Clogged Toilet: How to Remove Toys and Objects
Fear not if your child is prone to giving his or her toys a toilet bath! If their toys get stuck in the toilet, there's actually a lot you can do to unclog your toilet and make it usable again for its intended purpose.
A clogged toilet is always a big frustration, particularly when it’s a toy or other small objects that is creating the clog. And have you noticed that clogged toilets never happen at a convenient time? If yours has become blocked, the following seven steps will assist you in removing the obstruction.
Step 1 - Question Family Members
Sometimes it is difficult to determine what is actually clogging the toilet bowl but knowing so will help you fix the issue and hopefully prevent it from happening again.
Begin by doing a little investigative work and questioning members of your family to determine what type of items may have been inadvertently flushed down the toilet. By figuring out what may have been put in the toilet, you can tell whether it is something that will need to be removed or if it is something that could be dissolved with a chemical.
Make sure to ask any children in the house. If there's a lot of giggling or they fail to make eye contact with you, you may have found your culprit. Once you have, stress to them not to flush toys or other objects down the toilet again to prevent issues from happening in the future.
Step 2 - Scoop the Water out of the Bowl
If the toilet has overflowed, you should spread rags or newspapers around the base of the toilet to soak up any excess water. Do not use fancy towels but rather ones you don't mind getting a little dirty.
Prepare to work on the clog by first scooping water from the bowl with a small, wide-mouth container such as a coffee can or an old plastic pitcher. Have a large bucket nearby that you can scoop the water into. Do not start scooping water out of the toilet until you know where you are going to put the water that you scoop out of the toilet.
Leave just enough water in the toilet bowl to cover a plunger if you should need to use one later on. Before you begin plunging, make sure the rubber of the plunger completely covers the drain opening as well. This will make sure you get the best leverage and the most successful plunge possible.
Step 3 - Use a Plunger
It is now time to use a plunger. If you do not already have one, you can purchase a plunger at any home improvement store or even at grocery stores and convenience stores. They are cheap and are something you should have in your home.
Once you have secured your plunger, you need to start by gripping the plunger handle. Place the rubber section in the toilet bowl, completely covering the drain at the bottom of the toilet bowl. You will now need to firmly push the plunger up and down as rapidly as possible. It’s important not to be too forceful, as this may cause damage to the toilet bowl. If you are fortunate and the obstruction isn’t too large, the force of the water will release the clog.
Step 4 - Use an Auger
If the obstruction that is clogging your toilet is not released by the plunger method, your next step will be to maneuver an auger into the drain hole and begin twisting it. You can often remove toys and other hard items with this method when plunging doesn't work as long as the snake can grip the item.
An auger is a tool that is in the shape of a spiral. It is used to essentially drill through surfaces, or in this case a clog in your toilet from toys or other objects.
It is similar but a bit different from a snake. The big difference is how they remove the materials that are clogging something like a toilet in this scenario. An auger will force the blockage down and break it up so that there is no more clog. A snake, however, pulls out the clogs, snaking down the drain to bring up the material clogging the drain.
Step 5 - Use a Chemical De-clogger
If the auger method does not solve the problem, it is time to try a chemical de-clogger. The purpose of a chemical de-clogger is to dissolve items such as excessive toilet paper, tissues, etc., that may be blocking the drain pipe. This will not necessarily work for larger items like toys, though.
Using the best product you can find will usually be worth the extra money you pay for it. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions and use rubber gloves and a face mask to protect yourself from chemical fumes. Make sure small pets and children are not in the bathroom breathing the chemicals in when you do this.
Step 6 - Stop Water from Flowing into the Toilet Bowl
Before flushing the toilet again to determine if the clog has been successfully removed, remove the lid from the toilet tank in the back of the toilet and raise the float. This will stop excessive water from filling the tank and flowing into the toilet bowl where it can spill onto the floor if the clog hasn’t been taken care of.
Step 7 - Call a Professional
If you were not successful in using the previous steps, it is now time to call a professional. While this will cost you more money in the short run, it may be necessary to preserve the health of your toilet and plumbing in the long run. The toy stuck in toilet need to come out and a professional plumber will be able to tackle the job if it is something beyond your expertise as a DIYer.
Can I Dissolve Plastic Toys Stuck in the Toilet?
You may be wondering if chemical agents can dissolve toys and other plastic items in the toilet versus just being useful to dissolve things like large amounts of toilet paper that were flushed down the toilet and clogs up the drain.
Toys and plastic will not dissolve on their own, which makes them bad for your pipes and plumbing system.
Generally speaking, the answer is no, you cannot dissolve plastic toys that found their way into your toilet bowl. You can instead loosen the area around them to get the toys back up or send them don but you will not fully dissolve them.
Can I Get the Toys Back Up?
Most methods of unclogging your toilet from toys or other objects involve declogging but not retrieving the toys. If you have a toy stuck in a toilet that you are trying to get back,
If this is the case, do not use a plunger. A plunger will push the toy further down and make it difficult to get to. The auger method, however, may allow you to get the toy in question out of the toilet. A toilet snake is another viable method. Make sure to follow the guidance above and scoop as much water as possible out of the toilet first. Use gloves for sanitation reasons when you do this as the water might not be clean. This will help you see what you are doing and make it easier for you to remove the toy.
Once you have removed a large amount of water, you can use and adjustable wrench to remove the nuts and bolts that are holding the toilet bowl into place. Make sure you put all the bolts in a safe location so that none of them go missing or down the toilet while you are working on the next few steps to rescue your child's toy from the toilet bowl drain.
You can now lift the toilet bowl and move it out of your way to work on the next steps. Place the toilet bowl somewhere safe while you are working. Be very careful so that you do not chip the toilet bowl or damage your floors. You may want to have a few towels out to lay the toilet bowl on to prevent any damage from occurring to the toilet or the floors. You should also be careful to prevent any other water from spilling all over your or your bathroom. Beyond being smelly, wet, and unpleasant, this will also make it harder to work as the area will be wet and slippery.
You can now use a drain auger in the toilet drain opening. Push it down the drain slowly and gently until you start to feel resistance. That is the toy in question. Once you have found it, rotate the handle so that you are able to grab the toy in question. Once you have successfully grabbed it, you will feel some resistance.
It is now time to lift up the toy and auger from the drain. Do so slowly and carefully. You have now successfully unclogged the toilet! It is now time to move the toilet bowl back into place and screw it in. Try flushing it to make sure it is still working properly.
Now, go wash that toy! Do not give it to your child before giving it a very, very through wash. You may be able to put the toy in the dishwasher or the washing machine depending on what type of toy it is. If neither of these are doable for the particular toy in question, you may want to make a solution of water, vinegar, and dish soap and give the toy a good soak, followed by a good scrubbing with a sponge in your kitchen sink. Make sure to clean the sink out after you are done with this step.
Can I Get a Toy or Object Out if the Toilet Has Been Flushed?
Even if the toilet has already been flushed you can get toys or other objects out. In fact, the above tips and tricks largely assume that the toilet has been flushed already and that is when the clog occurs.
If you see toys or foreign objects in a toilet and it has not yet been flushed, it is a much simpler process. Put on gloves and have a bucket nearby. You can carefully reach in and scoop the toys out, placing them in a bucket. You may also need to scoop out some water in order to do this.
Make sure to get your kids to fess up about just how many toys they put in the toilet so you know if you will need to take other methods as well to get all the toys out. Do this before flushing as it will be more difficult to get toys out of the toilet if it has already been flushed and you risk serious clogs and even drain damage depending on what has been flushed down the toilet that should not have been.
As mentioned above, you need to make sure to thoroughly wash the toys after removing them from the toilet. Even if the toys have not been flushed down the toilet and were just sitting in the bowl, a good cleaning of the toys is still incredibly necessary. Kids put a lot of things in their mouths and cuddle with them, making this a step you can not avoid.
By following the above mentioned steps, you should be able to successfully unclog your toilet from whatever toys and objects you have found inside of it.
Going forward, please be careful about what you and your household members are putting down your toilet. The best way to fix a clogged toilet is to prevent it from clogging in the first place.
If you have older pipes, you will need to be extra careful about what you put down your toilet.