Having a clogged toilet is very inconvenient, especially if you live in a one-bathroom house. It’s not just inconvenient however it can be very unsanitary. Most people would prefer to just call the plumber and get it fixed that way. There are a few simple ways you can attempt to unclog a toilet yourself, in a sanitary manner, before calling in the professionals.
Rule number one with clogged toilets is don’t flush it twice. If it didn’t work the first time, it won’t work the second time. The only thing that will do is take more water from the tank and pump it into the bowl. Now you’ll have a clogged and overflowing toilet. Most of the time the toilet will start to drain all by itself, it may be very slow but it will drain.
Since we’re trying to keep things sanitary, be sure to wear latex gloves and cover the floor with something to reduce the mess. Newspaper should work just fine and is easy to throw out when you’re finished. Using towels is not really advisable if you’re planning on using them again. Warm up a pot of water, no hotter than a bowl of soup, mix in a little dish soap and slowly pour it into the toilet bowl. If you live in an apartment you should avoid this method.
The point of this is that the water will move around the clog and loosen it up. If it doesn’t work the first time you can try again as long as the extra water won’t overflow the bowl. Alternately, if you have a second bathroom you can try enzymes. Enzymes can be purchased that will break down waste material. They are very commonly used for septic systems, so you can find it at any hardware or plumbing store. Most enzymes will need to sit overnight, at which time the clog should be almost cleared.
If the hot water failed and you can’t wait for the enzymes, go to the good old plunger. Plunging can be messy and splash water on the floor but its much more sanitary than letting the waste material sit there for a period of time. Get a good plunger too, this is important. The larger the plunger the more likely it will be to get the clog cleared. If all this fails, it’s time to get a pipe snake. It is less messy than the plunger since it simply feeds a tube down the drain, pushing the clog out of the way. You can buy a small pipe snake at the hardware store, or rent one for a tougher job.