10 Expert Fixes to Flush Your Clogging Woes Away

Toilet clogs disrupt daily routines and create a mess. Ten common factors contribute to back-ups, and most are easy to fix. Try these methods on your always clogged toilets for problem-free flushing.

Toilet Troubles Solved

1. Using Excess Toilet Paper

Using too much toilet paper can clog your toilet. When you flush, the excess paper gets stuck in the pipes, creating a blockage. It can’t break apart as intended and pass through the pipes when someone in your family uses excess.

How to Fix

Consider switching from 2-ply to 1-ply toilet paper for toilets that frequently get jammed. Other clog-busting techniques include teaching children to use appropriate amounts of toilet paper and using a courtesy flush to eliminate the toilet paper in smaller amounts.

2. Low-Flow Toilets

Low-flow toilets use less water per flush, which is good for water conservation but bad for flushing. The reduced water volume may not provide enough pressure to push waste and toilet paper through the pipes. The poor flushing power leaves waste and toilet paper behind, which causes constant clogs.

How to Fix

If you have constant clogs, replace your low-flow toilet with a regular toilet. If that is not an option, install a pressure-assist retrofit kit to increase the flushing power by using air pressure to push waste down the drain.

Use less toilet paper and flush multiple times if needed. Preventive measures, like using enzyme-based cleaners to keep the drain lines clear, reduce the chances of clogs.

3. Flushing Foreign Objects

The only things that should go down your toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Flushing other paper and hygiene products clogs the bathroom because they aren’t meant for toilet disposal.

Items like toys, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, cotton swabs, and even small items like keys or jewelry can get stuck in the narrow passages of the toilet’s drain and sewer pipes. They trap toilet paper and other waste, worsening clogs.

How to Fix

Use a plunger to dislodge clogs caused by foreign objects. Place the plunger over the drain hole and push it up and down firmly. If that doesn’t work, use a toilet auger (a snake) to reach and remove the clog.

Insert the auger into the drain and turn the handle to break up or retrieve the blockage. If the clog is severe, call a professional plumber to avoid further damage to your plumbing system.

Also, educate household members (including young children) about what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.

4. Mineral Buildup

If you’re using hard water, mineral buildup causes toilets to clog. Hard water has high levels of minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. It leaves behind small mineral deposits when it flows through your plumbing.

Over time, these minerals accumulate inside the toilet’s trapway (the curved section of the toilet’s drain) and in the jets and flush holes that help propel water and waste through the system. The buildup narrows the passageways in the toilet, reducing the flow of water and waste.

How to Fix

Pour white vinegar or a commercial descaling solution into the toilet and let it sit for a few hours to dissolve the deposits. For more stubborn deposits, scrub the mineral buildup with a toilet brush. To prevent buildup, consider installing a water softener to reduce the hardness of your water.

5. Broken Toilet Seal

A broken toilet seal does not directly cause toilet clogging but causes problems that result in clogs or leaks. The wax ring or rubber gasket seals the connection between the toilet and the sewer pipe.

When this seal is broken, it leads to;

  • An uneven toilet causes improper flushing, incomplete waste removal, and clogging.
  • Water leakage from the base of the toilet
  • Sewer gas odors

How to Fix

To fix a broken toilet seal, replace the damaged wax ring. Ensure the toilet is properly sealed to the floor and drain.

6. Sagging Toilet Drain Line

A sagging toilet drain line has a dip, “belly,” at one or more spots along the line. Instead of allowing waste and water to flow smoothly toward the septic tank, these low points create stagnant areas where solids settle and build up.

Waste and debris accumulate and get trapped over time. This causes slow drainage and clogs, causing the toilet to flush poorly.

How to Fix

Identify where the drain line is sagging or not sloped correctly. Reposition or replace the sagging section of the drain line to ensure a proper slope. If clogs have already formed, use a plunger, toilet auger, or drain snake to attempt to remove the blockage.

You may need to access the plumbing under the floor or within the walls, so look for a professional plumber.

7. Tree Root Intrusions

Sewer lines contain nutrients, organic matter, and moisture that tree roots seek. The roots infiltrate and grow within the underground sewer pipes. As the roots expand, they obstruct the pipes, constricting the wastewater flow and causing it to back up.

These intrusive roots also catch and trap solid debris, toilet paper, and other waste materials, forming stubborn blockages. The result is reduced water flow and a clogged toilet.

How to Fix

Have a professional plumber inspect the lines. Depending on the severity of the intrusion, they can remove or trim the roots. They’ll also repair or replace where the sewer lines have sustained significant damage.

8. Old or Faulty Plumbing

Over time, pipes deteriorate, corrode, or develop rough interior surfaces that catch toilet paper, waste, and debris as they pass through. Outdated plumbing systems may have inadequate flushing power to carry away waste and toilet paper.

Faulty seals, loose connections, or cracked pipes allow foreign objects or sediment to infiltrate the system. Also, faulty plumbing connections or improper pipe slopes hinder the smooth flow of water and waste, making it easier for clogs to form.

How to Fix

Look for a professional plumber to inspect your plumbing system and identify corrosion issues, reduced pipe diameter, leaks, and misalignments. Repair or replace the damaged or corroded sections. Conduct regular maintenance and consider replacing old plumbing systems.

9. Sewer Line Blockages

A blockage in the sewer line obstructs the path for waste to exit. Blockage occurs due to tree intrusions, damaged pipes, or debris accumulation.

When you flush the toilet, the waste and toilet paper have difficulty passing through the blocked sewer line. Instead, they back into your home’s plumbing system, causing toilets to overflow or drain slowly, which leads to toilet clogs.

How to Fix

Contact a professional plumber to clear the blockage. They use hydro-jetting (high-pressure water) or augers to clear the obstruction and restore proper drainage.

10. Incorrect Toilet Installation

Poor toilet installation leads to issues such as an imperfect seal with the wax ring or improper slope in the drain line. Misalignment of the toilet’s trap with the sewer line may also occur.

These errors create spaces and irregularities where waste, toilet paper, and debris accumulate, leading to clogs. Inadequate sealing and misalignment allow for leaks. This softens the ground and makes it easier for tree roots to infiltrate the sewer line.

Also, a poorly installed toilet may have inadequate flushing power to push waste down the drain effectively.

How to Fix

Reinstall the toilet correctly, ensuring the wax ring, flange, and bolts are aligned and secured. Repair damaged wax rings and gaskets and tighten loose bolts.