot water to get to work on the blockage for half an hour or so, then flush the toilet.  You might need to flush a few times, but this should clear the blockage.

The pipework

If neither of the above methods works, the problem may be in the pipes just a little further down from the toilet.  For this job, you'll need to hire a rodding auger (plumbing snake) from your local tool hire shop.  A rodding auger is a long, flexible rod that you can use to access any blockages further along the pipes.

  1. Assemble the auger by slotting the sections together as per the supplier's instructions.  Push the auger down the toilet pan into the pipe until you can feel it pushing against the obstruction.  
  2. At the end of the auger is a claw which is controlled by a winding mechanism.  When you've reached the blockage, turn the winding mechanism to activate the claw.  This should enable you to grab the blockage, pull it out and clear it. 

In conclusion

The above methods should work to clear a simple toilet blockage.  However, if you're still experiencing problems, it's time to call out your local plumbing contractor to investigate the problem.  It's likely that there is a blockage in the soil pipes outside your property, and this is a job for a professional.