What To Do When Your Toilet Won’t Flush?

There is never a good time for your toilet to clog. A clogged toilet can be humiliating, whether you’re at home or (God forbid) someplace else. Clearing a clogged toilet can be tough, and it gets even more difficult when you don’t have a plunger. Don’t worry; we’ll walk you through the process.

Toilet, not flushing? Here’s what to do

A poor flush indicates that the toilet drain is partly or entirely plugged. The majority of clogged toilets are referred to as “slow drainers.” In other words, flush water partly fills the bowl but does not rush out to wash away the waste. The water level stays elevated for a few moments before draining to normal height. You may not even realize the toilet is clogged until you flush it.

So, if you suspect a problem, first test the drainage before reaching for the toilet plunger.

Drop the tank lid, slightly raise the flapper valve to let a cup or two of water into the pipe, and see how the water goes down before attempting to unclog the toilet with brute force. However, have towels on hand because flushing a clogged toilet can cause your floor to flood.

Unclogging a Toilet With a Plunger


A toilet plunger is all that is needed to unclog nearly 90% of clogged toilets. Purchase a toilet plunger with a rubber bell-shaped extension flange. A toilet plunger with an extension flange is made to suit toilets better, allowing you to give the plunge more “oomph.” If you fold the flange back into the bell, the toilet plunger will also unplug sink and tub drains.

To begin, plunge the toilet with the rubber flange pulled out to better the seal. Push the plunger in and out aggressively, leaving enough water in the bowl to fill it. Keep towels on hand to clean up any spilled water.

Plunging Tips

A toilet plunger fits over the toilet drain and locks it. Wear rubber gloves because things can get messy, and follow these tips:

  • Get your first plunge as gentle as possible. The bell is initially full of air. A quick thrust will force the air back around the seal, allowing water to splatter all over the bathroom and you!
  • If the air has been forced out, plunge in and out vigorously to maintain the seal. You will be driving water down the drain in both directions, which will effectively loosen any clogs. Continue to plunge 15 to 20 times if required.
  • Be patient. Alternate between steady strokes and big heaves to see what works best for you.
  • Maintain a sufficient amount of water in the bowl to keep the toilet plunger covered. Attempting to push air into the toilet trap would not create any pressure.

Most of the time plunging is all that is needed to remove the clog. However, with more stubborn clogs, consider using a toilet snake.

Toilet Unclogging Dos and Don’ts

1. Keep the Toilet Cover Down

A good way to avoid clogs in the first place, particularly if you have small children. Toys, crayons, and hairbrushes are prevented from slipping into the toilet as a result of this.

2. Avoid Using Chemicals


Don’t be duped into believing the potent chemicals can do the dirty work for you. They do sometimes perform, but they are sluggish. When they don’t function, you’re left with a drain full of corrosive water.

If you tried cleaners and they didn’t work, pour as much water as you can into the toilet and let it rest overnight to drain the clog. Then, before you plunge in, put on safety goggles and rubber gloves to keep the water out of your eyes and off your bare skin.

Hardening substances should not be dumped into the toilet

Drywall joint compounds, grease, caulk, and wax materials are examples of these.

3. If Everything Else Fails…

If the clog continues to hinder your efforts, you’ll most likely have to remove the toilet. Because you must switch off and unhook the water source, partly disassemble the toilet, and unscrew it from its mounting ring, this task will take several hours. You will then be able to address the problem. To reseal the toilet base to the mounting ring, purchase a new wax ring and mounting bolts.

If other drains in your house are plugged, or if water comes up through them, the issue is most often further down in the main drain pipes, where it is difficult to find. You may need to hire a plumber to clear those clogs. Plumbers are costly, but they will get your bathroom back up and running quickly, even if there is a major blockage.


Fortunately, knowing the more common causes of why your toilet won’t flush and how to repair them is easy. Keeping up with the cleaning and maintenance of your toilet will help to greatly decrease the risk of you getting into this issue again.