Dealing with a clogged toilet is a common yet frustrating household issue many homeowners face. Before panic sets in, it’s important to understand why toilets clog and how you can address the problem safely and effectively.

The Anatomy of a Toilet

side cross-section diagram of toiletMany might not realize that the interior waterway of a toilet resembles a sideways “S” shape, consisting of a winding path filled with twists and turns. This design is crucial for the toilet’s functioning but also makes it susceptible to clogs. The ‘S’ shape helps to trap water in the bowl and prevent sewer gases from entering your home. 

However, this design also means that any solid waste or foreign objects can get stuck in the bends, leading to a clog. Generally, the cheaper the toilet, the narrower the passageway, increasing the likelihood of blockages. 

Understanding this can help you take preventive measures, such as using less toilet paper or avoiding flushing foreign objects, to keep your toilet from clogging. 

Initial Steps to Unclog Your Toilet

Using a Plunger

The first line of defense against a clog is often a tool you likely already have at home – the toilet plunger. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use it effectively: 

  1. Place the plunger over the drain hole in the toilet bowl, ensuring a tight seal. 
  2. Push down firmly and then pull up quickly, creating suction. 
  3. Repeat this motion several times, maintaining the seal. Plunging creates pressure that can dislodge the obstruction, clearing the pathway for water to flow smoothly again.

What Not to Do

A common mistake homeowners make is using a hand snake designed for kitchen sinks on their toilets. This is a bad idea as these snakes can scratch the delicate china of the toilet bowl. The marks left are unsightly and could create spaces for future waste to catch onto, potentially leading to more clogs. 

The Professional Approach

Closet Auger: The Professional Tool

professional plumber using closet auger to clear clogged toiletProfessionals like those at St Paul Pipeworks utilize a specific tool for this task – a closet auger. Unlike standard hand snakes, a closet auger is a heavy-duty tool designed specifically for toilets. The device used by St Paul Pipeworks plumbers is equipped with a protective plastic coating to safeguard your toilet’s interior against scratches.

Diagnosing the Problem

Experienced plumbers can often determine whether the blockage is confined to the toilet or if it’s a more severe issue further down the plumbing line. This distinction is crucial for deciding the next steps in the unclogging process.

After the Clog is Cleared

Once the obstruction is removed, your toilet should be able to flush thoroughly and efficiently once more. However, if problems persist or you’d rather leave this task to professionals, don’t hesitate to contact a reliable plumbing service.

Remember, while a clogged toilet may seem like a daunting issue, with the right tools and knowledge, it’s a problem you can handle. Whether you choose to tackle the issue yourself or seek professional help, understanding the cause and solution can empower you to save time, money, and stress.

St. Paul Plumbers

For residents in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area experiencing clogged toilets or seeking quality plumbing services, St Paul Pipeworks is your trusted partner. Our skilled plumbers, with their extensive experience and expertise, can handle everything from minor clogs to major plumbing issues, ensuring your home’s plumbing operates smoothly. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or for any emergency plumbing needs. 

Yours Truly, 

Matthew Dettwiler 

Social Media Manager 


Q: What causes a toilet to clog?

A: Many factors can contribute to a clogged toilet, including using too much toilet paper, flushing foreign objects, or having narrow toilet passageways.

Q: Can I use a hand snake on my clogged toilet?

A: It’s not recommended, as hand snakes designed for kitchen sinks can scratch the delicate china of your toilet bowl.

Q: Should I call a professional plumber to unclog my toilet?

A: It depends on the severity of the clog and your comfort level with DIY solutions. If you’re unsure or prefer to have a professional handle it, rest assured that reputable plumbing services like St Paul Pipeworks are just a call away. 

Q: How can I prevent future clogs?

A: Some tips for preventing clogs include avoiding flushing foreign objects, using less toilet paper, and regularly maintaining your plumbing system. Regular maintenance, such as checking for leaks, ensuring the toilet is flushing properly, and cleaning the toilet bowl regularly, can help prevent clogs and other plumbing issues. Consult with a professional plumber for tailored advice based on your specific situation.  

Q: How can I find a reliable plumbing service?

A: Do your research and read reviews from previous customers. Ask for recommendations from friends or family, or contact local plumbing associations for referrals to reputable plumbers in your area. If you’re in the St. Paul or Minneapolis areas, contact St Paul Pipeworks.

Clogged Toilet? What You Need to Do