Unblocking a toilet: it ain't pretty, it ain't fun
Let's face it, unblocking a toilet is one of the least glamorous tasks that exists. The domain of us normal people, you can hardly imagine a celebrity getting down on their hands and knees to unblock a toilet.
All this is reason enough to hone your technique so you can get the job over with quickly and effectively, and in the end be flush with success.
Why is it blocked?First off, you want to understand why it is blocked - and usually the answer is some strange shaped object is blocking the toilet, or those 100 sheets of toilet paper someone just used.
Since you need to get right in, it is essential for hygiene reasons to get on a pair of thick rubber gloves that go up to the elbows. And don't just try to flush it away - as this is more likely to get that lovely water from the toilet onto the floor than to solve the problem. In fact, it is a good idea before unblocking the toilet to get some sheets of kitchen paper around the toilet in case water does flow out.
The next step is to see how high the water level is - if too high, get a jug you don't want to drink out of anymore and decant across water from the toilet into a bucket, which can be used to water the plants in the garden - lucky things! Once the water level is OK it is time to take the plunge (to the toilet).
Your plunger is the key tool you need to unblock the toilet, so get your technique right. This means that you press down quite hard and pull up steadily and quite slowly, don't whack it up and down like its going out of fashion as this will be less effective. After a while you should hear that the water is starting to flow down again - the blockage is removed. Keep doing it to ensure that the blockage goes all the way down through the pipes.
Once the blockage is removed well done - toilet unblocked with minimal pain if not in a graceful manner. Wash your plunger off - think where it has been, poor thing!
If this plunger method doesn't work at all, there are other options. There are gadgets you can get in DIY stores that have a few different flexible extensions that can be used to try and remove the blockage, some of which are suspiciously like an unfolded coat hanger which may be a more economical method of trying to get at the blockage and try to poke or dislodge it.
Once you are totally done, it's time to flush. If all is OK well done - if not then carry on with the plunger or other methods of choice.
Finally, it is always a good idea to disinfect the toilet once you have removed the blockage to get it back to a relatively sanitised condition. Of course toilets are supposed to be cleaner than the earpiece of your phone or the surface of your desk at work by hundreds of times! Nice.
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You are WRONG on your technique!
Press the plunger down SLOWLY to remove air from inside of it and prevent that annoying splash effect. Then pull up Fast but with short strokes so the plunger does not lose vacume. The blockage will gently "uncompress or roll back" with this action. Your method makes it form a tighter plug but it will eventualy get sucked back into the plunger causing additional cleaning of the plunger insides.
Also, avoid TP like Charmin. I have found it to be the worst culprit in clogging these new low flow toilets.
Try the method and you will never go back to the other way again.
Date of comment: Wed, Aug 5th 2009
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