We’ve all been there before. You stare into the bowl as the water is rising and rising. It’s getting so close to the brim that your heart stops and your palms begin to sweat.

Will it stop or is it too late?

Maybe you’re scrambling for the plunger. Or maybe worse…

You’re at someone else’s house.

But the question remains the same, how do you unclog that toilet?

1) Stop that rising water!

If you can catch it before it overflows, stopping the water from filling back up will save you a lot of mess. When you see the water coming up, take the lid off of the back of the tank as fast as you can. Inside, you should see the toilet flapper valve. Push that closed and the water will stop filling up the bowl. Also, if it seems like a risky flush, just go ahead and take the lid off the tank before flushing.

Toilet Flapper Valve

2) Reach for the plunger.

Before you start plunging, make sure you’re working with the right kind of plunger. A toilet plunger, also known as a flange plunger, will have an added piece at the bottom. The added piece creates a tight seal on the bowl so you can plunge more effectively.

Before sticking the plunger in the bowl, run it under some warm water. The warm water will make the rubber more pliable and able to create a tighter seal on the toilet.

Once you’ve got your plunger warmed up and ready, place the plunger in a bowl and find a tight seal around the drain. A few sturdy pushes and pulls should work to relieve the clog and get things moving again.

Toilet Plunger

3) Try an auger.

If a regular plunger isn’t cutting it, you may need to try an auger. An auger is a cable-like tool that you snake through  the drain to break up the clog. To unclog the toilet, snake the cable down the drain and turn the handle on the end of the auger. When the cable stops, it means you hit the clog. The auger will either break up the clog or hook to it so you can pull it back up. After removing the clog, give the toilet another couple of plunges and you should be good to go!

Toilet Auger

4) Call a plumber

If the clog doesn’t budge or seems to get worse, always remember to have a plumber’s number handy. Strittmatters can handle your clogged toilets and any other plumbing problems you may have!